Magenta Shores Golf & Country Club is the Central Coast’s top ranked course. It is built on coastal dunes and opened for play in 2006. It was once a brutally tough course with very little margin for error despite almost ever-present wind. It has softened a little in more recent times with areas of coastal scrub removed so that errant balls can at least be found. The turf and greens are exceptional, and the rugged bunker style helps the course to feel very natural. Magenta Shores possesses some thrilling holes, but it’s the variety of challenge that elevates it into a top course.
90 minutes north of Sydney on the NSW Central Coast, renowned architect Ross Watson was greeted by an abundance of sand on a largely flat landscape. With clever shaping creating considerable dune areas that, despite their construction, appear very natural and as if they had featured on the site for years.
The surrounding housing estate intrudes a little too close to the course in some areas, which forced Watson to create fairways and playing corridors that are fractionally tighter than is ideal, which means the driver really needs to be on song!
Being a windy and generally exposed location, several of the tee shots are perhaps a little penal, but a well struck blow that finds the speedy fairways is well rewarded. The bunkering, utilising flowing grasses in the faces, can be challenging at times but fits well with the genre of the test and the aesthetics of the landscape. Mostly the greens are commensurate with a windy location in that they are not too undulating.
The par 3s are particularly attractive with the 165 metre 12th and the 124 metre 15th arguably two of the best par 3s Ross Watson ever designed.
Ross Watson waited most of his career for the chance to construct a links in fertile draining sand and Magenta Shores is a testament to his ability to engineer a gorgeous looking golf course. It would be hard to imagine any player not finding some joy here with the standard of playing surfaces and the artistic design seen throughout the course.
On the front 9, there are two phenomenally strong par 4’s. The 434 metre 3rd – a tight fairway boarded to the left by out-of-bounds and to the right by low lying scrub and deep penal fairway bunkering on each side – presents a serious intimidation factor on the tee. Winds will often be in from the right bringing the out-of-bounds into the frame. Once the tee shot is hopefully navigated with some success, a long 2nd shot to a deep flat putting surface is required. Again the spectre of penal bunkering and the boundary to the left places a premium on solid ball striking. The 9th, a colossal 438 metres, is a long straight uphill hole usually mistaken for a short par 5. Alas, it is in fact a par 4, index No 2 on the card. Playing to a raised 3-tiered green sloping from back to front, regardless of wind direction, to find the green in regulation is quite a feat and putting will be tricky if you haven’t accessed the correct level.
Magenta is clearly Watson’s best course and should be a starring feature of any Central Coast or NSW Country golf itinerary.