Blog 196 – St Marys

Course 23 for 2022 – St Mary’s GC, Tas

The 450m 1st / 394m 10th – the “road hole” or the “fence hole” ?

Pretty cool, rustic old track with a lot of quirks

Nomadic_golfer : February 2022

Par 67, 4875m, slope 112, $10 green fee

6 par3s 100-196m, 11 par4s 245-394m, 1 par5 450m

This is an interesting, quirky and fun layout in the little town of St Marys in the NE of Tassie, 10 minutes up the hill from the coast near Scamander, 1.5 hrs East of Launceston. Looked after by volunteers, the condition was ok, but the gold here is in the old layout and the unique/ different design elements and obstacles that feature here.

The course is part of St Marys Sport Centre, which includes the Bowling Club, the Oval and a camping ground, with the course routed between and around these landmarks. Club stalwart Rodney, who it becomes obvious, loves this place and the community, was very generous in his time, giving me lots of history and info. The course was established in the 1920’s and was originally 6 holes, routed around an oval located near the current 8th hole. They drained a swamp years later, relocated the oval a few hundred metres and stretched the course to 9 holes, and it is dead flat (well, almost).

Greens consist of a mixture of Creeping Red Fescue and Browntop Bent, the bent has to be limited due to the regular frosts in the area – and they were ok. Fairways are a mixture of that same fescue and native ryes, and probably better than normal for this time of year due to recent rain.

You get a little taste of everything here. There are some holes of length (2 par4s over 380m, and 180 & 196m par3s), some tight holes (8/17 and 9/18), some very generous fairways, some small areas of dense scrub, some sparsely populated tree areas, some bunkers (they’ve had to cull a couple), some grassy bunkers, some grassy mounds around the fringes, a couple of gutters/ streams, some OB fences, greens up against fences, some large greens, some small.

There are differentiating features and memorable tidbits everywhere, but in strength and character of the golf holes, I reckon the par 3s are the highlight: the long 2nd (196/ 180m) to a round flat green protected by 3 ‘speed humps’ (2 raised grass mounds cutting horizontally across the front of the green and another across the back) will always test you; the 152/ 176m 5th with its avenue of sparse but symmetrically placed gums and bushes leading to a green set in front of 3 gums and the oval, is tough and very pretty; and the 100/ 103m 7th from tees set back in trees to a long narrow, slightly domed green with grassy slopes on drop-offs right, left and back, with the campground toilets as your backdrop, demands you get your wedge on line

But what leaves you smiling when you leave here are the quirks/ little unique touches: the 1st 450m par5/ 10th 394m par4 – a dirt road hugs the left of the 1st and sweeps across in front of the green which is set back in a corner with OB fences long and left, there is also a 5 metre long fence in the middle of the fairway about 100m out; the 300m 3rd has a similar fence in the middle of it’s fairway; the second shot on 6, which turns diagonally right, over a fence and you can see 3 different greens to choose from (I didn’t pick the right one); finding the 17th tee, which has the tightest chute in Tassie. I missed seeing that 17th tee the first time around and assumed it went off 8; the 9th green set in a corner with the implement shed long and a hedge left. Some of these are natural, some just happened over the years, some even a little stark or crass but in aggregate they reek of character

The final word – for $10, it’s not manicured but it is unique, interesting, a fun experience and has some character of it’s own. Play it, I say!

Sorry about the photos, it was dark and grey – and I’ve had to enhance them a little.