Course 19 for 2021 – Aston Hills, Mount Barker, SA
Well conditioned quirky course in a large growth hub
Nomadic_golfer : April 2021
Par 70, 5567m, green fee $42, Slope 125
4 par 3s from 144-178m, 12 par 4s from 263-417m, 2 par 5s from 450-478m
I’ve never been sure how to characterise this course and this is still the case on returning for the first time in 28 years, to what was the Mt Barker Golf Club. The course is now surrounded by multiple housing developments and local demand should underpin the club’s future here. It starts with a 420m uphill par 4 that had a large tree on either side of the fairway at 200m 30 years ago; now it has gums thick on either side – a bloody tough start. It then has an uphill 406m par 4 3rd. After that, there are 8 par 4s under 335m. And with the 2 par 5s as the 5th and 6th, length off the tee is irrelevant thereafter, its all about keeping it on the narrow fairways and plotting your way around with some ultra-tight, short doglegs under 280m as the 10th and 11th being what sticks in your mind after the round, together with that tough start.
The couch fairways and immediate surrounds were in good to better condition in April, the next level of surrounds were a bit muddy and slushy. The medium sized bent greens were soft but medium paced and pretty good. Not much bunkering around the place, a few on the back nine and really soft. Best holes are: 2 (144m, shortest hole on the course, across a ditch to an elevated green that is best with a left pin as the green drops away short, left and long; and 13 (336m par 4 with water right and trees encroaching left – any bail out sees those trees blocking your 2nd to an elevated green with a bunker short left; you must take on that dangerous right side to get a clear shot at the green.
The 2 par 5’s offer some good risk/ reward with water in play on the approaches to both. 16 has the makings of a good hole, 370m sweeping left to right with small pines and OB right, mounds left off the tee and an excellent bunkered green but the reverse camber fairway detracts.
Overall, they have done a good job in conditioning with what they have here but it is a little claustrophobic with the number of tight short 4s.