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Golf: Barnbougle Takes Some Beating

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland
Barnbougle Dunes

Tom Doak best known to Kiwis for his course design at Cape Kidnappers responds to a question most of us have often thought about.

“You can only play one of your courses before the world ends. Where do you tee it up?”

Tom’s reply to Cameron Morfit at GOLF Magazine, “Barnbougle Dunes, in Tasmania. I've only played it twice — not enough.”

Barnbougle is way up there in my great courses yet to play list and so I decided to remind myself why I may have to change my 'one course before the world ends'. Currently it’s Royal Dornoch in May or June when the gorse is in full bloom.

Before going to what I consider the definitive golf web site for information on great golf courses; Golf Club Atlas. I visited Trip Advisor seeking Everymans’ comments rather than architectural opinion.

Bertram, an ex pat Scot like myself, headlines his post, “Field of Dreams” and writes, ‘This is the most inspirational golf course I have ever seen. I was frequently near tears as I saw each new undulation. As an expat Scot it brought back strong memories of home, of the land I loved as a child. Thank you thank you thank you to the people who have had the same dream as I, and have created this field in the same vision I have had ever since I have left my bonny shores.’

It should have come as no surprise to read that one of  “the people” was none other than Mike Keiser who played his part in the decision-making process to build a great golf course at a remote location; think Bandon Dunes and Castle Stuart.

Matthew Mollica at Golf Club Atlas says it all as to why there shouldn’t be any second thoughts about your desire to play Barnbougle Dunes. “If scientists could somehow figure a way to bring Dr. Alistair McKenzie back from the grave, I am sure he would congratulate Tom Doak for ‘a job well done laddie’.”

However as Tom Doak respectfully advises Cameron Morfit, “Barnbougle Dunes is a Tom Doak and Mike Clayton design, but because I'm a better-known architect, people tend to drop Mike's name.”

Matthew writes, ‘For a nation boasting a myriad of wonderful golf courses designed by some of golf architecture’s most respected names, it is difficult to believe that only now does Australia possess a truly magnificent seaside course. Situated immediately adjacent to the rolling waves of Bass Strait, Barnbougle Dunes’ position is ideal. It is a course of rare quality with hole after hole providing challenge, enjoyment, demanding shot making, and reward for sound strategy.’

Matthew describes it as a “seaside course” and perhaps after due deliberation. Not a links course and brings to mind Tom’s reply to Cameron’s, “Critics describe you as a minimalist. Is that an accurate label?

Tom replies, “Thirty years ago every new course was described as "links style," even though none of them played like a links."Minimalist" has become the new buzzword. I guess I should be flattered, but once anything becomes a buzzword, it starts to become meaningless.”

Amen to that. As a links-lover, the last thing I need is to be conned into parting with my hard-earned bawbees believing I’ll be playing links-style golf.

Here’s the link to Cameron, Matthew and Trip Advisor  

Quote of the Day

‘An average to mediocre golfer (17), I found Barnbougle Dunes visually intimidating with cavernous bunkers gaping at you on the tee and tricky in the perspective making it almost impossible for me judge the distances. The quite excellent little course guide is well worth the money and generally my club selection was pretty good. I found to my delight the course was easier than it looked.’ – Encouraging words from Lexpyros at Trip Advisor



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