Ocean Shores Country Club was established in 1972, as part of a large real estate development.
The course was designed by Australian golfing legend Bruce Devlin together with American architect Robert Von Hagge.
Devlin and Von Hagge collaborated on a number of courses including The Lakes in Sydney.
Devlin went on to design 140 courses including St Andrews Bay in Scotland, and Secession in South Carolina (a personal favourite).
Von Hagge designed 250 courses in 20 countries including Doral Blue Monster (Florida), Buenos Aires in Argentina, Les Bordes & Le Golf National (France)
With a clubhouse sitting high on a hill, the first surprise at Ocean Dunes is that the course is relatively flat with golfers descending from the clubhouse to the lower levels on holes 1 and 10 and returning up again on 9 and 18.
Notably the course has 6 par 3's, 6 par 4's and 6 par 5's arranged in such a way so that none is played consecutively.
The first six holes are dominated by water.
These holes are picturesque and demand good ball striking from the outset
Von Hagge & Devlin knew their business and have produced a well designed course which demands accuracy with both tee shots and approaches.
At times the strategic nature of the design gives way to penal architecture with water threatening on one side and bunkers on the other.
Later in the round the holes become longer and stronger demanding long carries
I thought the back nine was quite challenging and a good test for the better golfer
Notable holes include:
- hole 1, a downhill par 5 where the second half of the journey arcs around water to the right. With large splash bunkers hugging the left side of the fairway there is no choice but to hit long and straight- welcome to Ocean Shores!
- hole 2, a delightful shorter par 4 that bends around a water hazard to the right. You need to get the line and the length with your tee shot to stay dry and in position to attack the green (see pic mid page)
- hole 5, another short par 4 with water in play both sides of the fairway. The approach must carry water to a green surrounded by bunkers and protected left and long by the lakes.
- hole 6, a mid length par 3 protected by bunkers front, back and right of the green
- hole 9, a long uphill par 5 with a very tight tee shot
- hole 10, a long downhill dogleg par 4 with a heavily bunkered green
- hole 18, a long uphill par 5 to finish requiring 3 good shots to get home. The tee shot in particular needs to be very accurate to stay on the short grass as water right and bunkers left leave a small margin for error. (see pic top of page)
Ocean Shores is a championship course.
The start to the round is impressive with the first 6 holes featuring water at every turn.
The back nine has less water and more length.
I found it quite challenging
Holiday golfers enjoying some time in the Byron Bay area should not miss playing Ocean Shores.
But be sure you bring your ‘A’ game!
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