Course 13 for 2023 – Roma GC, Qld
The pretty, 141m par3 17th
Nomadic_golfer : April 2023
Par 72, 6263m slope 115 $30
4 par3s 138-175m, 10 par4s 279-409m, 4 par5s 480-512m
Welcome to Outback Golf. The Roma Golf Course is a long 18 hole course just out of this Central Southern Qld town of 7k people, 6 hours west of Brisbane. It is something different as the gateway to the Outback, with the fairways consisting of a mixture of dirt, sand, stones and dry weeds. A local rule allows you to ‘tee it up on the spot, through the green’.
The greens are pretty good, 328 Bermuda with lush kikuyu (predominantly) surrounds and these complexes look like an oasis on the end of the dry fairways. The colour contrasts on a bright, cloudless morning are a golfer’s take on some quintessential outback stuff – the sandy browns against the deep green grass of the green complexes and beaming blue of the sky – I loved it at an hour after sunrise.
As far as the course goes, most fairways are quite wide, with gums and some thicker dry grasses, combining with the length (3 par 5’s over 500m and 3 par 4’s over 400m) as the staple defences but there are clumps of trees here and there, rather than wall-to-wall trees. It doesn’t quite play as long as its yardage suggests as there is a bit of run on the fairways – not as much as you’d think though, as there is quite a bit of softer sand/ dirt there.
The routing and design has real merit, with a bit of strategic thinking behind a number of holes. I had already enjoyed the front 9, with the strong 170m par3 2nd being the highlight for me but I thought the stretch of holes from 11-17 were on another level. Each has some distinguishing feature, and a few provide options off the tees.
My 3 favourites holes are probably: 12 (404m par 4 dogleg right where the best look at the green is to take on the more dangerous inside corner, before a mid iron approach to a pretty, elevated green with backdrop of gums); 14 (394m downhill par 4 14th, that gives you a view of the complete hole from the elevated tee. Its a straight-away tee shot down the hill with trees and OB right, some thicker stuff left to catch a bail-out, and a pond at about the 280m mark for the bombers. It then bends 30 degrees right to another green in a gum-tree setting); and 15 (a tempting 279m par4 with a few options off the tee. Itt appears like you have a lot of fairway width from the tee, but this is deceiving. There is an OB right and trees left which prevent those that bail out from flighting one to the green).
The tee shot on the dogleg left, 354m 16th is probably the most interesting on the course. The inside corner is stacked with 15-20 metre high (I guess) trees which give the left-to-righters an attacking option, rather than long iron or 3 wood to the corner of this hooker-favoured tee shot. The attempted hook/ draw around the corner that doesn’t move, ends up in the thickest stuff on the course – must avoid!
Overall, this is a ‘must play’ on the outback golf menu; it really is something different, has plenty of golfing challenge, outback beauty and some real nous behind the hole structure.