The People! MCG Tours is on tour in Tasmania, on the first round of 4 at the stupendous Barnbougle Lost Farm. Haven’t been here? Do be here, one day, book it now; it’s just super-fine and super fun. And windy. Quite windy. And sandy, duney, linksy, and funny. Not funny. Super-fun, though, and there’s 20 holes of it. And they’re all really good.
Hole 1. Par 5.
Facing a fairway wider than the Straits of Hormuz, Driver is pure but drawing and ends up in a paddock left, surely OB. But hark? "There is no OB at Lost Farm," says our caddie man Mike, and hybrid is clipped to a good place guts. Wedge from 100m is beaten down by the salty sea breeze and ends pot right. Extraction airmails green. Putt from downtown ends up three feet. Bogey-6 to begin.
Hole 2. Par 4.
Driver soars left, machete-ing low through the wind like a little bullet of justice, something, but a fine drive in the circumstances. Still 150m out given the head-wind from Bass Strait would just about launch a 12-metre yacht out of the sea and onto the land, however, but hybrid is a beautiful thing, and lands like a butterfly, 15 feet. Putt nearly goes in.
Hole 3. Par 4.
Cool little 4-banger, it’s drive-able on other days, but today 3-wood is high and drawing and soaring into the wheat. Third, a drop from 80m, is thin and just holds green. Two putts and a bogey-5. Exciting.
Hole 4. Par 3.
Great little down-hill 3-banger, this baby, with views of the little town nearby, the sea, the surf, the very golfy links-ness of Lost Farm to the left. Cracking hole and much photographed. Take 8-iron and hit what feels like perfect whack action, ball sucking off the front and ending up behind a pot short. Wedge is nipped off neatly. Two more putts, another bogey and stableford point of no import.
Hole 5. Par 4.
Super-strong golf hole, Index 1, when Adam Scott plays it from the tips he hits a 300m draw over an estuary and a mountain, the man can drive like a beautiful machine. Normal people take hybrid and slice it beautifully around the hillock and know it’s running away up the guts, pure. Love expressed for golf. Hybrid again from 200m is hot and thin and fading, and running off the green and into a mighty basin right. Wedge holds the back of the green. 10-foot downhill par putt lips out high-side.
Hole 6. Par 3.
A beast into the westerly, the pin’s 155m, it’s hybrid and all of it, the ball landing pin-high on the left side of the green while the pin is right. Putt … well, have a go at the video … it’s a thrice-braking, up and down roller-coaster that is fun to watch, and to replay many times. The most fun you can have three-putting in golf. True story.
Hole 7. Par 4.
Nice hole with plenty of help from the Fan of God, it’s Driver and long, and pure and running and running and running, into a pot designed to trap Adam Scott. Wedge? Our Adam would’ve been happy with it, pure and at the flag, oh my, I am happy with this piece of happy golf-man action, the ball sticking 10 feet under the hole. Putt slides by high-side. Par-4 on a tough puppy. As Jake the Muss said of Karaoke: farkin beaudiful.
Hole 8. Par 5.
Tough puppy? This is Cujo in a cage poked with sticks. But you take hybrid, and hybrid again, and hit a pure gap-wedge to 15 feet, and nearly roll in a big-breaking downhill birdie putt and you know my name is the LORD when I lay my vengeance upon you. Something. But it’s a cracking golf hole and a par earns anyone above 3-handicap man three stableford points and a feeling of high achievement compared to one's playing partners who hacked into the hole like they hated and feared it.
Hole 9. Par 4.
Another super-interesting offering with a dividing cliff of sorts in the middle, we go low side left with Driver and end up perfect, hundred out. Nine-iron into the fan could’ve been 7-iron, the high ball flight is not your friend. But two putts from off the green, you’ll take ‘em like a Christmas present of a Christmas ham. Like that was your present, like your mum and dad wrapped up a ham, and gave it to you as a present. There's a joke about a man who was only a head getting a present as a boy, looking at the box and saying to his mum and dad, not another fucking hat is it.
Hole 10. Par 5.
Another dramatic piece of big golf whack action, and Driver finds a surface the size of so many manicured polo fields. Hybrid from there runs and run and runs over the fescue, ending 50m from goal. Tidy wedge rolls around a bowl and nearly goes in. Big breaking putt lips out low-side. But the hole has been more fun all the drugs. Say no to drugs kids. Say yes to the 10th hole at Barnbougle Lost Farm.
Hole 11. Par 4.
Low index hard-looking offering that has to go over a saddle in the middle. Watch partners hit big bad hooks (that survive, indeed end up prime) and take hybrid to middle. Hybrid? Oh yes, it’s hooked, hard, low and hard, but survives, also, pin-high. Wedge is a ripper and almost goes in. Ten foot downhiller is quick, long. Six footer back breaks as commanded.
Hole 12. Par 5.
Hybrid is whacked out into the ether. Hybrid is whacked out into the ether, again. 100m wedge into the fan is the incorrect club and sucks off the front like a hoover. Long putt from downtown is effete and beat down by the breeze. Bogey-6 results.
Hole 13. Par 4.
Drive is guts to a fairway larger than Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein? Dunno. A city-state, I think. You could Google it, if you were of a mind. And so! Long way downtown and into the mighty Fan of God we decide on Driver again, off the deck, because once hit the club here and it went great. This one, however, is snap hooked into the Basil Brush (below, look at him, the fuckin mad rat). Take Drop. Take Wedge. Take two putts for a double.
Hole 13a. Par 3.
Cool little extra hole, it’s short and sweet, and 100m wedge which is hacked fat into some Basil front. Find it. Chop it out sweetly to front edge, a super shot. Two putts, a fighting four.
Hole 14. Par 4.
Very cool hole, about 255m, bad things right, space left, into the Fan it’s tres tricky. But Driver is pure and machetes its way into the ether, landing 170m from its maker. Back-footed punchy 9-iron from 85m streaks into back pot. Tidy extraction. Two putts. Feelings for hole remain strong, such is the power of this sandy green links.
Hole 15. Par 3.
Stunning downhiller pictured right with the restaurant (eat there, incredible food) and a great grass-lined slope and bunker left, with a drop-off area and Bass Strait right, it’s a very cool golf hole. Hit pure hybrid that laser beams at the flag until the wind sticks it halfway up the hill into the wheat. Eventually find it. Take hacky chop at it, watch it zing into more wheat, dead, but see it eventually roll out under the tundra and onto the green. Laugh. Make two putts. Move inexorably on.
Hole 16. Par 4.
Tough hole today. Driver is lasered but beaten into a bunker. Six-iron is pure, and into another bunker. Five-iron is pure and soars out into Basil Brush. Blind wedge from the Brier Patch finds green. First putt just slides by. Double-bogey. Did not hit a bad golf shot.
Hole 17. Par 3.
Uphill, into the wind, 175m, index 7 or thereabout, it’s harder than a very hard maths test. But take the hybrid and somehow zing it power-fading under the wind and up the hill and resting on the front of the green, the perfect shot shape as if by magic. First putt up a bulbous mound rolls down the other side hot. Six footer down hill salutes and there’s a fist pump of fury. Maybe not of fury. Just an exclamation that said to the hole: Cop that, hole.
Hole 18. Par 4.
With the wind hit Drive of the day, perhaps of this embryonic and brave new year, the ball soaring and bounding and tumbling maybe 270 metres, further downtown than old Kings Cross. Nine-iron from 130m is beautiful until it fades with the wind off the green right. Long putt gets up. Two more get down. Bogey-5 that could've been glorious.
Hole 20. Par 3.
Sweet and fun little 3-banger to finish, the sports bar and a little grassy viewing atrium for your comrades is left, and everything feeds left to right to the flag. Except for my wedge from 130m which sticks high side. Putt is set free and rests on the lip. Fun times.
So there you go. Barnbougle Lost Farm. Haven’t played it? You damned fool. Play it. It’s great, great fun, if occasionally like being tossed about in a wind tunnel and flayed with pointy sticks. But one's love for it remains, such is the power of love. And so on. And bye for now.
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