Course no. 36, Binalong, NSW
Massive wide fairways, large pines & gums, and small black scrapes are the order of the day here
Nomadic_golfer : May 2020
Par 70, 5256 m, slope 111, green fee $10
4 par 3s from 119 – 192m, 12 par 4s from 264 – 374m, 2 par 5s 405 & 428m
Course no. 8 from our Coolac base, roughly an hour drive away, was Binalong. We’re talking a small village of 500 people that once was the home of Banjo Patterson and was famous for bushranger activity. It’s a community-run golf course and large clubhouse that provide a lot of entertainment for the locals.
At first glance, it looks like a large tree lined paddock with black scrapes at the end of some straight stretches of grass but there are some highlights here.
This course may have the widest fairways I’ve ever seen, big pines lining some fairways and other large gums make the place attractive. Most holes are just straightaway with no thought required. There are, however, some little nuggets of gold to prick your interest. From a golfing perspective, I liked the par 3 4th (135m into a gap in a cluster of gum trees) and the par 5 17th (428m with the usual wide fairway but you need to hit the left side to pick a very narrow gap between 5 or 6 trees for your uphill second, main photo below). From an aesthetic point of view, the 3rd (par 5 405m) and 12th (374m par 4) are right up there with fairways framed by large pines – breathtaking early on a brisk May morning.
I bet they have a lot of fun, the locals at Binalong. A pretty basic course, but the flavour of the big clubhouse and bowling green give signs of a great time had regularly.
And I’ve been surprised by how many golfers (obviously more city folk) haven’t understood what I’m talking about when I mention black (or sand) scrapes. They are a substitute for grass greens, typically found in areas with low rainfall and consist of oiled sand. They are very, very slow and there is a real art to approaching them. When to bump and run, when to try and carry it on to the scrape. For the infrequent scrape player, there is a lot of trial and error. There are many Australian courses with scrapes and if you’ve never played on them, seek one out. They’re normally the home of very friendly locals too.