And so to Round 2 of MCG Tours’ very excellent Bass Strait Triangle Super Tour, and it’s the outstanding Barnbougle Dunes, the grassy sand-links on the north-west tip of the great island state of Tasmania. And it is pure, the people, pure as Jesus drinking Pure Blonde, which is a thing that happened in Matthew (Blogs 3:18). It is written.
Haven't played it? Friend, while there’s a scant lick of breath in one’s golfing diaphragm, you need to play the great Barnbougle Dunes. it should be a Law. It’s a super-fine chunk of golfing goodness, carved from the dunes and non-arable sandy lands, which weaves through much white wheaty Marram grass like a green velvet-forked tongue. It’s a ripper.
Though I played like a drunk on a boat.
Hole 1. Par 5.
To a fairway wider than some of the outer reaches of space, it’s Driver fading to the middle, an adequate bit of kit if a bit out the heal. Hybrid is sweet to 90 out. Wedge is high and drawing, some, and lands on a bulbous knob left and decides to drop away left rather than feeding to flag as its maker intended. Chip from top of knob has to go backwards to hold the green. Two putts record a bogey-6.
Hole 2. Par 4.
Strong and long four-prong, Driver is donged wrong but it's high and right and into an offshoot bit of land like a grassy bay. Blind five-iron from downtown is pure and good and surely at it, but fades into the wheat. Unplayable lie means 4th is a tasty little chip that rolls off a backboard behind the hole and feeds nicely to four feet from hole. Putt is inside left lip and stroked in with authoritah.
Hole 3. Par 4.
Cool hole, which looks tight to the eye but which has more room left than Marxist Cuba (left). Something. Three-wood finds the middle. Seven-iron is beautiful, at it, it will fall into the cup on the full, it seems assured. But there’s no bite on these Bermudan bad-boys, and three putts across a harum-scarum bulbous thrice-breaker results. And if you understand all that shit then a golfer you are.
Hole 4. Par 4.
Drive-able short par-4 with Australia’s biggest bunker catching anything under-hit, I take Driver and smoke it far away into the bad lands where it may never be found. It is, however, though unplayable. Wedge feeds to wrong side of hole, that being the one well above it. Three more putts. And there is low muttering.
Hole 5. Par 3.
A beautiful thing: Bass Strait on the left; a long sandy beach; views of the green, a rolling bowl in which everything feeds left. It’s fine sport here at 5, baby, fine sport here at five. Not, however, when you chunk hybrid into the wheat where it will never be found.
Hole 6. Par 4.
Mighty drive bounds off a hillock that juts into the fairway and feeds downtown. Four-iron is bad, and chunked left, a dopey piece of kit. 54-degree wedge from a dud lie is thin and hot, which is good for a super-model, not so much for a 54-degree wedge. Ball in more wheat. Have a huge chop at it, send it 100m away back onto fairway. Inform fellow players will be taking no further part in this hole, this round or indeed golf ever again.
Hole 7. Par 4.
A beast, the Index one, a two-tiered fairway separated by a cliff full of death in the middle, take Driver and nuke it hard left to the top tier, perfect. Hybrid from 200m clears a bad sandy wasteland front. Tidy chip to eight feet. Can’t make putt. But a score is recorded, which is good.
Hole 8. Par 3.
A signature short hole with a postage stamp green and bad things left, and long, and nothing very great front, and on the right a bulbous bowl. In days of yore into the wind I have hit 5-iron – from 105m. Today it’s benign so hit benign, effete wedge that fades into bowl. Putt up hard slope gets to 15 feet. Putt salutes for a par. Decide not to quit golf.
Hole 9. Par 4.
Aiming point is a saddle mid-fairway, not further badlands right. Blind hybrid from said lands is pure and at it, and slices over many bad things to settle pin-high fringe right. Chip on not magnificent. Putt for par not either. Bogey-5. Ten stableford points. It is 9am and beer o’clock.
Hole 10. Par 4.
Driver is so, so bad. High and right and weak and out into the wheat. Except that it’s not, an optical illusion, it's right rough. So there you go. Tricky architects. Hybrid is pure and at it, beautiful, feeds back to the front of the green and then off it. Chip up gets to 15 feet under hole. Hot left to right putt breaks in last moment and that’s a 3-pointer, you beauty.
Hole 11. Par 5.
Dangerous looking but ultimately benign par-4, it’s 3-wood, hybrid, wedge, putt, putt, par. Course Management is not a bachelor degree.
Hole 12. Par 4.
Very cool, short par-4, another that optically appears dangerous but once you hit the fairway, as I do with hybrid, and hit short wedge onto green, as I do, and two putt for a par, as, yes, I do, then it’s a bit of a snip, really. But from the tee it looks like everywhere is Megadeth.
Hole 13. Par 3.
Cracking three-bunger with a green of several layered tiers and rolling bowls, it’s tricked up and there’s purists don’t like it, as is their wont. But it’s a rollercoaster, baby, like the game of life, and … that’s … all. And so! 160m to pin with the wind downhill, take 7-iron and flush it but needed another club. Long putt feeds into basin. Next one from 10 feet stays high side. A bogey-4 damper
than a squib, whatever a squib is, maybe a fish. Google turns up this thing pictured. You be the judge.
Hole 14. Par 5.
Another one that visually one can stand on the tee and fret some about, though it’s no excuse for chunking driver into the wheat not 20 metres hence. Hybrid finds a lie, however, and is smoked downtown. Another hybrid is smoked to right side of fairway. Beer cart man delivers the juice of love. Wedge sticks under hole. Putt salutes for a par a bigger miracle than Miracle on 34th Street, a film.
Hole 15. Par 4.
Short but strong uphill four-prong bad-boy, 3-wood is smoked under the wind but still ends 150m out under the hole. Hybrid to tight long green with bunker right and drop-off left is hooked out into the wheat and will never ever ever be found. Archeologists from 3018 won't find it. Fourth finds the surface. Long putt lips out low-side.
Hole 16. Par 4.
Super-strong and long and fine par-4, take Driver and dunk it into the wheat not 20m from its maker, wonder if eyes actually work. Third is smoked. Fourth is smoked but ends up rolling off false front. Putt from way downtown rests on the lip.
Hole 17. Par 3.
Love this little fellah. The index 18 3-blatter with a rolling bowl as backboard, it’s 7-iron that flies the big bunker front and disappears for a moment ... before emerging! and rolling out and above the hole, a very fun thing. Two putts, you’ll take ‘em in the current climate of dope-golf, fear and loathing.
Hole 18. Par 4.
Finisher that runs around the beach like an Arabian sword called a scimitar, say, so Driver is blatted out into the ether and rests just inside the bad wheat right. Five-iron from 170m would appear to be the club but is not. Long putt from off the green skews off on tangents not apparent bare moments ago. Two more putts, a bogey-5, and 25 stableford points all up. And that, thankfully, is that.
So there you: the great Barnbougle Dunes. Get down there. It's really, really grouse.