Fog on the tyne….
After a longish absence from playing top golf courses, got back on the road and made the trek up to Newcastle to play their course. Newcastle is one of our reciprocals and has been rated the second best course in NSW. I got a little lucky with the weather, previous day was 40 degrees which is too hot for a pom in Australia. That said it was still 30 degrees on the course. Course was pretty quiet when I played which gave me a good opportunity to take in surroundings and enjoy what was on offer. Have to say its one of the more memorable drives to a golf course driving through the steelworks and over the Hunter river. This so far is the highest ranked course in Australia I’ve played.
So what was it like? Fairways were immaculate, greens not in the best of nick and the front nine was superior than the back in my humble opinion. Course reminded me a little of Ganton, taking in the proximity to the coast and general landscape. There was a bit of wind around so all in all a good test for my limited golfing ability.
Started off well with a good drive down the middle and an approach 10 foot to the pin which I missed. Long Par 3rd was a good test and managed to nail a 3 wood through the green. The course then comes alive between holes 5 and 11 which are as good as I’ve played. 5 undulates left then right and accuracy from tee is a must here. I found myself behind a tree, attempted to hit a low hybrid and ended up 50 yards back after smacking the tree. The 6th is a good complement which winds the other way and second shot is played to an elevated green. The 7th was a short Par 3 I was really looking forward to playing. Greenskeeper advised earlier in my round that it always plays long so I took a 9 iron when usually I would have hit a PW. What happened? Well I overhit the shot, hit the downslope and ended up 30 or so yards away. Bloody greenskeeper. The challenge is apparent when reaching the green which is narrow, protected by 3 bunkers and a steep downslope so no margin of error here. Would love to have hit a few more balls here. The 10th is a longish Par 5, made easier if you can drive over the first hill. Miss to the left and you’re in trouble. 11 is another majestic driving hole, the trees providing good theatre and protection to erratic hitters like me. 14th is a similar hole and 17 and 18 played long into the wind. Both the closing holes are located next to the B63 which takes a little away from the drama. One tip on the 18th – make sure your approach is below the hole, I was above the hole when hitting my putt and was chipping the next shot!
All in all a fantastic day out, just a shame the old man was the other side of the world basking in 0 degree temperatures. If you get a chance to make the trip to Newcastle, make sure you give the course a go. Green fees are $90 a player Mon-Fri.
Favourite Hole – Hole 5
Hardest Hole – Hole 17 – Straight long Par 4 played into a strong headwind on the day. Accuracy a premium here from the tee and narrow green well protected. A good overall test and agree with the stroke index.