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SYDNEY: The Home of Five Rings and 216 Great Holes.
Long Reef Golf Club

Sydney's northern suburbs are blessed with many fine courses but most of them are private establishments and you need to know a member to get a game.

However, if ever there was a piece of land destined for golf, it would be the promontory at Long Reef, about 40 minutes drive north

over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the northern beaches. Windswept, open and surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean, the Long Reef course is arguably the truest "links" in Australia.

In calm conditions Long Reef is a pleasant journey there are no trees and only a few, low-lying scrubby bushes, so you can give your drives a bit of a whack and mostly not have to worry about where they might end up.

But throw in the wind and she's a terror! Balls are buffeted, selecting the right club almost demands tertiary qualifications and putting pace can be Augusta-like.

The 385-yard par-4 5th is arguably the course's benchmark, employing a risk-and-reward strategy: water lies left, a cavernous bunker awaits centre-left, around 220 yards from the tee, pushing players right, in the direction of another water hazard, uneven mounding and a much longer route to the hole. Play the course in early morning or late afternoon and the shadows cast off the mounds are inspirational for golf.