Barnbougle Dunes Links
Bridport used to be a sleepy fishing village on Tasmania’s north-east coast. That all changed in 2004. In December of that year Barnbougle Dunes Links opened for play on the eastern outskirts of town – and Bridport was thrust on to the world’s golf map. Since then, it has been a case of build it and they will come, with golfers from across the globe converging on the layout designed by American Tom Doak in collaboration with Mike Clayton.
Located four kilometres from the township, and about a 70-minute drive north-east of Launceston, Barnbougle Dunes is the result of a young man’s vision to create a world-class links course on what he believed to be idyllic golfing land. Greg Ramsay convinced the owner of that land, potato farmer and non-golfer Richard Sattler, that the sand dunes separating his property from six kilometres of beach were the perfect strip for playing golf. Sattler had little use for the dunes, except for his family to camp on during the summer months. Eventually he went along with the idea.
Ramsay’s next masterstroke was to get Doak involved. Not only would Doak bring considerable experience and expertise, but having Doak’s name attached to the project would guarantee people took notice. The brilliant finished product has lived up to all expectations. Within months of opening it was voted Australia’s No. 1 public access course; it has since been judged the 35th best layout in the world. This par-71 is the finest example of a links course to be found on this part of the planet. A round at Barnbougle Dunes opens with a strong par-five, par-four combination. Then the real fun begins at the 4th hole, a 271-metre par-four. This hole is known as ‘Homestead’, for the ruins of the original Barnbougle homestead lay beneath its huge dunes. The prevailing wind is into your face here, but long hitters might be coerced into blasting a drive over a massive blowout bunker on the fairway’s right edge in a bid to find the punchbowl green. It is a huge risk. The reward is an almost certain birdie if your drive carries far enough. From the 5th tee onwards the course winds back towards the clubhouse, with each fairway occupying a narrow corridor between large dunes. These corridors rise and fall in tune with the natural lie of the dunes, posing a constant test of your shot-making ability. The inward nine is more open, although the shapes of the fairways and greens here are more dramatically influenced by the undulating land upon which they have been laid. A great example of this can be seen at the 13th hole, a 188-metre par-three, where the spectacular humps and hollows of the green look like a natural extension of the surrounding ground. It makes for a putting surface unlike anything else you will encounter on an Australian golf course. The green lies in a natural amphitheatre created by huge sand dunes, with rugged bunkers at the front and a massive one through the back. The fescue grass greens at Barnbougle Dunes roll at speeds resembling the greens of the famous links of Britain, a good thing when you consider the steep contouring on most of them. In some spots there are broad, sweeping slopes; other greens, such as the aforementioned 13th, have bumps, hollows and ridges. It is hard to pick a standout on the back nine. But the stretch of holes from the short par-four 15th through to the 400-metre, par-four 18th are a fantastic finish to a course that gives you variety from your first shot to your last.
4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 13th, 15th, 16th and 18th
Where to go
425 Waterhouse Rd, Bridport, Tasmania 7262
Book a round
(03) 6356 0094
Where to stay
Barnbougle Dunes has cottages on site. They all offer views over the original course and are a short walk from the clubhouse, 1st tee and practice facilities.
Before/after your round
Bridestowe Estate Lavender Farm, about five minutes’ drive south of Bridport, consists of 48 rolling hectares and is one of the world’s biggest lavender farms. You can take a guided tour or sample some of the lavender products available for sale.