Blog 129 – McCracken

Course 29 for 2021 – McCracken, Victor Harbor SA

Tough walk and good test of golf, lots of sand and water

The large green complex on the tricky, 350m 3rd

Nomadic_golfer : June 2021

Par 72, 5841m, slope 136, $45 green fee

5 par 3s from 135 – 175m, 8 par 4s from 295 – 368m, 5 par 5s from 437 – 492m (white tee yardages)

This Tony Cashmore designed links-style layout was opened in the early 90’s and has a sizeable residential component that has grown considerably since my time in the area (I left in 1993). Recent plans have been announced to spend millions on enhancing the holiday aspect of the property and the course is poised to lose a bit of land as a result. It is a difficult golf course for its length once any breeze arrives, as even the easier holes (short par 5s) are well protected by water (slope 140 off the back or 136 off the blue). 5 par 5s and 5 3s which is a plus for mine. Dramatic level changes on a number of holes adds interest with very steep inclines on 9 and 14 the most pronounced and challenging.

It is very well bunkered, with water also coming into play regularly, there are 14 hazards on the course and not many trees. I do like the green complexes, lots of variety featuring some interesting shapes and contours, appropriate to the length of the hole. The par 3’s are the highlight here; all strong and different with the tough 2nd (175m across water, slightly uphill, to an undulating green looking diagonally at you from short left to long right, flanked by 2 bunkers); and 13th (163m across water which also guards the left side of the green, while the right side has a very deep bunker requiring a downhill bunker shot to the flag) my favourites.

All the par 5s give you a chance (wind dependent) but the prevalence of water means you will make birdies & your share of ‘others’ here too. 1 and 10 are good examples and similar holes running parallel to each other from the clubhouse. They both playing significantly downhill, making them reachable in two but have fairway bunkers poised for the tee shots and water to catch the over-ambitious 2nd shot. The par5 4th is a little bewdy, short, slightly up hill with a water carry to take on if you want a go in 2, to a very narrow green with built up mounds left.

Aesthetically, the course itself looks appealing but there are houses in almost every backdrop; they are everywhere. Condition is interesting, the wintergreen couch fairways and tees were ok, the large 1020 bent greens pretty good for the start of winter, while a number of the bunkers appear more as wasteland than manicured bunkers. The course is a really good complement for the more pristine, tree-tight, parkland style Victor Harbor course.