Nomadic_golfer : September 2021
Par 72, 5682m, slope 114, $20 green fee
5 par3s from 101-173m, 8 par4s from 283-376m, 5 par5s from 454-497m
This is a different experience out in the mining town of Roxby Downs, 500km north of Adelaide, basically in the middle of nowhere. It does appear like an oasis out of the dessert and there are obvious challenges in upkeep with looking after tees, fairways and greens (yes, grass greens, couch in fact) in an environment of red sand and only 5 inches of rain a year, but this is fun. The contrast in colours is beautiful; the deep red of the desert, the dark greens of the grasses, against the black sand scrapes and blue skies is stark and spectacular.
The tees have a good grass cover, the couch greens are also well covered and (the day after their Club Championships) played about as well as couch greens can. The fairways are improving all the time, you definitely don’t need a fake-grass mat these days but preferred lies are necessary, and there are a mixture of grasses that make up the fairways. The layout is solid, without many quirks, and it has 5 par3s and 5 par5s making up the par 72, which I like.
The 3’s are a good mix, and generally quite tough, especially in the northerly I played in, with all 3 on the back 9 facing North. My favourite of the 3s was probably 4, 137m uphill to a very wide but shallow green with one little tree 40m short to play with your eye line. The 5’s are good too, and have some length with 3 of them 490m or over. The par 4s are entertaining but lack the length for this to be a real test, with only 1 of them over 340m. They do however, represent the fun bit. With 3 of them under 290, and 4 between 290 and 340, you are constantly tempted to belt the driver and go birdie hunting. Here is where it gets interesting; miss the fairways here and anything can happen. There are lots of saltbushes and other dessert-like scrub and a bit of tumbleweed, together with snakes, lizards, soft red sand and rocks to prevent you recovering, but you can get the occasional decent lie in the rough. The 290m 12th was my favourite of the short 4s, right to left giving you a hard draw option or one over trees, to a green protected by a collection of large rocks short and right, and the normal saltbushes if you miss wide.
The last 6 holes represent the strongest, most challenging stretch. The 490m par 5 15th snakes right to left early, then left to right and challenges the bold line down the right off the tee, while the 380m 16th is the toughest 4, left to right with a reverse camber on the generous fairway, increasing its slope toward the green which has a drop-off left.
Overall, I found this an enjoyable golfing experience. Its not long but there are plenty of challenges. Keep your ball in play, be selective of when to play those risk cards, watch where your feet land and you will enjoy it. It is a credit to the locals to have such a facility out here.