Course 10 for 2023 – Toowoomba GC, Middle Ridge Qld
The picturesque downhill 123m 7th
Nomadic_golfer : April 2023
Par 71, 5697m slope 121 $32
5 par3s 117-184m, 9 par4s 301-414m, 4 par5s 421-512m
Queensland’s second oldest golf club (formed in 1896) has occupied this picturesque course at Middle Ridge, 5km from the city centre, since 1926. On my April visit, there was excellent cover on the playing surfaces, with tightly knit kikuyu fairways and very true, nicely paced Penncross Bent greens that were quite soft. With the course at 700m above sea level, there is a little bit of noticeable extra carry.
It is quite tight in places (amongst the ~8000 gums on course and various other trees including pines and camphour laurels), there are a couple of very narrow fairways and in general it is quite penal on off-target tee shots. There are nice green complexes without being outstanding. Bunkering is strong and varied, and some have riveted faces (3, 10 & 13 come to mind), while some have natural red sand. I understand there have been some changes to the layout in recent years, with land behind the 9th green leased out to house a retirement village. The short uphill par4s in 9 and 13 have had some work done with the resultant funds, and the plan is for further change, with a focus on bunkers (some more riveted examples perhaps), green surfaces and tree removal.
There is an unusual routing/ hole sequence to start with the hardest hole on the course, a 414m uphill, tight par4 as the first, and a 185m par3 to back it up. Another par3 follows as the 3rd (was a 4 but neighbouring houses have had an impact and caused the hole to be reduced to a 3). Two other par3s (7&14) are very short but have appropriate green complexes to make them good, strong, interesting holes. Those par3s are a strength, the 5s not so much, apart from the 15th (a downhill 512m par5 that turns left off the tee shot with a dam on the outside right, then requires your second to be kept left of centre to best approach a narrow-ish green tucked slightly right behind a large gum).
The 4s are a good mix, with 3 strong, long holes over 380m and some risk/ reward on offer with 4 under 320m. My favourite holes other than 15, were: 6 (a dogleg right, turning uphill 395m par4 over and around smaller trees to a very wide flat, exposed green); and 12 (a 370m par4 bending slightly right to left, with fairway bunkers down the shorter, left side to a wide green with bunkers on each side, in a ‘big’ setting in front of a spectacular panorama of large gums).
Overall, this is a quality golfing experience with well-maintained surfaces and some quality holes, amid some different routing and hole sequences. There is a premium on driving accuracy, while green and surrounds are quite forgiving.