Course 96, Thurgoona, NSW
under-rated, with wide fairways and multiple hole-defining pin options
Nomadic_golfer : December 2020
Par 72, 6176m, slope 132, green fee $32
4 par 3s from 131-172m, 10 par 4s from 319-392m, 4 par 5s from 465-491m
We stopped over in Albury on the way back from Melbourne into NSW and tasted a couple of Albury’s local fare. First up was in Thurgoona, a suburb of Albury.
A Thomson Wolveridge design from the 80s/ 90s that I reckon is very underrated. Wide fairways on almost all holes but very penal rough with thick undergrowth, lots of gums (some massive) and multiple hazards. Fairway bunkers on front 9 but none on back. Greens are large and well bunkered, with multiple pin position options which make a number of these holes play very differently. The bent grass greens have a lot of subtle and not so subtle undulations; they had been scarified 3 weeks earlier but look very good. Santa-anna fairways had been scarified also, were a bit patchy but will be excellent in a few weeks. The tee grounds were being upgraded from kikuyu to santa anna when I visited and this will add to the aesthetics and playing experience. The only weak point here is the prominence of kikuyu in the green surrounds.
Picturesque Aussie bush setting only spoilt by lots of houses on the perimeter. Hole composition is first class; most of those wide fairways have a riskier side that makes the approach easier. There are so many strong holes but the first 3 par 5s are exceptional as a group: 4 (498m with a big dipper fairway that has 3 consecutive valleys, moves left to right slightly, fairway bunkers left off tee, downhill slope at about 250m that give a big drive some extra, then bunker in middle of fairway at top of next crest, 100m out to an elevated green); 7 (490m with creek all down right, bunkers left and an ampitheatre looking green); and 11 (480m slightly left to right with large tree on right of very wide fairway, with thick scrub all the way down the right, then 3 big gums on left as it narrows up a bit as you approach an elevated green with lots of swales, protected by a shallow hazard cutting the fairway about 60m out).
Other favourites are: 3 (387m left to right downhill, dam on the right, 2 fairway bunkers left, flattens out in landing area and stream crosses fairway at about 270 from the back, to a beautiful ampitheatre set green with bunker right and gums in background); and 15 (aesthetically and golfically exhilarating; 400m soft right to left with 2 big gums on inside corner at about 180 and 2 on the right at about 260 and 270 giving multiple driving line options, with water 20m left of fairway also, to a saddle-like green)
I really enjoyed this track and love the philosophy of design here; fairways very accessible for all types and course can be wound up to difficult with pin positions that would make chasing birdies dangerous. Well worth a round, not sure if there are any better within 100km??