Course 73, Maclean, NSW
A character, with a base of Aussie bush and a taste of the subtropical
Nomadic_golfer : October 2020
Par 72, 5879m, slope 127, green fee $30
4 par 3s from 130-183m, 10 par 4s from 292-378m, 4 par 5s from 451-497m
My last round from the Iluka base in October was across the Clarence River on Woodford Island, 5 minutes outside the township of Maclean. 2.5k people call Maclean home, which boasts river prawn fishing and sugar cane production as 2 of it’s main industries.
It is an unpretentious track with some charm, in a relaxed setting amongst sugar cane paddocks and forest. The first 12 holes feel like a typical Aussie bush setting with large gums lining the fairways, quite spaced out and not much growth under them, so these holes are a little forgiving, typically offering some sort of conjured up shot to the green if you miss the fairway. They do need to be forgiving because there are a number of tight chutes to drive your ball through, where those gums reach out into the fairways. There are also a lot of right to left holes, particularly on the short par 4s. It is a hookers course.
From the 13th to half way up the 18th, the course takes on more of a subtropical feel with thick growth and ponds prevailing and wayward shots being heavily penalised. The fairways are mostly kikuyu and in decent nick, though a little thin and dry, which is just fine in this country. Greens are of Tift Dwarf grass (a similar look to 328 Bermuda), quite large for a country course and were good, consistent surfaces on this day in October.
Memorable holes are: 2 (141m par 3 across a gully with trees protruding from the left and a bunker short left – depending on pin position, needs a draw or at least one held up to a very undulating green); 3 (378m par 4, with the standard right to left shape and large gums on both sides demanding a draw off the tee through a narrow gap, then a mid-short iron to a very large green with big slope from back to front), and the twin par 5’s 13 and 14. 13 is 472 but downhill so plays shorter, with thick growth all the way down the left, a hazard left on the tee shot, then another hazard about 100m short of the green on the left with the fairway sloping heavily to the hazard and the green ducking around to the right with another left hazard at the green. 14 is 463m, with the McLean standard right to left, sweeping gradually left the whole way and the 2nd shot slightly uphill. Again, there is thick growth left for the length of the hole and a hazard left on the drive before left bunkers at the 2-tiered green. You can bite a bit off from the tee or sling a big hook around the corner or hit it up to about 230 straight. Both good risk/ reward par 5’s.
It was my pick of the courses in the area; Yamba is nice and might be prettier, but for golfing nous, I reckon this gets the nod.