Location: Roleystone, WA
Architect: Michael Coate & Roger Mackay
Date Played: 8th June 2016
With limited time during my Perth visit, it was straight to Araluen Golf Resort after an early morning flight from Melbourne. I was hitting the course still wiping the sleep from my eyes, well not quite, a cold snap had hit the west coast so it was extremely nippy.
Araluen Golf Resort Entrance
The drive to Roleystone wasn’t overly long, but certainly was a bit out of the city. In fact this would have to be classed rural. It was quite hilly on the way, so I figured this wasn’t going to be a flat course.
Ponds outside the entrance to the clubhouse
Some lovely rock gardens and flora are found on arrival. The koi in the ponds out the front of the clubhouse were absolutely massive. I was just hoping my score would not be as big. If the golf doesn’t go so well fishing is always an option.
Rear view of the clubhouse at Araluen Golf Resort
The rear of the clubhouse looks much more captivating than the front, offering a balcony with views of the 9th and 18th holes. With the cold snap, only smokers were heading out on to the balcony.
Mens Locker Room
Although very basic, the facilities are sufficient to freshen up before or after a round.
Roger Mackay Memorium
A statue of Roger Mackay, an Australian professional golfer and one of the architects for Araluen Golf Resort, is located outside the clubhouse. Tragically he lost his battle with cancer at the young age of 46.
Araluen Golf Resort Map
The course routes in two loops of nine, over some very undulating terrain. It is also a compulsory cart course, so don’t rely on your game here for regular exercise.
Scorecard for Araluen Golf Resort
With my game being a bit ordinary of late, play was from the white tees.
Hole 1 – 466 meter par 5
Starting the round is a medium length par 5. From the tee a slight rise is carried, before reaching the narrowing fairway. The hole plays relatively straight from tee to green.
View from the 1st fairway
A large tree is located to the right of the fairway, protecting the line in from a long approach. If carried an opening between bunkers can be found to run the ball in. Otherwise bunkers will be in play for most approaches from the left. The surrounds of the green complex are fairly shot, allowing a range of shots to be played. The slight variations in fairway undulation help the hole, since it is almost dead straight, however, it isn’t the most interesting of holes to start the round.
Hole 2 – 309 meter par 4
Next up is a nice short par 4. Playing down hill to a dog leg right. Trees are found at the corner along with a large trap. Longer hitters can take this on, leaving a short pitch into the green. For most, it will be about hitting the correct line and not running through the corner, where trees await.
Looking back from the 2nd green
Two traps protect the front of the green, where the putting surface slopes away from the player. Various mounds are found around the edges and rear of the green. Good hole where risk takers from the tee maybe rewarded.
Hole 3 – 327 meter par 4
Playing again to a dogleg to the right, this hole plays a lot longer than its distance suggests, climbing a steep slope. The right side should be avoided, as a large tree may prevent the next shot from reaching the green. Trying to cut the corner here is not really an option. Playing to the deceiving fairway at the turn, looking much smaller than it actually is.
From the rear of the 3rd green
The green sits at the top of this slope, with one large tree to the left needing to be carried if approaching from this side. Bunkers are found either side of the green, which has some gentle slopes. A hole which plays much harder than it looks. The cutting back of some trees here would not hurt play or strategy at all.
Hole 4 – 136 meter par 3
Coming to the shortest and easiest hole on the course, playing from tiered tees, the shot is down a steep slope, where the green awaits. It is quite deceiving how much room is available around parts of the green, due to the sloping of the ground and trees blocking the right.
Well guarded 4th green
Bunkers protect the front and right side, with another remaining hidden at the rear. Down the left is a steep slope running away to the trees. The majority of the putting surface, which is quite wide, slopes from the left to right. Good hole which was enjoyable to play.
Hole 5 – 347 meter par 4
Coming to a medium length par 4, which has a very slight bend to the right, Towards the run out area on the left is a fairway bunker, which if finding would leave a difficult shot to the green, The fairway has some strong gradient from the left, which to me, takes the bunker out of play. Most balls may find the slopes which lead to the right portion of the short grass.
Looking back from the 5th green
With a majority of balls finding their way to the right portion of the fairway, the bunkers are perfectly placed green side, as they need to be carried to reach the green. There is a small area to the left of the green, which is slightly elevated, where the ball has a clear path to the putting surface. Another trap though is built into the hill on this side. The grass surrounds vary, with shading from the trees affecting some growth. A bit confusing with the fairway bunker placement, but otherwise a fairly plain hole.
Hole 6 – 381 meter par 4
Playing a blind tee shot over the hill, is a long par 4 hole, which again is relatively straight. A bunker can be seen to the right, which if carried, will lead to some run down the hill. Approaching from the right is the best line into this green, which angles away to the left.
Approach to the 6th fairway
The second shot will likely be from a down hill lie, to a green which almost appears perched on the edge of the hill. Two large bunkers are found before reaching the green, with the right around 25 meters short.
Bunker found before the 6th green
Anything long on this hole is not desirable, with a sharp drop behind. The putting surface has some strong slopes found at the rear. Challenging but enjoyable hole, with some thought required for each shot.
Hole 7 – 166 meter par 3
The last of the par 3 holes for the first loop is also the longest on the course. This plays down a gentle slope, which also runs hard to the right. A bunker is located short of the green, with further traps on either side. A ridge through the center of the putting surface, creates two tiers, of the green angling away to the left. An enjoyable par 3, not overly difficult, but if finding yourself out of position could cause issues.
Hole 8 – 498 meter par 5
The longest hole on the course plays with a dogleg to the right. From the tee it is all uphill to start with. Bunkers are located left, where the fairway will run out, whilst another sits on the right of the turn. Carrying this will leave a shot from even ground, to carry the next stage, a plateau along the top of the hill.
Looking down the 8th fairway
The last shot will be down hill to the green. Length is deceptive with a large fall in the fairway just short of the green. There is one trap short right of the complex, but the main defence here is steep slopes away on most of the green surrounds. A hole which gives some interest with the elevation changes.
Hole 9 – 368 meter par 4
From the longest hole on the course to the longest par 4 on the course, which finishes the first loop. Playing down a slope, the green can be seen from the tee.
View from the 9th fairway
What cannot be seen is the large fall away halfway down the fairway and the water before the green. Caution is required from the tee especially for longer hitters. With the large down slope, reaching the water is highly possible. The water hazard also runs partly along the left edge of the fairway, again unseen from the tee.
Looking back from the 9th green
The water carry is around eighty meters to the green. A small section of fairway exists to the left of the green, for those not quite confident playing over the longer section of the hazard. A bunker is located between the putting surface and water, which might be a saviour for those not quite making the distance. One aspect of this hole which stood out, was how the tee shot is approached. Laying up short will leave a difficult approach from an elevated position, whilst being agressive will leave a short iron on ground level with the green. For the front nine, this was the most memorable hole.
Hole marker and pin flag
Having the map of a hole is always helpful, especially when playing a course for the first time. Pity that only resort courses cater for this.
Hole 10 – 285 meter par 4
Starting the second loop is the shortest & easiest par 4 at Araluen Golf Resort. Playing with a dogleg left, the tee shot is up a small rise, with two bunkers on the inside of the turn.
Approach from the 10th fairway
The fairway plateaus until the green, where a front bunker has been built up partially obscuring most of the putting surface. Small mounds have been built on the surrounds of the green, which has varying slopes to contend with. An inconspicuous hole, compared to the previous, but is fair to all players.
Hole 11 – 486 meter par 5
Coming to the easiest par 5 on the course, is a hole which is relatively straight. Standing on the tee box it appears you are playing your shot over a cliff, as the fairway falls away to reveal housing and bush in the distance. There is quite a wide landing area before the fairway narrows before the down slope starts.
Bunkers lead to the 11th green
With such a large slope down hill, the ball will run considerably. This brings into play the numerous bunkers short and around the green. I had managed to play off to the left side of the fairway. Playing a shot safely back to the short grass, I was extremely intrigued to see how the contours maneuvered my ball. Running around the bunkers short of the green, to the other side of the fairway then disappear, only to see it roll up just short of the green. The undulations help to make this hole a little interesting.
Hole 12 – 160 meter par 3
The hardest par 3 is deceptive. With a green angling away to the right, most of the putting surface is obscured by the front bunkering, whilst bushes to the right block the back section. To reach the green in one a carry is required, or a big left to right shot, which can run in from the left. Those not confident have a wide area to the left to lay up with the tee shot. Aiming at any rear pin has some risks, with heavy scrub to the right for any miscued shot.
Bunkering around the 12th green
Two bunkers are located at the front, whilst another is found at the rear. The green is not overly large, but from the center runs away to the front. An enjoyable hole which allows for any level of play, but offers a few risks.
Hole 13 – 350 meter par 4
Playing back up the slope is a medium length par 4, which has a slight turn to the right, more due to the angle of the fairway to the tee. The ideal line into the green is from the right. To reach this area a tree and bunker come into play. The fairway also slightly slopes right to left.
Looking back over the 13th green
Bunkering obscures the view in from the right, but are well short of the green. Another trap is to the right, but has to be carried to land on the putting surface. The green has a few undulations to contend with. I found this one of the least interesting holes on the course, even if it was a rare change to playing a downhill shot to a green.
Hole 14 – 340 meter par 4
Another mid length par 4, which doglegs to the left on this occasion. From the tee, there is no sight of the green. A large trap is on the inside line, ready for anyone trying to shorten the hole. Successfully doing so will leave a short pitch to the green. Small mounding is found at the end of the fairway at the turn, for those playing too long.
Downhill to the 14th green
Playing the approach to the green, is down a strong slope. Bunkers are found either side of the green, with the rear running away to the bush. The green itself is almost two tiered, with the right section being higher than the left. This was an enjoyable, challenging hole with its strategy. Unfortunately it was one of the numerous downhill shots to the green, something a significant number seemed to have.
Kangaroos acting as spectators
On most courses in Western Australia, bar those in the middle of the city, it will be hard to avoid the wildlife. A few kangaroos were seen whilst playing at Araluen Golf Resort.
Hole 15 – 340 meter par 4
Another medium length par 4, measuring the same distance as the previous hole as well as having a dogleg left. Given the difference here is playing the tee shot up a rise. The fairway slopes slightly from right to left, helping to feed the ball back slightly.
Minimal protection on the 15th green
After playing to the top of the rise, the fairway flattens out running to the green. A large mound is to the left of the green, blocking out some of the view, but largely the main defense is the steep slope behind. Good to have some slight variety over the last few holes, but this was not a hole that was going to stay in the memory banks.
Hole 16 – 153 meter par 3
Starting the run back home with consecutive standout holes, is this dramatic par 3, overlooking the valley below. I couldn’t believe the drop when looking from the back plates, probably the highest tee I have played from for a par 3. With some burning off occurring, I was moving along to ensure the view wouldn’t get totally obscured. The brain went into overdrive, calculating what club would be required here, as coming up short in the water would be quite easy. In fact my percentages for these types of holes, have been to come up short.
Long way down to the 16th green
After the tee shot, there is a long trek to reach the green. Driving down the slope, felt like coming down from the alps, with the path winding back and forth quite a few times. I’m sure the water hazard and bunker behind get a lot of action here. The green itself wider than it is deep, with some gentle slopes from the rear. One of the standout short holes, primarily because it is such a hero shot.
Hole 17 – 448 meter par 5
The penultimate hole is the shortest and hardest par 5 on the course. A creek runs the entire length on the right side of the fairway, which has not one bunker. Playing fairly straight, the tee shot is over a slight slope, leaving a blind shot. The ground slopes mostly towards the creek.
Well protected 17th green
Getting closer to the green there is another small water hazard to the left, but will only come into play with a wayward shot. Those long enough will be tempted to reach in two, but face some risk, with a small stream found in front of the green. Bunkers are also found behind the green and to the right. Is it worth the risk, during my visit no. The ground was a bit heavier in this area, compared to other parts of the course, so not as much run. The putting surface has a large false front, which could see the ball run back towards the water. Great hole, which asked questions with every shot. Allows some to attack aggressively, whilst also allowing for some safe play.
Hole 18 – 365 meter par 4
Finishing the round is the hardest hole on course. Very picturesque with the different colouring in the trees, this hole plays up a gentle slope with a turn to the right. Running from the front of the tee box and along the left of the first portion is a creek, but with plenty of fairway, there should be no need to go close to this. Although left is an easier approach to the green.
Creek across the 18th fairway
Coming to the turn, the creek cuts back across the fairway, running all the way to the right of the green. The approach is up a gentle slope, which narrows the closer to the green you get.
Last view of the 18th green
The long green is well protected with bunkers down the left and a water hazard to the right. Sloping predominantly from the back to the front, the putting surface has some gentle slopes. Tough finishing hole, in particular the approach, however this allows for a variety of ways in getting to the green. The last three holes were a good way to finish the course, well golf, before hitting the clubhouse.
Enjoying the warmth of the fireplace after the change in conditions
On arrival to Perth the temperatures had dropped dramatically. This made the fireplace a welcome spot to enjoy a meal and beverage after the round. In warmer weather there is a great view of the 9th and 18th holes from the balcony.
In summary, the course was predominantly a joy to play and I still think that, but after really analysing the make-up, it could be questioned.
Looking at the course makeup:
- Hole Directions – There was a decent variety in hole directions allowing for conditions to have wide ranging effects during play. Even around the compass, except no westerly facing holes. There were runs at times where hole direction was the same, 3 to 4 holes, which did not break up how conditions would take effect
- Hole Lengths – Par three holes didn’t have a great variance in distance, the majority in mid length. Three holes only had 12 meters seperating the lengths, but did have a variety in how they played. Par four holes ranged from short to long with the majority being either short or mid length. There were at times consecutive holes with similar distance though. Par 5 holes ranged from medium to long with this evenly split. There was a good mixture in length and how they played
- Hole Layout – There was a decent mixture in how the holes played over the 18 holes, but they were not spread out. The front nine tended to favour turns to the right, where two shots or more were required to reach the green, where as the back were mostly left. This was especially annoying when consecutive holes played in a similar manor
I did enjoy most of the holes, as they played quite nicely. There seemed to be a large amount however with downhill shots to the green, which in the end all felt the same.
Green complexes where good, especially having a good amount of short grass on the surrounds. This allowed for a variety in the shots played, which I always find to be a positive on any course. There was also a good mixture in contours for the putting surface, which meant play was not repetitive. It also assisted to ensure thought was made playing into the green, to minimise the number of difficult putts.
Overall the conditioning of the course was good. Considering it was the middle of winter and some rain had fallen recently, there was not much evidence of excessive dampness.
Being one of the lower ranked courses, I didn’t have high expectations. Lucky for me these were exceeded. Despite the negatives found on the course, I walked away quite enjoying the visit.
How to play at Araluen Golf Resort:
1. The course is open to the public. Check with the pro-shop or online to obtain a tee time