Kooyonga is a quintessential championship golf course in undulating sand hills just 15 minutes from the central business district of Adelaide. It has been the venue for many international and interstate championships and has always enjoyed a high ranking amongst private clubs in Australia.
The origins of Kooyonga Golf Club can be traced back to a day in 1922 when a train strike caused Mr HC (Cargie) Rymill to take a tram rather than a train to Henley Beach. A ‘For Sale’ sign on a tract of swamp and sand dune country known as May’s Paddock prompted him to break that journey and on a closer inspection he knew that he had discovered the ideal site for a magnificent golf course.
Later that year, nine holes were opened for play with a further three holes added soon after. Finally, 18 holes were formally declared open on the 28th June, 1924 by the Governor of South Australia, Sir Tom Bridges. The fact that the current layout has been achieved with only minor changes to Rymill’s original design is a clear indication of his vision, knowledge and understanding of the ‘ancient game’.
Rymill had named his beachfront home Kooyonga under the impression (incorrect as it turned out) that it was an aboriginal word meaning ‘plenty sand, plenty water’ and suggested that this accurately described the site of the new links as well. No matter what its origin, the name has come to be spoken with affection and respect by golfers everywhere.
The original clubhouse was built in 1924 on the site of an old farmhouse named ‘Surrey House’. It was unsalvageable after numerous 1970s additions and was demolished to make way for the new clubhouse, which opened in April 2009. The clubhouse is a beautiful modern building with all the traditional elements you would expect. From the Club’s dining areas and terraces you can relax and enjoy the sweeping panoramic views of the golf course – as close as you can get to the golf course without actually playing.
The layout is testing but fair. An abundance of natural timber defines the narrow, undulating fairways culminating in well protected greens whose pace and subtle slopes require skill and demand respect. Peter Thomson, at the time of his win in the 1972 Australian Open Championship, probably best described Kooyonga from the player’s point of view when he said, ‘It needs to be played with the head as much as the hands.’
Five Australian Opens and three Australian Amateur Championships have been decided at Kooyonga as well as numerous South Australian Opens and Amateur Championships, and in 2018, the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
The course exhibits a multitude of elevation changes throughout the 18 holes, with native trees lining the fairways and firm, small greens with prominent bunkers. The challenging layout and sensational playing surfaces provides the ultimate golfing experience.
After a round of golf, Kooyonga Golf Club serves Four Reds clients with Rockford Rifle Range. This rich, full flavoured Cabernet Sauvignon is from Rockford Wines, a Halliday five-star winery in the Barossa Valley. It is accompanied by an antipasto and cheese platter.
Barossa Cabernets are rich, full flavoured wines. The fruit for this wine comes predominantly from vineyards along Rifle Range Road. The ‘Biscay’ soil of these vineyards is heavy clay, lending the wine its full flavour and earthy tones. The perfect wine to hide in your cellar, for as long as you are able. It is a generous wine when young, but will really show its best if given a chance to mature in the bottle a little longer.
Book the Four Reds Vintage Experience and you’ll do a private tour of the Barossa Valley. As part of that you’ll receive a guided tour of the historic Rockford winery and enjoy a special tasting in the private tasting room.
(Subject to availability.)