Perched atop a plateau in the Roleystone Hills to the east of Perth, the Araluen Golf Resort is an incredible feat of construction and must have been close to the most difficult golf course in Australia to build.
Set within a steep and secluded forest of towering natives, the course is built on a clay base of limestone and granite with a red dusty rock lining each of the fairways. Designers Michael Coate and Roger Mackay did a commendable job routing and building a course in such unsuitable settings.
Despite their best efforts, this course is really too steep for sensible play with some extreme elevation changes on both uphill and downhill holes. The most dramatic drop comes at the short par three 16th, which falls almost 100 feet from tee to green and features a small creek in front of the target and thick forest behind. The hole is pretty but judging the wind and selecting the right club is a matter of guesswork. The uphill holes are no better, with each of the 3rd, 4th, 8th and 10th offering little by way of strategic, or interesting, golf.
Though many golfers will enjoy this course and its broad fairways and large greens, discerning players will find the heavy contours and the lack of polish around greens and bunkers off-putting.