Blog 253 – Tennant Creek

Course 22 for 2023 – Tennant Creek, NT

Approaching the par4 1st green

Nomadic_golfer : June 2023

Par 72, 6028 slope 116 $10

4 par3s 130-187m, 10 par4s 309-406m, 4 par5s 446-533m

The 10th course of our ‘Outback Swing’, is a real driver’s golf course – typically quite generous fairways but long rough and bushes ensure a fairway missed equates to a ball lost. It plays quite long, and with a 25-30km wind making those fairways play much narrower on my visit, it did represent a good golfing test, probably the sternest of the scrape based experiences I’ve had so far. Hit the fairway with your driver and the task is made much easier.

Access to the course, 7km out of this NT outback town, is through a closed gate, but don’t be disheartened. A guard dog also patrols the premises but appears well trained, I wouldn’t want to step anywhere near the equipment shed though! The size of the clubhouse and amount of memorabilia therein points to a pretty active club at sometime in the past, but it doesn’t look like too much activity takes place these days.

An honesty box operates and its good value for $10 – the course layout is as good as any of the dirt-based outback tracks I’ve come across; small gums well-positioned to influence lines off the tee and even some preferred sides of the fairway in some instances. While it looks like the course was cut from scrub and gums, there are enough well positioned gums (eg surrounding the 4th green on all points of the compass) to suspect some were planted to suit also. There are a few of the par 4s with options off the tee and that gnarly rough keeps you very honest with the big stick in hand.

The surfaces are pretty standard for this neck of the woods: baked hard dirt tees (a couple of synthetic turf tees), red dirt fairways with patches of whispy dead grass, some firm sections, some very soft, and soft, oil based sand-scrapes. What sets it apart from some of the others though is that nous behind the design, with thought needed on almost all of the par 4 and 5 tees.

Good examples and some of the more memorable holes are: 3 (490m par 5 that bends right to left off the tee, another little turn left on the 2nd, asking you to keep close to trees down the right side, to best approach a green protected on the left by a mound adorned with thick grass and bushes very close to the putting surface, and high grass right also. Very risky approach with anything more than a short iron); 7 (405m par 4 with wide fairway but rows of sparse trees on either side well within fairway boundary that you need to be inside of to give you a clear shot with your mid to long iron second, to a green presented at the end of a chute of these small gums); 10 (great little risk/ reward 311m left to right par4 with multiple options off the tee, including cutting a corner filled with long grass and scrub to the green which is only 255m on that line); and 13 (short par 5 of 445m protected by a simple but very effective hazard, being thick rough and bush almost immediately beyond the green, across the width of the hole – any long approach that is the right club to get to the pin on these soft surfaces, but is wide of the green, will likely bounce into these bushes).

Overall, this was great fun. It was a good build-up, coming in with low expectations, while it took a few enquiries to confirm it was open and playable. Standing on the first, it looked like it was claustrophobically tight, but seeing the fairways open up and uncovering the nuances and nature of the holes as I progressed through the 18 made for an entertaining occasion. Just do it at Tennant Creek !!