Blog 256 – Darwin

Course 25 for 2023 – Darwin GC, NT

How’s this for a look? – the 161m par3 8th

Nomadic_golfer : June 2023 – Darwin Golf Club review

Par 72, 6064m slope 120 $35

4 par3s 136-177m, 10 par4s 306-390m, 4 par5s 466-521m

The first stop after my Outback Swing was at Darwin’s most famed golf club, which established its first roots in Fannie Bay in 1930. The club is now on it’s third site, courtesy of a 1974 Peter Thomson design, right next to the Darwin Airport, in Marrara. There was lots of construction taking place on my visit on the last day of the financial year, with irrigation upgrades appearing to be in full swing. Two holes (4 & 5) were out of play and a few other temporary measures were in place. As such, it is difficult to rate.

The course sits on flat terrain, with gentle undulations incorporated amongst the bunkering and hazards, including a couple of water hazards. The green complexes are typical Thomson, well-designed with subtle fall-offs demanding you know which side of pins to miss etc. There are quite a few OB fences/ areas too, with the risk/ reward 306m 6th the most extreme example with OB left and right, but a firm fairway and front tees had the green light flashing on my visit. Surfaces were in pretty good condition.

Since my only previous visit in the late 90’s, it has lost all of its huge old African Mahogany trees, as a result of Cyclone Marcus in 2018 and the subsequent Darwin-wide felling program post-Marcus as a risk mitigation measure. The course now has a totally different vibe, feel and playing persona. It previously felt like you were in a seriously tropical environment, secluded and with no forgiveness on wayward tee shots, with encroaching trees making it very tight. The course now has an urban feel, very open with lots of houses in view. It also feels like the strategic design of the course is back in play, with the generous width afforded you off the tee presenting greater opportunity to access the favourable sides of fairways, for better access to pins on these undulating, well-bunkered green complexes.

The most memorable part of the course for me is the stretch from 6 to 9. It starts with that high risk/ reward short par 4 6th referred to above, while 7 is a 514m par5 with OB all the way down the left and water at driving length down the right. Approach to the green is easiest from middle-left of the fairway, so the brave 2nd shot is rewarded. The 161m par3 8th provides the aesthetic highlight of the course, with a water carry in the foreground, complemented by a row of palms directly behind the well contoured, bunkered green. 9 is a 362m par 4 that moves slightly left, with OB left and trees down both sides. Best access to most pins is from the right half of the fairway

Overall, this is a pretty good layout that gets you thinking about best lines off the tee and gives you some decisions to make. Condition looks fine but was hard to assess, with current works likely to ensure the turf is well looked after in the future.