Design Notes

A Mackenzie returns to Australia’s New South Wales

Coore-Crenshaw’s Te Arai Links opens in New Zealand; Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Texas updates its Fazio Canyons

In 1926, Alister MacKenzie traveled from England to Australia to lay out the New South Wales Golf Club in Australia. Ninety-six years later, another Mackenzie from England will look to follow in those same footsteps.

Perennially ranked among the world’s top 50 courses, the New South Wales Golf Club outside of Sydney has retained the U.K.-based firm of Mackenzie & Ebert to produce a masterplan for course enhancements. Members anticipate the results will help maximize the potential of this remarkable and historic property.

"Mackenzie & Ebert have a well-established reputation for successfully and sympathetically upgrading courses of all types, particularly windy seaside courses like ours, and including the likes of Turnberry, Royal Portrush, Royal Dornoch and Royal St. George’s," club president Chris Coudounaris said.

On behalf of Martin Ebert, Tom Mackenzie expressed his enthusiasm for the project.

"Having traveled to Australia to meet with and present to the club’s board in August, we are enormously excited to be appointed to work with New South Wales Golf Club on the renovation of their course,” he said. “It is an incredible property and the course is already very highly regarded, but there is so much opportunity for improvement. Our shared priorities, in accordance with the brief, are to make the course even more interesting, fairer and playable for the members and, at the same time, more varied, strategic and challenging for the best players. This is an amazing opportunity for MacKenzie & Ebert to work in Australia for the first time, especially on another world-renowned golf course." 

New South Wales occupies sacred ground for Australians, for it was at this spot — Botany Bay, where the fifth and sixth holes converge — in 1770 that Captain James Cook of the British Royal Navy "discovered" Australia.

MacKenzie crafted the layout in 1926 and he routed it atop a wildly rolling property replete with ridges and valleys, yielding superb variety. While the good doctor did not create the most famous hole on the course, the par-3 sixth that plays over Cape Banks — that was added by Eric Apperly in 1937 — he carved out a fistful of memorable tests elsewhere, including the downhill but into the wind par-5 fifth, with the ocean looming attractively in the background and the short par-4 14th with its bite-off-as-much-as-you-can-chew tee shot over a scrub-filled ravine to a chaotically rumpled fairway.

Mackenzie and Ebert intend to make the diverse architectural elements more cohesive and to improve strategy, playability and aesthetics. They also intend to have all 18 green complexes renovated together, over one summer, to ensure consistency throughout. Renovation work is expected to begin in 2024.


Add another reason to take the long flight to New Zealand.

Te Arai Links, on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island has opened for play. Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the South course at Te Arai Links was finished in the fall of 2021, but allowed to grow in and mature before opening formally.

Located several miles south of World Top 20 Tara Iti, a Tom Doak design, Te Arai will be much more accessible to outside play. The course features roomy fairways and expansive but challenging greens, along with ocean views throughout the round. Doak began work on Te Arai’s North course earlier this year.

Fazio Canyons at Barton Creek.png
Fazio Canyons at Barton Creek.

Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa in Texas has reopened its Fazio Canyons golf course following a seven-month, $5 million renovation.

Located in the Hill Country on the fringes of Austin, the course was designed by Tom Fazio in 1999. Fazio and his team had significant input in the project to ensure the integrity of the original design was first and foremost. Work included new tee boxes for added length, enhanced greens and bunkers and improved irrigation. The updated irrigation was especially significant.

“The renovation at Fazio Canyons will allow for additional flexibility of the golf course to stand up to today’s best players,” said Scott Abernathy, Omni corporate director of agronomy. “The new state-of-the-art irrigation system gives us more control and the ability to ensure optimal course conditions throughout the year.”

Long a member of various "Best" lists for top public-access and resort courses in the U.S., Fazio Canyons is poised to regain its lofty status.

"We’re very excited about the work completed at Fazio Canyons," Tom Fazio said. "The evolution of the golf course will maximize playability and playing conditions while the additional length will allow for golf at all levels of play."