Nomadic_golfer : November 2020
Par 71, 6065m, slope 132, green fee $40
4 par 3s from 125-191m, 11 par 4s from 299-407m, 3 par 5s from 462-525m
Just down the road from Orange is the famous town of Bathurst (population just under 40k), home to Mount Panorama, the iconic home of Australian Motorsport.
Bathurst is a tough course with a lot of straight holes, plenty of length, a number of narrow fairways and excellent green complexes. The bent greens were in really good condition, medium to large, quite quick and have lots of contours, a number of 3-leaf/ 4-leaf clover type shapes with bunkers moulding into the green shape. This allows plenty of variety with different pin positions, and a great range in terms of level of difficulty (7 & 8 are great examples). Most greens are well bunkered, but there’s not much in terms of fairway bunkering.
Fairways are a mixture and it looks as though they have converted to santa anna in the not too distant past; they were average and still had signs of other grasses (Sth African couch, rye, clover). The front 9 is tough; 3100m with a 190m par 3, 4 par 4’s 370m or longer and almost every hole straight. The straight bit doesn’t seem to make it easy, fairways aren’t wide and are all well lined by medium sized native trees, mostly gums. You just have to keep hitting good quality golf shots as recovery shots are made difficult by typically narrow openings to greens which are well bunkered at the front.
Holes 5 to 7 on the front nine make you take notice; 5 is a 190m par 3, well bunkered with a steep, semi-false front to the green, 6 is 386m bending slightly left with the teeshot playing to the top of a gentle mound at about 220m, then into a long, well bunkered green, 7 is another 380 m in the opposite direction to 6 incorporating that same mound/ crest, then moving downhill to an attractive clover shaped green guarded by 4 bunkers.
The back nine has more doglegs and nuances, is 150m shorter but at par 35 versus front 36, its about the same on a relative basis. 4 of the par 4s play as short par 4s with the 340m 17th downhill playing shorter than its yardage and containing a heap of fairway bunkers on the outside left of a gentle left to righter with a severely sloped front to back green. My favourite short par 4 was 11; 306m sharp left turner offering many options off the tee and a few different landing spots to a tricky, smaller green and boasts an unusual characteristic of being flanked by a prison. My favourite hole on the course though, is the 525m 15th. Its a downhill teeshot with OB right. There is water from about 290 – 370m and the fairway is wide but to have a clear second you need to take the tight line down the right. The last 150m is steeply uphill making it a definite 3-shotter and the green has some tricks to it.
Overall, a good track, great greens, developing fairways, not too much variety but tough.