Nomadic_golfer : February 2021
Par 72, 6116m, green fee $50, Slope 128
4 par 3s from 140-201m, 10 par 4s from 321-408m, 4 par 5s from 438-510m
This intriguing course in the little town of Mt Compass, population 1.7k an hour south of Adelaide has a front 9 that was designed by Brian Crafter, who passed away before construction started. Son Neil took over and they were playing on it in 1995. Neil then designed the back 9 and 18 holes were up and running in 1998. Neil returned after an ownership change in 2016 and cleaned up a lot of vegetation and renovated the bunkers. This investment has paid off with the course climbing up the Australian rankings to be in the top 100 and top 50 public access.
It has a real sandbelt feel, rough has been left around the edges and it possesses some spectacular, but natural-looking bunkering. The bunkers range from small pot bunkers that you do well just to get out of (10th green for example) to large, natural looking stuff like you find on the 1st. My enduring memory however, is the amount of decisions you need to make on the tees of the par 4s and 5s. There are some obvious short-medium 4s that ask these questions (1, 3, 4 & 6) but some of the longer holes ask the same questions as the fairway narrows the longer you progress (the short par5 10th is a classic example – to drive far enough to have a crack at the green in 2 you need to hit it in the narrowest part of the fairway with trouble both sides).
Trouble around here is in the form of heather, bushes and long grass in sandy wasteland; there are plenty of opportunities to part with your ball. There is Pennlinks bentgrass on the greens which had an excellent cover and were medium paced. Fairways are couch and were pretty good too. In terms of stand-out holes, the short-medium par 4s on the front 9 all have character and there are a few. 6 is probably the stand out; 350m with a tee shot requiring a carry over a small pond and heather, that sits diagonally in front of you on a hole that turns right. You pick how much you want to chew off by how far you think you can hit it. Bunkering around this green is a standout too. The par 5 10th is a ripper, I talked about the tee shot which is the obvious risk/ reward piece but the green complex has the most difficult bunkering on the course too. The par 3 12th is another standout hole, 170m to a very wide green that leans towards a lake on the right side.
Overall, this is a fantastic track, you never quite feel like you can release the shackles and pin the ears back, and there are a few questions that you will have answers for on your 2nd time around, but this is a quality course that caters for golfers of all levels.