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 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 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 of 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 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 the front bunkers- sometimes both sides- means only a player who can hit it long and high and straight came reach the putting surface. To be then confronted with severe greens is a little bit of 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 change, 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 par 4 fifteenth 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!
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