Blog 74 – Sawtell

Course 74, Sawtell, NSW

Almost: a lot to like about this course, amongst a lot of right to left early

Nomadic_golfer : October 2020

Par 71, 5594m, slope 133, green fee $25

4 par 3s from 128-205m, 11 par 4s from 249-368m, 3 par 5s from 429-495m

In mid October, we landed at a new base for the Coffs Harbour region, in Mylestom, 25km south of Coffs. First up was Sawtell, a small coastal village 10km south of Coffs, population 4k.

To me, it’s the ‘almost’ course; there’s a lot going for it but it just lacks the ‘teeth’ to be a NSW top 50 sort of course. There aren’t enough long par 4’s, particularly early. 18 is the only par 4 over 355m and there are too many right to left-shaped holes; 7 of the first 8 non par3s in fact. Greens had been sanded a week before my game but looked very sound and the kikuyu fairways were ok; some of the kikuyu green surrounds were perfect, some fairways a bit ordinary. There is a bit of water around, and a moderate number of bunkers. The fairways are lined with medium sized trees, generally not too thick, you get some options more often than not when you miss the fairway.

The terrain is quite hilly and this is prominent in 3 of my favourite 4 holes; 8 (495m par 5 with tee shot up severe slope to a domed fairway, then turning left with OB and thick mangrove area down the left as it flattens out, then goes back downhill for last 200m with trees jutting out right 100m from green and bunker short left. There’s a lot going on with this hole and its a ripper); 15 (top right photo below, 163m over a gully then a steep incline to the 2-tiered green with very steep drop off short and left and a big bank in the back right quarter behind the green which means take plenty of club and favour the right side); and 16 (main photo above, straight 354m par 4 from a really elevated tee with 20m rows of trees and OB right and some ‘different’ mounds on the left side of the green). My other favourite is the 249m 4th hole the shortest par 4 on the course, middle photo below. It is straight for the first 210m, then the green is tucked left around the corner behind trees but within sight. Water down the left and long for the overcooked aggressive hook off the tee and a short right bunker about 40m out to catch the bail out. You want to have a go at this one!

Overall, it’s a nice place to play golf and a decent experience, you just feel like it missed an opportunity to be a class better.