Tasmania Golf Club
The challenge a golf course presents can often be measured by the quality of player it produces. At Tasmania Golf Club, the name Goggin crops up regularly on the honour boards. Lindy Goggin, a three-time Australian women’s amateur champion who claimed the Tasmanian state title a record 19 times, was a member here. Her son Mat, now a US tour professional, was a member here when he won the 1995 Australian Amateur Championship. Then there are the likes of Bill Wellington – club champion at Tasmania 22 times – and Erin Bumford, former Australian women’s amateur team member. The quality of their home course undoubtedly helped them hone their games.
Tasmania is a creation of veteran course designer Al Howard, who worked alongside course superintendent Ian Grimsey to bring this par-72 to life. The club formed in the early 1900s and moved several times before settling on its current site, known as Barilla Bluff, in 1971. Surrounded on three sides by the waters of Barilla Bay, it’s a spectacular location. The landscape confronting Howard and Grimsey all those years ago was a wilderness of bracken, scrub-covered sand dunes and sandstone outcrops.
Throughout his career, Howard liked the challenge of creating golf courses on difficult land. Yet at Barilla Bluff, once the scrub was cleared away a rolling landscape was revealed, giving rise to some wonderfully interesting holes. Easily the best known of them is the 526-metre, parfive 3rd. There’s little doubt Howard had the famous 18th at Pebble Beach in mind when he staked out the routing of this stunning hole, with its gorgeous views of Barilla Bay and the surrounding countryside. The hole follows the bay in a gradual curve to the left. Long hitters have the option of shortening the hole by smashing their drive over the corner. The longer your drive, the more you bite off the dogleg; don’t bite off too much, though, as your ball will finish in the water or on the beach some 60 metres below your lookout on the tee. Like all the holes at Tasmania, wind plays a big part in how you should tackle it.
The wind can prove particularly hazardous at the 8th. Laid out across the end of the promontory, this 159-metre par-three is more susceptible to the breeze than its neighbouring tree-lined holes that rise and fall through valleys. You are best off hitting a punch shot – below the wind – to find the green. Three bunkers left and a large bunker right complicate matters, especially when that wind is whipping in off the water. Perhaps the best par-three is the downhill 11th, which measures only 125 metres from the back markers. It is a great little hole, with two bunkers and steep banks to the left, as well as behind the putting surface, making the green appear even smaller than it is, especially when the wind is gusting. The view from the tee over Barilla Bay is worth at least double the price of your green fee. A memorable feature of any round at Tasmania is the outstanding condition of the bent-grass tees, fairways and greens. Most mainlanders will have experienced bentgrass greens at some stage, but hitting tee and fairway shots off this grass feels decadently luxurious. Bent-grass fairways and tees can also be found at several other Tasmanian courses – arguably none, though, present them in such good condition as Tasmania Golf Club.
3rd, 5th, 6th, 8th, 11th, 16th and 18th
Where to go
Tasman Highway, Hobart, Tasmania 7172
Book a round
(03) 6248 5098
Where to stay
Hobart’s CBD, a 20-minute drive from the course, has a wide variety of accommodation choices. Many travelling golfers take advantage of the course’s proximity to the airport, which is 4 km away, and stay in a hotel next to the airport before flying out again.
Before/after your round
Port Arthur is one of the most tangible relics of Australia’s convict past. It is a piece of the nation’s history that should not be missed, and it’s 80 minutes’ drive from central Hobart.