Nomadic_golfer : January 2022
Par 72, 6199m, slope 129, $85 green fee
4 par3s 125-200m, 10 par4s 290-420m, 4 par5s 460-550m
Tasmania GC occupies a spectacular parcel of land, jutting out into Barilla Bay with bay views from most holes and fabulous design on undulating terrain, only minutes from the CBD. Al Howard designed this course which opened on the current site in 1971 after the club occupied several other sites previously
With the first tee and clubhouse perched up at the high point of the course (and hill), this views are breathtaking from the moment you get out of your car. A tree removal program in recent years has removed 300 eucalypts that were struggling/ died and has opened the course up somewhat, along with the views and exposure to the wind, which was very gentle for my round. Defining characteristics after the bay views are the sizable undulations, the rough nature of the sandy wasteland, large & undulating greens (some are forgiving saucer-shaped, that kick the ball towards the centre of the green) large deep bunkers, lots of sidehill & uphill/ downhill lies and the tall trees that remain, though not prevalent on every hole.
There are a number of grasses at play here, with some fescue (throughout but noticeable on surrounds) and rye observed. The green staff are currently fighting fungus and moss impacts on the playing surfaces, treatments have been applied and both greens and fairways were a bit patchy on my visit, but I’m sure this is very short-term.
The start is a direct contrast to that at RHGC, with 2 short 4’s to open, the first a drivable 290m down a steep hill, reminds me of Victoria GC. The bay views on those 1st 3 holes are unreal: straight at it on 1, up over a crest and the green set against it on 2 and then 3 is the signature hole, 528m sweeping left all the way with the bay on the inside. Pick your line across the water according to your length and away you go.
The 3s are varied and memorable, and I found the hardest par3 in Tassie. Its the 200m 5th, up a steep hill, bunkered and sparse trees both sides, with thick, soft rough short. The 160m 8th makes it a tough pair of 3s on the front, running parallel to the bay, fully exposed, dropping off on the right toward the sea, sloping down to the right, pot bunkers left – it’s imposing. On the 125m 11th tee, you are staring straight at the bay as you contemplate your club from an exposed tee, straight down a steep hill to a long, narrow green that looks diagonally at you from front right and drops off behind to the sea. You knew a hole like this was coming!!
I’m thinking the best example of the tall trees, and a look back to before the tree removal program, might be the 550m 16th. Its downhill off the tee, sweeps gently right for it’s entirety which can all be seen from the tee, between rows of huge trees (both pines and gums) on both sides and the Tasman Hwy on the left. It’s a spectacular hole without a sea view. Stories abound that the course will lose some land (& current playing territory) as the adjacent Tasman Highway is expanded, and plans are in place to cater for this.
Overall, this well-loved Tassie icon which has consistently ranked as the state’s top course outside of Barnbougle & King Island in the past, is a mixture of birdie opportunities and really tough holes. Combined with some of those forgiving green contours, its the sort of course where you would expect your share of birdies, but a lot of bogeys (or worse). And you won’t forget the aesthetics here in a hurry!