As a self confessed links tragic, visiting Tasmania was very high on the list of must visit golfing areas. Thus it was with much excitement that I stood on the first tee about to play my second Coore/Crenshaw course, the first being Pinehurst #2, which was a re-design.
The course features excellent views, great conditioning and challenging design. Such is the minimalist philosophy of "Bill & Ben" that at times the course seems stark and wide open, the next minute its a roller coaster, it's a surprise at times, but that's the genius, there's never a dull moment.
Hole 1: A seemingly wide fairway narrows at driver distance, the aggressive players can easily reach the 5 in 2 shots, but beware - when the flag is right, the front right bunker is not a good place to find yourself.
Hole 2: A central bunker gives you a choice, play to the wide right side for a difficult angle or down the narrow left for a look directly up the green. Here is the genius of the design laid out in front of you, asking the question "are you good enough to hit the narrow side and set up a birdie?" Think Hogans Alley.
Hole 3: Short par 4's don't come much more fun than this! You can drive the green, but a right ball is a lost one, a lay up short and left leaves an approach that will need to be super accurate. We putted out and wanted to go back to the tee and have another go, just wonderful.
Hole 4: There are few more picturesque golf holes anywhere. This is a short hole at around 110m and is very exposed. Our day was calm and sunny. I suspect on a winters morning it might be not so pleasant.
Hole 5: A wickedly hard hole. The drive is difficult to visualize, with the line being far further right than it looks over a massive dune and covered in all sorts of grasses and bushes. If you find your ball things open up a bit, the green site is stunning.
Hole 6: A difficult par 3 which requires a controlled long iron to a green that sits across the player, club selection and trajectory is at a premium here. The right pin looks murderous, don't even think about it if you find it there.
Hole 7: Features a large mound in what appears to be the middle of the fairway, the line is further left but it pulls you like a tractor beam.
Hole 8: Gives you a chance to make up some ground if you can execute. A roomy par 5 off the tee becomes more troublesome as you approach the green, a nasty bunker/scrubby area looms right, its a no go zone.
Hole 9: Is a split level affair, clearly left is not good if you hit driver, take the chance and aim for the high side. (below)
Hole 10: An elevated tee shot is flanked on both sides by huge grass covered sand dunes, the hole is reachable in 2 strokes, but beware the bunker guarding the green as this is a visual trap, making the hole look far shorter than it is.
Hole 11: An intimidating tee shot, however once you crest the hill the fairway is wide, the green is bunkerless and massive. A real talking point for all the group.
Hole 12: Again a reachable 5 shot hole that requires a powerful drive across the corner of the dogleg. Cross bunkers make things difficult as the green is pretty flat (once again using whats available). This part of the course was not undulating so no need to make something unnatural.
Hole 13: A difficult tee shot here, the hole moves left and a large grass covered dune stares you in the face. A safe tee shot will make it difficult to reach the green in regulation.
Hole 13a: Yes, there are 20 holes at Lost Farm. A short par 3 featuring a large bunker short and a spine dissecting the green.
Hole 14: Yet again a game of chicken. A shortish par 4 reachable for long hitters but surrounded by all sorts of trouble and sporting a long very narrow green. Missing pin high left with your tee shot is a major test here.
Hole 15: A spectacular downhill par 3, with the resort to the left and beach to the right.
Hole 16: A funky par 4 which bends left off the tee and right as you approach, a birdie opportunity.
Hole 17: Brutal par 3, the green is cut into a massive dune. A long iron or even wood is required with no option here but to hit a great shot.
Hole 18: The last hole (unless you need a decider or are keen to play one more). A long difficult hole which snakes left in an awkward fashion and the green is raised in a Donald Ross style.
Hole 19: A short par 3 with a green that slopes hard from left to right. Could be a heart breaker in the wrong circumstances.
Overall verdict: A design masterclass. One needs to play the course several times to get the subtle design keys - leave me here for a year!
View the course hole by hole here.