The final stage of our masterplan at a Bonnie Doon Golf Club opened last week, marking the end of eight years of construction over four separate phases. The Doon holds a special place for OCCM as they were our first new client, engaged to prepare a masterplan back in 2010.
We always felt the course boasted all the key ingredients for great golf and we hope that with the conclusion of works that these have been realised. The abundance of sand, bold contours and some excellent excalmple of vegetation were in some ways reminiscent to parts of the sandbelt with which we are especially familiar.
The final stage comprises the new first, second and seventeenth holes along, with a large practice putting green and a second short game facility complimenting the area down close to the driving range.
The new long par 4 1st is played over some beautifully undulating ground to a terrific green site, just below the hill it shares with the 17th. Interestingly this was the previous 18th hole but played in reverse with the large valley now used to play over for the approach, originally a feature of the tee shot. A series of bunkers and sandy wastes dominate the left side of the hole and link the 1st to the 2nd but they shouldn’t trouble the thoughtful golfer as the large expanses of short grass to the right of the green and away from trouble will help feed a ball toward the target. The area around the clubhouse has changed significantly with a new large practice putting green and 1st tee taking up the ground just in front of the verandah….a nervous start awaits for those who don’t like a crowd!
The 2nd plays as a short par 4 along the same corridor as the old 10th hole. The fairway is shaped a little like a bottle; wider closer to the tee and narrower the further down toward the green. The conservative play will be a long iron played left when the pin is right and right when the pin is left. Bunkers are scattered along both sides of the fairway so playing to the edges to gain the best angle will come with some risk. The most aggressive play will be a driver but this must navigate perhaps the narrowest section of fairway on the property.
We’ve added the option of using a forward tee to play this as a difficult long par 3, something currently missing from a course which features a number of short 4’s and 5’s.
The 17th plays across a lovely piece of ground, with a generous fairway narrowing down at driving distance between the large dune on the left and bunkers on the right. The green site sits against the same large dune on the left, and the canny golfer may choose to use this to their advantage by banking an approach shots off the slope rather than flirting with the bunker on the right.