Golf Course Review: St Lucia Golf Links

Once again I found myself at this gem of a golf course some 3 kms from the CBD this morning for close to my 30th round of golf there. If you are in Brisbane and, particularly, around the western suburbs and are keen for a round of golf on a public course then St Lucia is the place for you.

Every golf course has its strengths and weaknesses so here are some thoughts on the course if you are weighing up a hit there.

Strengths:

1. The course is in excellent shape and is well looked after. I have read many reviews that bag it on occasion for having the greens cored but when the greens have been maintained which is most of the year they are very true and easy to read.

2. The course does not require you to hit a 270 metre drive off every par 4 hole to be in play. Indeed golfers who hit their 3 wood anything over 190 metres will not need to put the driver in the bag here.

3. It is a forgiving layout and if you are tight with your golf balls you have very limited opportunities to lose them at this place.

Weaknesses:

1. It is a public course and that has with it a lowering of standards when it comes to course etiquette. If that is likely to irritate you do not play there. It is as simple as that.

2. There is a course marshal on weekends but he never seems to find his way past the 10th hole. Many an occasion groups I have been with have been held up on the 14th through 17th holes by slow play.

3. Only one par 5: big hitters will not like the course all that much because it only has one par 5 in the layout and it is reachable in two if you get your drive in play.

4. The Hundred Acre Bar which is the only place to get a feed is more interested in catering to non golfers and lycra wearers than those on the course. See my review here: https://shumpty77.com/2013/07/27/shumpty-eats-hundred-acre-bar/

Signature hole:

The par 4 14th is the signature hole on the course. At 371 metres it is a the longest part 4 on the course and with a creek running through it at 228 metres that is 241 metres to carry. 13 years ago I hit one over the creek but a bigger fence and the trees having grown makes that prospect next to impossible. A hybrid off the tee and then again for the second shot make this a difficult proposition.

Other stuff:

Par: 69
Distance: 5405 metres
Cost: Reasonable given its closeness to the city
Pro Shop: is part of the Golf World chain and is one of the nest stocked in the city.

Final Word:

A round at St Lucia is a must for any golfer in Brisbane in my opinion. It is cheap enough and close to town to be easy to get on. The course is forgiving for the genuine 27 handicapper but challenging enough for someone in single figures to enjoy.

A tale of two golf rounds: Brookwater and St Lucia Golf Courses

Anyone who knows me will know that I love golf. It frustrates me and makes me swear more than a reasonable person ought but I still love. I was privileged over the weekend just gone to get in two rounds of golf at two courses that one could say are diametrically opposed in just about every way from price to clientele. Brookwater Golf and Country Club quite rightly promotes itself as the best golf course in Queensland and, the fact is, it is. St Lucia Golf Course is a public course owned and operated by the Brisbane City Council open to all comers. See what I mean about diametrically opposed?

That said, for the reasons that follow, I enjoyed my round of golf at St Lucia just a little bit more than my round at Brookwater. Then again: there is much to be said for the maxim that there are no unenjoyable rounds of golf because the other option is not playing golf.

Brookwater

I was part of a group that played in the St George Foundation Golf Day at Brookwater on Friday. A four ball ambrose stroke event in the name of charity is a more than passable way to spend a Friday afternoon. We teed off on the 15th hole which is one of the many shortish testing par-4s on this golf course. I started off somewhat less than well with a shank into the bushes in front of the tee box. 6 holes of shanking the ball around the best course in Queensland mixed in with some fairly solid putting which made me wonder if I was in the twilight zone given that normally my putting is atrocious at best. The 4th hole (our 7th) beckoned with me feeling totally lost and embarrassed as to how poorly I was playing given my 13 handicap. After another shank off the tee, one of my playing partners started a conversation with the line “now I don’t normally give advice but …”. Normally this line would have been with a “so don’t” but given that this was golf with a client I let the conversation continue. Good thing I did because I had not realized the obvious: I was still swinging the club like I was 128.3kgs; viz., I was still hitting around my gut. That adjustment (mostly mental) made, our second shot down the 4th hole became the first of my shots we had taken for the round after I smashed a hybrid 2 iron 210 metres into the wind. I was still scratchy as I got used to my newish swing but that was the shot that got me back.

The thing about Brookwater that you fast realize when you are playing is that it is not only the best course in Queensland but it has to be one of, if not the, most difficult. The intellectual and physical challenge of the course makes for an interesting round of golf but it must also be conceded is exhausting. So much so that I commented to my playing companions when we returned to the club house that I could never be a member of the course because it would destroy my golf game and my soul eventually. Loosing 9 balls will do that to you!

Still it was a great day, with some great people and in support of a great charity and as I said straight up: a round of golf is never an unenjoyable experience.

St Lucia

As I noted above, St Lucia Golf Links is right at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to golf courses given its public ownership, relaxed dress standards and low prices. That does not make it any less of a golf experience however because the course is in a fabulous state that belies its cost and despite being on the short side has a number of holes that test the mind and the golf swing. Again I started with a shank, indeed I embarrassed myself in front of my social golf club by not making the ladies tees down the first. I was again swinging like a 128.3 kg hacker rather than one with my current lighter frame. Fortunately it only took my 3 holes to get my thought process and swing into some shape. Golfers talk about the hole that keeps them coming back and mine across in this round deceptively early. The par 5 6th at St Lucia is the only par 5 on the course and at 476 metres is still moderately short. It is has a sweeping left turning dog leg however and a gully that runs across at about the 130 metre mark. It was here that I had my hole that will get me back the golf course the next time. Off the tee I took driver and hit it over the cover of the dog leg leaving me 192 to the flag (thank goodness for GPS in the phone). I originally wanted to lay up short but I struck my hybrid 3 iron sweetly and ended up on the fringe of the green on the right hand side of the flag. A chip and a putt and there all of a sudden a red number on my score card.

I may not have set the course alight with low scoring for the rest of the round however I still had a great day walking around the course with the added bonus of great conversation and not loosing a ball all round making this golf experience more enjoyable and less tiresome mentally than my round the previous day.

St Lucia is absolutely a course I could play every week: it is short yes but it presents an enjoyable challenge for the mid handicapped golfer. I reckon Brookwater is a place I could only submit my golf game to a couple of times a year though because it would break down any confidence I had in my game raising a “Bradman” (100) every game and loosing nearly a box of balls at the same time.

Still, any weekend with only one round of golf it in is a good weekend so having played two rounds my weekend certainly was a good one. Anyone for a round this weekend?