Monday, 23 March 2015

Atherton Golf Club

Looking round the dogleg on the par five second hole at Atherton
As the second leg of my self-declared long weekend for golf I headed up the hill to Atherton Golf Club, another course I had seen only from the road in the past. Things got off to a nice opening with a pair of blue-faced honeyeaters (photographed previously) in a tree next to the first tee.

The first five holes at Atherton are particularly attractive, with the fairways lined by large trees including conifers. I found myself strongly reminded of Royal Canberra, though Atherton is greener and more tropical. A couple of corners gave a jungle feel, but the conifers dominate the scenery in this section. The par five second hole is a standout, with a gently sweeping leftward dogleg around large conifers, with the fairway falling to the right and leading to a bushland-surrounded green.

The second green
The sixth hole takes you into what seems a newer area, though it still has a lot of trees and some areas of thick bush. To help punish the wayward shot, water hazards come into play on four holes. While some of the par fours are a little short (the 12th comes in at 258 metres), they are well protected by doglegs and trees, and laying up is a good option. There are also a couple of good longer par fours.  

The highlight in this section for me was the short par 4 15th, with a dogleft left around some tall trees to a green protected close to the front by a pond, which today featured some lillies in flower. The tee shot is fairly tight, so I hit a five iron off the tee to the right half of the fairway, leaving myself with the shot pictured below. My nine iron was a little too gentle, and barely cleared the pond, ending up on the fringe of the green from where I three putted for bogey. Picturesque, fun and challenging is a good combination for a golf hole.

Second shot to the 15th hole after an overly-conservative layup
Atherton was a bit of a surprise. I didn't expect a small country town course to be so well maintained or designed. The greens were very good, although perhaps a little slow. Some holes are real beauties, from both a scenic and a golfing perspective. Eighteen holes will set you back $25. 

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