Nomadic_golfer : January 2022
Par 71, 5592m, slope 122, $25 green fee
4 par3s 137-169m, 11 par4s 279-399m, 3 par5s 436-442m
Great looking 9 hole track in good condition on undulating country with superb forest-like surrounds on it’s southern boundaries. On-course trees are large and of many different varieties, with large pines and gums defining a number of holes. Fairways are a mix of native rye and kikuyu and were in good condition, the ground staff getting some striped fairway action to embellish this a little.
Greens (which are ‘large-ish’ for a 9 hole country course and have some interesting and varied shapes) are bentgrass, in very good condition, yet quite sluggish which may be due to a deluge of rain earlier in the week. However, the most obvious common characteristic of these 9 holes is water; it plays a part in 8 of the 9 holes, with some subtle (very narrow streams running both sides of the 5th for example), and some smack in your face (the huge effluent dam that splits and dominates the par4s in 6 and 9).
Aesthetic highlights are: the view from the 1st tee (a beautiful scene-setter, looking downhill between mature trees on this 320m left to right par4, with the inside corner full of massive trees, it then turns further downhill for the second to a green protected by bunkers both sides and water right); the gum-forest bordering the left of the short par4 4th; and the view from the 140/ 150m 3rd, a downhill par 3 to a quirky semi-circle shaped green with a straight edge on the left side, which is guarded by a narrow rectangular bunker).
Most memorable holes from a golfing viewpoint were: 11 (this 400m par4 might be the hardest 4 in Tassie. Right to left, with stream to avoid and a second shot quite steeply uphill. It plays as a par 5 for the 2nd hole, with an extra 40m, but the hole looks like it was designed as a 2-shotter with a large green); and 6/ 15 (320m with the dam immediately left requiring a 230-240m carry if you stray that way, has OB on a bank, 20m right of the fairway, which bends slightly left but slopes right and goes steeply downhill for the last 60m to a green set at the bottom of a hill with a stream cutting across the front of the narrow green that looks diagonally at you from front left. There is a lot going on with 6!!).
Exeter is a collection of really good holes, except for the routing of the par 3 7th (it’s sister 16th is good) but it just leaves you wondering why they designed the course with the 3 longest holes (6 longest in the 18) basically all the same. Holes 2/ 11, 5/ 14 & 8/ 17 are all long, doglegs left that face the same direction, start off flat, turn left at around driving length, then move uphill to the green. Other than this, it ticks a lot of boxes for me: Hole layout – tick, some strategic element – tick, aesthetic – tick, condition – tick, that intangible, character – felt like a tick. But don’t let this little hiccup dissuade you from a round here; it is very entertaining.