Monday, 22 February 2016

Ravenshoe-Millstream Country Club

My gallery on the third
On Saturday I headed up to Ravenshoe to add the Ravenshoe-Millstream Country Club to my list of Far North Queensland golf courses on which I have played. I was a little worried about rocking up unannounced on a Saturday, but it turns out that I was the only player on the course. Unlike most clubs, Sunday is the competition day at Ravenshoe-Millstream.

Driving up to Ravenshoe you pass through the Atherton Tablelands with its green pastures and dairy farms. The forest is thick, lush and tropical all the way until Ravenshoe, but it suddenly changes after that. The landscape dries out, and the rainforest opens up to eucalyptus bushland. The Ravenshoe-Millstream Country Club is located in Millstream, past this transition point, and is very much a bushland golf course..

The first green had a few bare patches, but the other greens were better.
Our Wet Season has been a bit of a disappointment, and my first impression of Ravenshoe-Millstream was that it looked dry, and it's probably not at its best at the moment. There are some bare patches in the fairways, and a couple of the greens were a bit patchy. This will likely improve with some rain when it comes.

The first hole is, unusually both on courses generally and nine hole courses particularly, a par 5. It's straight and fairly short at 464 metres, and there's a good chance to get to the green in two. Unfortunately I hooked my tee shot and was blocked by the trees down the left.

The view from the second tee
The longest par four on the course is the 371 metre second hole, which plays straight back alongside the first hole.

Looking back from behind the third green
The straight 366 metre par four third rises gently to an open green. I hit my best drive for the day ending up just short of mobs of kangaroos on each side of the fairway. They seemed somewhat skittish and I didn't try to approach them. While most of them headed across the next fairway, a few stayed behind to watch me underclub my approach shot.

The downhill 292 metre fourth is the shortest par four on the course, with a bit of a dogleg left at the end to place the green behind some high trees. It looks like they may be making a separate fairway to the left for the 13th, which suited me quite nicely as I pulled my tee shot high and long and ended up with a nice lie for a short punch to the green.

The 301 metre fifth has a sharp dogleg to the left around tall trees. If you don't draw the tee shot or hit high over the trees you will end up going through the fairway and into the trees. I tried the draw option but overdid it and went deep into the trees. Next time I'll try a five iron off the tee.

The sixth is the first par three on the course, a flat 132 metre shot to a fairly open green that is fairly long.

The seventh green
Another short par four follows, with the 301 metre seventh doglegging to the right but falling away to the left. A safe play, of course, would be to lay up with an iron to the corner but where's the fun in that! The green is built on a slope giving a steep drop off if you miss to the left.

The 8th hole. The 17th tee is at left in the foreground.
The eighth is, I think, the postcard hole for the course. The tee is at the high point of the course, back in a corner surrounded by bushland. There's a bit of a drop down to the green and the bush behind.

The course concludes with a downhill par five at 455 metres - perhaps a little short, but a nice finish. There's a bit of a dogleg off the tee which favours a bit of a fade, and then it's straight to the green.

In summary, Ravenshoe-Millstream is a nicely laid out, natural feeling, bushland golf course. It's currently in need of rain to clear up some bare patches in the fairways, and a couple of greens have some patches in need of work. The course fee is a bargain at $10 for the day, so you can play as many holes as you like, and the clubhouse was surprisingly good for a small out of the way club.

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