Course 29 for 2023 – Alice Springs GC, NT
Looking back up the majestic, snaking, downhill 8th
Nomadic_golfer : August 2023 – Alice Springs Golf Club review
Par 72, 6196m slope 123 $64
4 par3s 124-191m, 10 par4s 309-404m, 4 par5s 491-500m
The aesthetic gets everyone talking on their first experience here – the green surfaces against the red sand of the rough and bunkers, dry brown grass in the rough, deep blue skys and surrounding, ever-present red/ brown of the MacDonell ranges. It is spectacular and uniquely Aussie (see Kalgoorlie, Mt Isa, Broken Hill for other examples).
But the design nous here is what may appeal even more to the golfing connoisseur – particularly on the front 9, which weaves its way in and around rocky outcrops and provides a layout that gives options, makes you think, and rewards execution if you take the brave lines. Holes 2-8 in particular, are packed full of features, that all bring the natural attributes of this part of Australia to the fore.
Thomson & Wolverige did a great job of creating a challenging layout, with those afore-mentioned attributes, while really reflecting the essence of the central Australian outback. Very tasteful indeed.
The Tifdwarf greens are large, well contoured without massive breaks, firm and in good condition, while the red-sand bunkers are prominent and large, moderate in number. Fairways are standard in width, again firm, consisting of kikuyu with glimpses of other varieties and were in fine condition, a little thin in patches, which contributes to the outback vibe. Trees line most fairways, but the population is quite sparse, with the odd ghost gum adding to the aesthetic.
The course’s greatest defence is the natural stuff that you encounter if you miss fairways: red sand; rocks; and patches of thick dry grass among those sparse trees.
My highlights and distinguishing features of that 7 hole stretch: 2 (a tough 404m par4, with a large hill right of the fairway, bunker short left of a very wide green); 3 (spectacular 171m par3 from the top of that hill down to a large green with a large bunker short & MacDonnell ranges in the background); 4 (491m par 5 that sweeps gently right to left around another rocky hill with slight reverse camber, fairway bunkers cross the fairway 70m out, finishes at a green with a rocky-sided bunker high left); 5 (postage stamp – type, 124m par3 with a long but super-narrow green that falls off both sides – a dead straight 9 iron/ wedge or face a very tricky chip); 6 (another 490m par5 that snakes its way back and fro down a fairway strewn with bunkers down the left for much of its length, that ends in a fantastic, yet penal green that is very wide but very shallow, with a big mound protecting the front and a bunker long); 7 (356m dogleg right, turning uphill to a beautiful green complex. which is elevated but flanked by hills either side, rocks to the left and surrounded by bunkers – just beautiful with the filtering morning light poking through); and the best of them all is 8 (a downhill 386m par4, that again snakes it’s way through a gully with hills left & right, bending gently right around some real scruffy rough down that right side, to a green set in front of a ghost gum, with drop-off over the back).
If you want to be critical of the design, variety may have missed out a little, with 3 of the 4 par3s running roughly the same direction and the 4 par5s are all within 10m of each other in length. But overall, this is a fantastic Aussie golfing experience – the quintessential outback surrounds/ look appeals to all while the spectacular front 9 will have you wanting to play it again and test a few more lines out.