If you’re looking for an 18-hole golf course with a view, you won’t find anything better in Adelaide than Mount Osmond Golf Club.
Situated just a short 15-minute drive south east of the CBD, nestled amongst the Adelaide Hills, this is one of the city’s premier golf courses outside of ‘The Big Four’ – Royal Adelaide, Kooyonga, Grange and Glenelg – for a fraction of the price.
Mount Osmond has been operating since 1927 and maintains that ‘exclusive’ feel – Australian cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman was a past club champion there – however is one of the few clubs in Adelaide that is actively encouraging younger members to join up by offering tiered membership options for players under 30.
It is pricier than some of the other publicly accessible golf courses across the city, but the quality of the course is far superior than some of its competitors.
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It’s definitely one of the more upmarket publicly accessible tracks in Adelaide and surrounds, meaning you’ll need to break out the collared shirt, swap the jeans for some slacks and grab your sandshoes.
This is a course for golfers, so if you’re someone who just wants to spray the ball around without getting too frustrated, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.
If you take your golf seriously enough and are looking for a good challenge at a high-quality venue, you’ve come to the right place.
Table of contents
Wow, talk about an intimidating layout.
From the moment you line up on the first tee – with tight out of bounds hugging the right side of the fairway, plus houses and an adjacent road staring you in the face (enough to make the palms sweaty) – you’ll definitely get the impression that you’re in for a challenge.
But if you’ve forked out up to $65 as a visitor to play, you want something that’s going to test your game – and Mount Osmond certainly does that.
The fairways are immaculate and greens are pristine. The only area that could be improved are the bunkers, which can be quite firm due to the sand used in them.
While the course isn’t overly long – it is only 5565m in total length – its defence is its narrow, hilly fairways that gives you very small landing zones in which to safely play your tee shots.
You’ll often find a seemingly good tee shot will catch the slope and end up in the rough if not played absolutely perfectly, and this is magnified in the warmer months when the fairways are hard and fast.
Because the course is shorter than others, players are presented with a range of ways to attack each hole – use an iron and play for position (but leave yourself a longer shot into the green), or hit driver by weighing up the risk versus reward.
There’s only one par three – the 127m 16th – where you can hit wedge into the green; the rest will challenge you with a mid-iron, and the slope of the land punishes any wayward shots.
And speaking of the greens, sometimes it feels like you’re putting on the side of a glacier.
While they’re a little slower in winter, when they dry out and firm-up they roll incredibly quickly and have subtle breaks that can be very difficult to read.
You can absolutely expect some three-putts during your round (especially for mid-to-high handicappers), but the positive is the ball will roll extremely true. Putt to your line, and there’s birdies to be had.
Lastly, if you’re someone who hates pushing a golf buggy up hills, it’s definitely recommended to book a cart.
If you’re not used to trudging up undulating fairways, you’ll be pretty knackered by the end of the round if you choose to walk the course.
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There are some breathtaking holes positioned right through the 18 holes, but none more so than the seventh, eight and ninth – all which sees you tee off around 400m above sea level, with crystal clear views over the city and right across to the ocean.
You will not find better views at a golf course in Adelaide, possibly South Australia.
The seventh – a short Par 4 – is particularly enjoyable as the conservative golfer can lay-up with a mid-iron and still have a wedge into the green, while the longer hitters can opt to try and drive the green but risk going out of bounds.
There is a large dam on the right and a steep hillface to the left, meaning an accurate tee shot is required.
The landing area is quite wide, but the trouble on either side gets the heart racing.
Confronted with a dogleg left, this is a Par 4 that you do not want to go left on – too much of a hook will send your ball rattling onto the roof of houses scattered along the adjacent road, before being swallowed up by the hillside.
Once you safely land your tee-shot in the fairway – your miss definitely should be right, as the slope will often kick it back down onto the short grass – you’ll likely be left with a mid-iron into the green.
Bigger hitters can opt to cut the corner with driver, but doing so brings out of bounds into play.
Once you reach the green – which is protected by a bunker that you want to avoid at all costs – you’ll be putting in front of the best backdrop of any golf course in Adelaide.
On a clear day, the views across the city skyline are simply jaw-dropping and extend right the way to the ocean. It is truly a sight to behold, and makes the price of admission absolutely worth it.
As far as Par 3s go, there are few more enjoyable and scenic across Adelaide than this one.
At just 127m long, you’ll need little more than a wedge from an elevated tee block to hit the sloped green, which is nestled between thick scrub and guarded by a front bunker.
Ranked the second easiest hole on the course, the 16th should be seen as a genuine birdie opportunity – and as the shortest Par 3 at Mount Osmond, there is also no better chance to try and jag a hole in one.
However, don’t get too complacent – distance control is everything and a chunked tee shot will leave you in serious trouble, while going long will have you kissing your hopes of par, or better, goodbye.
Pace of play/tee time availability
Mount Osmond blends privacy and public accessibility quite well.
As mentioned, it will cost non-members more than other public courses to play, but you certainly get what you pay for.
Like most other clubs, visitors can book a round at virtually any time on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and also on Wednesday and Thursday after 10.30am once the morning competitions are well underway or concluded.
Similarly, public bookings can be made on Saturday after 1.30pm and Sunday after 10.30am.
Scheduling a tee time by ringing the pro shop, as opposed to just rocking up and trying to get on the course, is certainly the way to go about it.
Once you’re on the course, depending on how busy it is, you may find things slow going for the first four or five holes.
The biggest flaw Mount Osmond has, if there is one, is the configuration of the course – unlike many other clubs, the tenth tee to commence the back nine isn’t located at the club house.
Instead, it’s situated at the opposite end of the golf course, meaning playing groups can only be sent off the first tee.
This leads to some slow play – painfully slow, at times – especially on competition days.
And if you find yourself unlucky enough to be stuck behind a group of really old guys and gals, the delays will probably annoy you enough to the point where it starts to affect your golf.
Playing the mid-week arvo timeslots, or late on the weekend, will eliminate most of these issues.
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How welcome are visitors?
The team at Mount Osmond will always greet you with a smile when you walk through the doors to the clubhouse or pro shop.
The club definitely has that ‘exclusive’ feel about it due to its long, established history – which may be a bit intimidating for a high-handicap golfer looking to join-up for the first time – but nowhere near to the level of the top tier private courses in Adelaide.
The public is certainly encouraged to come and play this wonderful track.
The pro shop is always manned, and the crew behind the counter are courteous and professional – and happy to answer any questions you have about competition fees, through to equipment purchases.
Likewise, the older members are friendly enough without going overboard.
You’ll get a ‘g’day’ or a nod before a round – maybe even some weird looks when you decide to wear shorts in temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius (what is it with old boys and cold weather?) – but that’s about as far as the pleasantries go.
It’s no different to a lot of other city courses, really.
I’ve booked in with plenty of random groups and the majority of members, especially the younger ones, are great to play with.
Only once did I have a negative experience, when one of the 40-year veterans felt it necessary to have a go at myself and my playing partner for slow play (even though it was the group in front of us holding up the show).
But, it gives me a good story to tell.
On a whole, Mount Osmond is very welcoming to the average player – both members and non-members.
Is there a dress code?
Yes, absolutely. A nice collared shirt, with smart shorts/pants are more than suitable.
Don’t expect to get on the course in an uncollared t-shirt or track pants, because it simply won’t happen (unless you’re part of rock royalty Alice Cooper’s playing group).
If you want to bash around in that attire, you should try a more cheaper public course like North Adelaide or Regency Park golf clubs.
The clubhouse also has shower facilities, with towels provided, for those who need to get freshened up before leaving the course.
This is great for people who have other places to go after their round, and don’t have time to head home and get changed.
Are there practice facilities?
Yes. Mount Osmond has a short driving range where you can hit irons, although most players will find it too short to hit driver.
Similarly, there are a number of practice greens and bunkers for chipping and putting, and also two practice nets where you can have a few swings to loosen up before a round without having to fork out for a bucket of practice balls.
Can I buy food/drinks after the round?
You certainly can.
Mount Osmond has a beautiful, old clubhouse with excellent indoor and outdoor dining areas.
There’s nothing better than knocking back a beer or wine while watching other groups play up the 18th fairway, and the viewing area inside, plus the veranda outside, is the perfect place to do this.
There’s plenty of hot food options available for lunch after your round (e.g. burgers, schnitzel) all at a reasonable price and are absolutely delicious.
Price for 18 holes:
- Monday: $65 before 10.30am, $55 from 10.30am-3pm, $45 after 3pm
- Tuesday: $65 from 10.30am-1.30pm, $55 from 1.30pm-3pm, $45 after 3pm
- Wednesday: $65 from 10.30am-1.30pm, $55 from 1.30pm-3pm, $45 after 3pm
- Thursday: $65 before 10.30am, $55 from 10.30am-3pm, $45 after 3pm
- Friday: $65 before 10.30am, $55 from 10.30am-3pm, $45 after 3pm
- Saturday: $65 from 1.30pm-3pm, $45 after 3pm
- Sunday: $65 before 3pm, $4 after 3pm
Price for 9 holes:
- $40 for nine holes every day of the week
- When accompanied by a member, green fees for 18 holes is $50
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If you’re sicking of playing the same public courses week-in, week-out and are looking to treat yourself to something a little nicer – look no further than Mount Osmond.
For an affordable price you can play a really high-quality golf course that will challenge you, but also give you a great visual experience that will stick with you for a long time.
It’s welcoming enough not to give off that stereotypical ‘pretentious’ golf vibe, but exclusive enough that you won’t have to deal with half-cut tradies or university students hacking their way around the course in their high-vis shirts or track pants without any real clue how to play.
If you’re a golfer who wants to experience a track that’s on the higher end of the scale in terms of quality, you own a collared shirt and understand simple golf etiquette, then Mount Osmond is the perfect place.
For more details about Mount Osmond Golf Club, visit their website.
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