Why Redesign the Course?
The Board and Committee of The National are committed to the Club being progressive and offering the best possible golfing experience for current and future members.
Based on playing patterns and statistics, together with the results of a member survey and other general feedback over an extended period, it was apparent the Ocean course was significantly less popular for members and their guests when compared to play on the Old and Moonah courses.
In the opinion of the Board, Committee and Mr Doak, the redesign will enhance the appeal of the course for members by the provision of eighteen high-quality holes including significantly superior green complexes, improved routing and fewer more appropriately positioned and designed bunkers.
The site for the Ocean course is brilliantly suited for a golf course and is both dramatic and severe. It provides the sort of character that golfers adore – windy, linksy conditions that test the player while also providing an exhilarating experience. However in my opinion the current design of the course seems to be trying to create “something for everyone” and the end result is it never quite got anyone on its side. I think it is very realistic to make changes to the current layout of the course so it is more interesting and fun to play. To do so, all you really need to do is decide the course is there for the enjoyment of the members, and making a difficult test of golf for low-handicappers is not the objective of design”.
– Tom Doak
Benefits of Redesign to Members
The Board and Committee consider the appointment of Mr Doak to implement a redesign upgrade of the course, together with his branding and renowned quality of work, will benefit members by:
- Maintaining a challenging layout for players of all abilities, but will make the course more interesting and fun to play;
- Retaining and enhancing many of the features currently considered favourable by members such as wide fairways, shorter carries off the tee and bump and run options to access some greens;
- Providing a great golf course with eighteen high-quality holes including significantly superior green complexes, improved routing and fewer, more appropriately positioned and designed bunkers;
- More closely aligning the course, from a member’s perspective, with the highly rated Old and Moonah courses;
- Addressing the course design faults as identified by Mr Doak throughout his design review;
- Addressing the many specific issues raised by members over the years and more recently in responses to the members survey;
- Providing short and long term opportunities to market the attractiveness of membership of the Club, which will support the important pipeline of new members required each year to replace natural member attrition rates, and to also support share prices of the Company;
- Ensuring the Club is recognised as one of Australia’s best and most progressive private golf clubs; and
- Being consistent with the Committee’s desired strategic outcome of having the best package of courses and practice facilities in Australia for the benefit of members.
Member Survey – Concerns Raised
In April 2016 a survey of members on the Ocean course was initiated to more definitively determine the views of members on the playing characteristics of the course and their related general levels of interest and enjoyment when playing the course. There were over 800 responses received with many members also providing extensive and sometimes passionate supporting commentary.
An analysis of the survey results clearly determined the focus of member responses to specific questions and particularly their supporting comments concluded – a number of green complexes and fairway bunkers are too difficult and unfair; and the course could and should be more enjoyable and fun for member play.
The seven least preferred holes identified by male and female members were existing holes 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, 17 and 18.
Changes proposed in the re-design which address some of the concerns raised include:
- Two new Par three holes (holes 5 and 16) which hit towards the ocean with both new greens positioned in natural, more receptive hollows. These replace the existing 3rd and 14th holes;
- New green complexes will be rebuilt at or near existing locations for hole 5 (new hole 7), hole 7 (new hole 13) and hole 18 (new hole 18);
- Green complexes on hole 10 (new hole 10) and hole 17 (new Hole 3) will be relocated to an alternative site and designed to be more receptive to approach shots; and
- In addition to rebuilding and relocating the greens for the above holes, other changes are proposed for the shape of fairways and also on the fairway and greenside bunkering for these holes.