June 14, 2009
Getting There: There are a number of ways to get to the Gold Coast. You can go directly to Brisbane from Los Angeles or go directly to Sydney from Vancouver, San Francisco or Los Angeles. From Sydney, change planes for the Gold Coast Airport. Air Canada offers direct non-stop to Sydney and then you can use Virgin Blue or Jet Star to the Gold Coast. From Los Angeles or San Francisco you can fly with Qantas directly to Brisbane.
Remember, if the Gold Coast is your final destination, try to use their airport rather then Brisbane. The airport code for the Gold Coast airport is OOL. This will save you the 1.5 hr transfer from Brisbane.
If you plan to stop in New Zealand then the air line to use is Air New Zealand. They have direct, non-stop flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Vancouver to Auckland. Change planes there for the Gold Coast or if that connection does not work you can fly to Brisbane.
If you want to visit South East Asia on the same trip then I recommend that you use Singapore Airlines from Vancouver to Singapore. Take a 3 night stop in Singapore then continue on to Brisbane.
If you want to do Hong Kong then fly with Cathy Pacific and take a stop coming and going in Hong Kong.
At the time of this writing the taxes were double when going via Asia so make sure you check this out as it adds another $400 to your airfare.
There is another choice and that is to use Air Pacific, the Fijian air line. It is not as quick as the direct non-stops, but much faster then going via the South East Asia route. With Air Pacific you can take a stop in Nadi, Fiji coming or going.
If you land in Brisbane then you will have to rent a car or take a shuttle to the Gold Coast. I suggest you rent a car as you will want to explore the area and play more then one course. To book a car or your flight contact Golf Down Under.
Approximate flight times are 13 hours from Los Angeles to Brisbane or Sydney, ten hours to Nadi, 12 hours from Vancouver to Auckland, or 19 hours from Vancouver to Singapore with a one hour stop in Korea. From Singapore to Brisbane is another 7.5 hours. I suggest you take the time for a stopover or at least fly out of Sydney. Take at least three nights to visit Sydney. You will have to organize your flight from the Gold Coast to Sydney but it is worth it. All air lines permit you to fly into one city and out of another.
If you are flying from Eastern Canada then you will go via Los Angeles or Vancouver unless you take Cathy Pacific from Toronto. All the airlines offer connections from Toronto.
Golf: There are plenty of courses on the Gold Coast. The name could easily be changed to the Golf Coast.
Most of the courses are flat and walking is easy, except for Ocean Shores, Mullwillumbah and Robina Woods. Most of the top courses include the golf cart with the green fees. If you are renting a cart the average price is $32.
The top courses are: The Pines, (can only play here if you are staying at the Hyatt), The Palms, Royal Pines, Colonial, Robina Woods, The Glades, Palm Meadows and Lakelands. The green fees for this selection of courses run from around $100 to $160 per person. Please read the attached reviews.
The top course designers are all represented on the coast. Nicklaus did Lakelands, Norman did the Glades, Palmer the Pines, Graham Marsh did Emerald Lakes and Palm Meadows, and Bruce Devlin did Ocean Shores.
The next level of courses are: Coolangatta Tweed, Emerald Lakes, Gainsborough Greens, Bryon Bay, Mullwillumbah, and Ocean Shores. Some of these are in New South Wales but well worth the drive. This group of courses represent the best values on the coast. Coolangatta is $40, Emerald Lakes $85 with cart, Gainsbourgh $69 with cart, Bryon Bay $30, Mullwillumbah $25 on Monday and Friday, and Ocean Shores for $45 with cart, and lunch.
A next level of courses includes: Surfers Paradise at $50, Club Banora at $38, Gold Coast Country Club at $35 and Parkwood at $45. Surfers and Banora are worth playing.
There are some coupons available in the tourist books that you can pick at most information booths that will lower your green fees. You should call the courses and check to see if they have other rates for twilight, early morning, and any other specials they may be offering.
If you only have to play three courses then include Robina Woods, Colonial and say The Glades. I suggest this only because Robina and Colonial have such different layouts compared to the other courses. Robina is in the woods and very rolling, while Colonial is extremely flat with lots of water.
There are plenty of par three courses scattered along the Gold Coast as well.
When booking your tee times make sure to reserve your power cart for the round. If you don't, you might find yourself out of luck and having to walk as most courses do not have a lot of carts. The other thing to remember when playing courses in NSW is the one hour time change during their summer.
You will need your handicap card from Canada if you plan on playing in any of the competitions. Remember, Australians hole every putt and do not use concepts such as mulligans and gimmes.
In Australia, the player closest to the hole will hold the flag stick until someone has finished putting. Then he will hand the flag to that person and then the rest of the group will finish putting out.
Most greens are planted with 382 grass. This appears to be a very hardy grass that does not show ball marks. It also is a little brown in colour. There are a few courses that have bent grass and they are much greener and show most of the ball marks. Always repair your mark and at least one other.
Do not be surprised if you find that you can't wear your golf sandals on the course. It is a 50/50 chance that you will be asked to wear some other foot wear.
You must make sure your clubs, shoes and golf balls have all been scrubbed and washed before you leave home. Customs and Immigration will check them and if they find the equipment to be dirty you will have to go to their cleaning station and clean the equipment before they will let you in the country. This also applies for entry into New Zealand.
Australia does not use the slope system so all rounds played there will not be able to be entered in the computer for handicapped purposes when you get home. I have not heard any talk about when, or if they will ever adopt the slope system. New Zealand does use the slope system so you will be OK if you visit that country.
If you are going all this way to golf, then you should think about spending a week on the Sunshine Coast which is just 2.5 hours north. This way you will experience two very good golf destinations that will make you want to return for more golf, beaches, and warm weather year after year.
Accommodations: Please check out accommodation under the destination review for the Sunshine Coast as it is much the same situation on the Gold Coast. Holiday letting is a very popular means of getting reasonable accommodation at a decent price. On the Gold Coast you can choose from thousands and thousands of places to stay. Every major chain is here. There are motels that run around $70 a night right up to five star resorts for $400 or more a night.
In the Sunshine Coast review I mentioned the Hyatt at Coolum as a exceptionally good place to stay. The Hyatt has a sister property at Sanctuary Cove on the north end of the Gold Coast. This hotel has everything you would expect from the Hyatt chain. They offer golf privileges at the Pines, Palms and Hope Island Golf and Country Clubs. This is about the only way you can get on the Pines and Hope Island. Both of these are excellent courses, so if you want to play the Pines and Hope Island, then make sure you stay at the Hyatt. The Hyatt has 243 rooms with the one bedroom king suites going for about $305 a night. The Hyatt has everything you will need for a wonderful stay. It has a great pool with a sandy beach and the hotel is located right in the village of Sanctuary Cove. The Hyatt features two dinning areas: The Cove Café and the Fireplace. Between these two restaurants and the dozen or so restaurants in the village you will find something to suite your taste. From Sanctuary Cove to the beaches of the Gold Coast you are a 20 minute drive away.
You might wish to stay a couple of weeks at the Hyatt on the Gold Coast then spend a week at the Hyatt on the Sunshine Coast. This would make a terrific golf package.
About 50 kms to the south, at the very southern end of the Gold Coast, is the town of Coolangatta. Coolangatta is not as built up as the northern end around Surfers and Broad Beach but it still offers you plenty of accommodations and puts you very close to a lot of golf clubs.
The resort we recommend in Coolangatta is the Outrigger Twin Towns Resort. This is a two tower resort consisting of hotel, studio, one and two bedroom apartments. The Outrigger is a 4.5 star resort and has everything you would need for an extended stay. They have two pools, one inside and one out. They have AC in all rooms and a gym, tennis courts and over six restaurants. They are attached to the Twin Towns RSL club by an overhead walk way so all the entertainment that the club offers is right there for your enjoyment. It is only a short walk down the main street to the movies and just a block to the shopping mall and two large groceries stores. You are one block from the beach and there are lots of areas for walking. You will absolutely love staying at the Outrigger.
In the center of the coast is the RACV @ Royal Pines. This resort has 27 holes of golf, a top flight tennis facility, and is a complete resort with all the amenities expected from a five star resort. The ladies LPGA play their ANZ tournament there every February while the tennis complex used to host one of the ladies warm up tournaments for the Australian Tennis Open. The fact that the complex hosted these two major tournaments each year shows the quality of the resort. The Royal Pines is a five star hotel resort. The views from the rooms are outstanding. The ocean views rooms give you a 180 view of the coast line, and some mountain views. The views at night are awesome as the lights of all the high rises that dot the coast become visible.
When booking your room ask for one of the corner rooms. The king bed is elevated and looks out the window at the coast. The sitting area is lower then the bed and it gives you the impression that you are in a studio or a one bed room unit. Our four some was very impressed with the standard and quality of the rooms. The resort has a top quality spa, two pools, gym, tennis, 27 holes of championship golf and about 5 restaurants. Their fine dining restaurant is located on the top floor which provide guests with great views of the course and ocean. This restaurant has won a number of awards for their food and beverages. You should be able to find rates starting at $270 for the corner rooms. Since the Royal Pines is located right in the centre of the Gold Coast, you can reach all the other golf courses, theme parks, beaches and mountains in just a few minutes. We recommend you consider this resort when you visit the Gold Coast.
If you prefer something right in the center of the Gold Coast on the beach, then consider the area known as Broad Beach. This is where the convention center and casino are located. There are more restaurants here then any where else on the coast with plenty of high rise accommodation to choose from. Your accommodation will never be more then one or two blocks from the ocean.
Activities: What can you do when you are not golfing? First, I suggest spending time on the beach. Enjoy the warm Pacific waters and walk for miles and miles on the white sand of the Gold Coast. Remember, always swim between the flags.
Make sure you take in a surf carnival as they are truly Australian.
You will want to take a number of excursions into the hinterland. The mountains are right behind the Gold Coast and a short drive takes you to some of finest World Heritage areas in the world. Check out Mount Warning, O’Ryllies, Mount Tambourine, and the Natural Arch.
Take a day trip to Bryon Bay, the most easterly point of Australia. When down that way explore the hinterland towns of Bangalow, Mullumbimby, and Mullwillumbaugh.
If theme parks are to your liking, make sure you visit Warner Brothers Studio, Wet N Wild, and Sea World.
If you do not have the time to drive to the Australian Zoo, about 3 hours north, then you must visit the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary at Currumbin. This is a smaller park then the Australian Zoo, but incredibly well done.
Another especially good outing is the river cruise on the Endeavour. This cruise leaves at 9 am Queensland time from the harbour in Tweed. You will find the booth on River Terrace. You get back about 2:30 pm and they provide a very good BBQ lunch on board. The cruise takes you up the Tweed River to a small town of Tumbulgum where you have about 45 minutes to shop and look around before the boat departs for the return journey. On the way up river the captain stops the boat and the crew and passengers feed the birds of prey that live along the river. On our last trip we had a pod of dolphins follow the boat back to Tweed. All in all, it is good way to spend a day and learn about the history of the area.
There are plenty of shopping areas for the shoppers in your group. Harbour Town for factory outlets, Robin Town Center, Pacific and Australian Fairs for large mall experiences.
There is plenty to do on the Gold Coast. I have talked to a lot of Canadian golfers that come over for a four week golf holiday. Everyone indicated they should have planned to stay longer. They thought four weeks was plenty but it turned out that six weeks would have been the right amount of time.
Dining: I have a very good friend that spent four weeks on the Gold Coast golfing. Mike is a very knowledgeable person when it comes to fine dinning. He told me that the Gold Coast was probably one of best areas he has ever been for food and wine. They tried many different restaurants and every one was outstanding.
When on the Gold Coast you must try the surf clubs for meals and drinks. There are plenty of them and they are all located on the beach with great views. There are two that I recommend for their views and they are the Currumbin and the Tweed Surf Clubs. Both have probably the best views of the coast.
You should also try dinning in pubs and RSL clubs. Dinning in the pubs gives you a good look at how Aussies enjoy the pub life. You will find families enjoying the beer gardens. The parents are sitting around having a good time while the children are playing in the park or just running around being kids.
To get a great look at pub life take the scenic drive to Tumbulgum NSW. It is located on the Tweed River just a few minutes east of Mullwillumbah. Here you will find a great historic pub right on the river. Lunch or dinner on the weekend will find the place full, so arrive early. You have a choice of seating areas from looking over the river to the shaded beer garden in the back. You will not find a better Australian pub then this one.
All the club life is supported by the poker machines, called pokies. Because of this you can get some very good meals at a some exceptionally good prices. Two clubs I recommend are the Twin Towns RSL and the Currumbin RSL. Both are relatively new clubs with lot of pokies and the Twin Towns club always has plenty of free evening entertainment.
For fish and chips you should try the docks at Tweed. There are a couple of good fish shops located right on the harbour. Another good one is found just prior to turning off the river road into Kingscliff. It is right across the street from a little park where you can take your purchase and eat it at one of the picnic tables by the water. Remember you might want to take a bottle of wine with you.
The Colonial Golf Course - Robina, Gold Coast
Each hole has four large, flat, tees and all in very good condition. Official distance markers are located on the blue tees so you will have to pace off the distance on par threes unless you have a GPS.
The fairways at Colonial were excellent, very smooth, well grassed, and cut in an attractive manner. Distance was marked by a red disc, black and white post, blue disc, and a black disk at the 100, 150, 200 and 250 metre points. Sprinkler heads were also marked as well as the cart path. The fairways were generous but a lot of water is in play if you are not careful. The first cut of rough is even and gives way to tree-lined fairways that have no undergrowth. You will find your ball but you might have problems getting back on the fairway. All fairway bunkers are in very good shape.
The greens range in size from small to average and have some undulations but nothing too dramatic. The first fringe is cut just above green height. The second is fairway height and is cut this length for a good distance around the greens prior to you reaching the next cut at rough height. This second cut is very large and makes the greens look really attractive. All greens were in excellent condition and I found the ball rolled very evenly.
This course is on a flood plain and thus is very, very flat. There is absolutely no elevation change on any of the holes. I think water comes into play on 15 or 16 holes. The layout features a lot of lakes, and ponds that produce these hazards. The use of attractive bridges, shelters, washrooms, and a ½ way house compliment the outstanding club house. All the par threes are excellent holes with water carries and lengths of 154, 139, 192 and 158 from the blue tees. The par fives are very good and not too long so long hitters can reach the green in two. If going for the green in two, watch for creeks that cut across in front of two of the greens. The condition of the course and water make this a very interesting course to play.
The length of the course is 6424, 6111, 5774 and 5446 metres, from the black, blue, white and red tees. The course rating is 74, 72, 70 and 73. We played from the white tees and found it not too difficult because we could avoid most of the water. If you played from the blue or black tees you will find a very good test of golf. The water that is in play on most of holes can be avoided but still plays mental games with you. You are always aware of the water.
The club house is an outstanding design in the Queenslander style. It will stand the test of time. They have a good pro shop, dinning for breakfast and lunch and the ability to hold small functions. There is a nice deck over looking the course. They have landscaped around the club house very nicely and the entrance is attractive and leads to a paved parking lot. They do have a bag drop but no one there to help load the clubs on to the carts.
The green fees are $100 but you can get twilight at $45. They offer the same Mega Membership as Robin and you can play your second round of the day for only $25.
You get some good views of the mountains in the distance and the water and the course are also very lovely. They have a number of paper bark gum trees that line the fairways and the bird life on and around the water is extensive.
All the staff were very helpful and nice. We had a very nice and reasonably price lunch and found the wait staff to be very friendly.
They have a good practice area, continuous cart paths, very nice shelters and bridges. There are lots of water fountains on the course and a beverage cart that came around 3 or 4 times.
The first time we played we started at 7:30 am and had the course to ourselves. There was no one in front or behind us. This is a great time to play as the weather is still relatively cool and the sky is a dark blue. With the weather and the early start it was one of better days here on the Gold Coast. This is a must play course. We had some guests that came for visit when we were on the Gold Coast and this is one of the courses I decided to take them to because it is very different from the other courses in the area.
The Glades Golf Club - Robina, Queensland
The Glades teeing areas were very good. They had 3 tees and all were large and well maintained. There were at least three holes that had island tees where you had to leave you cart and walk on attractive board walks to the tees.
The fairways were good to excellent. They were very wet and we had to keep the carts on the cart path. The fairway bunkers were good but since they had just experienced a heavy rainfall there was some rain damage. The sprinkler heads were marked. There were generous landing areas so a mid handicapper could find most fairways. The rough was well trimmed and did give way to some dense trees and bush but it was difficult to be that far off line. The fairways were undulating but very smooth.
The greens were very soft and showed a lot of ball marks. Most Australian greens use a different grass (382) that does not show ball marks. I have only played on a few bent grass greens in Queensland and they all showed a lot of the marks. The grass on the greens at the Glades is type of bent grass. They were in good shape, fringes were good and bunkers were in first- class shape. One of the nice things about a bent grass green is they are very green in colour, almost and Irish green. This makes the greens really stand out. Another advantage is the putts roll straight and stay on line. The greens were very soft and held most shots.
Greg Norman designed a challenging course with lots of wetlands to complement the course. There are plenty of bunkers and they look great from the tees as the sand is very white and there are plenty of them on the fairways and around the greens. The bunkers really frame the fairways very well. I was told that since Norman was an aggressive player and a very good bunker player most if not all his courses have plenty of bunkers. He also places a lot of bunkers behind the green so you can attack the pins. Norman put the par fives back to back on both nines. Not that there is anything wrong with this but it is a little unusual. Three of the par threes were interesting and attractive with one being just average as far as looks and challenge. I really like the last four holes. Fifteen starts from an elevated tee to an undulating fairway with wonderful views of mountains in the distance. Sixteen is a short dogleg left with water on the left and an elevated green. Number 17 is a great looking par three forcing you to carry the water and the last hole is a long par four that bends to the left. It has water the entire length of the fairway on the left. Avoiding the water with your drive forces you to the right which results in a very long second shot. Norman starts you off on the easiest hole and ends the round with the hardest hole.
The course is a par 72 playing 6431, 5876 and 5085 metres from the three tees. The AGU and AWCR are 74,71 and 71. Playing from the middle tees provides a very good test of golf without making it too difficult. If you play from the back tees then you will find all the challenge you need. There are 98 bunkers with about half of them on the fairways. Even though the fairways are generous you will find the bunkers from time to time. Water comes into play on at least 10 holes. You can avoid the water in most cases. Watch number two as the water is hidden and comes across the fairway in front of the green. The 18th hole is an excellent but tough finishing hole. It plays 417, 395 and 341 metres from the three tees. It is a dog leg left with water the entire way to the green.
The picturesque design with the bunkers, the wetlands that has plenty of birds and some very pretty Lilly ponds make for an enjoyable outing. You can catch a glimpse of the mountains on a number of the holes with number 15 giving you the best views.
The green fees were $130 but you can find some discounts on line. This is not out of line with what the other courses of the same caliber are charging.
The club house is very attractive, with the bag drop and bag boys right at the front door. They have a great outside dinning area overlooking the lake. The pro shop is fully stocked and they have a number of function rooms for weddings and business meetings. They do have evening dinning on Friday nights.
The staff were excellent. The bag boys were very good. We had to park in the over flow lot but they brought a cart up s so we did not have to walk. They also noticed that my wife was walking the course with us and they brought a cart our to her so she could ride the last 6 holes. Everyone was very professional and we meet a number of the staff from starter, to beverage cart, to grounds crew. I always appreciate it when the grounds crew stop their work and shut off the mowers when you get close.
They have a spa, pool , tennis courts and a very good practice facility. The cart paths are excellent and the carts are fully equipped with ice and coolers. They course has everything you would expect from a top notch facility.
The course was very wet but it did not hinder our enjoyment of the course. I would recommend this course as a must play course if you are going to be on the Gold Coast. The Glades is ranked in the top 25 of public courses in Australia and the Golf Guide has it at 14. I liked the course so much that I took our two Canadian friends there for a round when they arrived for a short visit. This is a very were well groomed course with lots of wetlands and bunkers to complement the Greg Norman design.
Robina Woods Golf Club - Robina, Gold Coast
The tee boxes had three tee with ball washers, official distance markers. All tees were in good shape, flat, and well grassed. There was one tee that was made of carpet as the teeing area does not get a lot of sun. There was some very nice tropical plants surrounding a number of the tees.
Very attractive with the mowers cutting the fairway to made a nice patch work design. The fairway bunkers were in very good shape. The fairways gave way to the second cut which was even and good grass. The fairways gave the appearance of being tighter then they were because of the tall trees that lined them. If you did get in the rough on a number of holes you better hit a provisional, as you will find it very dense. Sprinkler heads were marked and they had a black and white pole at the 150 metre mark.
Very good greens with excellent grass and fringe. They varied in size from average to large with some having some undulations. In some areas where there was a lot of traffic going to and away from the green the grass was worn, especially where carts left the fairway close to the green.
Water comes into play on a number of holes either in the form of a lake or a creek that runs parallel on some holes or cuts across the fairway on a couple of other holes. The ACR is 72 and plays 6078, 5777 or 5040 metres from the three tees. Most of the fairways are lined with tall gum trees and are rolling. Watch number 2 and 14 as the creek crosses in front of the greens on both holes.
The course is cut out of the woods and rolling hills of Robina. This is very different to most of the courses on the Gold Coast that are flat. Robin has elevated tees and elevated greens on a number of holes. Two of the par threes you hit from elevated tees. Number 18 is also off an elevated tee. Number 16 is an up hill par 5 with hills that funnel to the middle of the fairway. The back nine is different then the front as holes 10 to 15 are flat and work their way around a lake. The front nine has tropical rainforest and is very much like a Canadian mountain course. There are homes surrounding the course but you do not see very many of them.
$120 on week ends and $110 mid week. They have other fees for early morning, early afternoon and twilight. Consider the early after noon time as it can be had for as little as $49 with cart. They do offer some discounts that are worth using. They offer a two course Mega Membership for $99. This gives you a 35 % discount on the various fees. If you play early in the day and want to play a second round then you can do so for only $25 with a cart.
They have a very nice club house with a well stocked pro shop, inside and outside casual dining and some function rooms.
Only met a few staff and they were very nice.
This may the most scenic course on the coast as it is so different. The rolling hills, tall gums and water make it very attractive and reminds me of Trickle Creek at Kimberly. The homes are hidden and you never see the roads or hear any traffic. There are lots of rainforest areas around small ponds and creeks.
We had electric carts with a split screen, which is good on the humid days. The course layout was posted on the wind screen. They have a decent practice facility but it limited in length and poorly hit shots can end up on the 10th fairway. The parking lot was paved with a bag drop but no bag boys. There was water on the course for drinking. Robina is ranked #26 in Australia by the Golf Guide.
You must play this course because of the design and setting. We had a great day and thought long and hard about playing it again for the $25 rate. We decided not to as one of the group had to get home. I will certainly play Robina again. If I was staying here for the winter then the $99 membership would be well worth the money especially since you can play their sister course as well.
RACV Royal Pines Resort - Ashmore, Queensland
The course had three tee boxes per hole, red, white and blue. They were all in excellent shape, flat, well groomed and equipped with bench, ball washers and official distance markers. There were a couple of tees on the green course that were very attractive due to the shrubs and plants surrounding them.
The fairways were excellent. They were very smooth with lots of grass but not too long, so we got some extra roll on our drives. The landing areas were generous but danger did lurk if you hit a bad shot. All the bunkers were well groomed with plenty of sand and placed in strategic locations. Sprinkler heads were marked in yards and metres. Most fairways were lined with mature trees on the old 18 holes while the new nine will take a few more years for the trees to reach maturity. If you stray from the fairway you will be able to find your ball as the undergrowth is non existent.
The greens were exceptional and were average to large in size. Putts rolled smoothly and stayed on line. Their was a five foot fringe cut at fairway height around the greens. The green side bunkers were large and in great shape. I did not find the greens to be very undulating but a few of them had a couple of different levels. The grass was 382 so they did not show many ball marks.
Royal Pines is a good example of a top resort course. They have 27 holes that wind around lakes, ponds and streams. The opening hole was not that long, at 282 metres so you could get off to a good start. All 6 par three’s were of very good quality with water in play on at least four of them. The par fives ranged in length from 570 metres to 469 metres. The new nine was quite different to the other 18 holes. This nine, named Wangara, was more of a target course and a few hundred metres shorter. I would definitely try to include Wangara as one of the nines when you play because the two original nines were very similar. Graham Marsh designed the new nine.
The index ratings were 74 and 73 from the blues depending on what nines you played. The whites were 69 and 71. Since the fairways were generous, you can avoid the water. I did manage to get into a fairway sand trap that had four tall, mature gum trees growing in the bunker. Of course I was right behind one of the trees and had to go out backwards. Over all I did not find the course all that difficult as I shot my lowest score in 14 years. We did play from the white tees which makes the course a lot shorter. The distance from the blues were 6570 and 6163 depending on what second nine you played. From the white tees the distance was 5638 and 5988. The longer distances were for the older 18 holes. There was enough sand and water that you forced you to hit quality shots and make sure you kept thinking where you were and what you wanted to accomplish.
The green fees are similar to other courses on the Gold Coast of this caliber. You can reduce your fees if you join the Royal Advantage Club. It costs $149 for the year but it saves you $35 for 18 holes and $10 off twilight fees. Their summer special, was $69 for tee times after 1:30. Since it got dark at 7PM you could easily finish 18 holes. If you stayed at the resort then the fees dropped to $79. Your green fees included a brand new electric cart and a course book.
The Royal Pines prides itself on their customer service and the staff demonstrated it to us all day long. We received excellent service from the moment we dropped our bags with the bag boys until we left for the day. We talked to a assortment of staff in a variety of locations and situations and found them to be were very helpful, friendly and professional. We were certainly impressed with the marshal and the starter as they were very friendly and gave us a lot of information. The only thing they might want to include, is cleaning of the golf clubs after the round when the staff unload the bags at the drop off point.
Since this is a resort, they have the Tees clubhouse with pro shop and casual dining but you also have the hotel portion that adds at least three more restaurants and a couple of bars and lounges. No matter what time you finish your round, you can find a place for a drink and a meal to your liking. Besides the food and beverage areas they have a magnificent tennis facility, pools, spa and gym. The pro shop is very well stocked and the staff are highly trained.
The course and resort are stunning. There was plenty of water which attracted an assortment of bird life. The older 18 holes had mature trees lining the fairways and along with the lakes and ponds it made for a very pretty setting. I especially liked the fourth hole on the green course. This par four had a brook running along the right with a lake on the left. The next hole had an attractive water fall running down from the residential area to one of the lakes. There was a very old Morton Bay Fig tree sitting just off the 6th tee and it was magnificent. I think the sign said it is about 210 years old. The new nine is on the Nerang River and the course has it’s own marina. With the trees, lakes, ponds, streams and a well conditioned golf course you feel like you are in a park. The resort hotel is a high rise building of around 15 floors and this dominates the views from the course. There were a number of very nice and expensive homes bordering a number of the fairways.
I can’t think what else you might want or require from a resort that Royal Pines does not offer. The resort is a five star hotel with a number of restaurants and bars and it is located in a central position on the coast. There were two pools, a gym, a top quality spa, an outstanding tennis facility, a marina, excellent practice facilities and 27 superb holes of golf. Everything you needed for a very enjoyable stay. The golf course is also mapped for iGolf GPS.
The LPGA plays the ANZ Masters here every February and they have an avenue of large pictures of past champions. It was nice to seeing the banner for Gail Graham, one of our great Canadian lady golfers, on display for winning the 1997 tournament. We had a great day, played the first 18 and stopped for a very good lunch and then played the last nine. Since our wife’s both require gluten free food, the food and beverage manager went out of his way to prepare a quality lunch for them. We had the course to ourselves and we finished in under 4 hours for the first 18holes. You will not be disappointed with your Royal Pines experience.