THERE’S no doubt Hawks Nest is widely-regarded as a sleepy coastal town on the NSW North Coast.
And that only makes it a bigger surprise when you visit Hawks Nest Golf Club and discover it fits perfectly into that well-worn cliché of a ‘hidden gem’.
Certainly, renowned golf professional Craig Parry would agree.
The former US Tour winner, nicknamed ‘Popeye’, has been working with the club’s board in recent years to develop a course master plan which is part of an on-going course improvement program.
Now Sydney based, Parry has been doing a lot of work in recent times on courses like Bayview, Wakehurst, Palm Beach and even Teven on the North Coast, but even he was stunned by what Hawks Nest had to offer.
“I found a hidden gem on the Mid North Coast at Hawks Nest Golf Club,” said Parry.
“It’s only two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Sydney and it must be one of the best golf courses in New South Wales.
“It is a truly challenging championship course and is superbly maintained by superintendent Ben Mills and a dedicated grounds staff.
“This tree-lined course rewards good drives, iron shots and a sharp short game, with deceptively quick greens.
“Awaiting you when you finish is a cold drink, great food and friendly hospitality.
“I highly recommend a game at Hawks Nest and I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed.”
It’s difficult to find a better recommendation than that and from humble beginnings in the early 1970s, Hawks nest has blossomed into what is now regarded as a challenging championship course.
Indeed, golfers who visit Port Stephens usually insist on taking the ferry trip from Nelson Bay, with golf clubs on board, across a body of water which holds more than Sydney Harbour, so that they can squeeze in a game at Hawks Nest.
Located just 45 minutes north of Newcastle, Hawks Nest is now considered one of the premier courses on the New South Wales coastline.
Just 10 minutes off the freeway, Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest lie at the mouth of the Myall River and reflect a relaxed coastal lifestyle with a sense of peace and tranquillity.
Hawks Nest Golf Club welcomes golfers of all standards and although the course is an easy and enjoyable walk, the extensive fleet of Yamaha golf carts, which are maintained by the club, provide another option for members and visitors.
The 18-hole championship-rated layout stretches to 6079 metres from the blue tees and has a scratch rating of 73.
Three other rated courses off the white, the red or the grey tees provide options for golfers of all abilities.
From tee-to-green the course will immediately impress the very best of players as the course is in immaculate condition and playable in most weather conditions due to it being built on a sand-base.
The recently, and newly-laid asphalt car park and freshly-painted clubhouse exterior provide a perfect entrance into the fully-refurbished club interior.
You are greeted by a fully-licensed clubhouse featuring a modern bar, TAB and gaming room.
And following your game you can relax and enjoy a light meal or snack with coffee in Fiona’s Café, which is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.
The club recently gained the services of Peter Park and Kay Kim, who provide Australian and Asian-fusion meals in PK’S Restaurant from noon to 2pm and then from 5pm seven days a week during the summer months (PK’S is closed on Mondays during the winter months).
Peter and Kay previously had the catering contracts at Strathfield Golf Club and Springwood Country Club.
A part of the furniture at Hawks Nest Golf Club is Warren “Snowy” Gorton, well-known former NSW state representative golfer, who has won the Hawks Nest Golf Club championship a record 10 times.
And as for the future: Well part of that is Hawks Nest’s junior club champion in 2021 in 12-year-old Harry Leggatt, who has recently lowered his GA handicap to an impressive level of 7.5.
A frequent visitor to Hawks Nest Golf Club in the 1990s and early 2000s was John Howard, who would holiday annually with his family at Hawks Nest during his time as a local club member and then as Prime Minister of Australia.
And the last word on Hawks Nest belongs to club professional Andrew McCormack.
“Let’s just say it’s worth the drive here to play at Hawks Nest,” he said.
“We offer some of the best fairways and greens on the whole east coast of Australia.
“Seriously, to find a championship golf course here, you will be shocked at the quality of the golf course in what is really a sleepy coastal town.
“Playing golf here is an easy walk on rolling beautiful fairways.
“And our pro shop offers friendly service stocking all your golfing needs – from equipment to hire sets.”
“For social groups of 12 or more players, the cost for 18 holes of golf is $55 per person, which includes shared cart and lunch at Fiona’s Café.
“Telephone the pro shop for all details about social golf or competition play.”
In recent years, Hawks Nest Golf Club has built a strong relationship with the local community through hosting a number of successful fund-raising golf days in support of the local Rural Fire Service as well as the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, the NSW Police Golf Day and includes a number of smaller contributions to other charity organisations.
Hawks Nest Golf Club has a number of sub-groups within its make-up which come together to provide a strong and united club.
These groups include: the Myall Coast Veterans, the Ladies Committee and the Social Club, which incorporates the Darts Club, the Fishing Club and the Social Golf Club.
Hawks Nest Golf Club
1 Sanderling Avenue, Hawks Nest, NSW 2324
Telephone: (02)4997 0145
Pro shop: (02)4997 0740
Plenty more attractions at Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
FOR people travelling to Tea Gardens or Hawks Nest for the first time, you will relish the choice of other activities aside from golf including:
(1) The Myall River, Port Stephens, the Myall Lakes and the coastline offer the full array of water activities including fishing, kayaking, dolphin and whale watching opportunities;
(2) The world-renowned Hunter Valley wine industry is just a one-hour drive from Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest;
(3) The Myall Lakes National Park offers a spectacular blend of lakes, coastal forests, pristine beaches and a huge sand-dune system;
(4) Nearby Broughton Island, protected by NSW National Parks, offers some of the best diving and snorkelling sites in New South Wales.
Visitors to Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest are also spoilt for accommodation options including:
Boathouse Resort: 21-23 Marine Dr, Tea Gardens (Telephone 02 4044 0548);
Hawks Nest Motel: 3-5 Yamba St, Hawks Nest (02 4997 1166);
Tea Gardens Hotel Motel: Marine Drive, Tea Gardens (02 4997 0203);
Tea Gardens Country Club Motel: 2 Yalinbah St, Tea Gardens (02 4997 0250);
For other accommodation options contact:
Hawks Nest First National Real Estate: Tuloa Ave, Hawks Nest (02) 4997 0262);
Ray White Tea Gardens Hawks Nest: Marine Drive, Tea Gardens (02 4997 1300);
Reflections Holiday Park Hawks Nest: Booner St, Hawks Nest (02 4997 023);
Reflections Holiday Park Jimmys Beach: Coorilla St, Hawks Nest (02 4997 0466).
(These accommodation options can be found on the Hawks Nest Golf Club website under the functions section)
The Hawks Nest Golf Club plays host to a significant number of golf events each year including:
The Hawks Nest Ladies Classic (March);
The Veterans Week of Golf (Feb);
The Myall Classic (week-early May);
The Ladies Open (July);
Hawks Nest Beachside 2 day Pro-Am(Aug/Sept);
Hawks Nest Summer Classic (week Nov).