Always one of the best Murray River golf courses
Corowa Golf Club has always been considered to be one of the best Murray River golf courses. Before the building of Black Bull and the rise of importance of Australian Golf Digest Top 100, the whisper around the tracks was that it was the best on the Murray. It still maybe is.
A long history with the river
Corowa Golf Club was actually first formed in 1903. It started off where the high school is now and had a further two relocations along the Murray River before a lease was granted on what was formerly Corowa Common. At first the greens were sand scrape but grass greens were sown in 1956. Also at the time the course was being designed by prolific course designer Al Howard. Howard designed many courses including Tasmanian, Avondale, Bankstown and Carnarvon. The first eighteen holes were completed down on the river flat amongst a magnificent stand of River Redgums. In 1979 it was decided to expand the course to 27 holes and Howard was asked again to design on a rise above the first eighteen. It is more modern design and a more modern length as well at nearly 3400m long from the tips! It is now holes 1-9 on the card but the locals call it the “upper nine.”
Australian pro Marcus Fraser learnt his craft there and now Marcus’s blazer from his winning performance in the 2002 Eisenhower Cup and his golf bag from the 2016 Olympics are on display in the clubhouse foyer.
A golf course of two parts
It is not really two different nines at Corowa as the bottom eighteen meanders through the flats amongst the ‘River Redgums beside the swirling current of the Murray River. It is a tight 18 with lurking OB or trouble particularly for the hooker and a number of tees with chutes moving out to narrow fairways. It has it’s eccentricities like two drivable par 4’s in a row, being the 12th and 13th and also a massive redgum sitting in the middle of the fairway on the 26th hole . Despite the fairways being a mixture of grasses, playing it as it lies is easily done and the bent greens are smooth and true. I knocked in two forty footers in one round there and they never wobbled offline. The highlights are the short par 3’s in the 11th and 21st holes.
Its is the upper nine that Howard designed, that is a different kettle of fish. Shaped around large trees and lakes it would become a beast in cold, windy weather. At tournament level length, you bring your “A” driving game if you want to be coming in with an iron here. Still it is sensibly wide enough for shorter hitters and it substantially narrows up if you hit it over 200m . It is probably the best nine holes on the Murray River and it features the best sequence of holes in the region with the 7th, 8th and 9th. The 7th is a demanding par 4 of 372m with bunkers on the right and trees, a pond and OB lurking on the left. You have about a 25m wide fairway to hit. You then hit towards a bunkered green.
The 8th is long par 5 of 526m where is looks like from the tee you are hitting to a fairway wide enough to land a jumbo on it. It is when you climb the rise that you see the right hand side of the fairway is the line to go if you want to shorten the hole but this requires a brave fairway wood carry over a large lake. A large River Redgum blocks anyone from the left hand side of the fairway cutting the corner. You are forced to bunt it around the corner, leaving a longer third shot. The ninth is a shorter par 4 of 329m where you navigate an avenue of trees and bunkers to a green enclosed by gums. These three holes really are the “Bull Ring” of the Murray River and make it compulsory to do the full 27 holes at Corowa.
Clubhouse with a view
The course has a practice putting and chipping green, nets and a small range (BYO balls) . The clubhouse is extensive and even has a cinema! The bar and and the restaurant are good with a reasonable range of food and beverages. However the view over the golf course is something to dine for on an early summer evening. There is a hotel on site which offers 3 star accommodation (but no wifi) . Our suggestion for clients to visit this course is to either stay in Albury or Yarrawonga. Both are only 30-40 minute drives away. Murray River golf can be busy all year round but the peak times tend to be autumn into early winter and spring. This course has to be on your Capital Bucketlist tour to the Murray River.