Blog 128 – South Lakes

Course 28 for 2021 – South Lakes, Goolwa SA

Links-like feel with a unique personality

First light from the car park across water to the 12th

Nomadic_golfer : May 2021

Par 70, 5697m (white), green fee $40, Slope 118

4 par 3s from 129-164m, 12 par 4s from 306-376m, 2 par 5s of 451 & 489

This links-like course within earshot of the crashing waves of Goolwa beach, at the top of The Coorong, where the Murray River reaches the ocean, was built in 1966. It does not have a heap of length, with a lot of medium length par 4s and only 2 par 5s but with the regular wind and exposure the course has, distance is not necessarily best measured in metres here.

The terrain is flat, but the course contains lots of links-like humps and bumps and mounds. Pine trees line many holes while low lying bush and sandy, sparse rough adds to the links feel. Most greens are protected by bunkers, with a number of fairway bunkers added since I was last here in the early 1990s. Almost every green is slightly elevated, more so at the back meaning each green slopes down to the front and favours conservative club selection; you pay a price if you miss greens anywhere past pin high. Santa anna fairways were on the dormant turn but had reasonable cover, the bent/ poa greens were good for late May, and medium paced.

The short 306m par 2nd is a ripper, and feels the most links like hole on the course; it’s the narrowest fairway on the course, straight, and flat with low lying bushes down both sides, fairway bunkers on each side at driving length and a steep drop-off to the right of the green. Its an excellent risk/ reward hole with plenty of options off the tee. My other favourite hole on the front is 5, only 130m, but into the prevailing head & left to right wind, to a small green protected by a short right bunker, with a pair of pines behind framing the green.

There are some quirky bits here too, the two par 4’s over the road (14 & 16) are both severe, early turning doglegs and need a bit of local knowledge. The changes to the last 2 holes since I last played here are positive, adding fairway bunkers to both of these ~350m par 4s. Its added a risk/ reward element to the left-turning 17th with a bunker on the inside corner to a green protected by pines and a bunker short left; and bunkers on the right side of the left turning 18th where the drive is protected by trees left, demands a solid tee shot on the last to make your regulation 4.

Overall, its an enjoyable sea-side course with a personality of its own. It is a real easy walk, while the degree of golfing challenge is impacted more by the weather conditions of the day than the yardage numbers on the card.