Bonville
Bonville International Golf Resort
Coffs Harbour , NSW
 
Bonville was designed by Terry Watson & Ted Stirling , and completed in 1992 . The story
goes that the design brief was to develop Australia’s answer to Augusta National - home of
The Masters...
 
The property was previously a eucalyptus plantation , providing the opportunity to cut a
swathe through the vegetation without recourse to conversationalist issues AND providing
a stunning backdrop to the variety of holes winding their way through the lush vegetation .
The straight white trunks of the gums trees are the instantly recognisable visual signature
identifying Bonville .
 
Coffs Harbour has a real tropical climate with plenty of precipitation , providing a thick
verdant frame to each picture book hole.
The routing is somewhat unique in that it winds beautifully through the hills - one could
easily lose direction - and there is very significant elevation change on a regular basis .
This is not a course to walk - it is basically a cart only course with the longest distance
between green and tee on any course I can remember .
 
Did I mention water?
Well , there is plenty of it , used beautifully on most par 5’s , the stunning short 4 15th ,and the all world par 3 17th...
 
The bunkering is understated , but strategically placed . The greens are quite severe , in keeping with the severe elevation change of the setting . Originally pent-cross greens they were converted to Bermuda grass in 1999 - and therein lays a problem .
 
The bermuda grass may be more suitable to the Coff Harbour climate , but the combination of the bermuda grain , and the wild greens make putting a lottery for some...Perhaps the green contours were more suited to the original surfaces.
 
Some of the more difficult holes require long uphill approaches to greens set high , and protected by front bunkers . The combination of slope , damp surrounds , and broad leave grasses with front bunkers - sometimes both sides - means only a strong player who can hit it long and high and straight came reach the putting surface . To be then confronted with very severe greens is overkill in my mind...
 
And there are a number of holes which require a strong uphill approach - 1 , 2, 6 , 9 , 13 &15 being the most obvious .
 
I thought the par 5’s were outstanding with a variety of holes which used both the elevation changes , and the ever present water hazards to create really interesting tests of golf...Holes 7 , 10 , & 18 were favourites
 
And I thought the all world par 3 17th would fit in nicely in many championship courses around the world , as would the teasing , tempting short 4 15th with creek , dogleg , and double water carry..
 
Bonville is a spectacular course that all will enjoy , and few will forget.
 
And it is a wonderful place for a couple or a group to stay with accommodation on course ,and first class hospitality
 
Just don’t expect to shoot low!
 
pw
April 2012
 
Rating 7.4

 

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