When it comes to golf on Queensland’s Gold Coast there is one course that you absolutely must play at least once: The Greg Norman-designed The Glades Golf and Spa. Featuring an aggressive layout, a staggering 98 bunkers and bentgrass greens, it offers a stunning combination of layout, design and quality that is hard to beat.
Handicap: (Depends on the side bet)
This was my first visit to The Glades Golf and Spa. After all the great things that I’d read and heard about the course, I was half expecting to be let down by all the hype. But, happily, The Glades lived up to the hype. And more.
As I walked to the outdoor dining area for the pre-round lunch, I was mesmerised by the stunning scenery and million-dollar views. This is serenity at its best. And the level of customer service throughout the facility was nothing short of 5-star.
For lunch, I was served the best golf course meal that I’ve ever had: a honey roasted duck and pork belly stir-fry. My playing companions had equally impressive meals (I would have sampled them, but I know from experience to keep my hands and fingers far away from Sam’s and Rob’s plates while they are eating.) The food at The Glades is certainly top notch – and judging by the bustling lunch crowd, it is very popular with the locals.
Our meals finished, we tackled the course. It’s a fairly open layout, yet it’s also crammed with water, bunkers, trees and a variety of ball-grabbing hazards.
It’s also a course that has a great balance of tee shot options, and your driver can (and should) sit comfortably in the bag on a few of the par-fours – especially if there is water in play. The par-threes are all formidable, with the 13th a whopping 206 metres from the plates. And the fifth, while only 173 from the back, has a left-side bunker that is so big, you’ll expect to see a lifeguard patrolling the sand.
In the end, the course got the better of me. And I admit to “donating” far more golf balls than I’d expected. But that seems to be the way on a Greg Norman course – he distracts you with a beautiful golf hole, then… BAM, he hands you a double bogey.
Overall, I truly enjoyed the course, and would play there again in a heartbeat.
The Glades Golf and Spa is one of a few Gold Coast courses that simply must be played – no excuses! As you drive in to the resort past the massive bottle tree, you get greeted by staff who help you with your bag and shoes, and then direct you to the bar and restaurant — it’s like Christmas has come early. And while we Australians aren’t really accustomed to this style of service, it is becoming the standard with courses charging around the $70 to $130 mark. We’ve been spoilt at certain courses over the years and when we are expected to pay so much for a game of golf, this level of service should almost be compulsory. The Glades has raised the bar for many other courses.
Our expectations are high before we sit down to lunch. Once you are greeted with this level of service it becomes very easy to criticise anything that seems out of place. We couldn’t fault a thing. The menu was fantastic, offering a wide range of food at reasonable prices, and the bar has a great selection of beverages (don’t’ they all…). We sat outside overlooking the Greg Norman-designed course and million-dollar property. What a start to a game of golf!
General Manager and former course super Paul Lierse has a wealth of experience preparing golf courses from all over the world. The condition of the course is outstanding. Fairways and bunkering were exceptional. The greens are true bent greens –you won’t find too many of these up in Queensland, as it’s considered risky due to the considerable water and attention required. The roll was very good and consistent. We did notice a few of the greens had old pitch marks scattered around, which hurts the course visually. This is hard for a course to manage, especially when a lot of traffic is coming through 7 days a week.
The layout of the Glades is awesome. The Shark knows how to make you feel good when you stand up on each tee. The course is inviting off the tee especially on the front nine. It’s a little bit tighter on the back so you need to be straight off the tee. My favourite hole by far is the 9th: long par-4, high tee shot, a lot of risk and reward, beautiful bunkering on the left with a massive green that’s surrounded by bunkers.
The Glades is open from dawn to dusk and offer great early bird plus early afternoon rates. It is certainly worth making the effort. You will not be disappointed. As a complete experience The Glades is a must to visit.
For me, playing a great golf course is only part of the experience. Sure, I’ve got an expectation that the design and condition of the fairways and greens will be a high standard. But there are other factors that contribute to rating a golf course.
The Glades Golf and Spa Resort delivers on all fronts.
From the moment you arrive to the end of the round, there’s a strong focus on quality customer service. And that really gets the day moving in the right direction.
The pro shop staff are friendly and helpful and that’s a great way to start any round of golf. Sadly, too many golf courses have taken their eye off the ball in this department and it does cost them.
It was my second round at The Glades. I’ve always known the layout to be strong. There are some strong holes around the front – especially the par-3 5th where you’re faced with a long iron shot to a well-guarded green.
But it’s the back that really leaves a mark. Water is a strong feature of the design without being too imposing. And last two holes are perhaps the best finishing of any course in Queensland.
The Glades isn’t a cheap round of golf at $130. But it’s the one course you wouldn’t miss playing if visiting the Gold Coast.
That said the greens were disappointing. That’s certainly not the fault of the grounds staff, but rather the golfers. You’d think that golfers paying so much for a round would have some idea when it comes to course etiquette. Repairing pitch marks is par for the course. I know our group did its best to sort out a few pitch marks, and with a bit more care from golfers, this problem can be resolved.
The Glades has got just about everything right. After the round, the quality service continued.
Would I go back and play again? You bet.
When Sam invited me to play The Glades golf course I jumped at the opportunity.
In another life I probably would have declined the offer due to work commitments. Yes, I know, call me a foolish idiot.
Anyway, as an unashamed fan of the Greg Norman-designed championship course, I was keen to again test my — at times — limited skills against a seriously good course.
We arrived early and headed for the 19th – the Boardwalk Bar and Grill overlooking the course where we enjoyed a scrumptious meal washed down by a cold beverage.
I had never seen this normally talkative group of golfers go quiet as they hoed into their meals only lifting their heads to complement the chef.
The variety of dishes would rival any fancy restaurant on the glitter strip and we all agreed the Glades was one-up before we had even teed off.
Like all good golf courses, the Glades gives up a few early birdies before becoming more challenging.
When I first played the Glades just after it opened I ran into Ian Baker-Finch, who had just finished his round. He had just shot a 68 and was in a buoyant mood so I asked him for a tip on how to play the course.
His advice: “Aim to the open side of the greens away from the bunkers (there are more than 90) and make sure you have fun.”
On some holes it’s advisable to leave your approach shot short of the green. Even if you don’t get up and down it’s better than trying to eke out a par from the deeply bunkered greens.
I must say I’m not a particular fan of playing successive par-5s and at The Glades the sixth and seventh and the 11th and 12th are just that. On the positive side it does give the player the opportunity to pick up a few shots.
The par-3s are terrific and range from 147m to 206m in length. I don’t normally enjoy playing long par-3s but I was looking forward to playing the 206m 13th only because I had never parred the hole. You guessed it, I still haven’t managed it.
On this visit the bent grass greens had a few blemishes (easily fixed), but having said that the ball did roll true.
The on-course service was great with the drinks and food cart turning up just at the right time – and frequently.
On the day of our visit drinks cart driver Christina radioed the clubhouse from the ninth tee and ordered coffee for the group.
We walked off the ninth green, picked up our hot beverages and headed for the 10th without missing a beat. Great service.
Designer: Greg Norman
Length: 6431m (Black), 5876m (Gold)
Green Fees: $130 including cart
Robina, QLD 4226
Phone: (07) 5569 1900
Fax: (07) 5569 1901
The Glades Golf and Spa is situated on the Pacific Highway at Robina, just 20 minutes from the heart of Surfers Paradise and is 30 minutes from Coolangatta Airport, taking Exit 79