Blog 191 – North West Bay

Course 18 for 2022 – North West Bay GC, Margate, Tas

The uphill 440m par5 finishing hole

A bit of everything overlooking the bay

Nomadic_golfer : February 2022

Par 72, 6033m, slope 130, $35 green fee

3 par3s 152-173m, 12 par4s 265-428m, 3 par5s 436-520m

Set on the side of a hill, 20km south of Hobart’s CBD, overlooking Stinkpot & North West Bay, this club has claims to being Australia’s southern-most 18 hole course. This would be a great place to learn how to play golf and deal with all the vagaries you experience on different types of courses. It is exposed to the wind, has uphill and downhill lies, sidehill lies, there are bunkers on more than half the holes, water hazards, the greens are pure with lots of slope and break, and I dare say conditions that change markedly with the season. My summer visit was a very positive experience.

There are a lot of elements to take in around this 18 hole journey (4 par 4s under 300m and 5 par 4s over 390m for a start), but the most consistent feature through the 18 holes was the quality of the putting surfaces – they were as pure as anything I’ve seen in Tassie. They have some real gradients on them, and tend not to be of the ‘buried elephant’ variety, more of a constant slope for the whole green. You do get some wicked breaking putts on the large bentgrass/ poa greens.

Fairways are predominantly rye/ fescue and were in solid condition, lots of large dry areas, commensurate with sloping surfaces in the summer . Its ok, that’s natural. (Course Supervisor John Ramsden tells me they are set for an oversow this year).

Just like the elevation here, there are some ups and downs in the layout – I thought the last 8 holes had a different vibe to the first 10 – you walk over the crest of the breath-taking 11th and move into a heavier scrub-type environment with more surrounding bracken fern and sandy wasteland.

While I didn’t ‘love’ every one of those holes, my favourite holes were through that stretch: 11 (a straightaway 430m par4 but don’t panic, it plays way less than that and does wonders for your ego on the drive. A blind tee shot over a crest with the bay forming a magnificent backdrop, before the fairway goes steeply downhill, so much so that my best 240-250m drive went 345m, I don’t reckon I’ve ever hit one that far. It then flattens for the green set in a pocket of scrub, with some bumps and mounds on the low right side); 14 (170m par3 with the ground sloping steeply to the left. A yawning bunker guards the high-side front right and another is halfway up the left of a very long, and slightly narrower green); and 15 (somewhat controversially, as I’m not normally a fan of a reverse camber fairway, that starts this 520m par5 off. It turns hard right around some gums off the tee, with the ground sloping hard left – there is a very unusual drop down left of the fairway, and a large opening in the trees, which results in a miss left bounding further and further left. The hole then bends gently right before a little turn back left to a lovely narrow green complex, with a drop-off short left on the low side and a deep bunker further back left).

Overall, this is real golf here where any weaknesses in your game will be exposed. Its a solid layout with lots of variation in hole lengths, shapes required and lies experienced. The greens break a lot but are pure, and those last 8 holes will leave you with a positive taste in your mouth, and out of breath!