Lakelands was the first Jack Nicklaus course to open in Australia following his famous redesign of The Australian Golf Club during the 1970’s. Built on a flat seasonal floodplain, the original developer’s vision was to transform an uninteresting site into a world class golf course, in harmony with the natural balance of its sensitive environment.
The result’s were disappointing, however, with the fully public championship layout providing golfers with exceptional playing surfaces but offering little in the way of new design concepts or ideas and struggling to hold the interest of serious architecture fans. As the name implies there is plenty of water on this course with a carefully constructed lakes system built to add visual interest to the design, though only coming into play on a handful of holes, such as at the attractive ‘signature’ par three 14th. Playing little more than a wedge, the tight target here is protected by a pond and split-level waterfall, it takes a great picture but could have used a few extra metres.
Other water holes like the 8th and 10th also have their problems, but this is pure resort golf and most who play here will be more interested in the quality of the surfaces than the quality of the design. The track has a classic Nicklaus feel with expanses of wasteland fairway bunkers mixed with the carefully contoured and artistic greenside traps. Thick tussocks of rough are often used within or around the huge fairway bunkers to help define the hazards. There are up to five tee boxes on most holes, and the Windsor Green couch grass fairways and hardy Tifdwarf greens are usually in first-class.
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