Fiji Natadola Bay
Two couples travelled to get some respite from the Melbourne winter to the warmth of Natadola Bay in Fiji. Our accommodation for 10 days was at the InterContinental Fiji Golf and Spa Resort which is located approximately 1 hour by transfer from Nadi airport on the Coral Coast. The two males were on a mission to get in 3 rounds of golf. The ladies were after a more refined objective of rest and pampering.
This report focuses on the golf.
We booked in for golf at 8:00 am for each of our 3 days in order to âbeat the heatâ.
This required a 7am start for Ray and John with a quick breakfast and then off to golf via the shuttle leaving at 7:30am. The Golf Club staff are friendly but it was a little slow in the Pro Shop. The staff indicated that the average player loses 6 balls per round on the course. Just trying to upsell Titleist NXT balls at F$9???
We brought our own clubs etc. with us from Australia and stored them at the Golf Club between games. Hiring is available.
The Fijian staff proudly tell you that the course was designed by V.J. Singh there no. 1 golfer.
I recommend that you purchase a Course Guide for F$10.50 whilst in the Pro Shop as with any new course distances are essential. I would also recommend some pre game time on the practice putting green to get the pace of putts.
We played the blue (shorter) tees and this is 6089 metres long. The black at 6556 metres is too long! There is a clear warning of difficulty when you read the local rules on the back of the card.re game time on the practice putting green to get the pace of putts.
There is an Irish drop rule â Any ball lost in the rough may be treated as a lateral hazard. The rough is approximately 2 metres high and thick. I reckon that tigers are hiding in there! The local Fijian villagers have a thriving business selling recovered balls at F$10 for 3 balls. The families have set outlets along the boundary fences and offer a selection of many branded balls.
1st 417 metre par 4 Menâs Index No. 1
The hole faces directly west and is all downhill. The view from the tee is magnificent with the green course contrasting against blue ocean and sky. There are wonderful views on most holes. Most of the holes have uphill or downhill shots to the smallish greens. The greens are slow in pace and the approach shot hits and sticks. Surprisingly for small greens they have rolling slopes and usually slope away from or into the approach shot from the fairway. I assume that the slopes on the green are deliberate to allow for drainage of tropical rain. Club selection is not easy for uphill approach shots as there is usually some breeze to contend with. Downhill shots also require some thought in order to get the correct distance. Bunkering is ever present on driving length and around the greens. The sand in the bunkers is reasonably course and there is plenty of it. This consistency makes bunker play relatively easy.
There are some holes with long distances between green and tee. The climate is mostly hot and can be very humid so carts are the go. Do not consider walking.
There are many beautiful holes. Some memorable holes are:
4th 166 metre Par 3 Men's Index No. 13 - Tight on the right hand side for the shot into the green. The left hand side is a âwaste hazardâ (the beach!).
6th 470 metre par 5 Men's Index No. 10 - down then up - a tight landing area for the tee shot - note the green complex upper right of shot. The cart ride to the tee is back past the clubhouse. The cart ride from the tee is like a roller coaster ride.
10th 381 metre Par 4 Men's index No. 3 - a down hill drive from the tee and an uphill approach shot to a sloping green. Staying to the left off the tee makes for an easier approach shot.
12th 267 metre par 4 Men's Index 17 - a 150 metre shot from the tee is best leaving the ball level with the bridge from the cart path. This leaves a 100 metre approach to a receptive green.
13th 162 metre par 3 Men's Index No. 12 - Not much room on the right and the green slopes right to left. Expect a downhill put if you finish right of the flag.
15th 113 metre par 3 Menâs Index No. 16 - A downhill tee shot to a small green. No full shot here. An easy wedge will get you to the green with not much room to spare.
19th Fiji Bitter â The view across the 18th green from the clubhouse is spectacular. A convivial beer or 3 discussing the virtues (or lack thereof) of the just finished round is a very pleasant end to a good day on the course.
Ray and I were taken apart by the course. Over our 3 rounds I averaged 24 stableford points per round and Ray was the winner in our head on head event with a 26 point average. The loser was required to purchase a local content trophy. I purchased a tanoa (Cava Bowl) and presented this to Ray at the restaurant on our last night.
If you are thinking of a holiday in Fiji and want to include a golf component we would highly recommend Natadola Bay.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf tour to suit your group. For suggested itineraries see Great Golf Destinations
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