Camden Lakeside, a Peter Thompson–designed course, lies about an hour’s drive from downtown Sydney. Opened in 1993, the course is a tribute to Thompson’s five wins at the British Open (1954, ’55, ’56, ’58 and 1965). With his design, Thompson manages to get golfers’ dander up with a series of multiple “seaside” pot bunkers and crowned greens.
Camden Lakeside is a par-72 7,000-yard links course that takes into consideration its setting’s natural topography, preserving the surrounding trees, creeks and lakes. Slopes and moguls inherent in its design give the course an Old World feel similar to that of some courses in Ireland and Scotland — the birthplaces of golf. Like the classic old courses, Camden’s seaside pot bunkers and crowned greens offer golfers fairly flat putting surfaces, but balls have to be carefully hit toward the green because they tend to roll. The course, rated 10 in Australia, features a clubhouse with a full restaurant and bar and a small meeting space.
I played a round of three-ball with Koala Golf (http://www.koalagolf.com) representatives Mike Mosher, an Australian golf pro, and Bede Hendren. If you’re visiting Australia, Koala can arrange tee times at courses all over the country.
Hole 2 (544 yards, par 5)
Off the tee box, you are looking at an uphill challenge to a plateau. Most shots to the second landing area are blind and worth a little “recon” to investigate the terrain. For a clean approach to the green, the best landing area is the right side of the fairway. The green is elliptical in shape and has a swale in front, requiring a high approach shot, and two bunkers on either side.
Hole 4 (422 yards, par 4)
This is the No. 2 handicap-rated hole on the course. It requires an accurate drive off the tee box due to a lake to the right and a small pond to the left, both just short of your drive landing. An errant shot could cause problems. From your drive, the approach is about 195 yards. You need to clear a creek (dry when we played) just before the green. Like all the holes designed by Peter Thompson, the green here is crowned, and shots can easily roll off.
Hole 6 (391 yards, par 4)
This hole’s name is in reference to a large mound a third of the way down, which obscures your second shot. This “buried elephant” of hidden bunkers can be avoided by aiming left. Big hitters can drive over the hump. After securing a safe landing area, you have a clear shot to the green.
Hole 7 (413 yards, par 4)
Locally, this is known as the “quintessential links hole.” Players need to avoid the two pot bunkers (another typical Peter Thompson feature), which lie about 246 to 264 yards from the tee box, though big hitters can reach them. Some bunker portions are so steep that the only recourse is to slam a wedge or nine-iron to get your ball back into play. After your drive, you are met with an ever-so-slight dogleg left. There is a swale about 100 yards from the green, and two more pot bunkers greet you to the right of the green.
Hole 10 (351 yards, par 4)
This is not a particularly difficult hole and a good start for the back nine. The drive is pretty open and downhill. Try to aim left center because there is a series of bushes and a small pond to the right to catch stray balls.
Hole 14 (178 yards, par 3)
The elevated tee here offers golfers vistas over the pond in front of the green. The green is well protected and well bunkered, and includes several mounds to wreak havoc with your shot. The hole also is subject to high winds, which adds to the challenge.
Hole 17 (469 yards, par 4)
Nearly straight as an arrow, this par 4 is the No. 1 handicap-rated hole on the course. The most difficult aspect is the length: at nearly 472 yards, it’s a monster that almost plays as a par 5. Long hitters might think this will be a piece of cake, but ex act aim is required because three pot bunkers lie on the landing area. A dead-straight second shot is required to reach the green, which is set in a thicket of small casuarinas trees.
Hole 18 (413 yards, par 4)
This is a tricky one — a real Peter Thompson signature hole. First of all, you need to fire your drive over the course’s central lake. Second, drive left, but be aware that good, long drives may be punished by a gum tree that lies left center in the fairway. Your second shot to the green is uphill and requires a bit more club than you might think. Pot bunkers lie left front and back right, and dot the left side of the fairway.
50 Raby Road
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia 2171
tel 02 9606 5277, fax 02 9606 5423
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