This western Sydney golf club has spent its first decade making the most of an enticing semi-rural landscape. Now its future lies in capitalising on the growth corridor emerging around it.
TWIN Creeks derives its name from the convergence of two nearby creeks,South and Cosgrove, which provides a fitting symbol for the exciting and enterprising place the progressive club finds itself in today.
The convergence of an established, ten-year-old club and one of the largest infrastructure projects Australia has ever seen has placed Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club in the potent yet enviable position of being able to take advantage of a situation perhaps not predicted when the club was envisaged. Sydney’s long-mooted second international airport finally looks to be a reality at Badgerys Creek, the associated infrastructure of which will be literally over the hill from the Twin Creeks site at Luddenham.
Last August, a 100-strong syndicate of businessmen from across Asia bought Twin Creeks and unveiled extensive plans to capitalise on the upcoming airport project by transforming the golf club into much more. Slated for a 2019 debut is a 300-plus-room, five-star resort beside the 18th hole that will ultimately extend across the top of the existing clubhouse to create an extra level. Included in the project will be a gym, day spa, pool and beach area plus function rooms with a 400-person capacity. It’s a huge undertaking but one with the future firmly in mind as the club and resort will be perfectly positioned when the Badgerys Creek airport materialises midway through next decade.
Further down the line will come the construction of 200 villas, a golf academy and even a winery within the 344-hectare property. The flipside to the change in ownership is the new owners have returned the club to a fully private entity. Always considered a private club, over time Twin Creeks quietly welcomed non-members during off-peak times, however as of March this year that situation is no more.
Alterations are planned for the Graham Marsh layout that will see 500 to 600 metres added to the total length to push it towards the ground-breaking 7,000-metre mark from the back tees
Not all of the activity will take place off the golf course. Alterations are planned for the Graham Marsh layout that will see 500 to 600 metres added to the total length to push it towards the ground-breaking 7,000-metre mark from the back tees. However, Twin Creeks’ chief executive Grant Martin is quick to say these additional teeing grounds will be used judiciously and are as much about reducing wear and tear as they are to add bulk to the members’ challenge. There is scope to add new back tees at the 1st, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th and 18th holes, plus a realignment of the 10th tee to the left in order to make way for the proposed golf academy that won’t add much, if any, distance to the hole. So they are cosmetic changes to a degree, but ones that still carry a purpose.
The hive of activity is fitting for a club that never stands still for long. Last year, Twin Creeks hosted a $150,000 ladies tournament co-sanctioned by the ALPG and China LPGA that was put together at short notice and didn’t attract the publicity nor accolades it deserved. Yet the energy invested into the Australia Classic was emblematic of the verve with which this latest project will be tackled.
Golf course-wise, wheels are already in motion. Twin Creeks is home to 86 bunkers that cover 2.5 hectares of sand (most courses would devote less than a hectare to bunkering). They’re broad, beautiful and heavily strategic within the layout, but Marsh’s bunkers are prone to wear and tear. A lengthy bunker refurbishment program is currently about a quarter complete and remains ongoing. Elsewhere, there’s been a 30 percent reduction in the space devoted to landscaping, while future intentions include creating a creek system to match the flow of the land from holes 16 to 18 that will improve the water quality.
The 1st hole instantly shows off Twin Creeks’ wares. There’s ample driving room but an array of bunkers in full view that pinch the landing area and flow towards the green. There’s also water along the left and sneakily close to the left edge of the wide but shallow putting surface. It’s a perfect entrée to the main meal beyond.
The course is well balanced, mixing short and long holes, tight and open passages, big and small targets. Marsh gives golfers the chance to thrust and parry with Twin Creeks. He doesn’t build 18 great finishing holes because there’s no need to grab players by the throat for the entire round. Instead, the pace is regulated with a few easy pars, several tough ones and a lot of in-between holes. The overall challenge is distinctly Marsh-like: thorough, difficult but eminently decipherable for a variety of handicap levels. It’s instructive to learn the designer still holds the official course record of six-under 66.
Among the easier tests is the 302-metre par-4 3rd hole, which bends right and invites a daring drive towards the green as anything drifting too far right is certain to be lost. It’s a straightforward hole and might be the simplest birdie you make – or the easiest bogey.
The 3rd’s equivalent on the inward side is the par-4 12th, a hole this writer is still yet to fully come to terms with. Short and frequently driveable at 309 metres (289 from the gold tees), it presents a narrow sliver of fairway between sprawling bunkers on a direct line to the green. Also available is a broad avenue of turf well to the left, but to my eye it’s always appeared too safe a line to venture towards. As a result, despite being anything but a long hitter, I almost always unleash the driver at the 12th even though it’s far from the percentage play. The penalty of sand over water or a lost ball for a mis-strike perhaps provides reassurance for the grey matter. Want to know an interesting fact about No.12? It was the first hole at Twin Creeks to be aced, before any of the par-3s were, shortly after the course opened.
The tough holes are genuinely so and three meaty par-4s come to mind: the 411-metre 8th, 417-metre 16th and 402-metre closing hole – all earmarked for extension, as it happens. The 8th rises on the second shot to a raised green that offers no real chance to bounce the ball onto a green that is perhaps a shade smaller than a hole of that distance ought to be. The 16th provides plenty of fairway to find before tightening on the approach, which must avoid a lake looming right of the tiered green with a wicked top-right pin position. The second shot to 18 is one of the highlights of the round and is only available if you artfully thread a subtle right-to-left drive into the preferred zone of the short grass, avoiding bunkers right and water left. The same hazard frames the front of the green on the second shot with sand lining the right and left edges of a deep, multi-sectioned green. Find that target and you’ll likely finish the round on a high note.
Twin Creeks has certainly found its target and the future looks especially rosy for a club that’s had the foresight to take advantage of both its internal and surrounding assets during a time of change.
LOCATION: Twin Creeks Drive, Luddenham, NSW. Take the M4 motorway west from the Sydney CBD and turn left at the Mamre Rd exit, turning right into Luddenham Rd a few minutes later. Alternatively, take the M5 and M7 then Elizabeth Drive, which links to Luddenham Rd. Twin Creeks is a 50-minute drive from the city.
CONTACT: (02) 9670 8888. WEBSITE: www.twincreeksgolf.com.au
DESIGNER: Graham Marsh (2006).
SLOPE RATINGS: Men: 132/130/128; women: 136.
PLAYING SURFACES: Bent Providence (greens), Legends couch (fairways),
Santa ana (tees).
COURSE SUPERINTENDENT: Justin Doyle.
PGA PROFESSIONAL: Asef Haddad.
GREEN FEES: Access is limited to members, their guests and through corporate groups.
MEMBERSHIPS: The new ownership group has placed a bold expectation for the future direction of Twin Creeks and reset the joining fee at $25,000. While this is reflective of the development program for Twin Creeks over the coming years, there is a limited opportunity for new members to join and avoid the joining fee. There are several categories of membership available, including a new family membership offering along with a dynamic new corporate package. There has also been a realignment of annual fees back to $2,800 for full membership.
RECIPROCAL CLUBS: Full members receive access to more than 100 golf courses in Australia and worldwide via the Pacific Links network of reciprocal and affiliated clubs. Twin Creeks members also receive full access to members’ reserved seating at ANZ Stadium.
CORPORATE GOLF: The corporate golf scene at Twin Creeks is busy as it has become a sought-after venue. The club can assign a staff member to organise and facilitate every aspect of a corporate golf event, assisting with a personalised bag drop service, registrations, player briefings, on-course drinks cart, scoring, presentation, catering and more.