Bonnie Doon Stage 2 is Open!
Saturday April 26th Bonnie Doon Golf Club in Sydney, Australia opened the Stage 2 holes from our Master Plan to their membership for play. Here is an overview of the 8th and 16th holes. We will feature the 11th and Spare hole later this week.
The uphill 8th hole has largely retained the tee and green positions of the old hole, but the ground in between has altered significantly. Two rows of vegetation have been removed from the left and right, opening up the original corridor and allowing for a more open view up the hole and the fairway is almost double the width.
One of the challenges of the renovation was correcting the steep slope that ran across the fairway from high right to low left. The slope was so severe that even when the fairway was the slow running kikuyu grass, shots would rarely stay on the cut surface. One can only how this would have fared once the conversion to couchgrass was complete.
To create a more playable fairway area we built a tier or spine running lengthways through its middle, creating an upper (right) and lower (left) section of fairway.
The green has been set up to favour a shot up the narrower right hand section of fairway, with the reward both a more direct line and clear view of the target. Conversely, the shot from the left hand side of the fairway is both blind and requires a pitch over a steep bank filled with bunkers.
The dogleg 16th, played over the edge of a large sand dune filled with bunkers features one of the more dramatic tee shots on the course. The largest of the bunkers must be negotiated in order to gain the best line into the angled green, whether short of, over or skirting as near to as possible.
Players can decide to take no risk at all and stay well short of the bunker on the corner, however the shot to the green is largely blind, with only the top half of the flag visible.
Such decisions didn’t exist on the old hole. The tee was well right of its current location and the corner of the hole was covered in pine trees. Whilst long hitters could play over the trouble, short hitters had no hope of a clear second.
Some may accuse us of ‘straightening another dogleg’ but like most of the great short par fours in the world, the golfer on the tee can at least get a glimpse of the target they are to attack. To the right of the 16th lies the spare hole. In the early stages of shaping we looked to try and hide the spare from view, but it felt forced and the ridge used to hide the spare green from view also detracted from the 16th tee. In the end we decided to link the two rather than separate them, with short grass tieing the fairways together and the greenside bunkers of the spare coming into play of off the 16th tee.
:: Mike Cocking