Mount Pleasant Golf Club – located just over an hour’s drive north-east of Adelaide’s CBD – has so much potential, and with a few improvements could certainly live up to it.
This really is a golf course that could be a lot better, if not for a few key factors stopping it from being a truly quality 18-hole track.
Situated in the Adelaide Hills, only 10 minutes from Birdswood and 30 minutes from the Barossa Valley and Gawler, the Mount Pleasant township has a recorded population of just under 1000 people.
The upkeep of Mount Pleasant Golf Club falls on its willing group of members, who do their best to maintain the course on a volunteer basis according to their website.
Author’s note: My review of Mount Pleasant Golf Club was updated on October 6, 2021 to reflect some of the course layout/conditioning changes that have been implemented at the course. Be advised, however, I have not revisited the course since my initial review and cannot verify the impact these improvements have made.
Mount Pleasant is without doubt one of the more scenic and eye-catching golf courses I’ve played – the rolling views over the sprawling Adelaide Hills cattle and sheep-laden paddocks are simply incredible – but sadly, the quality of the course noticeably suffers due to the absence of a full-time greenskeeper.
I was surprised to see the cost of green fees set at a modest $25 for 18 holes before I jumped into the car and made the 60-minute drive out to the course to play my round – but after stepping onto the first green, I could quickly see why the discounted rate had been applied.
The putting surfaces really were struggling when I visited Mount Pleasant in September 2020, however I’ve since been advised by the club that the greens have been replaced with Bermuda grass and have improved (but I have not made a return visit to verify this).
The club also incorporates a ‘Foot Golf’ circuit into its layout, which gives an alternative entertainment option for those who aren’t fans of the traditional golf format.
But Foot Golf aside, although there were certainly flaws to Mount Pleasant Golf Club, there were a number of redeeming factors that did add enjoyment to my visit.
At 5775m off the back tees, the Par 72 Mount Pleasant golf course feels a lot longer than that due to the rather hilly terrain upon which it is built.
While this is one of the venue’s advantages – due to the high elevation points giving you such incredible panoramic views of the surrounding landscape – it is also its Achilles heel in terms of being somewhat physically taxing for players.
Thankfully, the club has six golf carts that you can hire if you’re not physically able to walk the course.
However, as someone who did walk the course while pushing a buggy (and who is relatively fit) I can tell you that you’ll be weary by the time you trek up the steep 17th fairway, before ending your round with the short Par 3 18th in front of the clubhouse.
And because the clubhouse isn’t typically open during the week, or after about 2pm on Saturdays, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to stroll inside and crack a cold beer, while resting your tired legs.
As I mentioned early, Mount Pleasant Golf Club, on first appearances, promises so much, but in the most part falls short in delivering it (although the club is hoping to change this by implementing a new 5-year plan that should bring about significant improvements).
The entrance to the course really did make me go ‘wow’.
As you turn up Golfcourse Road, only minutes outside of the Mount Pleasant township, you’ll be hit with an awesome view of the course’s sprawling, undulating fairways – which from a distance looking lush, green and pristine.
As you continue the winding drive up towards the clubhouse, you’ll be filled with excitement that Mount Pleasant will be unlike any other golf course you’ve played in the Barossa Valley or Adelaide Hills areas.
That sense of anticipation will stay with you as you step onto the first tee, and see the fairway on the Par 5, 415m opening hole weaving its way down towards the green – with a water-filled dam on the right adding a sprinkling of danger and extra visual element to your opening shot.
But all the excitement that I had built up during the drive to the course begin to fade somewhat as I got a closer look at the conditioning of the fairways, before stepping onto the first green.
In fairness, the fairways were lush albeit a bit choppy and patchy (which is to be expected with a lot of country courses given limited access to water), while the greens were so dry that they looked almost dead – a theme that continued right throughout the entire 18 holes.
I’m not sure if the putting surfaces had fallen victim to frost, or simply weren’t getting enough water, but – and I hate to say this, given the course is volunteer-run – they were terrible, and easily the worst of any course I’ve played on.
So bare were they that dirt patches were evident in some spots, and no two putts rolled the same (however, as mentioned, the club is working hard to rectify this and is adamant it has made great strides since I last played the course).
This was the biggest letdown and a real shame, because Mount Pleasant – in terms of its numerous water elements, tall gums and rolling hills it incorporates into its layout – is a beautiful-looking golf course.
It comprises four Par 3s – each with their own quirks – 10 Par 4s and four Par 5s, all with enough variations to make you think carefully about every tee shot.
As I mentioned above, Mount Pleasant Golf Club is aesthetically pleasing yet some of the course conditioning left a bit to be desired.
There were numerous tee blocks where I stood and took in the surrounding views, and really appreciated the beautiful setting in which this golf course is situated.
But three holes were head and shoulders above the rest.
Players looking at the Mount Pleasant scorecard will be licking their lips at the sight of a 415m Par 5 to kick-off their round, with many likely seeing it as a genuine birdie opportunity.
But beware: the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Standing on the elevated tee block, you’ll see a narrow fairway doglegging slightly to the left – but hugging the right side is a water-filled dam that is ready and waiting to swallow any errant drives.
If you aren’t confident with your big stick, you may be better served hitting iron and ensuring your ball finds safety in the short grass, otherwise you could start your round with a splash.
A grass bunker, which looks like the leftover remnants of a neglected sand bunker, is located to the left of the green – and it is deep enough that you do NOT want to find yourself in it.
Par here is a good score to get your day started.
This was by far and away my favourite hole at Mount Pleasant.
Spanning 357m, this gorgeous Par 4 requires you to hit your tee shot over a large lake to the fairway that awaits on the other side.
Players without the required length off the tee have the option of skirting around the edges, but that approach turns this doglegging hole into a genuine three-shotter, with bogey the likely outcome.
But take note: the fairway isn’t as far away as it may seem, and hitting driver will likely see your ball carry the short grass, and come to rest in the rough or, even worse, dense tree-line.
The best tactic would be to take a three-wood into the centre of the fairway, leaving you an easy short-iron or wedge into the green.
However, the sight of water is enough to make any golfer nervous, which makes this hole a great mental test.
If you’ve managed to get through holes 10 and 11 without being swooped by too many Magpies – they are prevalent right throughout the back nine during the spring months, as I found out – then you’ll be pleased to arrive at this picturesque Par 3.
Stretching 157m from the back tees, players will, again, be required to play their tee shot over a large pond towards an undulating, slightly elevated green.
Topped or fat shots will disappear to a watery grave, while wayward hits run the risk of finding the thick rough, trees or shrubs that surround the putting surface.
Once you’ve selected your club, swing with conviction – because this tee shot requires your full commitment.
After landing your ball on the green, enjoy a long walk with putter in hand and take in some of the beautiful scenery Mount Pleasant has to offer.
Pace of play/tee time availability
Mount Pleasant Golf Club runs competitions on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, which are reserved for members (and their invited guests).
Outside of those times, you should have no problem getting onto the course for nine or 18 holes – and you’ll likely find you have the place, virtually, to yourself.
When I played there, pace of play was not an issue in the slightest.
Mount Pleasant doesn’t take bookings, but it would pay to ring ahead in advance to check availability before jumping in the car and roaring through the Adelaide Hills to visit the course.
The clubhouse is attended on competition days in the morning and early afternoon, but outside of that your phone call may go unanswered.
It is volunteer-run, after all.
The club also runs Foot Golf all day from 9am on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Friday, and also Saturday after 1.30pm – if you’re into that kind of thing.
How welcome are visitors?
Mount Pleasant Golf Club is extremely accommodating for visitors.
Whether you want to play proper golf or Foot Golf, you will be welcomed onto the course with open arms.
While you can pay for your round via EFTPOS when the clubhouse is manned during competition hours (on Wednesday and Saturday), outside of those times you’ll need to bring cash and slot your green fees into a chute located on the side of the building.
Please ensure you do this – the volunteers at Mount Pleasant greatly appreciated your honesty, and rely on it to keep the gates open.
Is there a dress code?
A standard golf attire of neat and casual shorts/pants, plus a collared shirt and enclosed shoes will be just fine at Mount Pleasant.
Casual jeans, from what I can gather, are also acceptable.
Just don’t rock up in a t-shirt, or clothing that has obscene logos on it.
Are there practice facilities?
Mount Pleasant does have a putting green to hone your stroke before your round, but little else.
The club doesn’t have a driving range – not that I saw, anyway – and the best you can hope for is to bash some balls into some rundown hitting nets at the edge of the car park.
Unfortunately, you’ll probably head to the first tee without having swung a club – which isn’t ideal, given you’ve likely just spent up to an hour sitting in the car getting to the course.
Can I buy food/drinks after the round?
On Wednesday and Saturday competition days – when the clubhouse is open – you may be lucky enough to jag the odd hot pie, pasty or even a sausage or hamburger if the barbecue is in operation, plus a cold drink.
But outside of those times, you may need to stop in at the highly-recommended Mount Pleasant Bakery on the way home in order to satisfy your post-round appetite.
Price for 18 holes:
- Monday-Friday: $20
- Weekends/Public holidays: $25
- School students: $10
Price for 9 holes:
- Monday-Friday: $15
- Weekends/Public holidays: $20
- School students: $5
As I arrived at Mount Pleasant Golf Club for the first time, the obvious beauty of the course was eye-catching.
The rolling hills, the green fairways and the overhanging gums really gave the appearance that this would be a quality Adelaide Hills track.
While the fairways were decent enough – without being amazing – until the greens are improved (and again, the club says it is working hard to do this), they will continue to detract from the panoramic views and otherwise enjoyable playing experience at Mount Pleasant.
While the discounted fees were some concession, they aren’t enough to get me back playing Mount Pleasant at this stage – however, I hope to book a return visit in future to see for myself the improvements the club says it has made to the conditioning of the course.
Hopefully Mount Pleasant Golf Club can make the improvements it says it will (particularly the greens), because it has all the right ingredients to be a magnificent course if it can get those elements right.
For more details about Mount Pleasant Golf Club, visit their website.
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