A visually pleasant course in the idyllic Port Stephens area of New South Wales, Nelson Bay Golf Club is a challenging, par 5-heavy championship course. Two other championship courses are located nearby with Horizons Golf Resort at Salamander Bay just 10-minutes away and a 40-minutes drive from the Top 20 Australian Course in Newcastle. Nelson Bay Golf Course also encroaches on Tomaree National Park, providing a 27-hole bush course as a good challenge for all golfers.
The course is kept to a good standard, due in part to its sand-soil. This also enables a good round even in wet weather. Accessible to irrigation, greens have a good speed and roll well. Gently undulating, there's a good number of bunkers and hazards as well as native bush and wildlife lining the fairways.
Locals and members of Nelson Bay Golf Club are split on its 'signature' hole. The 12th, 18th, and 22nd all offer something different.
A reverse c-shape on the 12th dictates the play of the hole. At par 5, a well-placed drive and follow-up are essential to not getting caught in a chain of sideways chips. With a mild climb uphill to the leftward green, a wide manner of shots and skills are essential. The 18th is the most visually awesome hole. Water hazards complicate play while giving a cooling visual effect to the hole. Bunkers are well positioned, with a wide-open view of the modern clubroom behind them. The 22nd is a 359-meter par 5 with abject difficulty. Keeping the ball in play is more essential than covering the distance, meaning patience is key to achieving par.
A Father's Day 2015 bushfire saw the original clubhouse burnt down. In 2017, a brand new clubhouse was opened with a celebratory pro-am tournament: the course's first in 30 years.
There is a full suite of practice facilities, allowing all players to work on their drives and putting. The popular tourist surroundings of the area can be taken advantage of with the club's play and stay accommodation packages.
Nelson Bay is an exciting hub and a great place to base yourself to explore the delights of the region. Visitors will find plenty of fun things to do, from dolphin watching to sunset cruises and the sheltered beaches are ideal for families with young children. Well known for the many Bottlenose dolphins that live around the port, dolphin spotting is an extremely popular pass-time for visitors.
Approximately 3000 Humpback whales pass close to the coast of Port Stephens whilst migrating to more tropical waters from late May to July each year. September to November offers even more excitement when the whales can be viewed returning to Antarctica with their calves. You can also head below the water at Fly Point-Halifax Aquatic Reserve just east of the town, with sponge gardens, soft corals, sea turtles and a colourful array of fish.
Getting to Nelson Bay is easy, with the drive north from Sydney about2.5-hours. You can also fly into Newcastle Airport, which is just 34-kilometres from Nelson Bay.