Kooindah Waters Golf Club, situated on the beautiful New South Wales Central Coast, is a par 72 championship course that is climbing Australia’s Top 100 rankings on the back of immaculate conditioning and a challenging, interesting layout. Completed in 2006, Kooindah Waters golf course was designed by Ross Watson and champion Australian golfer Craig Parry and is built on natural wetlands in a stunning bushland setting. It is a thinking golfer’s course but offers a fierce challenge to players of all levels. Not only will a player need to avoid water hazards on all 18 holes but also the 84 fairway and green side bunkers – some of which have railway sleeper walls. Once these hazards are cleared, golfers cannot fail to be impressed by the tour-level couch fairways and superb bent greens that roll fast and true. A gem.
After an immensely strong playing career whereby he recorded 22 worldwide victories, Kooindah’s co-designer, Craig Parry, was clearly influenced by his own individual style of play in his input with Ross Watson as they collaborated on the Kooindah Waters project. Parry’s modus operandi calls for the kind of ball control over brawn that he exhibited at will throughout his career.
Fully stretched, the course measures 6,083 metres. What is far from typical, and the essence of the challenge presented, is the sequence of holes. There are 5 par 5s and 5 par 3s and not once are there consecutive par 4s on the front 9. In fact, it only happens once at 13 and 14 on the back side.
The front half commences in languid fashion, with a medium length par 5 that certainly is there for the taking. That said, danger lurks in the form of wetland areas to the right, and small penal bunkering at the drive and lay-up landing areas. Beyond the green, a small bunker sits above the putting surface level featuring an early indication of a frequently used design feature of the course, wooden sleeper walls, that play havoc!
Reminiscent of the great designs of the late Pete Dye, the 147-metre 2nd would not be out of place on any of his signature courses. Wetlands and deep water protects the front and right of this raised green, with sleepers embedded in the retaining wall and wicked deflections that await any mis-cued shots!
Just across the wetlands lies the danger bound 8th green. Water will threaten any of the front flag positions and there’s not much value to be found by going long, with a large bunker offering a diabolical sand shot back toward the H2O you sought to avoid. A conservative layup is really the money play here, but if a strong drive has been struck in play, the temptation to reach this short par 5 in two might be irresistible. The front 9 can certainly feel narrow and tight. The back nine is significantly more open featuring a cluster of strong noteworthy par 4s.
The highlight of the back half is the one-two combination to finish. The 17th is probably the signature hole, a short blow to an island, sleeper bound green. The putting surface is very deep, but the golfer’s perspective is dominated by a pronounced left-to-right slope in the front-right quadrant. As it seems with all island greens, you wouldn’t think twice about the shot it if it weren’t for the watery grave lurking to the right!
The 18th is a fitting finish and deserves its No 1 ranking. A par 4 of 390 plus metres, it requires two hefty accurate blows to find the putting surface. From the tee you need to negotiate a hazard on the left. Assuming you find the short grass, you will have at least a mid to long iron with substantial water still on the left and bunkers right (there are those pesky sleepers again!). The green is one of the more undulating on the course and a challenging putting proposition. Throughout the journey, it wouldn’t hurt to be able to control your ball akin to Craig Parry! Now, wouldn’t that be nice.