May 22, 2014
After playing two rounds at Bandon Dunes the day before, I had a wonderful dinner at the restaurant at Bandon Dunes and followed it up with a terrific nights sleep that night before after playing Bandon Lost Farms today. Let's start with a little recap about my journey to the Bandon Golf Resort. This recap is from the beginning of my blog about Bandon Dunes. 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.
The weather for today was a 180 degree difference from yesterday's rounds at Barnbougle Dunes. It was cloudy and overcast with thick humidity in the air. True to a links course, the weather was a factor in the round. For the first hole, it remained overcast. On holes 2-4, the rain started. On holes 5-12, it cleared a bit. On holes 13-18, Mother Nature showed her full fury with winds of 30 mph and gusts to 40 mph, driving a downpour of rain sideways. The last eight holes were interesting to say the least!
When I just typed last eight holes, you may have said, "Wait a second. He said holes 13-18. That's only six holes." Yep, there are 20 holes on the Lost Farm Course. There is a 13a and 18a, both par 3, and they will also be included in this blog write-up.
After checking in at the proshop, buying a new logo shirt and logo golf ball, I made my way outside and picked up a pull cart. I met Abigail, one of several dogs on the course. My understanding is they keep "rodents", such as kangaroos, of the course. She was a love sponge, soaking up all the petting and attention I gave her.
|Abigail the golf dog|
|The clubhouse, restaurant and inn are located on the highest part of the course.|
Like Bandon Dunes, there are four sets of tees. They are the same color scheme as most courses in the United States but are arranged in a different order. The tips are black, the standard are red, the beginner are blue, and the ladies tees are white. I opted to play from the red tees during my round here at Lost Farm.
The first hole is a par 5 that plays to 444 meters. It starts on an elevated tee box, just below the clubhouse. The drive carries across a long stretch of scrub brush with a large landing area on a wide fairway that turns left. Bunkers to the left are almost always in play for the average drive (220 yards or so).
|A look down the fairway from the 1st tee box.|
|A look into the green from 200 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 2nd tee box.|
|A look into the second green from 100 yards out.|
|A look down the fairway from the 3rd tee box.|
|A look into the 3rd green from 75 yards out.|
The fourth hole is special. After walking uphill over a dune from the third green, the ocean comes into view. The tee box is one of the highest on the course, with ocean along the right as far as you can see. It looks downhill to a short, 112 meter par 3. It is one of those holes that give you a view that reminds you of why you play golf. I sat on the bench, located behind the tee box, for about 10 minutes to just take in the full scene.
The green slopes down to center from both sides. The pin placement on this day was to the right, making it very tough to stick the ball. I landed within 3 feet of the hole but the ball rolled down to the center of the green, leaving me a 15 foot putt.
|A look into the green from the 4th tee box.|
The fifth hole, a 400 meter par 4, turns away from the ocean and plays back inland. It is one of the most difficult tee shots on the course from an elevated tee that plays through a narrow valley.
|A view down the fairway from the 5th tee box.|
|A look towards the green from just beside the right-side fairway bunker.|
|A look into the green from 150 yards out.|
|A look into the green from 75 yards out.|
The sixth hole is a 147 meter par 3. An elevated tee gives a good look to the green that is guarded by a large, wind-blown trap found on the front right. If the winds are up, then they are likely to be blowing directly into your face as the dunes seen in the photo below are all that is between the course and the ocean. If that is the case, expect to have to use 2 or 3 extra clubs to get to the green.
|A look into the green from the 6th tee box.|
The seventh hole is a par 4 that plays to 363 meters. Around the 180 yard mark is a large dune that crosses the fairway and gives you an option to take your drive left or right.
|A look down the fairway from the 7th tee box.|
|A closer look at the large dune that crosses the fairway.|
|A view into the 7th green from the right side of the center dune.|
|A view into the 7th green from the left side of the center dune.|
|A closer look at the trap hidden behind the center dune.|
|A look into the 7th green from 60 yards out.|
The eighth hole is a par 5 that plays to 525 meters. After a sizable drive over scrub brush, the fairway turns left and is sloped from right to left. The road follows the left side of the fairway so the proper play is to drive to the right side of the fairway and let the natural slope lead the ball back to center.
|A look down the fairway from the 8th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway from the center where the drive will likely land.|
|A closer look at the mid fairway sand trap.|
|A look into the 8th green from 100 yards out.|
The ninth is a 291 meter par 4 that plays back towards the clubhouse. The drive is through a narrow opening but to a large, two-tiered fairway. A mishit on the drive can send it down into a small valley of scrub brush to the right.
|A look down the fairway from the 9th tee box.|
|A good view of the two-tiered, 9th fairway.|
|A look into the green from the upper tier of the fairway at approximately 120 yards out.|
Just like the front nine, you start the back nine with a par 5. The 10th plays to 512 meters and is a dogleg left. The narrow opening you see from the tee box is actually not as bad as it looks. The fairway is fairly wide and turns left just past the left dune in the photo below.
|A look down the fairway from the 10th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway from the turn of the dogleg.|
|A look into the 10th green from 120 yards out.|
The par 4, 390 meter eleventh hole is a blind tee shot over traps and a hill, followed by a downward slope towards the green. Even though the green is off to the right, you want to keep your drive to the left side as there is a trap on the right side of the fairway just over the hill.
|A look down the fairway from the 11th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway after clearing the hill.|
|A look into the green from 120 yards.|
The 12th hole is a long and fairly straight par 5 that plays to 466 meters. In the photo below, the fairway turns slightly left just past the left-side trap. A shot to the left center of the fairway will shorten your second shot towards the green, but there is plenty of room for the ball to roll if it is struck down the center or right side of the fairway.
|A look down the fairway from the 12th tee box.|
|A look towards the green from 175 meters out.|
|A look down the fairway from 200 meters out.|
|A look into the green from 75 yards out.|
The 13th is a 360 meter, Par 4. It is a dogleg left that plays fairly straight forward. The drive has 220 yards or so to play with before the turn so a three wood is advisable off of the tee.
|A look down the fairway from the 13th tee box.|
|A look into the 13th green from 200 yards out.|
Hole 13a is a nice little par 3 that plays across a valley of scrub brush to the green 110 meters away. The green slopes downhill so a short tee shot can have you playing a second shot from down in the valley, 60 yards away from the pin.
|A look into the green from the 13a tee box.|
|A weather shelter and outhouse are located on the walk between holes 13a and 14.|
You get another spectacular view on the 14th tee box. After transitioning up the dines from 13 to 13a to 14, you come to the top of the rise where the ocean comes back into view. The tee shot for the 251 meter par 4 is downhill to a fairway that turns back right and uphill to the green. If you are a long hitter, you can drive down the right side to make very short work of this hole. For most players, the drive is best hit to the large landing area on the left and a hybrid or low iron into the green.
|A view down the fairway from the 14th tee box.|
|A look into the 14th green from 120 yards out.|
The walk from the 14th to the 15th is similar to the awesome views at Barnbougle Dunes' walk from from the 4th to the 5th holes. The path leads across the top of the dunes with an ocean as far as the eye can see on your right.
|A look back down the trail towards the 14th green.|
|A look up the trail towards the 15th tee box.|
The best play is just over the left side sand trap as there is a hidden slope that will allow your ball to roll down towards the flag.
|A look into the green from the 15th tee box.|
The 16th is a par 4 that plays 364 meters. As the fairway turns slightly right, obscuring the green from view from the tee box.
|A look down the fairway from the 16th tee box.|
|A look down the fairway from just behind the left side traps.|
|A look into the 16th green from 75 yards out.|
The 17th is a difficult par 3 that plays 150 meters. It is a steep uphill shot to the green. With the wind blowing in over the dune from the ocean at 30 mph, it took a 3 wood to get it to the green, and then my ball rolled back down the hill. There are deep bunkers to the left side and the green slopes down towards them ever so slightly. On a still day, it is a tough shot. On a windy day, such as I played, it is a difficult and almost impossible shot to land close to the hole.
|A look into the 17th green from the tee box.|
The walk from the 17th to the 18th is to the top of the dunes that allow you to look over a large portion of the course, as well as at the clubhouse and restaurant. The elevated tee looks out over the scrub brush to the narrow landing zone on the fairway. There are a series of traps that line the fairway, but nothing that should really come into play unless you hook or slice your shots.
|A look down the fairway from the 18th tee box.|
The final hole of the course, 18a is a par 3 that plays a short 113 meters. It is a slight up hill shot to a tricky green. It has sand traps all along the left and a moderately steep hill leading down hill to the right. The green also follows that slope, from left to right, with a tricky drop of on the front right of the green.
|A look into the green from the 18a tee box.|
The flight and drive to the course in its remote location is worth every bit of time getting here. With the only sounds present being the call of the seagulls, the sounds of the ocean, and the rustling of grasses in the rough, it is one of the most peaceful places you will find. If you are planning to stay more than a few days, there is a grocery store in the local town 10 miles away or so. Each cottage has a back deck to relax and look out over the course to reflect on the round(s) you played earlier in the day. I hope to one day take my son back for a father-son golf trip as I can't think of a better place to spend the time for the cost.