Un­for­giv­ing but beau­ti­ful

Even if you can’t avoid the trees at this al­lur­ing course, the stun­ning scenery makes up for it, writes Ian Mcphedran

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - Golf Bonville -

TREES are both Bonville Golf Re­sort’s most beau­ti­ful and most sin­is­ter fea­ture, swal­low­ing way­ward golf balls with yawn­ing reg­u­lar­ity.

This is not a course for sprayers, or the faint-hearted. Straight hit­ting is the key, but don’t fret as the pro shop has a vast sup­ply of well-priced golf balls for sale.

Even be­fore set­ting foot on the first tee on Satur­day af­ter­noon with a group of long-hit­ting mem­bers – Grant, Andy and Matt – we are im­mersed in the Bonville cul­ture.

As Grant and Andy reg­u­larly blasted their tee shots 250m to 300m down the fair­way, this first-time vis­i­tor – and the group’s high­est hand­i­cap­per – sim­ply mar­velled at the raw beauty of the course and the moun­tains that frame it.

Later, when sit­ting at din­ner as day merges into softly lit night and the tow­er­ing flooded gum trees that line the 18th fair­way next to the club­house ap­pear to grow even taller and straighter, the mag­nif­i­cent golf course dom­i­nates the scene.

En­joy­ing a gourmet meal from the one-hat team led by ex­ec­u­tive chef LeeO’Car­roll, as a gen­tle breeze wafts across the out­door area and the chirp­ing of par­rots is re­placed by hoot­ing owls and croak­ing frogs, is al­most a spir­i­tual ex­pe­ri­ence, re­gard­less of how badly the golf went.

Bonville is 21 years old and some of the decor is show­ing its age, but golf is what Bonville – 10 min­utes south of Coffs Har­bour in NSW – is all about, and the Terry Wat­son-de­signed mas­ter­piece is reg­u­larly rated as Aus­tralia’s best re­sort course.

Ev­ery su­perbly groomed hole presents a new chal­lenge in a sub- trop­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment where the con­tours of the land have been used to per­fec­tion, and where place­ment is as im­por­tant as dis­tance.

Gen­eral man­ager and former pro golfer Brad Day­mond says the orig­i­nal Ja­panese de­vel­op­ers wanted to cre­ate a south­ern hemi­sphere replica of Au­gusta Na­tional, the home of the US Masters. They couldn’t achieve it in the Aus­tralian coastal lo­ca­tion, but what they did cre­ate is unique – and an epic chal­lenge for ev­ery stan­dard of golfer in an en­vi­ron­ment where na­tive trees and plants are com­ple­mented by aza­leas and camel­lias.

A Coffs boy, Day­mond is a keen ad­vo­cate for Bonville and its sis­ter des­ti­na­tion, Jonah’s at Whale Beach in Syd­ney, and he strongly pro­motes the team cul­ture that com­bines the golf with the food and the hos­pi­tal­ity.

Day two’s round with veter­ans Jim, Les and Bob was a more se­date af­fair but no less chal­leng­ing.

The golf course is world-class, the ac­com­mo­da­tion is com­fort­able and clean and the land­scap­ing is beau­ti­ful. A strict ‘‘ no party’’ pol­icy means that ev­ery­one gets a good night’s rest. The writer was a guest of Bonville Golf Re­sort.

SHOOT STRAIGHT: There are plenty of trees around the par-5 fourth hole at Bonville.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.