Course 16 for 2023 – Longreach GC, Qld
Nomadic_golfer : May 2023
Par 72, 6130m slope 112 $10
4 par3s 104-206m, 10 par4s 309-377m, 4 par5s 484-535m
The 4th course on the ‘outback leg’ of this year’s trip
The iconic outback town of Longreach in NW Queensland is one of the really low slope-rated courses that I have come across out here in the dust. Despite it giving me the same handicap as Charleville, I found this played a little easier. At 6130m it is not short but it is dead flat, has the widest fairways I have ever played, and they are fast, containing firm dirt with the odd patch of soft sand and a fair few rocks (‘tee it up through the green’). I liken these fairways to a lot of the outback roads – very wide and very bumpy.
The 1st and 10th possess the only two watered-grass tees (the 10th is very flash, with a paved path, rock bed and planted succulents surrounding the playing arena), while all greens are oil-soaked sand scrapes, some as big as I’ve ever seen scrapes.
The course’s defences are a couple of OB fences, 3 or 4 water hazards, the odd tree, the odd copse of trees, and what I’ll call ‘the Longreach hazardous mound’. These mounds are typically 10-15m long x 1 metre high x 1 metre wide and are placed around greens on a diagonal to the direction of play to knock balls away from the green – I think they might be unique but will reserve that call until I’ve travelled a few hundred more kms out here. A lot of the hazards will impact the higher handicapper but not so much the lower; the 1st 3 par threes all involve hitting your tee shot over trees, none which (should) come into play for the low marker but plenty that would cause major issues for a low, short-hitter.
Across the total 18 holes, there are not many hazards around with some holes almost baron – the 377m 12th I dubbed ‘the paddock’ as it has no trees to come into reckoning and sits on a fairway ~100m wide down it’s entire length. It does face into the prevailing breeze and have 3 of these ‘hazardous mounds’ to contend with around the green. So, generally you can just let rip off the tee, count on a fair bit of run, and not get into any ‘rough’ unless you hit it sideways.
There are a few examples of creative uses of the hazards and odd trees: my favourites being: the par3 4th (at 104m, over a copse of trees to a scrape protected by slither-shaped water hazards right and long, & a large Longreach mound left. It is blind, quirky and fun); the 500m par5 8th (it is a ripper, giving you the paddock to hit your tee shot into, the assistance of the prevailing breeze gives you a chance to launch your second to a green protected by trees for its total 360 degrees, with the only bail-out short right across the thickest trees, with a little water hazard short thrown in for good measure.
Overall, for $10 you can’t go wrong. Bring plenty of tees, but you shouldn’t lose too many balls, as you will be unlucky to ‘find’ many of the hazards, which are typically small. If you enjoy teeing it high and letting it rip, you will have a lot of fun at Longreach GC.