The design of Lake Karrinyup has links back to the 1926 whirlwind visit made by Alister Mackenzie during which left such an indelible mark on the golfing landscape in Australia. A result of his quick 10 week stay was striking up a relationship with Alex Russell who briefly partnered with Mackenzie and then went on to become an architect in his own right. With possibly the best strike rate of any designer in history, Russell’s short but impressive resume includes the East Course at Royal Melbourne, Yarra Yarra, Paraparumu in New Zealand and of course Lake Karrinyup.
The siting of the clubhouse can heavily influence the routing of a course and this was certainly the case at Lake Karrinyup. Positioning the building high up on a dune to take advantage of the cooling afternoon breeze demanded that a number of holes play steeply up, or down, hills. Whilst this led to a hand full of uphill climbs it also made for some of the most dramatic shots from high up on dunes of any championship course in the country.
Whilst the holes themselves have evolved over time, their current form is heavily influenced by Russell’s’ work elsewhere which championed the concept of strategic design. Whilst the fairways are wide there is typically a preferred side of the fairway from which to approach the greens. With a change of hole location the strategy often time flips, with the best line for the approach shifting from one side of the fairway to the other.
Fairway bunkering is sparse but where they have been constructed typically defends the best line to the green so golfers must take on an element of risk in order to get the advantage of a shorter approach or easier angle.
Mike Cocking – Course Architect