Great Golf Road Trips with Genesis: The Mighty Murray River
Australia is has many great golf destinations, but the cluster of courses that line the border between NSW and Victoria are unquestionably among the best, with the Murray region featuring some of the greatest country golf, and driving, in this fair land.
The roads that lead to the Murray create a trip that truly lets the Genesis, and the golf clubs, do the talking.
Video: A visual guide to a Great Golf Road Trip on the Murray River
This is one of the great joys of a golf road trip, watching the city traffic disappearing in the rear view mirror as you start the trip, then enjoying the beautiful rural countryside. This is an ideal opportunity to test one of the Genesis' features, the Smart Cruise Control, as you travel between historic country towns and landscapes.
With traditional cruise control systems, sudden braking by the car in front can be cause for concern but with Smart Cruise Control, such worries are a thing of the past as the Genesis automatically adjusts its speed to that of the vehicle you’re following to ensure a safe distance is kept and there are no sudden surprises.
It would be hard to imagine a more impressive back drop than the Murray River itself and it is a diverse group of layouts that await.
There are 189 holes of golf to be sampled across the six member clubs of the Golf on the Murray group and each presents its own challenge and delight.
The group was formed as a way to promote both tourism and golf in the area and sees the six clubs – Murray Downs, Rich River, Tocumwal, Cobram Barooga, Yarrawonga Mulwala and Commercial Golf Resort – work together for the benefit of all.
The co-operative nature of the agreement is testament to the forward thinking of each of the member facilities and that becomes obvious to guests when they arrive, regardless of which facility you’re at.
Starting in Albury we’ll be covering a little over 400 kilometres as we head west to Murray Downs playing 189 holes of golf along the way.
The Commercial Golf Resort is one of two 18 hole facilities we’ll be playing on this trip and is a stern test to begin the journey.
Tight fairways guarded by large gums will test even the straightest of hitters however, at just over 5,700 metres off mens' tees, the driver won’t be a necessity on every hole and the thinking golfer will be rewarded.
Inside Tip: Albury is known for the quality of its putting surfaces, so make sure your short game is in order as this is where you can make up loss shots!
It’s a little over an hour to our next destination, Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort, where we will be spending two nights because, frankly, there is an awful lot to take in.
The resort boasts 45 holes made up of two 18 hole courses and a nine hole ‘Executive’ layout.
Yarrawonga Mulwala is the biggest public access golf facility in Australia and caters to every need the golfer could have both on and off course. With nine different styles of accommodation there is something for everyone while the clubhouse boasts dining and entertainment options galore.
The Lake course, as the name suggests, offers sweeping views across Lake Mulwala while challenging every level of player.
The Murray course is slightly longer but equally challenging and fun, with large river gums demanding that golfers keep their ball in play if they hope to score.
Try not to be distracted by the stunning views of the Murray River on several holes, particularly the par-5 5th, where you’ll need your wits about you to make par.
It’s just a 30-minute drive from Yarrawonga to Cobram Barooga Golf Club but there are plenty of opportunities to stop along the way.
Whether you choose to drive on the NSW or Victorian side of the border there is much to see and do with the area rich in wineries and other rural delights.
Inside Tip: Chinaman’s Island is a two-kilometre return walk from the Yarrawonga Yacht Club car park, and is an easy walk teeming with birdlife along the river’s edge.
There are 36 holes awaiting at Cobram Barooga, however, so don’t dally too much.
Made up of the Old and West courses, it’s impossible to tire of the golf on offer at Cobram Barooga and it is one of the most popular courses in the region.
The original layout on the site, the Old Course, has long been a favourite of course design buffs and attracts plenty of golfers to the area.
Clever bunkering and undulating greens protect par at this classic layout and golfers will use all 14 clubs, as well as their brain, during 18 holes here.
The newer West course is a different proposition with wider fairways and a more modern resort feel though still offering plenty of challenge to players of all levels.
A 15 minute drive away is Tocumwal, and you’ll realise immediately why it has been the home of the Southern PGA Trainee Championship for the past 14 years.
With 36 magnificent holes, Tocumwal is yet another example of the embarrassment of golf riches to be found in this part of Australia.
Two vastly different styles of golf can be found at Tocumwal in the form of the Captain’s and President’s courses.
Tree lined fairways and punishing bunkers await at the shorter Presidents Course while the more open links feel of the Captain’s Course is offset by a little more length.
It will take a complete golfer to handle both of these contrasting layouts effectively.
The drive from Tocumwal to our penultimate stop, Rich River Golf Club Resort, will take a little over an hour through uniquely Australian landscapes.
Almost perfectly flat ground stretches out as far as the eye can see in either direction with only the occasional paddock of stunning yellow flowers to disturb the view.
It’s almost mesmerising as the kilometres roll by, the feeling of almost endless space fascinating.
Inside Tip: Situated just a stone’s throw from the paddle steamer capital of the Murray River at Echuca, no visit to Rich River would be complete without taking in this unique river cruising experience.
The two distinct Championship golf courses at Rich River are both immaculately groomed but ask very different questions of the golfer.
The West Course has hosted several professional tournaments and demands both accurate driving to the narrow fairways and solid iron play to the elevated greens if par is to be threatened.
The East Course is more open and, thanks to the influence of a 1998 re-design by five-time Open champion Peter Thomson, has a feel more aligned with links golf.
Water hazards come into play on several holes on the East but the sensible golfer who avoids the trouble will be rewarded with a good score.
Choose which route you would like to take (staying in NSW and heading through Barham or opting for the Victorian side of the border via Kerang) and let yourself be impressed by the capabilities of the Genesis on some stunning country roads.
Just a stone’s throw from the popular tourist mecca of Swan Hill, the course at Murray Downs Golf & Country Club draws golfers from all over Australia.
Inside Tip: In just under two weeks on October 22nd, Swan Hill will hold its annual Swan Hill Market Day which brings businesses in to the town from all over the region and is an entertaining break from the fairways for any non-golfers!
Regularly voted one of the top resort courses in the country, this riverside gem is a fitting end to what has been an epic golf journey.
Murray Downs epitomises everything associated with golf on the Murray, the course bearing all the hallmarks of those that have come before it while still maintaining its own unique charm.
Pure greens and perfect fairways afford the golfer every opportunity to play their best here but, like any great course, the player who manages his or her game the best will be the one rewarded.
And so ends what has been an epic golf adventure taking in some of the best public access courses Australia has to offer.
The great golfing road trips of the world are fit for anyone's bucket list, and if you are lucky enough to tick this Murray River adventure off yours, then you can be sure you will have memories to last a lifetime. The award-winning luxury, safety and performance of the Genesis is the ultimate way to arrive at the course, no matter where you play.