Nomadic_golfer : September 2022
Par 72, 5807m, slope 110 $10
4 par3s 150-168m, 10 par4s 289-371m, 4 par5s 436-507m
This is quite a unique course in Tropical FNQ, and not only because it has 14 holes. Ten of these holes are set in the middle of a racetrack; its quirky, different and definitely interesting. On some of the tees, it looks as though you can hit it anywhere and get away with it, you can hardly see a tree, bush or hazard. Beware the rough however, what looks like innocent low-level rough is gnarly, ball hiding stuff. And that’s before you wander wide out on to the racetrack itself – the grass on the track was only say 4-5 inches high but you had to be right on top of your ball to find it in that gear.
The use of the racetrack as a ‘hazard’ is pretty cool – the green at the short par5 2nd has it long and left of the green, so if you are having a go in 2, its a ‘must avoid’, while the short par4 7th has it bordering the fairway on the right, opposite some water on the left – a clever short4.
The 4 holes that you play twice include the first 2, which are both par5s. Its in rare company as I’ve only come across 4 others in Oz that start this way: Kooyonga, Keith SA, Keysborough Vic & Commercial GC, Albury. There are a couple of bland, straight holes without many features but there are plenty of interesting quirky bits too – the race track and rails, some hidden hazards, some fairways flanked by very sparse, small palms 50 metres apart. Further defenses for the course consist of a few bunkers, a couple of hazards that run through multiple holes and a few dry dips that may contain water at other times of the year.
The 4 holes outside the track are very different in nature – almost look like something on the Murray with a number of gums in play amongst the tropical staples, and the ubiquitous cane farm behind the 11th. That 11th was probably my favourite hole, a 370m par4 gently bending left with tall trees on the inside corner demanding a draw – a bail out right is faced with very tall trees to carry on your 2nd. The 330m 13th dogleg right among gums is very picturesque while the 150m 10th between some pines and palms to an elevated green, has to hit my favourite list – I did knock my 6-iron into the hole there!!
Condition was fine – the greens started out as 328 Bermuda and have become a real mixture, with couch and some broad-leaf grasses intruding – they are on a path to convert all to couch. They are medium in size, condition and pace. Buffalo pervades the rough and gets into some of the fairways too, but the fairways were in pretty good nick. And as per Tully, for an area that gets so much rainfall, the surfaces were quite firm. There aren’t any paid greenkeeping staff here, all volunteers and it looks like a lot of work, keeping that grass in check. I was out there on a Friday and there were lots of volunteers about; it feels like a really healthy and competitive club with 10 or a dozen members off 5 or less – pretty good for a small country club!
Overall, this is different, quirky and entertaining, and for $10, you can’t say no.