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Well, here we are, after a short flight up from sydney to dubbo,
followed by a 2-hour car trip with some distinct views of country
NSW, such as an accasional emu-family-outing, we've finally
arrived at the little known Coonamble golf club. As little as
it's known by anyone but the truely locals, we didn't
have a sniff of an idea that we are about to uncover a hidden gem
of australian golf.
No visitor to Coonamble will be unaffected by the majesty of the
course, the graciousness of the club house and the hospitality of
the friedly members and staff. As to the course itself, small
greens and tight fairways are part of what makes Coonamble so
compelling. The narrow fairways challenges even the best golfers
from the tee. However, one of the greatest asset of Coonamble is
that every player must confront the holes defenses their own way.
For the low markers, successfully carring the fairway bunker 210m
from the tee on the par five 2nd means that more trouble is
brought into play, as bunkers at 220m, 230m, 240m and 250m on
both side of the fairway are all lined up eagerly waiting for
action. For all you long bombers and pros who carries 240 with
ease, Coonamble river curls it's way in at 270m, brought
enough balls with you? As for the 1st time hackers, there's
also a well designed bunker at a mere 10m from the tee custom
made for you guys. Good luck! After being on a few of these
strategically planted beaches, i'm not so sure the fairway is
a fair way, but certainly if you're not on it, you can be
sure that there is still a fair way to go before you finish the
Whether you have just safely negotiated the fairway traps or
lying 8 already, the challenge doesn't just end here. The
next step involves hitting appraoch shots with pin point accuracy
into some tiny greens (you won't know exactly how far
you've got as there are no yardage markers anywhere on the
course). At this point in time, it is absolutely neccessary to
clarify that the greens at Coonamble golf club are not your
ordinary bumpy ones with spike marks all over it, nor the lush
bent greens that runs 15 on the stimpmetre, looked after by the
best superintendents in the country just for the Australian Open.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are BLACKs. Yes! BLACKs! In fact,
they are so black that a while ago, a poor indian member was hit
bang square in the middle of the head when he was putting, all
due to the low visibility created by the similarity between the
colour of his skin and the putting surface itself. To this date,
the guy who hit the shot still claims that he was absolutely sure
that there was no one on the BLACK when he hit the shot, that is,
until he heard a #%$!.
However, being on the BLACK is not so nearly important as being
on the correct side of the BLACK. Given the contouring, firmness,
and pace of the BLACK, three putt opportunities abound. The
better golfer is continually challenged until the putt drops
while less accomplished player can just bump it along and still
achieve a good degree of seccess, even with the back of a 7 iron.
The reason? These BLACKs are very hard to read, in fact, they are
unreadable! There are so many subtle breaks that one can not
possibly take into account all(any) of them. Sure anyone who has
played the US Open would describe it as a pressure packed
experience, but having to confront 18 of these BLACKs in a single
round of golf is pressure of a complete different magnitude. Even
just thinking about it gives you goose bumps.
Combining the well placed bunkers, natrual water hazards and the
famous BLACKs, it is almost certain that anything less than an A+
game will be severly punished by the course, just ask the
proffessionals who competed in the recent Coonamble Open. One
well known pro commented: These BLACKs are so brutle! There's
no way on this earth one can be sure of the line of the putts.
Another pro who recently won a biggish tournament in America also
said: Coonamble golf club has really opened my eyes, I mean,
i've played the Masters, British Open and so on, but nothing
even come close to the difficulty of this course, don't get
me wrong, it is a superb layout, but I do feel like i'm going
to have to relearn this game all over again if I am to play on
this course. Of course, at their own request, the names of these
proffessionals will remain top secret.
After a tough day at the office, sometimes even an embarrasing
day, there's nothing better then a friendly drink at the
fully facilitated and licenced bar in the clubhouse. Once again,
friendly staff and members are always around and more than happy
to help you out with any questions you may have, including a few
tips on taming the ever so frightening BLACKs.
When all is done and you are ready to leave this memorable place,
don't forget to sign the visitors book located at the front
office and... Oh yeah, please pay a visit to the little red box
that's so often forgotton and spare a few bucks for those who
worked long and hard to bring Coonamble golf club to it's
Well, it was certainly an experience of a lifetime for me, and I
urge you to come and discover this hidden gem, it will no doubt
be an unforgettable trip.
Oh, yeah, remember that indian member? well, after a few stiches
in the head, he quietly left the town and never returned. Mate,
if you're reading this, good luck and make sure you wear a
white shirt next time you play.
I love Coonamble GC. A nice little layout.
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