Nomadic_golfer : July 2021
Par 72, 6014m (blue), slope 126, $44 green fee
5 par 3s from 127 – 188m, 8 par 4s from 229 – 385m, 5 par 5s from 452 – 550m
I was pleasantly surprised with what Flagstaff Hill now dishes up as a par 72 layout with 5 par 5s and 5 par 3s. First opened in 1968, with an exhibition featuring 4 blokes named Nicklaus, Palmer, Player & Devlin, there have been numerous improvements to course, surrounds & clubhouse since and I do like what currently is on offer. 2 of the par 5s (1 & 18) are well over 500m and ranked 1 and 2 on the stroke index – never seen that before, while the other 3 are all mid-length and give you a chance with some risk/ reward involved.
The 3s are really varied, with the 140m 7th involving a water carry across Loch Hillan (the dam) the signature hole here. The 4s are an interesting bunch; a couple of really good short ones and the rest all medium length, nothing over 385m from the back. I really like this layout; heaps of variety and good design, gum-lined fairways on the narrow side but not overly so, with rough that isn’t overly penal generally. There is plenty of variety with hole shape, undulations used well, the big dam, a meandering creek that features on a few holes, it’s not too hilly and bunkers are well placed. The newest green complexes are excellent, with the large, contoured and well bunkered 16th and 17th the standouts.
Fairways are couch and look to have good cover, though dormant mid-winter, while the poa/ bentgrass greens were excellent for this time of year, and still quite quick. Most memorable holes for me: 7 (the obvious one); par 5 8th (which I’m sure polarises opinion, a mid length sweeping right par 5 with a creek as it’s right-side border and a fairway that slopes left to right. A large gum 80m out on the left side of the fairway gets in the way if you are anywhere left of centre off the tee, it rewards you to take on the risky right side and the green slopes wickedly down to the right to accentuate this; and 12 (10 & 11 are real birdie (perhaps eagle) chances, then 12 for me is the hardest on the course at ~380m with downhill tee shot to a fairway that slopes to the right with a bunker left, then back up to a well-bunkered green sloping hard left.
Overall, I had underestimated this layout from my experiences 30 years ago. It doesn’t play long but its variation of features and strategic content probably has it as my next choice in the city/ suburbs, after the big 4!