Blog 35 – Harden

Course no. 35, Harden, NSW

Unpretentious, fantastic layout, second hidden gem in the area!

Nomadic_golfer : May 2020

Par 71, 5657m, slope 113, green fee $20

5 par 3s from 141 – 204m, 9 par 4s from 268 – 410m, 4 par 5s 451 & 484m

Course no. 7 from our Coolac base, also just under an hour drive away, was Harden. Harden is a small town that I had never heard of, population approx. 2,000 people, 3 1/2 hours from Sydney, 1 1/2 from Canberra.

This is the type of golfing experience that makes my trip a blast. There were no real hints that this day was going to be special: unpretentious surrounds, low green fees, the first view of condition was of grass coverage that was ok but not outstanding, and no-one around. But I loved it.

In early May, the course had just reopened after a covid induced closure, the kikuyu/ rye fairways were in fairly good condition, while the smallish bent greens were good, smooth and firm. Fairways are not watered during summer but the club is currently seeking solutions and trialling other grass options. The course contains mid sized pines and gums.

The layout is just so clever; no two holes are alike and it gives a real good blend of uphill, downhill, right to left and left to right turning holes. It also favours someone who can work the ball both ways and it has obvious strategic thought behind the design, rewarding the riskier side of the fairway and having smaller greens on the shorter 4’s and 5’s. It’s not long, its not overly tough but I reckon its the sort of course where a better shot-maker will succeed over a lesser talented striker more often than on most courses.

My favourite holes are: 3 (410m par 4 slightly downhill and slightly right to left shape to a large 2-tiered green – rewards riskier tee shot down left); 5 (172m slight downhill from elevated tee to small green set amongst pines and drop off on left, pictured below); 6 (looks like a copy of the 10th at Royal Melbourne West – 268m uphill short par 4 turning hard left with a sheer drop off left of the green, pictured below); 12 (455m par 5 slightly uphill bending right to left with left to right camber on fairway and big bushy tree on inside of dogleg, then takes an extra step up and left to the green); and 13 (spectacular looking hole from the tee of this 339m par 4 that has a downhill tee shot with the ground sloping left to right into a gully, then turns left up the hill with right to left sloping ground to an elevated green)

It’s not fancy, it’s not flash. It’s simple and fair, and for me, it sits alongside Junee as the biggest (upside) margin between my expectations and the actual experience, to date.