Bingara Gorge Golf Club – December 2016 Last Thursday I had the pleasure of playing a newish course close to where I grew up.
I was playing with an old friend from high school, Paul, who I had picked up earlier that morning.
It was warm, pushing 35 degrees celsius by the time we arrived.
We headed inside to the temporary pro shop and chatted with the receptionist as the club professional, Ethan Shanahan, was not around.
The course has been open for two years and while it is an 18 hole course only 12 holes can currently be played.
The back nine is in full operation and holes 7, 8 and 9 are practice holes. Holes 1 through 6 are on the other side of the gorge and until recently a decision had been sitting with the Land and Environmental Court as there is a endangered plant near to where the proposed bridge to cross the gorge was to be built.
I do believe that a final decision will shortly be forthcoming and hope that upon my return at the end of the year that all 18 holes are functional.
This may sound strange considering this course is in the middle of the bush however I find this course close to a links style construction in so far as not too much was changed to accommodate the course. While the land for the fairways were cleared and covered with grass, the natural lie of the land are existing and the gorge itself is a feature in this course as a couple of the par 3’s cross the gully.
A couple of times Paul and I commented that we really feel at home here as this was not far from the bush where we played, motorbike rode and hiked in as children.
There was not too many people out and I chatted with a couple who were just finishing as Paul and I were teeing off the 10th.
We had decided to have a match play and over nine holes I do believe I won. We were both playing from the white tees although there were a couple of holes where I dropped to the red as the carry from the white was just not possible from my club.
There is a big dam that sits in the middle of three holes, 11th, 12, 13th, and comes into play on them all.
On the 13th We decided to have a coordinated drive and as Paul counted down I nailed my drive down the fairway and Paul donated his to the water. He teed up again and we were off trying to get a breeze while we scooted in the cart.
The carts have GPS and stop when you are too near the gorge or too close to the bunkers or greens – it then allows you to reverse very slowly until it decides you can again go forward.
Paul and I were having a good laugh as we always enjoy each others company playing and we were having a golf chat with all the workers we came across.
It was nice having the course to ourselves although I am very glad we got a cart. The heat would have been too much and considering I usually have lots of water that day I only had a small bottle and was advised the water on the course is not drinkable. I was thirsty most of the time in the 30+ heat – I would ensure I had a couple of bottles next time I played there.
Ethan popped out on the course to catch up and met us just after teeing off the 17th. My drive was awesome Paul had drop kicked his and didn’t get much on it. We chatted with Ethan and talked about the limitations of having an 18 hole course but only able to play 12.
The good news is that the club house is starting construction in the new year and with a decision coming in about the bridge over gorge I am hoping to play this course in it’s entirety when I return to Australia at the end of the year.
After Paul and I finished the 18th hole (I won the match) we then hit the three practice holes as not only did we want to check them out but Paul wanted to continue the competition.
The 8th hole would be one of my favourites. A par three over a rocky gully – I might have donated my first ball to said gully which gave Paul the hole as he was on the green with his.
The 9th has three pin positions so Paul and I played three balls each, with a ball having to go into every hole. Once we were one shot from the green we counted our shots to see how long it took to hole each ball. I clearly won this game and proved to Paul that I am in fact the better putter. That day anyway.
I can’t wait to come back and play this when all 18 holes can be played.