Ellerston Golf Course
Few golfers have even seen Ellerston Golf Course, let alone played there, but for those able to secure an invitation the experience is unparalleled. Since its creation in 2001 Ellerston has been one of the most exclusive and inaccessible golf courses in the world, as it was built to be part of the private estate of the Packer family.
Ellerston is located in the highlands of the upper Hunter Valley in NSW. It is a three and a half hour drive from Sydney, about 50 mostly-gravelled kms NE of Scone.
The 18 hole, 7,318 mtr (8,000 yd) course was designed by Greg Norman and Bob Harrison. Greg Norman had tried for several years to persuade Kerry Packer to build his own course, before Packer made that decision. In Norman's words, Packer's request was: "Create the best golf course possible with as few tees as possible, in other words, build a golf course that penalises poor shots, makes the golfer think and play hard. "
The tract of land that was decided on for the course, the Pages Creek area, was perfect. ...So much so that Norman found very few routings had to be made as "the holes virtually mapped themselves". He describes the finished course as one that a golfer such as himself "would love to play every day for the rest of his life".
Pages Creek itself, officially designated a river, flows down from the Great Dividing Range and at Ellerston it merges with the Hunter River. It is central to Ellerston Golf Course and features directly in about nine of the holes. At least one of these holes is periodically washed out by flooding, after which it is perfectly restored.
The rest of the course leads you to higher ground, and to new levels of hazards. At one point you even cross a gorge. Reports from those who have played here are all in accord: Ellerston Golf Course delivers an immensely challenging and unforgettable golfing experience.
"Ellerston has some wonderful holes and is one of the most fascinating golf courses built since the Great Depression.” - Planet Golf, 2007