If you like wine or golf, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this little slice of South Australia. If you are an aficionado of both, though, this might just be your dream getaway.
Wine connoisseurs are familiar with Penfolds Grange, long considered one of the world’s great iconic wines. The famous Penfolds wine label was founded in Adelaide, and wines are still made at its original Magill Estate, which is now surrounded by suburbia.
Adelaide is also home to The Grange Golf Course, one of Australia’s premier golf venues. It includes two internationally rated, 18-hole championship golf courses and an impressive clubhouse. Both are ranked in Australia’s top 50 golf courses, and their wide open fairways covering a vast flat stretch of coastal sands ensure both courses are golfer-friendly.
While a great location to play anytime, global attention will soon focus on the course as it has been chosen by the Greg Norman-led breakaway league to host the three-day LIV Golf Adelaide 2023 tournament. This major global event will be staged from April 21–23 as part of LIV’s 14-destination global schedule.
This Saudi-backed golf league with its guaranteed payouts is expected to attract leading golfers such as Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bryson DeChambeau, and Phil Mickelson. Though the LIV event has proven to be quite controversial because of the Saudi buyout (read more here), and there has been an escalating legal showdown with the PGA, proponents say that it will help put Australia on the golfing map, as it has been previously unable to attract US PGA Tour events. Ironically, Greg Norman, LIV Golf’s CEO and Commissioner, won his first professional tournament at The Grange way back in 1976.
GREENS AND REDS
While The Grange is a members-only club, guests are welcome, and the fact that it is part of the Four Reds Programme conducted by Golf Explorer ensures that golfers have relatively easy access to the course out of peak tee times. Golfers who also play all four courses in this programme (Glenelg, Kooyonga, Royal Adelaide and The Grange) are presented with a fine bottle of South Australian red wine at the completion of each round, with Hentley Farm The Beauty Shiraz (Barossa Valley) being the wine served at The Grange.
The West Course (par 72, 6,220 m) was renovated by Michael Clayton in 2007. The East Course (par 72, 6,344 m) was reconstructed by Greg Norman Golf Course Design a decade ago. Completed in 2012, the new design has produced a championship layout that challenges and rewards players of all abilities. With his close affinity with the club, it didn’t take much persuasion to have Norman return to redesign the East Course.
Both sandy base courses ensure excellent runoff, and mature pine and eucalyptus trees lining the fairways provide an excellent backdrop to the panoramic setting.
The 17th hole on the West Course is a par four hole of 401 m and is typical of others on the course. Club members have mixed opinions of the Michael Clayton redesigned West Course, as some prefer the older design, which had a different bunker regime.
The Grange is a friendly club and a good test of golf while still being enjoyable with its four tee placements. To most golfers, it’s not a frustrating course, although sea breezes, which generally develop in the afternoon, provide an additional dimension to a round of golf here.
The course is only one kilometre from the beach, and it is playable year-round, despite the occasional high mercury readings on some summer days. This tends to be a dry heat without the high humidity to which Malaysian golfers are accustomed. Autumn (March – May) and spring (September – November) are the best times to play.
The Grange has hosted a number of major tournaments, including the West Lakes Classic, won by Greg Norman and Wayne Grady, the prestigious World Amateur Teams Championships, comprising the Eisenhower Trophy for Men and the Espirito Santo Trophy for Women, the Australian Amateur Championships, and the Australian Junior Amateur Championships.
Club facilities are excellent with meals and beverages being available at The Grange Bistro from 11am to 3pm (Tuesday – Sunday) and, Grilled@Grange (Friday and Saturday from 6pm). Golfers have access to the course from 7am until 3.30pm and even later during summer daylight savings time. While the course is basically a walking course, electric carts are available for hire.
A TASTE OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The other famous South Australian Grange is the illustrious Penfolds Bin 95 wine, better known as Grange. Celebrated wine critic Robert Parker has described Grange as ‘a leading candidate for the richest, most concentrated, dry red table wine on planet Earth.’
In 1844, just eight years after the colony was established, Dr. Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife, Mary, arrived in South Australia. As a medical practitioner, Penfold saw the benefit of producing wine for medicinal purposes. Many of us will agree that Penfold was a very wise man. While Penfold developed his practice, Mary was responsible for overseeing their 200-hectare farm, which was then named Mackgill but is now Magill.
Magill Estate is home to several wine-tasting experiences, including the ‘Ultimate Penfolds Experience’, which involves a site inspection and the opportunity to taste several premium Penfolds wines, including Grange.
Participants discover that the wine’s blend is typically 100% Shiraz, but occasionally with a small contribution from Cabernet Sauvignon. Grange offers a sense of place but is always a multi-district blend of South Australian fruit with significant Shiraz contributions from the Barossa and McLaren Vale regions and possibly Cabernet Sauvignon from the Coonawarra. The overall style stems from the use of ripe, concentrated fruit and fine-grained American oak for its maturation. With meticulous maturation, these wines can be enjoyed after 20 years of cellaring and even 50 years, for the best vintages.
Grange has become one of Australia’s most recognisable and admired wines. It also remains one of the world’s most collectable wines, and the secondary auction market for Grange has consistently reaped rewards for astute investors.
Adelaide is a delightful city, well-planned and designed. The Torrens River flows through it, and there are abundant parklands and gardens on the perimeter of the CBD. Adelaide is also home to many iconic festivals, including the Adelaide Festival and Fringe (February and March), WOMADelaide (March) and Tasting Australia (April).
Visitors should allocate at least half a day to exploring Central Market, riding the light rail to beachside Glenelg, and exploring the Botanic Gardens and Zoo, located within walking distance of the city’s commercial centre.
Malaysia Airlines flies from Kuala Lumpur to Adelaide. Keen golfers who fly on Malaysia Airlines overnight can tee off at The Grange in the morning.
The Grange Golf Club is just 10 minutes from Adelaide International Airport and about 20 minutes from the city. It is best to hire a vehicle to travel around the Adelaide urban area, to Magill Estate, and possibly to the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale wine regions.
Where to Stay:
The Grange Golf Club, White Sands Drive, Grange, South Australia, T: +60 8 8355-7100. Four Reds by Golf Explorer and Penfolds Magill Estate. Tourism South Australia, Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Fringe, WOMADelaide, and Tasting Australia.
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