Course no. 66, Uralla, NSW
Unpretentious, ordinary condition post drought but innovative and fun layout
Nomadic_golfer : September 2020
Par 70, 5710m, slope 124, green fee $20
6 par 3s from 141-177m, 8 par 4s from 280-418m, 4 par 5s from 446-488m
No pretty pictures here, but a dam good layout.
Another journey of about 1 hour, south from our Kaiiwi Estate base to this town of 2.5k people, 10 minutes out of Armidale, where 3 foundries account for a large amount of the town’s employment.
Hats off to the designers of this course. Given an ordinary, flat piece of land and ordinary soil, they have done a fantastic job with what they have at their disposal. Condition of the grasses was very poor with patchy kikuyu fairways, tees full of tufts and ordinary bent greens but as I played it, they were installing a new irrigation system. If they get water and grow decent grass on fairways and greens, this will be a very nice track.
The course contains pines and gums, but not in great abundance; not too many that aren’t playing a part in golf itself, with very flat terrain and a small number of very well placed bunkers, including some fairway bunkers. Upon seeing the condition of the course and a drab, open short par 5 to start with, I didn’t have great expectations heading out, but this is a very interesting layout with 4 par 5s and 6 par 3s. It has enough length, with 4 par 3s over 168m and only 1 par 4 less than 348m, which is needed at altitude (1000m above sea level).
The front nine is intriguing; it contains 3 bland par 5’s and 6 excellent 3s and 4s. My favourites were the stretch from 2 to 4 (2: 358m tee shot over a dam, bends left at about 240 where a water hazard crosses the fairway, 3: 177m great hole as tee shot needs to thread between two large pines but the green is then tucked behind the right one; you need to cut the tee shot (main photo below), 4: 371m from a tee that looks like a picnic setting, through a chute of pines to a sharp dogleg left with a fairway bunker on the far corner, a great driving hole). The back nine is shorter with only one par 5 but again has some very well designed holes, my favourites were: 14 (371m with OB the length of the hole on the right, with the drive just pointing away from the fence and the approach back towards it); 16 (463m par 5, my favourite hole on course, tee shot over a dam to a fairway bending left with fairway bunkers on both sides and OB right, then a dam left of the green. Lots of eagles and lots of 8s on this hole…); and 18 (355m and a great finishing hole, requiring 2 committed golf shots to make par with OB all the way along the right and large bunker in the left fairway at driving distance).
This was one of those days I love at country golf courses. Arrived with little expectation, saw the condition on arrival and nothing much changed. The further the round progressed, the more surprised and impressed I was with the construct and the need to plan your way around.