Royal Queensland GC – Eastern Land

In 2007 we completed a major redesign at Royal Queensland due to the duplication of the Gateway Bridge. Since then we have been working on a number of various concepts for the 30 hectares of land that now remains vacant on the Eastern side of the bridge.

Some of the options that we considered were:

  • A traditional stand-alone nine hole course
  • Construction of nine new holes and a reconfiguration of the current layout to produce a 27 hole course with returning nines
  • A practice range and associated facilities
  • A reversible course.

The routing concept of the course has been settled so that the Club may commence long lead-in items such as a new water storage dam and access road. The Club is very excited by the concept of the reversible course and its details will be worked through by the Club and OCCM in the near future. After five years in design, we are hoping to get started soon.

The concept of a reversible course originated at St Andrews in Scotland. The opening hole in the reverse course plays from the 1st tee to the Road Hole green at the 17th hole; the 2nd hole from the 18th tee to the 16th green, and the course continues all the way (anti-clockwise) to the finish, where golfers play from the 2nd tee to the 18th green. Those who have played the course confirm that it includes some remarkable holes.

Tom Simpson, the British architect who built some of the very best golf courses on the European continent, drew his concept of a small reversible course in his book The Architectural Side of Golf. Simpson summarized the advantages of a reversible course as:

  • Reducing the impact of divots or pitch marks, and allowing greens keepers to rest areas
  • Spreading traffic wear and compaction
  • Increasing pleasure and variety
  • Allowing the effect of wind on play to differ
  • Favouring a ‘strategic’ type of design, as little (if any) additional bunkering on a strategic course is needed for reverse play

George Thomas, the American Architect (Riviera Country Club in LA), also developed the concept of a ‘course within a course’ where holes could be played, for example, as either long par threes or short par fours. The Women’s 17th hole at Royal Queensland is an example of Thomas’ concept. It would be possible to include parts of this concept into the reversible course to create even greater variety. The land of the old 14th hole could, for example, be used to make a short par four as well as a recreation of the old par three hole.

There is enough land to build a reversible course with no formalised tees that would create something unique, varied and fun to play as well as offering eighteen quite different holes.

:: Ashley Mead

RQ_Reversible Course Masterplan
RQ_Clockwise Loop
RQ_Anti-Clockwise Loop
RQ Supporting Images Blog Post

Ashley Mead

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