Golf Course Architecture article about Bonnie Doon GC
ARTICLE FROM: Golf Course Architecture
WRITTEN BY: Scott Warren
Play has begun on six new holes at Sydney’s Bonnie Doon Golf Club, marking the completion of the first stage of the club’s redesign by Ogilvy Clayton Design.
The design is the first by the new company that brought together Mike Clayton and his countryman, 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, as well as co-principals Michael Cocking and Ashley Mead, both of whom had worked with Clayton in the previous iteration of his design company.
Five holes were redesigned on the club’s heavily undulating and sandy site, while another two were created from scratch on previously undeveloped land between Bonnie Doon and the neighbouring Eastlake GC. All bar one are now in play, with the last hole planted during Sydney’s cold and wet summer requiring more time to grow in.
Among the highlights of the new holes are a treacherous uphill short par three to one of Clayton’s wildest greens that plays just 120m from the back tee, a dual-route par five with a heaving and false-fronted boomerang green and a driveable par four offering a number of options, including a smart mid-iron lay-up to an enlarged natural ridge – that feature among suggestions made by Ogilvy during his time walking the course prior to development.
The next tranche of work on the course is expected to include a further handful of holes adjoining the northeastern section of the property redesigned in stage one, which also saw the club build an expansive short game practice area and extend its driving range.
The influx of new members drawn by the new holes and practice facilities has bolstered its renowned ranks of low-handicap golfers and led to a waiting list being established in a climate where other clubs in the region have been forced to relax entry requirements to maintain a healthy membership.
Clayton had previously co-designed both Barnbougle Dunes and St Andrews Beach with American architect Tom Doak and carried out a redesign of The Lakes GC, which flanks Bonnie Doon and Eastlake in the city’s southeastern suburbs.
The firm is also responsible for the redesigns of Brisbane’s Royal Queensland and Perth’s Lake Kurrinyup, along with well-received work at both Kingston Heath and Victoria golf clubs on the Melbourne Sandbelt, while Ogilvy Clayton Design was recently engaged to undertake work on all 27 holes at Royal Canberra Golf Club.
Scott Warren is a golf journalist based in Sydney.
:: Peter Bessey