The Coast Golf Club: The public version of New South Wales in Australia

The layout is quirky, but the views sublime.

NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia - Don't use these pictures as your barometer of The Coast Golf Club.

Look past the brown, crispy fairways - scorched by a terrible drought - and the hazy, dark skies - choked by smoke from the catastrophic wildfires that raged during the New Year's holiday and shook the country to the core.

Instead, imagine lush fairways with sunny, summer skies. That is the vision of The Coast that makes the public course just south of Sydney so popular. The site is spectacular. With five holes directly perched upon cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, it offers more interaction with the coastline than the world-ranked New South Wales Golf Club less than two miles to the south in La Perouse.

The Coast dates to the mid-1960s when the Prince Henry Hospital offered up the land and later expanded to 18 holes in the 1970s. The current clubhouse was the old hospital laundry facility. The introduction of homes in the 2000s altered the layout again (specifically holes 7 and 10) to create a par-70 routing of 5,807 meters (roughly 6,350 yards). A major irrigation system upgrade finished last December should help improve conditions moving forward.

The Coast might look and play like a links, but there are too many ponds and creeks as cross hazards to truly be called one. The front nine sports the only three par 5s on the layout (including back-to-back at holes 2 and 3) and ends on back-to-back par 3s. The par-3 fourth is one of Sydney's signature par 3s, a heroic tee shot over a coastal chasm to reach the green. Rolling elevations on the back nine climax at the 14th tee overlooking Little Bay, the southern-most beach in Sydney. Perhaps the two most awkward holes - the clifftop 17th with a severely sloping fairway and short par-4 18th with a pond in the landing area - end the day. How you finish shouldn't sour the walk on such memorable land for golf.

International green fees are $100 Australian anytime (roughly $70 American with the current exchange).

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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The Coast Golf Club: The public version of New South Wales in Australia