The well-travelled star of the Japan Golf Tour touches many parts of the globe with his top-ten choices.
NAROOMA GC Narooma, New South Wales
This is my favourite country golf course, having grown up on the NSW Far South Coast. Narooma (pictured above) is a beautiful course with completely contrasting nines. The open and exposed first seven holes that run along the coastal cliff tops with a stunning backdrop of the Pacific Ocean are fantastic. My hands broke into a sweat every time I stood on the 3rd tee as a kid, having to deal firstly with the fact the tee is extremely close to the cliff and, secondly, having to hit the shot over that cliff top as it cuts away with nothing between you and the green bar a 30-metre drop to the ocean below!
KOOYONGA GC Adelaide, South Australia
I rate Kooyonga as Adelaide’s best, in a town with some beautiful courses. I have played some memorable events there and Kooyonga was where I made my pro debut. I started birdie, par, hole-in-one, birdie, birdie, par, birdie and thought the game was pretty easy.
METROPOLITAN GC Melbourne, Victoria
When most people think of the best Sandbelt courses, they think of Royal Melbourne or Kingston Heath but I think of Metropolitan. I was a member for three years in the 1990s while I was at the AIS and fell in love with it. You have to play every shot in the game through the round.
THE AUSTRALIAN GC Sydney, New South Wales
I haven’t played the course since the recent renovations but from seeing the changes on TV and hearing feedback from fellow pros, I believe the course has only gotten better. I won the 1999 Australian Amateur Championship there so it will always be a course I have fond memories of. I love ‘The Aussie’.
MISSION HILLS GC (OLAZABAL) Dongguan, China
I played my first World Cup here with Richard Green in 2008 and really loved the place. We came close to winning but were overtaken on the final day by a couple of ‘hackers’ in Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson. There are some fantastic holes with elevation changes, none better than the par-5 15th. The 18th is also one of the best finishing holes I’ve played anywhere.
KINGSTON HEATH GC Melbourne, Victoria
It seems everyone agrees ‘The Heath’ is one of the best in the world, let alone our country. It has beautiful short par-3s and 4s with trouble never far away. It is definitely strategic and proves you don’t need length to have an amazing golf course.
WHISTLING STRAITS GC (STRAITS) Wisconsin, USA
This course (pictured below) has some of the most amazing (and difficult) par-3s around. The layout is long but very picturesque and a good test.
PEBBLE BEACH GL California, USA
This place on a fine day is heaven on earth, yet on a rainy, cold day it’s still better than just about anywhere else! The scenery is amazing and there are plenty of memorable holes, with the 18th one of my picks. The only thing that lets the course down a little is the greens. I like how they are quite small but the poa annua surfaces are bumpy all year. I still rate it very highly, though.
TAIHEIYO CLUB Gotemba, Japan
Having played pretty much my whole career in Japan, I have to pick my favourite from the Land of the Rising Sun. This course is at the foot of Mt Fuji and is always in immaculate condition. The greens are the purest I’ve ever putted on and there is plenty of elevation change throughout.
ROYAL BIRKDALE GC Southport, England
I should include a links course even though I have no idea how to play them!
I’ve played four Open Championships – at Royal Troon, Muirfield, Royal Lytham & St Annes and Royal Birkdale, which was the pick of them. The bunkering at all the British links courses is amazing and, in my opinion, the best bunkering in the world.
THE JONES RÉSUMÉ
- Captured the 1999 Australian Amateur and represented Australia at the 1998 Eisenhower Trophy.
- Owns 13 victories on the Japanese Tour since 2002.
- Lone victory in America came at the 2004 LaSalle Bank Open on the secondary Nationwide circuit.
- Has a best major finish of tied 24th at the 2009 PGA Championship.