Course no. 12 – Barmera, SA. One of the most progressive country clubs in the land, embraced the tennis club and built 8 lawn courts in the 90’s while the golf course goes from strength to strength
Nomadic_golfer : March 2020
Par 72, 6012m, slope 117 , green fee $40
4 par 3s from 106 – 182m, 10 par 4s from 305 – 372m, 4 par 5s from 475 – 502m
Progressive Barmera ……..
A quick backtrack to the Riverland in SA, and a Saturday game at an old home track of mine with local legends in Messrs Nev McPherson (President), Trev Hansen, Terry Fisher and Phil Ashton, in early February. This club continues to pro-actively improve its facilities, course and user experience. From relocating the local tennis courts to the golfing precinct in the 90’s (and hosting professional tennis tournaments) to continual improvements in the make-up of the golfing layout, they are always up to something.
The course is set on the shores of Lake Bonney, designed by Brain Crafter and celebrating its century in 3 years time. Per other courses in the area, it’s base is the reddish mallee sand, with fairways lined by medium sized eucalypts, typical of the Murray and Mallee areas. There are bunkers on most holes, while the menacing saltbush also lurks for gathering very wayward drives on a number of holes. The santa-anna fairways have recently undergone extra contouring and were in excellent condition, while the bent greens are medium in size, firm and quick.
The layout has genuine variety, no 2 holes are similar and scoring is never easy, despite the lack of a long par 4. Three tough par 3’s and par 5’s that are all typically ‘3-shotters’, attest to this, and firm green surrounds also make getting up and down a challenge. While the driver gets a good workout around here, there are other options on a number of the par 4’s (3, 8, 12, 15, 16) for the more faint-hearted, or those wanting to choose one side of the fairway for a better angle into the green.
The strongest holes for mine are: 6 (182m par 3 over a shallow gully, slightly uphill, to a recently redesigned green that runs diagonally from short right to long left, with a bunker short left. It’s precision stuff trying to hold this green with a breeze behind you here); 8 (my favourite driving test; 355m par 4 with a dam right, and thick trees & bushes left to catch those bailing out, to a green that slopes downhill to the right so it favours those with enough courage to aim down the risky right side); 13 (great par 5 of 491m with OB all the way down the right, a firm fairway to give you a chance of reaching the green and trees on the left that close in at driving length. It has a long but very narrow green and bushes loom both sides, providing a great risk/ reward hole; both from the tee and with the second); and 15 (this renowned short par 4 of 337m is probably the signature hole here. The fairway looks very wide from the tee but the contours of the fairway give you a much reduced landing target which lands on a slight decline and needs to stop short of a dry gully, with some nasty bushes, that runs across the fairway at just over the 200m mark. The hole then goes uphill and right to a slightly elevated and narrow green with OB left).
This is a genuine golfing experience; a good test of golf, lots of variety in the course, great views across the lake, course and tennis courts from the clubhouse deck and the most accomodating group of locals you will find. And check out the abstract golf art (below) that adorns a front portion of the clubhouse, as designed by local artist, Gary Duncan.