Friday 2 March 2018 – The Vintage Golf Club
Golf in the wine country, with a group of fantastic ladies is the perfect way to unwind and recharge. Turning off the freeway, when the landscape opens up; the sky gets bigger, vines line the edge of the country roads, and you can start to feel the city tension slide away.
Arriving at The Vintage Golf Club, and met at the Bag Drop by one of their friendly golf pros who whisks away our bags and puts them onto our named carts helps to ease us into this girls weekend away. As each of the ladies start to arrive, and everyone relaxes with a coffee or lunch, the excitement starts to build.
This weekend is hosted by Swing Fit and Community Golf Instructor Andrea McGann, who calms any beginner golfer nerves by giving everyone a clear run down of what to expect out on the course. We head off to the Driving Range to warm up before teeing off on the first hole. The Vintage was designed by Greg Norman, who we all think must be a little mean, as the first hole had us teeing off over water. Some made it over, some found the water, and Penny’s driver head is still in there somewhere!
The course really is beautiful, with kangaroos lining the fairways, but is full of bunkers (bloody Greg!). The 5th hole was a favourite with many as we played alongside rows and rows of Bimbadgen Estate’s vines. There was no mistaking that we were in the Hunter! After Golf everyone made their way to the gorgeous Cypress Lakes Resort and checked in to their two bedroom villas, which line the golf course. We settled in before meeting on the resort’s terrace for our welcome drinks, where everyone got to know each other a bit better over a glass (or two!) of some lovely local wine.
Saturday 3 March 2018 – The Hunter Valley Golf & Country Club
After a great night’s sleep (was it the country air or those Hunter wines that helped?), and a delicious breakfast at the resort, we made our way to the Hunter Valley Golf Club. It was going to be a hot day, so we were grateful for our motorised carts and our 8:45am tee time. We soon discovered that the Hunter Valley Golf Club preferred water to sand, and that water came into play on nearly all of the front 9 holes that we played. The course was busy with Saturday play, but with Andrea’s words ringing in our ears, we kept a good pace of play. With both the 3rd & 4th holes being Par 3’s it gave the groups time to chat and catch up before we spread out again. By the time with finished our 9 holes, it was really hot, so we were all happy to make our way back to the resort for a swim in one of their 3 pools and a shower.
At 1:30pm, we headed out on a gourmet wine tasting tour that had us visiting some of the gorgeous smaller boutique wineries in the region. The Hunter is the second warmest wine growing region in the world, and are known for their Semillon and Shiraz. We tasted wines from Gundog Estate, Leogate, First Estate, Harkham before heading to De iuliis for our final tasting which was paired with a cheese tasting. Many of us wanted to keep the party going once we got back to the resort, so we headed back to Andrea & Ainslie’s villa with some of our wine and cheese purchases before heading to dinner. Some ladies made their own plans to enjoy the local restaurants, or caught up with friends, and others joined Andrea for dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Sunday 4 March 2018 – Cypress Lakes Golf Club
After a bit of a sleep in and a leisurely breakfast, we all met at the practice green for a putting clinic at Cypress Lakes. Andrea then had us heading over to the chipping green and driving range to practice and warm up a bit more. The sun was hot and the field full by the time we started teeing off from the red tees at Cypress Lakes, so we were very happy to have eskies filled with ice on our motorised carts. The course at Cypress Lakes is absolutely gorgeous. Some of us thought it was the most scenic out of the three that we had played on this tour. Whilst there was still a lot of bunkers, with our shorter drives on this tour, we managed to avoid most of them. Playing alongside the vines (and sometimes between them!) was just beautiful. There was abundant wildlife with kangaroos lazing in the shade and crows stealing some of the ladies golf balls. By the time we made it to the end of our round, the heat had brought the storm clouds, and the heavens opened, right as the last group had sunk their last putt. We ran into the clubhouse for some well deserved lunch and coffee, before all bidding our farewells and heading back to Sydney. It was a lovely Beginner Ladies Golf weekend where friendships were made and forged, on the golf course and over a bottle (or two) of wine.