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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 220
1. ROYAL Sydney’s clubhouses carry a chequered past, including four separate fires. The first came in 1899 when the club’s initial professional, James Scott, helped extinguish a blaze that had broken out in the pantry. The two worst fires occurred in 1920 and 1952. Today, the giant clubhouse artfully straddles the fine line between tradition and modernisation and includes a top-grade fitness centre, two swimming pools, a gym, café, child-minding facilities, plus group exercise studios and a treatment room in the club’s pavilion. FOUR YEARS AGO, ROYAL SYDNEY DISCOVERED IT OWNED A HAZARD FAR MORE DEADLY THAN A DEEP WATER HAZARD OR CAVERNOUS BUNKER. 2. FOUR years ago, Royal Sydney discovered it owned a hazard far more deadly than a deep water hazard or cavernous bunker. Researchers discovered an unexploded high explosive artillery round leftover from World War II lay beneath the 8th hole of the club’s nine-hole Centenary course. Fired from a Japanese submarine in nearby Sydney Harbour in mid- 1942, the shell contained more than three kilograms of high explosive and was one of 10 fired from an I-class sub. Given the time that had passed since WWII, the director of Explosives Ordnance Services advised the club that no danger existed and therefore no action would be immediately necessary while the site remained a golf course. 3. AS A private club, Royal Sydney likes to keep its members and daily business exactly that: private. However, it is a haven for some occasional golfers who count themselves among society’s rich and famous. One celebrity to grace the Rose Bay fairways from time to time is Nicole Kidman, who was once snapped by the paparazzi playing there with billionaire friend Steve Bing. Kidman’s golf game is mediocre at best, but the snaps were deployed worldwide, giving the club more publicity than during most championships. 5. THE 1st tee at Royal Sydney sits directly beside the northern end of the clubhouse, with golfers teeing off in an easterly direction. Given that the 1st is a short par-4 and often requires only an iron for position for the opening strike of the round, the large windows sitting at right angles to the tee are in prime position to wear the full force of the golfer’s most nightmarish miscue: the shank. And, yes, it does happen from time to time. 4. THE tabloids had a field day last April when a Royal Sydney member saw his privileges revoked for three months after his girlfriend sun-baked topless beside the club’s swimming pool. As he enjoyed a round of golf, she enjoyed the autumn sunshine by wearing nothing above the waist. Given the club’s elderly membership, the spectacle would likely have caused a few heartrates to rise to dangerous levels. There have also been stories of visitors being harangued for wearing skirts that were deemed too short, much to the embarrassment of the member accompanying them.
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GA Express 221