Nomadic_golfer : February 2022
Par 69, 5393m, slope 123, $50 green fee
6 par3s 114-171m, 9 par4s 264-419m, 3 par5s 453-475m
This 18 hole course, established in 1950, occupies a spectacular piece of land 15 minutes north of the Hobart CBD, surrounded 270 degrees by the Derwent, between Windermere & Beedhams Bay, with open views of Mt Wellington. There are a number of elevation changes, and lots of sloping fairways. The Derwent is on display from all over the course and tree culling in recent times (a lot of the pines had reached their 70 year expiry date) has opened up the views and the exposure to the breeze. The result is a winding track, with unlimited postcard views and sparsely populated trees.
It gets off to a ripping start, with the first 8 holes an unusual hole sequence of 3 par3s and 3 par5s, with the other 2 both 400m par4s. Those first 8 holes are this course’s strength, have a different feel and pose a stronger test, than the last 10. They predominantly occupy the coastline on the southern edge of the peninsula, provide lovely views, test the golfer in both accuracy and length, while giving a couple of scoring opportunities with the par5s.
The first sets the scene aesthetically, (a 460m par5 that plays slightly downhill after a blind tee shot and culminates in a ripping view with the Derwent as a backdrop to a green that starts at fairway height and has the left, right and back fall away dramatically). Then: 2 (170m par3 with the Derwent immediately on your right and a small inlet that cuts in front of a raised shallow green); 5 (400m sweeping left to right par4 with fairway sloping right, the Derwent on the inside corner, accompanying you for the length of the hole then wrapping around the back of a round green with little magnetic pot bunker short right); and 7 (411m par 4, moving left, slightly uphill) set the par bar high.
While the views, elevation changes and sloping fairways continue beyond 8, there are a number of short par4’s which are not quite driveable to entice the risk/ reward seekers, and the penalty for missing is not great. In particular, on holes 9 to 14, you get 6 short 3s and 4s in succession.
Condition was good, the medium size bentgrass & poa greens were very true, of moderate pace, a little soft, with excellent cover. With a couple of exceptions, they are not as slopey as you first think when taking in the surrounds. Fairways look like a rye/ fescue mix and were quite lush for this time of year, providing good reward for keeping tee shots on the short stuff, as the firm rough areas kick your ball further off line.
The club did experience recent financial difficulties and dug themselves out with a land sale. While I believe 17 and 18 have been altered to fit this transaction, the turf/ surrounds/ shapes near the new apartments are still bedding down and growing out. Overall, this is a good test of golf in a super location on well maintained surfaces with the best stuff early and an unusual hole sequence bunching like holes together.