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Journeys : Jun Jul 2012
Greg Dowling is a 30-year member of the PGA of Australia, experienced tournament player and coach. He writes for newspapers and magazines in Australia and overseas. Greg is also a member of the Golf Digest panel, responsible for selecting the top 100 courses in Australia every two years. Destinations Sandhurst course designer Peter Thomson pays homage to this at the third, with a 1.6 metre high wall flanking the entire left side and rear of the green. There are no bunkers to contend with, just a slightly undulating landscape that accommodates the putting surface next to the L-shaped wall. Many holes on the front nine at Lakes Entrance parallel either the shore of Ninety Mile Beach or the magnificent inland lakes system. The seventh is called the Kyber Pass and is one of the most demanding par-fours any where. Players tee off high in the sand dunes with the Pacific Ocean providing plenty in the way of visual intimidation. An internal lake lapping the left side of the fair way in the driving zone adds even more to the difficulty, as does a green set among a thick grove of native salt bush. Kalgoorlie is someway off the beaten track in the heart of Western Australia’s goldfields region, a six-hour drive east of Perth. But the town recently opened a true desert-style course where manicured fairways and greens (the landing areas) are bordered by a narrow cut of semi-rough. Miss these targets and the ball finishes up among the ochre-coloured loam, creek beds, scattered gums and spindly native bush. Other elements scattered around to create rural authenticity are timber and stone, rusting pots and pans and farming and mining equipment. As tee shots go, there aren’t many to rival the second hole at Kingston Beach golf course in Hobart for straight-out thrill. From a vantage point high up on the hill you get an incredible look all the way dow n the Derwent River to the Iron Pot, the final tur ning point as yachts approach the finish line of the Sydney to Hobart race. Given such a wonderful viewing platform, it takes a little time to focus on the task at hand – ripping a solid drive as the heart-rate goes up. Making good contact on this dramatic par-four hole is a real treat for everyone in the group, as the sight of the ball soaring into the skyline before gradually dropping to the valley f loor a conser vative 100 metres below is invigorating. The fifth hole on the card at the Barham Golf Course measures 380 metres and is nicknamed Gallipolli due to a massive bunker located at the foot of the elevated green. This is a signature hazard on a grandiose scale. In order to carry this mass of sand you first need to thread a well-struck drive between the tall-timber lining both sides of the fairway. Then it’s decision time. The big sand trap staring you in the face is about 30 metres wide and with a 10-metre vertical wall. A lay up is the best bet on some occasions to avoid extreme penalty. Flinders Golf Course in Victoria is a stunning coastal course built along a stretch of cliff-top land overlooking Bass Strait and Westernport Bay. Early in the round watch out for the famous Coffin Hole, a driveable short par four defended by two ravines – one in the lay-up area and the other in front of the green. In still conditions a good player may even attempt to have a crack at the green. But that strategy is fraught with danger and seldom successfully achieved. Complicating the matter is a perched green sloping steeply from back to front – if due care isn’t taken, balls can pick up speed on the putt and roll down into the second ravine. Left: Peter Thomson chipping to Th e Wall, Sandhurst. Above from top: 2nd hole, Kingston Beach; Coffin Hole, Flinders June / July 2012 15
Apr May 2012
Aug Sep 2012