Friday, July 20, 2012

We were lucky enough to get a mention in the latest issue of Australian Golf Digest when 6 Australian golf course Architects were asked which hole in Australian golf they would like to redesign and why.  Local Gold Coast Architect Richard Chamberlain selected our 1st West and here is his opening paragraph; "The West Course at Coolangatta & Tweed Heads is a beautiful layout, not overly long, but ideal for its member base. There are several instances, however, where the route to the green from a fairway bunker is hindered by trees. Strategically, a bunker should invoke a penalty for hitting your ball in a wrong spot but when the recovery shot is baulked by trees it acts as a “double penalty”, which I believe is particularly unfair. The 1st hole is not the worst example of this problem but a golf hole I believe can be significantly improved for very little outlay".  Grab yourself a copy of the magazine to read Richard's comments and other possible alterations to the hole.

I must say tree’s hindering the desired golf shot has been a pet dislike of mine for my entire golfing career as well although as a confirmed slicer I am generally trying to find my way past the big Fig tree on the right side opposite the bunkers on the 1st West.  However I think Richard raises a valid point about the hole.  Some may argue that you shouldn't hit it there in the first place but if that was a genuine argument then no player should ever complain about a bunker anywhere ever if that's going to happen!!  It could also be argued that you don't necessarily have the right to play forward towards the green when you are in a bunker (hazard) and a chip out sideways may be the order of the day as is expected at The Open at Royal St Lytham last night. 
And do we just stop at 1st West or remove other trees that impede recovery from a bunker as per the photos below?  As a bit of an exercise I thought I would let the readers have their say and would like to get your opinions on the matter.  Please either add a comment to the blog or if you are unsure on how to do that then please email me direct at and I will let you know the results in a few weeks.

LHS bunkers 1st West

LHS fairway bunker 18 River

Drive bunkers on 10 West
Drive bunkers 2nd West


  1. Great Post Peter. I wouldn't change it. Playing a low hook out of that bunker is very satisfying.

  2. I would have thought that the four bunkers (pictured) were originally designed that if you were in them you would have had a shot from them unobstructed by trees. One possible choice is to leave the trees that are now an integral part of the course and replace the bunkers with mounds covered by lengthy grass. The mounds would still provide a challenging recovery shot, and, if bunkers are as expensive to maintain, as I am lead to believe, we would also be reducing our ongoing maintenance costs.

  3. I would agree with J&J Long that bunkers are expensive to maintain but you could not get rid of all the offending ones especially the 10th West driving bunker it is an integral part of the course,maybe just trim those trees slightly so the gap is not as narrow.

  4. I read the article in Aust Golf Digest and had a bit of a chuckle because I often land in that bunker, or just short of it. Being a left hander, it is the most common flight plan as many of my fellow lefties would concur. It would be a nice solution to trim some of the offending tree as it would make a recovery shot that much easier. However, I also believe that you must pay the penalty for a wayward shot.
    Grant Evans

  5. Upon reflection I feel that bunker does nothing for my handicap. Trim away please.

  6. I would also include the drive bunker on the RHS of 14th River which has the big tree further blocking the shot to the green. As this bunker must require a lot of maintenance with the overhanging gum trees, should it be filled and grassed? Further, as I believe Richard is a member of our club, should we take advantage of his expertise on other matters?


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