After playing both courses at Royal Melbourne and the course at Kingston Heath, I caught the 90 minute flight to Launceston on the island of Tasmania. I had been warned that Barnbougle Golf Resort was remote. I have been to my share of remote golf courses and thought the trip to Bandon Dunes was in the middle of nowhere. Barnbougle trumped that experience. As my arrival time was going to be approximately 11 pm, I had called the resort from the Melbourne Airport. They advised me the cottage would be unlocked and the key would be left on the counter. This was my first clue that this was a remote location.
After landing in the small city of Launceston, I picked up my rental car and headed north. Even though it is only 20-25 miles from Launceston, it is a lot of winding roads through forest and mountains. I had to drive slower than the 70 kph posted limit as there were at least 50 kangaroos that kept jumping across the road. On top of it, the sun had set a few hours prior so I didn't want to find myself in a ditch with no help for days. The drive took approximately 90 minutes to make. Just as I had been advised on the phone earlier in the day, I found cottage #20 unlocked with the foyer light on and the key on the counter. Not wanting to lose anytime in the morning, I did not unpack and went straight to bed. There were no other lights so I could not see the course. All the better as it would be a wonderful surprise. I have mentioned in previous blogs that links courses are my favorite to play and my excitement and anticipation to experience Barnbougle kept me up for another hour or two.
|I went back the morning after arrival to take a photo of the entrance sign.|
|An amazing sunset at 5:30 am!|
|A view of the clubhouse from the small parking lot.|
The first thing you are greeted with is a fireplace co-located with the bar. I made a mental note for the evening since they had 4-6 taps. It was about 4 degrees celsius so the fire was in full blaze and warmed the room and my cold bones.
|A look at the lodge's fireplace.|
|A look into the restaurant at Barnbougle Dunes.|
|The cottages at Barnbougle Dunes.|
The round starts with a long par 5 that plays from 476 meters. It's a dogleg right that turns around the 200 meter mark. If you are a long driver, be careful not to drive it out of the fairway.
|A look down the fairway from the 1st tee box.|
|A look towards the green from the turn of the dogleg.|
|A look into the first green from 100 yards out.|
|A look back down the first fairway from the green.|
The second hole is a 352 meter, par 4. It is a fairly straight hole that runs parallel to the grass runway on the left for private planes of the rich and famous that fly in to play Barnbougle.
|A look down the fairway from the 2nd tee.|
|A look towards the green from behind the fairway bunkers.|
|A look into the 2nd green from 75 yards out.|
|A closer look into the 2nd green.|
|A look back down the second fairway from behind the green.|
The third hole is a par 4 that plays to 306 meters. It can be an intimidating hole with a blind tee shot played sharply off to the left. Even though this is a short par 4, Tom Doak shows he is a master when it comes to designing those holes.
|A look down the fairway from the 3rd tee box.|
|A look towards the 3rd green at the bottom of the hill and the dogleg.|
|A look into the 3rd green from 100 yards out.|
|A look into the 3rd green from 75 yards out.|
|A look back down the 3rd fairway from the top of the left, green-side dune.|
The fourth hole is one of my favorite holes on the course. Not only is it very unique, I had my first up close and personal experience with a kangaroo. It is an S-shaped hole that is a par 4 and plays 254 meters. It is a drivable green if there was no wind and I went for it. The thing that may make someone to decide to layup is the huge trap on the right, running downhill from the green.
|A look down the fairway from the 4th green.|
|A look at the huge, right-side trap. I left my cart and bag in the photo to give a perspective of the size.|
|A look towards the 4th green from the turn of the fairway.|
|One of the many holes you will have a unique gallery to watch your shots.|
|A look back down the 4th hole from behind the green.|
|A view from the top of the dunes behind the 4th green.|
|A brief history of Barnbougle is found inside Reg's Hut.|
|A look down the trail and out into the Bass Strait between holes 4 and 5.|
|A look into the green from the 5th tee box.|
|A look into the 5th green from 50 yards out.|
|A look back down the 5th hole from the top of the dune behind the green.|
The 6th hole is a par 4 that plays from 359 meters. The drive from the top of the dune plays through a narrow opening. The landing zone is a huge area with plenty of room to go left or right.
|A look down the fairway from the 6th tee box.|
|A look at the blind second shot over the large dune on the right.|
|A look into the 6th green from 125 yards out.|
|A look back down the fairway from the 6th green.|
The 7th hole is a par 3 that plays 98 meters. It is a stunning view and one of the signature holes on the course. The green slopes sharply downhill away from the green so if your shot is short of the green there is a good chance it will roll down into the small bowl. There are also a ton of sand traps around the green that are a very difficult out.
|A look into the green from the 7th tee box.|
The 8th hole is a par 4 that plays to 417 meters. There is a huge slope that plays down the center of the fairway. This leaves you with a decision to play from the top of the fairway or the bottom of the fairway.
|A look down the fairway from the 8th tee box.|
|A look toward the green from the bottom of the fairway.|
|A look toward the green from the top of the fairway.|
|A look into the 8th green from 120 yards out.|
|A look back down the 8th fairway from behind the green.|
The 9th hole is a par 4 that plays 350 meters. The elevated tee box allows a sneak peak at the mostly hidden fairway. A straight drive is the best bet here. Stay away from the left if you have to choose. The scrub brush and steep dunes make for a very difficult shot if you find yourself in there.
|A look down the fairway from the 9th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway once you clear the dunes.|
|A look back down the fairway from the 9th green.|
The 10th is a fairly straight hole that plays flat for the first half and uphill towards the green for the second half. It is a par 4 that plays to 367 meters.
|A look down the fairway from the 10th tee box.|
|A look into the 10th green from 150 yards out.|
|A look back down the fairway from the 10th green.|
The 11th hole is a par 5 that plays to 467 meters. It crosses scrub brush, rises uphill, before dropping back down. The best play is to drive over the left side of the center bunker, land the ball on top of the hill, and let it roll down to the center of the fairway.
|A look down the fairway from the 11th tee box.|
|A look into the 11th green from 200 yards out.|
|A look back down the fairway from the 11th green.|
The 12th hole is a short par 4 that plays to 238 meters. It is a tough drive that travels across a valley and turns uphill and to the right. If you drive it short, or if the wind is blowing towards you, the ball can find itself down hill and below the sand trap.
|A look down the fairway from the 12th tee box.|
|A look into the green from 75 yards out.|
|A look at the 12th green from the left side.|
The 13th hole is a par 3 that plays to 167 meters. It is a fairly large green that slopes slightly left to right. It is surrounded on numerous sides by sand traps.
|A look into the green from the 13th tee box.|
The 14th hole is a par 5 that plays to 471 meters. There are a ton of sand traps down the fairway to watch out for. The fairway is flat until you reach within 150 yards.
|A look down the fairway from the 14th tee box.|
|A look into the green from 150 yards out.|
The 15th hole is another short par 4 that plays to 293 meters. Huge bunkers have been used to guard the green. The green slopes steeply in all directions away from center of the green to try and trap your ball in one of them.
|A look down the fairway from the 15th tee box.|
|A look into the green from 150 yards out.|
The 16th hole is the last par 3 of the course, playing to 147 meters. After a walk uphill to the top of a very large dune, you get a great view of the 16th hole. It plays down hill and towards the right with a green that slopes left to right. If you hit the ball over the large bunker on the left, the ball will roll downhill towards the pin, giving an awesome opportunity at birdie.
|A look into the green from the 16th tee box.|
|A view down the fairway from the 17th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway after clearing the scrub brush.|
The 18th hole is a 365 meter par 4. After clearing the scrub brush on the drive, it is fairly straight and slightly downhill all the way up to the green.
|A look down the fairway from the 18th tee box.|
|A look into the 18th green from 150 yards out.|