Nine new holes on the North Turramurra Golf course opened for the first time on Wednesday. Were they worth the wait?
Yes. It was absolutely worth the wait.
Residents in the area would know that there has been a huge amount of earth works going on in North Turramurra, extending the current golf course by almost a kilometre. The extension has taken in the old landfill site at the back of the golf course, turning it from an eyesore in to something very, very special.
There are eleven new holes, nine of which are now in play, a putting green and a chipping green which have been spectacularly carved in to the side of the valley, turning the course from a plain-old straight-fairway bore in to a rolling, curving and much more interesting course.
And the views from holes 3 to 7 would have to be amongst some of the best on any course in the area.
But there is more to this project than merely a lovely golf course; it is also a triumph of reclamation of a dangerous, disused area of Ku-ring-gai. The old landfill site had become unstable and was slipping down the side of the hill and in to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Through the construction of a semi contiguous concrete pile wall and gabion retaining walls the former landfill slopes leading to the leachate pumping stations have been stabilised and has been encapsulated in a minimum of 600mm of VENM (Virgin Excavated Natural Material) from end to end making it safe and stable.
There is a waste treatment plant already on the site which takes waste water from the local sewerage system and cleans it before making it available to keep the greens and fairways and prime condition. That means the golf course will always be green, almost without the need for using mains water at all.
We had two young guns play the course. The boys are both on Scholarships at Pymble Golf Course (the private course in St Ives) and play with handicaps of 2 and scratch. Their verdict was positive; the greens were smooth and quick, the fairways interesting and the length was long enough to be challenging to most golfers. “This is a good course, I will be coming back to play with my mates” said one.
Speaking to the lead designer Mark Wylie from Golf by Design, he said that he had designed the course to suit a variety of skill levels “The greens have been designed to be receptive to a wide range of approach shots, and as such they will be more accommodating to the average golfer. Despite this, there are tougher ‘championship’ pin positions on each green that can be used in competition play to provide a sterner test of golf. Additionally, the use of the ‘championship’ tees will obviously add length and challenge to the course.” Wylie has been involved in the design of other courses such as Barden Ridge, so he has plenty of good experience.
We asked Phillip Beninati, the project manager for Ku-ring-gai Council about the brief given to Golf by Design Principal James Wilcher, “it was pretty much a plain sheet of paper” said Beninati. Working within the confines of the engineering works required, Wilcher and Wylie have produced a spectacular design. Handing that design to Flemming Golf, they have built a tremendous set of holes. Flemming have worked on many other notable courses such as Stonecutters Ridge, Manly Golf Course as well as recent major works on The Australian Golf Club. “Turramurra Golf Course has a very familiar feel to anyone who has played and enjoyed Stonecutters Ridge” said Joe Coles.
There have been in excess of 10,000 truck movements bringing 200,000 cubic metres of material in to the site. Almost nothing was taken away. There will still be some works, finishing the football pitches, car parks and refurbishing seven of the remaining nine holes, which should be finished by spring.
Would I recommend the course, even though there are only nine holes that you can currently play? Yes. Go for the views, they are truly magnificent. Stay for the course, it is interesting, challenging and brand new.
Turramurra Golf Course
361b Bobbin Head Road
Tel: 9144 5110