Magenta Shores CC, March 29-31, 2024

HAYES: Irresistible Orange a picture-perfect Peach

Cards on the table, I’m a country boy.

I’m also a sports nut – any variety.

Both of which make it a little odd that I haven’t been to what the locals around where I’m writing this call the “Central West”.

I know Wagga doesn’t fall into this zone, but as I was driving to Orange for this leg of the Women’s New South Wales Open Regional Qualifying Series, what I’m about to write began to hit home from about that point on.

Every town I breezed through was seemingly the proud home of an Olympian, or great rugby league player, or an Aussie cricketer.

Every town seemed to have outstanding sporting facilities.

Every town gave me the feeling that someone special had either played here, or was the nursery of someone about to make his or her mark.

And then I got to Orange, specifically Duntryleague – an odd sounding name for a club, but one that I knew to be the home of at least two genuine stars of Aussie golf in Lucas Parsons and Steve Conran. 

But why? How?

And then it dawned on me.

As I turned in through the grand gates and wound up the long and majestic driveway to the towering palace on the hill, I was suddenly somewhere unique and special.

This sprawling 19th century mansion – built to honour the Irish heritage of a migrant family who’d made a great business impact in this beautiful but “off-Broadway” part of New South Wales – is now the clubhouse (and trading name) for the Orange Golf Club.

It sits atop a hill that overlooks what, by any definition, is one of Australia’s most spectacular gardens. That these trees are central to the golf course just makes them even better. 

They’re colourful, towering, manicured yet raw – just generally breath-taking.

And they’re matched by the golf course.

Duntryleague absolutely belies its locale in terms of quality of turf offering. The South African couch fairways and bentgrass (and poa) greens would sit just nicely thanks among the “big-name” courses in any Australian capital city.

It’s absolutely no wonder it produces high quality golfers.

It’s also no fluke that it has attracted an elite field of Australian and international players – there are 10 different flags flying proudly here this week – to this week’s “RQ”.

In fact, this Golf NSW mandate to bring such events to the state’s regional areas is the best possible advertisement for towns that don’t always get their moment in the sporting sun.

Even though they clearly deserve it.

I’m already a fan of Orange – and I’ve only been here one day.

The Duntryleague course is great; the welcome from club members is eager; the town feels supportive; and I know the golf is going to be epic – it always is.

My eyes are now open to this largely unheralded gem. It’s actually embarrassing I didn’t know something this good was in the country.

Golf NSW and The Sports Entertainment Network (SEN) will brodcast the final round from Duntryleague LIVE on the SEN App and across Golf NSW Digital Channels

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