Imagine playing on a golf course longer than the distance from New York to Atlanta or Land’s End to John O’Groats. A new golf course offers a challenge to all keen golfers, but don’t expect to find fancy fairways and manicured greens. Where do you find this exotic new golf lovers’ destination?
The Nullabor Links is in the Australian Outback and stretches 1365km (850 miles) from Ceduna in South Australia, along the Eyre Highway to Kalgoorlie- Boulder in Western Australia’s Goldfields. Project Manager Alf Caputo was one of many enthusiastic golfers to tackle the course on the opening day.
“It’s been a fabulous journey,” he said. “It’s been a hell of a lot of fun coming across. We started five years ago with a dream and the dream has become a reality. The idea was to attract tourists and golfers who wanted to experience “the real Australia”. There’s some absolutely amazing scenery and before Nullabor Links there was no magnet to bring people out there to have a look at these beautiful things.”
What’s is the experience like? If you hit the ball like Tiger Woods you’ll be in your element. It is a golf course that requires a driver on every hole.
The holes are so far apart you will have to drive or be transported from one to the next and are likely to encounter some native Australian wildlife, including kangaroos, bush turkeys, emus, snakes and flies on your way. One of the holes is in the middle of a sheep station, complete with shearing shed. The course also passes through wheat farming areas in South Australia.
“You can imagine international tourists, particularly from England, Japan and China, who have never seen anything like it in their lives.” Mr Caputo said.
How long does it take?
You will need to allow 3 or 4 days to complete the par-72 course and you will be awarded a certificate at the end. Driving time between the holes varies from 45 minutes to two and a half hours. You can stop at one roadhouse, play a hole, then drive on to the next tee, 50 miles or 80km down the road. Some distances are even greater.
The holes themselves are in some rather strange locations.Some are alongside long featureless stretches of the Eyre Highway and some are positioned near petrol stations. And they’re not natural grass greens. Like many rural golf courses in Australia, due to the lack of water, a few greens are sand, stabilised with oil. Once you get used to them, they are easy to play on. Other greens are artificial turf.
As Alf Caputo proudly says: “It’s not just a game of golf, it’s a true Australian experience.”