Barnbougle Dunes Links (Lost Farm course)
When Barnbougle Dunes opened for play in 2004 it did have a few critics who suggested it was too far away from the golfing masses to be financially successful. How wrong they were. If a golf course is good enough, golfers will beat a path to its 1st tee, and such has been the acclaim and success of Barnbougle Dunes that a second course was recently added to the landscape.
Known as Barnbougle Lost Farm, this 20-hole layout is poised to open in the spring of 2010. Designed by the US-based design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Lost Farm is already being hailed as ‘better than the original Barnbougle’: it’s a contender for the title of Australia’s best course.
‘I think many will see it as being better than Barnbougle because it offers a greater variety of play, as the holes run in different directions,’ says Mike Clayton, who worked with Tom Doak on the original Barnbougle course. ‘Barnbougle follows the lowland between the dunes, and this dictated that the holes head predominantly east and west. But Lost Farm’s holes go to all points of the compass, and when there is wind involved in a location like this it means no two rounds can ever be the same. Lost Farm has so many world-class holes it might just challenge Royal Melbourne’s West course for the No. 1 ranking in Australian golf.’
Bill Coore, who has a reputation for minimalist course design, led the creation of Lost Farm. The course occupies a strip of coastal farmland across the Little Forester River, which runs beside the 15th hole of the original course. It is surrounded by dramatic sand dunes that keep the hidden paddocks out of sight of the farm. Marram grass was planted on these dunes almost a century ago, in an attempt to stabilise the dunes and stop the coastal winds from blowing them on to the adjoining farmland. On such untamed land, grazing stock would frequently become lost. Stockmen would spend hours trekking across the wild, spectacular slopes in search of their lost livestock, who had ventured into the dunes looking for greener grass and been unable to find their way home. Hence, the area became known as the ‘Lost Farm’. There are some very good, some great and some absolutely brilliant holes here. There is not one weak offering. In time, some of the best ones will be treasured worldwide as choice golf holes. One of these might well be the short par-three 4th, which calls for your tee shot to be hit parallel to the beach and out to a small point overlooking the Little Forester River, the ocean and the original Barnbougle course. The 5th is even better. Measuring nearly 400 metres from the back markers, the green is visible off in the distance, sitting hard up against the riverbank. The longest drivers, in the right wind conditions, might take dead aim at the green. But the play for 99.9 per cent of the golfing population is to the left, away from the river, and on to a dogleg-right fairway that follows a valley around the base of a 30-metre-high sand dune. The fairway then rises to meet the green, nestled among wild bunkers and more dunes.
Like all new courses, Lost Farm will need to go through a period of maturation before its playing surfaces and the surrounds win high marks for presentation. Then Tasmania will be home to two layouts that can easily claim to be among the 50 best courses in the world – a situation no one would ever have believed a decade ago.
4th, 5th, 8th, 13th, 14th, 17th 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