The recently retired former Australian PGA champion opted for a few tournament faves, some global classics and even a secluded nine-hole par-3 track in his top-10.
COOLUM RESORT Sunshine Coast, QLD
I hit my greatest shot here, holing a bunker shot on the fourth play-off hole to win the Australian PGA. It came about an hour after hitting my worst-ever shot, a missed three-footer to win. The course fit my eye perfectly off every tee and the village square at night was the ideal way to finish off each day. It’s such a shame we don’t play a tournament there anymore.
KOOYONGA GC Adelaide, SA
I love playing here. It’s a very challenging and quirky golf course that doesn’t suit everyone, which is why it suited me.
MT LAWLEY GC Perth, WA
This is my home club in Perth (pictured below) and where I grew up playing. In 1996 I had my first lesson with Neil Simpson, who’d just taken over as head pro. After watching me hit a few balls he said, “You’re a pro?” His guidance changed my career forever and to this day I’m still learning from ‘Simmo’. The par-3 13th, known as ‘Commonwealth’, is a gem.
ST ANDREWS (Old Course) Fife, Scotland
Every time I play here I learn something new. The town, the people and the atmosphere sum up why I love this game.
HEADWATERS GC North Carolina, USA
This is a very exclusive nine-hole par-3 course near the town of Cashiers in the mountains. It’s hands down the most spectacular par-3 course I’ve ever played. I just wish there were more than nine holes!
ROYAL MELBOURNE GC (Composite) Melbourne, Victoria
The greens and bunkering are phenomenal, with the 12th hole one of the great short par-4s of the world.
BALLYBUNION GC (Old) County Kerry, Ireland
A magnificent layout that tests every facet of your game along with an incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean. If you have a bad day there’s always the Guinness in the local pub afterwards to help ease the pain.
CYPRESS POINT California, USA
There’s no doubt Alistair MacKenzie was a genius in course design. Every hole here presents its own challenges and opportunities. The first time I played the 15th, 16th and 17th holes I don’t remember hitting a shot since I was too busy taking pictures.
METROPOLITAN GC Melbourne, Victoria
‘Metro’ (pictured below) launched my career at the 1997 Australian Open. I remember taking everything out of the bag for the third round to help lighten the load for my wife, who was caddieing. Unfortunately, Melbourne’s weather kicked in and for an embarrassing couple of holes we got pretty soaked while leading the tournament before lightning stopped play.
AUGUSTA NATIONAL GC Georgia, USA
I wanted to play here ever since watching Jack Nicklaus win in ’86. I passed up an invitation to play from a member one time by saying, “I only want to play there if it’s in the Masters.” Fortunately I didn’t live to regret that decision.
During my first Masters, in 2005, while standing on top of the hill on the par-5 15th, my caddie told me to lay up. I said, “Lay up? I’ve been waiting 20 years to have a crack at this green. I’m going for it!” It wasn’t my wisest decision but that’s the beauty of Augusta. It tempts you in to hitting shots you shouldn’t.
THE O’HERN RÉSUMÉ
- Won both his PGA Tour of Australasia events on the same course: the 1999 Coolum Classic and 2006 Australian PGA.
- Contested 20 major championships, with a best result of tied sixth at the 2006 US Open.
- Played for the International side at the 2005 and 2007 Presidents Cups.
- Reached a career-high ranking of 16th in the world for several weeks in 2007.