In 2017, Ha Na Jang came from four back to win in Australia. Jang played her last six holes at 5-under par with an eagle and birdie on the final two holes to claim the 2017 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open title.
The course opens with a quite simple short four turning to the left. The longer the drive the better the line down the green for the pitch so there are obvious advantages to playing far down the right and close to the fairway bunkers.
This is a long and straight par five but one not best played in a straight line. The fairway bunkers up on the right of the second shot protect the best line into the green, a green best approached from over by the hazards.
The short, drivable 3rd is one of the holes implemented as part of Alister MacKenzie’s 1926 plan. The tee shot is blind and the dune on the right is not the place to miss. There are multiple options of club from the tee and the further you want to venture down the fairway the narrower the target. There is a diagonal ridge running along the left of the green making pitching problematic from that side of the fairway.
A strong little par 3 which is magnificently bunkered. Only requires a short iron off the tee but the narrow front of the green will require players to be precise. Those who are will breathe a heavy sigh of relief. Those who find the sand will face a tricky up-and-down.
Like the 1st this is, a flat hole doglegging to the right around guarding fairway bunkers at the inside corner of the drive.
Very quickly the routing comes back to an interesting and undulating bit of the property and the result is one of the best two shot holes on the course. The green is set on top of a rise and a deep bunker on the left suggests a high right to left approach is best. Birdies are well earned here.
The striking characteristic of the first of the three short holes is the ring of bunkers across the front of the green, a green tilted quite severely from back to front. It’s not a difficult proposition unless the wind is up and then it takes a perfectly flighted shot to get anywhere near the flag. Going long is awful.
This is another short par 4, not as drivable of as dangerous as the 3rd but a good hole nonetheless. The real feature is a tiny green, probably the smallest on any of the countries championship courses, and the pitch shot needs to be perfect or it misses the target.
The front nine finishes with a long three shot hole bending to the right after the drive. The long second is well protected by bunkers left and right and the pitch to the green is uphill and tricky to judge the distance.
The drive here is another blind one over a dune but that is no criticism of what is a good shot. The approach down the hill with a short iron is played off a downslope to a green with the high point at the middle. Even the most slightly over-hit pitch tends to run long and off the back edge of the putting surface.
The second shot here is one often photographed as the green sits right at the base of a huge surrounding dune. The tee shot, played most often by scratch players with a long iron of perhaps a fairway wood, is simple enough but the eight or nine iron into the green is a beautiful looking shot. This 11th is a perfect example of a great ‘easy’ hole.
A single bunker sits at the front left and it plays downhill making the shot into any wind even more difficult. The green is so often missed making it as much a test of chipping as it is of long iron play.
The mid-length par four plays around a beautiful dune on the left and obviously the closer to the danger the shorter the shot into the green, one tilted from back left to front right.
This long par four is one of the very best holes in the country. Again perfectly placed bunkers sit on the corner of the dogleg and the undulating fairway offers a variety of stances for the second shot. The green here is, not unlike the 12th, a small one sitting above the level of the surrounding ground and it’s a perfect test of iron play.
The run home begins with a dogleg left par five, a hole where making a four isn’t too much more difficult than making a four at the previous hole. The second half of the fairway is noticeably flat as it comes after a long run of holes made by perfect undulations for golf and the shot, unsurprisingly, suffers a little. Still, those hoping for a birdie need to hit a good long second to the angled green.
There is always a place for a par three where a mediocre shot has very little chance of hitting the green. Only a very good shot hits the small green here, a green falling away into bunkers on the left and down to an expanse of short grass on the right. Saving a three from either side is problematic but especially from the left.
Here is a long par four where the player is confronted with a wide fairway but one where bunkers are cut into the landing area. They force a choice of line and perhaps even the club from the tee. Nor is the approach shot particularly easy, making for a demanding test at the end of the round.
The finisher, like the opening hole, is a short par four turning to the left. The pot bunkers on the left are to be avoided at all costs and the long narrow green with bunkers on the right asks for a competent short iron. Unusually the clubs entrance road cuts across the fairway and the single carriage train line to the beach runs just behind the green – and right through the middle of the course. Rather than a detraction from the experience of playing one of the best courses in Australia, it only adds to its charm.