Blog 155 – Ulverstone

160m par3 5th

Course 55 for 2021 – Ulverstone, Tas

Real test in a spectacular forest setting

Nomadic_golfer : November 2021

Par 72, 6160m, slope 120, $35 green fee

4 par3s 129-158m, 10 par4s 330-402m, 4 par5s 440-504m

There’s a lot of ‘wow’ in Ulverstone. Cut out of an old growth Eucalypt forest in the early 70’s, there are towering gums everywhere you look, lining every fairway and ready to send your Titleist into pin-ball type machinations. The scenery is breathtaking in Spring, these magnificent tall gums, the odd pepper tree, the multiple colours of rohododendrons in bloom (thank you Helen Maumill), lush fairways and slick (~13 on the stimp), poa greens which look a picture and are just pure. A number of the greens have some steep areas, and when combined with these slick surfaces, it is not uncommon to see a putt leave the green.

Vision isn’t the only sense that gets a treat here. The constant sounds of native birds (kookaburras and tawny frogmouths were prevalent in the fading Spring light on my visit) are only interrupted by a well struck driver sounding like a whip cracking from within those natural ampitheatres.

There aren’t a huge amount of bunkers on the course (on only 6 holes I believe) but the greens have many elevations and mounds to kick your ball away from the green, the lack of bunkers not making it any easier. Rough is typically cut under these massive bordering trees, so on most occasions you do have some sort of shot on missed fairways but there are a few places where misses will receive capital punishment.

A number of the par 4s feature clever and subtle use of trees entering your eye line off the tee to define the most appropriate shot shape for the hole and while the course is set in hilly country, there are some undulating parts of the property but the walk is not too taxing. Picking defining holes is tricky; there are a lot of spectacular views from tees of gum-lined fairways and beautiful eucalypt filled back-drops.

Those that left a lasting impression were the 5-8 stretch: 5 (160m across a dam to a 2-tiered green with a bit of leeway around the green but thick bush awaiting big misses); 6 (483m par5, dogleg right, uphill tee shot to a must-hit fairway, flattening for 2nd to a very shallow and firm green that needs a spinning approach; the sort of green you don’t want to be hitting 40m pitches from); 7 (370m straight-away par4 with one of those subtle overhanging trees 120m out on the left, demanding you hit the right half of a fairway that slopes down to the right a little); and 8 (392m par 4 turning slightly right with a narrow green sloping severely right). 10 was memorable too (400m par4, right to left with a forest on the right and a big dipping valley for the final 50m, to a small green for a hole of this length, with a bank behind the green).

The course also features 2 stadium-type par3s to finish (9 & 18) which make great club-house viewing.

Overall, this is a fantastic golf course, an experience in the tall forest, and a tough test of golf too, there are no easy bail-outs off the tee, plenty of places on the greens to avoid and enough length to keep the driver the preferred option on all 4s & 5s. It does lack a good, sub-300m par4 to round out the experience but that’s being picky. Often placed in Aust’s top 100 public access courses, at $35 green fee, it makes my top value list. Add the very welcoming Dave Harris in the pro-shop and the hospitality of Mr Rosco Jacobson from Blue Wren RV Park and you’ve rounded out a super day

As a closing note, I am completely miffed by the low slope rating (120 off the back tees at 6150m with trees that frame each fairway and reach to the sky (and they are not wide fairways at that). The par4s are a tough group; none under 330m, while 8, 10 & 14 are brutes. I’ve seen some strange ones, but that rating is right up there. I assume the fact that there aren’t many bunkers led someone up a wrong path!