Blog 254 – Katherine

Course 23 for 2023 – Katherine CC, NT

The watery grave short and left on the par3 6th

Nomadic_golfer : June 2023

Par 72, 6023 slope 119 $30 9 hole course

4 par3s 143-173m, 10 par4s 305-384m, 4 par5s 473-514m

The 11th course of our ‘Outback Swing’; the oasis that is The Katherine Country Club. Consisting of 9 holes, with 2 sets of tees on most holes, it is situated in the middle of town on a small parcel of flat land. The course was converted from scrapes in the 80s or 90s, and had plans to build 18 but resources dictated this 9 would be as far as they would go. The revamped layout originally consisted of 9 smallish, domed greens until Graham Marsh came in and redesigned holes 5,6,8&9 in the last 10 years, and they are quality.

The new holes have Zoysia fairways and the original are naturally occuring broad-leafed grasses and some couch mixed in. All greens are TiffDwarf and were in reasonable nick on my June visit. Fairway width is typically tight with a moderate no. of 5-10 metre high trees, some gums but more prevalent are the native mangrove looking arrangement. There is plenty of room for some shot-making if you miss fairways, but the trickiest component on the early holes are the firm, small, domed greens – difficult to hit and very difficult to chip to.

The new greens are a totally different kettle of fish: much larger, contoured and a real feature. Locals pump up 5 and 6 as their favourites and I can see why. Five is a par5 of 514m/ 495m with a hole-defining lake from about 70m out on the right side and a very long, narrow green that hugs the lake. There are a few ripper pin options close to the water and any bail outs left are followed by knee-knocking chips to that narrow green with water awaiting anything too strong. Six is a 143m/ 155m par3 with a pond left and short, of a large, rolling green that nestles up to the water, with a large bunker short right for those afraid of getting wet.

I reckon the toughest hole on the track is 11, a 173m par3 with trees encroaching on the left to a small, narrow, domed green with slope that is very difficult to chip to. The other very memorable feature is the final green. It is huge: 2-tiered and quite deep but must be over 50m wide – I reckon its bigger than the first 4 greens put together.

Sarath in the pro-shop has been there for over 20 years and looked after me very well. He is a fantastic guy, golfing nut and very welcoming, sharing lots of stories and info on the course and history. They are having trouble sourcing a Superintendent currently, so Scotty Trembath from Palmerston GC near Darwin has been helping them out, and the current ground staff are doing a very good job.

Overall, it is a real mixture here; with the recently redesigned holes contrasting the originals. It does provide a lot of variety in only 9 holes, aided by the 2 different sets of tees in the 18. Condition is pretty good, especially considering you are still in the outback. A must play on your way up the Stuart Hwy.