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Exploring the majestic New South Wales GC

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Our Australian adventure comes to an end and we finish on a high note with the crown jewel: New South Wales GC.

One of the greatest golf architects ever, Alister Mackenzie (1870-1934), designed New South Wales Golf Course back in 1928. Laid out on a beautiful piece of land located on the east side of Sydney, this is an exceptional spot for a golf course with a roaring, wild coastline framing the playground. This project must have been sky high up on any golf architect’s wishlist at that time. While looking back at it and knowing our history, who could have done a better job than Alister Mackenzie?

(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

The design is so pure and it has a lot of character, for example you’ve got some crazy, quirky holes that you never will forget about just based on how different they are — I am thinking of the blind tee shot on the dogleg at the third, and the 17th hole with an enormous hill that breaks the par 5 right in the middle.

Then you’ve got those majestic, scenic holes with views over the ocean to (almost) kill for. To mention just one: when you are walking up to the top of the hill on the par-5 fifth hole and looking down to the green and seeing the par-3 sixth running along the sea, it’s a real treat for your eyes and something you will never forget. Let the photo here below give you an idea.

5th Hole, Par 5 – New South Wales GC – Sydney / Australia – (C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

We should not forget about the fun and short par-3 17th with a slippery dancefloor — a hole where it almost feel like you throw darts for the bullseye.

Add some good strategic challenges along the way, and together with the jaw-dropping tee shot on the sixth, you start to understand that you’ve ticked plenty of boxes for playing a fantastic bucket list course.

There isn’t a single part of me regretting I’ve played this course. On a clear blue sky day, we headed out and faced this big challenge, a bit of wind and looking out over the beautiful ocean on almost on every hole. It was clearly an emotional journey with a couple of double bogeys and one eagle (the short par-4 14th) and most importantly such an tremendous adventure that I will always carry with me as a sweet golfing memory.

So, if you are in Sydney, you should definitely try to get on here. In my opinion it’s a world golf bucket list course.

(C) Jacob Sjöman. jacob@sjomanart.com

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Since 2010, the tall Swede Jacob Sjöman has established himself as one of the premier golf course photographers in the world. Shooting from the ground, special high tripods, hanging out from helicopters and operating advanced drones, Jacob brings both fresh and amazing results to each project he undertakes. He has captured and left his own creative mark on some of the most recognized tracks around the world including Lofoten Links, Trump International Golf Links and now recently Gary Player's masterpiece in Bulgaria, Thracian Cliffs.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Ryan

    Dec 13, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    This is GOLD! Adding this course to my bucketlist.

  2. freowho

    Dec 7, 2018 at 4:06 am

    It’s a shame most of your photos are of the one green. Admittedly it is probably the signature hole but the rest of the course is also worthy of some photos.

  3. Richard Tucker

    Dec 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Used to be a member there when I lived in Sydney. One of the best kept secrets in world golf. Golfers talk about a 1 to maybe 3 club wind. At NSW we sometimes had to contend with up to a 6 club wind.

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The Gear Dive: Discussing the drivers of 2020 with Bryan LaRoche

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In this episode of The Gear Dive, Johnny chats with his good buddy Bryan LaRoche. They chat on life and do a deep dive into the drivers of 2020.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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The Wedge Guy: The 5 indisputable rules of bunker play

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I received a particularly interesting question this week from Art S., who said he has read all the tips about how to hit different sand shots, from different sand conditions, but it would be helpful to know why. Specifically, here’s what Art had to say:

“I recently found myself in a few sand traps in multiple lies and multiple degrees of wetness. I tried remembering all of the “rules” of how to stand, how much to open my club, how much weight to shift forward or back, etc. based on the Golf Channel but was hoping that you might be able to do a blog on the ‘why’ of sand play so that we can understand it rather than memorizing what to do. Is there any way you can discuss what the club is doing and why you open the club, open your stance, what you’re aiming for when you open up, and any other tips?”

Well, Art, you asked a very good question, so let’s try to cover the basics of sand play–the “geometry and physics” at work in the bunkers–and see if we can make all of this more clear for you.

First of all, I think bunkers are among the toughest of places to find your ball. We see the tour players hit these spectacular bunker shots every week, but realize that they are playing courses where the bunkers are maintained to PGA Tour standards, so they are pretty much the same every hole and every week. This helps the players to produce the “product” the tour is trying to deliver–excitement. Of course, those guys also practice bunker play every day.

All of us, on the other hand, play courses where the bunkers are different from one another. This one is a little firmer, that one a little softer. So, let me see if I can shed a little light on the “whys and wherefores” of bunker play.

The sand wedge has a sole with a downward/backward angle built into it – we call that bounce. It’s sole (no pun intended) function is to provide a measure of “rejection” force or lift when the club makes contact with the sand. The more bounce that is built into the sole of the wedge, the more this rejection force is applied. And when we open the face of the wedge, we increase the effective bounce so that this force is increased as well.

The most basic thing you have to assess when you step into a bunker is the firmness of the sand. It stands to reason that the firmer the texture, the more it will reject the digging effect of the wedge. That “rejection quotient” also determines the most desirable swing path for the shot at hand. Firmer sand will reject the club more, so you can hit the shot with a slightly more descending clubhead path. Conversely, softer or fluffier sand will provide less rejection force, so you need to hit the shot with a shallower clubhead path so that you don’t dig a trench.

So, with these basic principles at work, it makes sense to remember these “Five Indisputable Rules of Bunker Play”

  1. Firmer sand will provide more rejection force – open the club less and play the ball back a little to steepen the bottom of the clubhead path.
  2. Softer sand will provide less rejection force – open the club more and play the ball slighter further forward in your stance to create a flatter clubhead path through the impact zone.
  3. The ball will come out on a path roughly halfway between the alignment of your body and the direction the face is pointing – the more you open the face, the further left your body should be aligned.
  4. On downslope or upslope lies, try to set your body at right angles to the lie, so that your swing path can be as close to parallel with the ground as possible, so this geometry can still work. Remember that downhill slopes reduce the loft of the club and uphill slopes increase the loft.
  5. Most recreational golfers are going to hit better shots from the rough than the bunkers, so play away from them when possible (unless bunker play is your strength).

So, there you go, Art. I hope this gives you the basics you were seeking.

As always, I invite all of you to send in your questions to be considered for a future article. It can be about anything related to golf equipment or playing the game–just send it in. You can’t win if you don’t ask!

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Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Task to target

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In this week’s episode: How having a target will improve your direction and contact you have with the ball.

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