Entries Tagged as 'Course review'

Barnbougle Dunes

It was on my list. All that was needed was the opportunity. On the long weekend in July I grabbed my chance. Now I need to find another opportunity. Barnbougle Dunes demands another look.

Stand on the lookout adjacent the club house and the complusion to play is hard to avoid.

Stand on any of the tees and the fairway invites your presence.

Make sure you play down the fairway....

Stand on the fairway and the swales challenge your skills.

112 metres - miss and you lose!

Don't miss this green!

Stand over the putt and technique and confidence are tested.

There are no easy putts

A spectacular course that demands great golf to score well. One visit is not enough – and a second course opens in a few months.

A view at the new course - opening late 2010

The next challenge - coming soon!

In the words of Arnie Schwarzenegger “I’ll be back”.

Kew Golf Club

A drizzly Melbourne day, greens recently renovated, and I chose to play at Kew Golf Course.  It was just a week since the renovation, and the greens were slow, with a little bit of sand evident on most green. Despite this they putted truly. All the fairways were well grassed and the bunkers were all well maintained. On a fine day it would be a great place to play golf. In the conditions on the day it was still a good place to play golf.

One view of the approach to the 15th green

An easy par 5 if you don't go for the green with your second.

The view from the elevated club house reveals a little bit of water, but most of it does not come into play for well it shots.  Tree lined fairways, well placed bunkers, and well shaped par 4’s and 5’s place a premium on the tee shot.  A trio of interesting holes complete this course – a reachable par 5, the longest par 4, and then a 165 metre par three up the hill towards the club house.

 Without the usual warm up, and using borrowed clubs again, the start was positive – my 3 wood of the tee split the fairway and set up my approach.  An overshot approach, a short chip and missed putt set the tone for the next few holes!  When the driving went off I started to hit the greens. Twelve stableford points for the front nine was not encouraging. With 20 putts, three missed fairways, and only 3 greens in regulation a good score was out of the question.  It looked like this round was not going to be counted for my handicap as I was 8 over at the turn.

A delightful finishing hole.

18th green and clubhouse at Kew

A regulation par on 10 was followed by a shocking tee shot on 11. It was not looking good.  Seven holes later I finished the back nine with 22 points – one under the card – after missing a 1.5 metre birdie putt on 18. What changed?  Just my swing thought – and the result was all six fairways hit and eight greens in regulation. Two one putt greens completed the story.  I signed for 34 points – and was happy to do so.

I look forward to playing Kew when their greens are running at their normal speed.


FIR: 78%  GIR: 61%  Putts: 36  PPGinReg: 1.9

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St Helens Golf Club – Tasmania

St Helens GC Mural

Club House Mural

When family or friends come to visit golf takes second place.

It did not stop a quick visit to St Helens Golf Club during a drive up the magnificent east coast of Tasmania. Nestled in a valley back from the coast the course is short, and relatively flat, but includes some interesting holes.


Ninth green

Claremont GC

Claremont 10th GreenLocated on a point jutting out into the Derwent River Claremont Golf Course is a pleasant and interesting layout.   The views are great and the terrain is challenging at times, but there is nowhere for the club to expand or extend.  They have used every metre of their land to get to a par 71,  5700 metre layout.

The course was well maintained, and the fairways in generally good condition.  A dam between the 8th and 13th fairways has increased the challenge of these holes even though it is not aesthetically pleasing. This is one of the unavoidable costs of course maintenance in drought years.

The course:

A lack of length was offset by the the number of doglegs, and at time the significant slope of the fairways. Water comes into play on four holes, and another eight are close enough to the Derwent for it to be a factor in the mind of a competent golfer.  The highest point of the course is also a focus with two holes (10 &13) having steep uphill approaches, while the 9th requires a tee shot over the old quarry/dam down to the green.   The par 5’s are short, and mostly reachable in two (with a good drive and gentle breezes).   While generally a satisfying course to play purists will find the blind tee shot on 3 and the location of the 12th tee somewhat quirky.

The practice facilities:

When space is an issue practice facilities are not a priority. A short (150 metre) area is available for warm ups,   and the putting green is surrounded by enough area for a little bit of chipping and putting practice – more putting than chipping.

Cost and accessibility:

Claremont 1st green

Claremont 1st

This is the nearest and cheapest 18 hole course to my home. It is just ten kilometres away (15 minutes maximum travel time), and is the only eighteen hole suburband course north of the city.

Additional Benefits:

A friendly and helpful group of locals welcomed me to the course and offered some basic indications of the shape of the  blind holes.  They were also open to discussing the alternatives.

With reasonable green fees and close proximity to my home it may not become my home course but could get a visit or two when golfing guests come from the mainland.

Overall: A good experience that sits favourably with courses of comparable cost around Melbourne.


Donagara 8thDongara Golf Club is situated on the inland side of this holiday and fishing community.

An early morning hit off might help with the scores, as it is often calmer then. Later in the day the breeze can be quite strong, and a coupe of tees are exposed  to the elements.

This is a delightful little course, with the front nine offering some interesting challenges. Three of these holes have trees across the fairway.

From the first tee you get the idea that this course does not follow the standard pattern. Four trees stretch across the fairway at about the 2oo metre mark. Only when you get closer can you see that the two on the left are about 20 meters closer that the  two on the right. Perhaps the best option here is a lay up and then a 160 metre second over the trees.

The third is a par three of 195 metres. The flag is visible, the green is not. Have no fear. There is no trouble behind the green or around it, and a shot to the right wall feed back toward the green.

The next par three is just on 110 meters. Here a shot over the trees is called for, but it should ot provide any difficulty for a  competent golfer.

Perhaps the signature hole for Dongara is the 8th.  At just 245 metres in length it is rechable, or at least it could be with a tail breeze.  The short hole is made  more difficult be being uphill, making the carry over two trees that blokc the right of the fairway about 2oo metres. Add scrubb to the left and  right and the risk factor is high.  A great little hole that invites the golfer to respond to a challenge. The wise move is a lay up left. Not all of us are wise, and a one stroke penalty for an unplayable lie result in a double bogey!

A delightful little course – and a $20 a round it is well worth exploring.  When I played the greens on the front were recovering from being cored and had not been mowed  for a day. They were quite slow, but on the back the green were well paced and putted truly.