Blog 114 – Ashbourne

Course 14 for 2021, Ashbourne, SA

Pretty as a picture, difficult scoring

Nomadic_golfer : February 2021

Par 66, 4818m, green fee $20, Slope 100 – 9 hole course

8 par 3s from 131-175m, 8 par 4s from 294-400m, 2 par 5s of 435m

This picturesque 9 hole course in the hills SE of Adelaide, is the home of the McLaren Vale Golf Club, and a 40 minute drive from McLaren Vale. The setting is beautiful, with lots of gums and some pine tree lined fairways. Some grass length is kept on the small greens as there are some very severely sloped putting surfaces.

There aren’t any bunkers or defined hazards as such, but anyone who plays to their low handicap around here has had a day out – there are some difficult holes among this 9. From the 385m straight 1st/10th with a narrow fairway that slopes right and kicks anything but a draw into the rough, then requires an approach to a green that slopes away from you, to the 400m 4th (again straight) with a severely sloping right to left fairway, and small, similarly sloped green, all the way through to the hardest par 3 in the state – the 9th/18th. It is 175m if you go straight at it, over high mature gums that only end 5-10m short of the green, or can be played as a dog leg right of 205m for those who can’t carry it 25 metres high at 165-175m. The pick of the holes is probably the 160m 6th, playing downhill between 2 pines 20m short of a green set in heavily right to left sloping terrain. There are a number of options here; from taking on the left pine and flying onto the surface to playing slightly shorter and lower, to run it up the right bank and let the hill sling it down onto the green. Oh, and btw those pine trees do eat golf balls.

It’s not a pristinely manicured track and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it is set in spectacular country and will test your shotmaking abilities (there are calls for right to left shapes and left to rights, and for bump and runs mixed with high shots). It’s where I learnt to play golf, and it is a special little place.