Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lost Farm Golf Club

Barnbougle Dunes is the first of two courses that will make up a world class golf resort in Tasmania. Owner Richard Sattler had the foresight to hire one of the premier architects in the world for the second course: Coore & Crenshaw, although the course was done entirely by Bill Coore. Located right next to Barnbougle Dunes, Lost Farm opens on October 1 of this year and will no doubt raise the profile of Australian and Tasmanian golf in the world to even greater heights. I was given the chance to take a pre-opening tour of the course with Richard as my guide.

The current entry gate to Lost Farm

You can see parts of Lost Farm situated right next to the tee box on the sixteenth tee at Barnbougle. In addition to another great golf course, Lost Farm will have a big (but appropriate to the site) lodge and spa set on a high ridge at the top of the property, overlooking Bass Strait. I have traveled to many good clubhouses over the years with world-class views including Shinnecock, Sebonack, Maidstone, The National Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Turnberry. In my opinion the view from this new clubhouse is as good as any of them. The Barnbougle clubhouse is set within dunes basically at sea level. The clubhouse and lodge here are significantly higher, set at the top of a hill with a view of the course, the dunes and the water.

The biggest sand dune I have ever seen is at Lost Farm. This picture below shows the 25 meter high dune, which was naturally blown into place by wind. To give you the sense of the scale of the dune, it is 300 acres in size.

LF dune from clubhouse
Mammoth natural sand dune at Lost Farm

The beautiful natural style Coore-Crenshaw bunkering is shown below on the third green:

LF 3rd green

Sometimes it is difficult to tell from pictures which holes are really good or situated in a unique location. Whether the picture below shows it or not, this one is going to be great. It is the fourth hole, a par three of only 120 meters, cited on the top of a big dune where the tidal estuary meets Bass Strait. It will be the signature hole in my view. Standing on the tee box here you have a brilliant view of the Strait and the wide beach to your right, and Barnbougle Dunes straight and to your left. The hole will play into the wind, so club selection will no doubt make this more than a simple short iron shot. It's quite a special location.

LF 4th
World-class par three fourth at Lost Farm

The seventh hole will play downwind and features a very large grass mound in the middle of the fairway which will present some great strategic options: to go over, left or right?

LF 7
The seventh fairway

LF 7th
The seventh green

It looks like Lost Farm will have just as interesting and varied a routing as Barnbougle, through the dunes. The course will have twenty holes; that is, two extra par threes, that can be used alternatively in the routing. Sattler is a Tasmanian native; a burly local farmer and rancher, he is an unpretentious gem. He was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning to show us his baby. He drove us around in his beat up 4 x 4 on a rainy day and it was one of the highlights of my trip Down Under. If you ever become jaded by corporate, cart path, waterfall-spectacle golf-as-an-adjunct-to-real-estate-development, come and spend some time with Richard Sattler. As an owner, this guy is the antipodean antithesis to Donald Trump. I think he was rather unimpressed by my cashmere sweater and Gucci loafers.

The eighth features an elevated, small green with a big bunker on the left:

LF 8 green

And an equally hard penalty for missing right:

LF 8

We saw a couple of Wallabies on the tenth hole while touring. A Wallaby is in the same family as a Kangaroo and looks very similar.

LF 10 fairway wallaby
Wallabies enjoying the tenth fairway

There is a rustic wooden tunnel near the fifteenth hole with access to the beach. There will be a place to sit and have cocktails and enjoy the wide beach and great scenery on the other side.

LF 13 green
The thirteenth green

LF 14 closetup
The fourteenth fairway

A natural "blowout" bunker on the 15th hole as seen from the clubhouse

LF Extra hole

A view of one of the extra par threes at Lost Farm

I hope the airlines are ready to expand their capacity of flights into Launceston, the closest airport, since I predict that when the course opens it will become a must play for all the world’s golf crazed. As with Bandon Dunes, critical mass seems likely to occur when you have two great courses nearby; enough to entice golfers to make the long trek when they wouldn't do so for just one course.

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