Royal Perth is a remarkable golf club. It’s a proper full-length 18 hole golf course, playing to a length of over 6,000 metres and a par of 72. What’s remarkable about the course is that it occupies just 74 acres, barely enough land for nine holes these days.
The minute you step onto the first tee here the lack of space becomes apparent, as the hole is pressed hard between a road and a neighboring fairway. It’s a theme continued throughout the round, with Royal Perth among the more dangerous courses we have seen, both because of the surrounding roads but also the fact that interior holes are so tightly bunched.
Given the nature of today’s litigious society, the club finds itself looking at ways to improve safety, the most obvious first step being to reduce par and perhaps look at a minor re-routing with the introduction of a couple of cross-property par threes. As it stands, the course largely runs up and back with only the 4th and 8th holes stretched across the property.
Members here enjoy the club’s championship status and are apparently wary of reducing their par, but lowering par would only stiffen what is already a tough examination. What makes Royal Perth a stern challenge, is the fact that Perth’s sea breezes blow across most of the holes, and also the fact that fairways are really tight and the greens are rock-hard and small. To score well here you really need to hit your approach shots with precision, as recovery from around the small greens can be really difficult.
While there aren’t a stack of great holes at Royal Perth, this is really solid golf and a test that good players in particular will thoroughly enjoy. The best holes are probably shorter par fours like the 4th and 8th, and the two par threes added by consulting designer Terry Gale, a 50-year member of the club. The rest are solid without being spectacular.