Course 14 for 2023 – Charleville GC, Qld
The par3 7th, with those unique, shored-up bunker faces
Nomadic_golfer : May 2023
Par 72, 6094m slope 107 $20
4 par3s 128-185m, 10 par4s 312-402m, 4 par5s 480-526m
The 2nd ‘out-back’ course of this year’s trip
The course is quite unique with 9 grass greens and 9 sandscrapes, as well as 9 grassed tees and 9 small, hard risen-blocks for tees. The grass greens are very small and actually in pretty good condition, very smooth and looked an absolute picture at daybreak. They also have a generous collar of kikuyu surrounds.
Combine the small scrapes and the small greens with soft surrounds and it is very difficult to hit GIR’s. The putting stats however, are enhanced (which is always very welcome in my back yard). Fairways are just sand/ dirt but recent rains have sprouted almost never-ending clumps of grass/ weeds every metre or so. This results in a bumpy walk down the fairway and next to no run on the drives.
There are plenty of trees lining the fairways and some areas of thicker rough to check your free-wheeling off the tees. This also makes recoveries from the trees very difficult as the low escapes are all ‘bump’ and no ‘run’. The bunkers on 1 and 7 are quite different, shored-up by railway sleepers across the front – hardhats required for any thinned escape attempts.
Some of the dog legs and position of trees are quite extreme, with: the 334m 6th being a J-shaped right-turn that requires local knowledge of where to place your tee shot as the only option I could work out was to lay back 120-150m out and hit your 2nd high over those trees; and the very tough 185m 12th, with OB left and a large, leaning gum that leaves a <10m gap under its leaves which it appears from the tee you have to ‘sting’ one under. Once you get up to the green, you can see that the tree is 20 metres short of the green and a very high hybrid might be a better option than that closed-face 3 iron I centred my prayers around.
Intriguingly, the official difficulty rating is very low (my 2.1 handicap gave me +3 for the day off the whites!). With the yardage, make-up of the fairways, difficulty in escapes and tricky tree encroachments, that would be a one-in-a-lifetime achievement I reckon!
As a footnote, I missed an opportunity the day before these photos were taken, to play in one of Charleville’s biggest days of the year, a 3-person Sunday Ambrose, as everyone arrived with their team of 3 complete. I did hang around for a bit before the start and the locals were up and about with 63 starters including a busload from Quilpie. As I had a 3 hour drive the next morning, missing out may have been a lucky break – they do know how to enjoy themselves out here.