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Sydney

Long Reef: Where golf meets the sea

Like all seaside courses one of the features that makes a round at Long Reef so enjoyable is the views. In the early morning and late evening, especially, they are nothing short of breathtaking.

long reef sunrise monument long reef sunrise

dee why beach 16th fairway

cliffs over dee why beach

long reef headland view of dee why 16th fairway cliffs bordering 16th fairway

Minutes from suburbia but a world away from modern life, Long Reef achieves the near impossible...While you see the houses from the fairways, in reality you couldn't feel further removed from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Long Reef view from the 1st green

Subtlety is the name of the game at Long Reef. Rare is the long water carry, more likely a babbling brook waiting patiently to catch the errant ball. And with fairways as expansive as the views, the course punishes the wayward golfer not so much with penal lies but awkard angles.

long reef alongside 1st green long reef approach 1st green cliffs bordering 16th fairway

long reef stream accross 1st fairway

Working its way gently up and down the headland, the course offers plenty of elevation change without ever feeling like a slog. In fact given the surrounding vista, you barely even notice the walk.

long reef 3rd green long reef approach to 3rd green

long reef view from above 3rd green

From a purely golf perspective, the holes at Long Reef offer plenty of challenge for every level of player. There is room for the less skilled to play but the more adept golfer hoping to post a score will need to exercise the brain as well as the body.

long reef 4th fairway long reef approach to 4th green view from 4th tee

Water doesn't feature a lot at Long Reef but when it does it's REALLY in play. The approach to the difficult par-4 5th has little room to bail out - either from the tee or on the approach.

long reef approach to 5th green long reef view across 4th and 5th fairways

long reef view from 5th green

The finishing touches are often overlooked at a golf course but as the beautiful rock work shows at Long Reef, it adds a subtle something.

long reef bridge to 6th green long reef 14th tee

long reef creek fronting 6th green

For centuries the world's best courses have been those that abutt the sea and in Sydney, Long Reef is one of a handful of layouts that ticks this box.

Long Reef approach to the 12th Green

long reef view of 12th green

long reef 14th green 15th and 16th fairways long reef 14th green long reef view across 6th and 17th fairways

long reef looking back up 16th fairway

Like the great seaside courses of the UK, the golf at Long Reef fits in with the tumbling nature of the landscape rather than trying to fight it. The downhill 16th is a perfect example, it's putting surface simply the natural ending to the journey down the slope.

long reef 17th fairway long reef view from 17th fairway long reef view from 17th green long reef view over 17th fairway

The lack of trees means from most parts of the course you can see all other parts, a view at least equal to the ocean vistas for the pure golf fan.

Long Reef 18th fairway and practice range

long reef view across 5th and 18th fairways long reef view from 18th fairway

long reef 18th fairway

Because of its exposed nature light plays a big role in creating the atmosphere at Long Reef. As the shadows lengthen and shorten with the path of the passing sun, the course shows off a range of different moods…

long reef peninsula

long reef view up the peninsula long reef skyline long reef view across practice fairway

long reef oceanview

Spectacular doesn't really do justice in describing the setting at Long Reef, the ever present ocean and beach can be both seen and heard from almost all points of the course….and clubhouse.

early morning dog walk early morning fisherman

long reef historical photo long reef lunch table cliffs bordering 16th fairway

beach view from club house collaroy clubhouse

Given its location it's no surprise to find Long Reef a haven not only for golfers but other creatures as well. From local bird life to nearby residents whose dogs love nothing more than a run around, and sometimes across, the open hillside in the early morning sun, Long Reef is very much a part of its surrounding community.

ducks on first fairway plover bird water fowl in pond water fowl

Not only grounds for golf, Long Reef is doing its bit to help threatened local plant life. Contrary to popular opinion, golf courses can have a very positive impact on the environment when managed.

kangaroo grass long reef grassland rest area

Rod Morri
About The Author : Rod Morri

Rod is an award-winning golf journalist with more than 20 years experience and has covered everything from major tournaments to junior golf at the local level. Rod began his life in the media as a daily news reporter for News Limited in Sydney.

More Articles from Rod Morri
Joey Ratcliffe
About The Photographer : Joey Ratcliffe

Joey, a third generation professional photographer, also works as a sports journalist and videographer. He has photographed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott and has travelled across Australia to film and photograph Australia’s best golf courses.