Monday, 28 March 2016

Cardwell Golf Club

The opening tee shot at Cardwell
On my way down to Townsville on Monday last week I decided to drop in to Cardwell Golf Club, another nine hole country course in our region. Some threatening cloud enveloped the hills behind the course, but they held off for my round.

Cardwell is a very, very flat course, and, as I found, has some drainage issues in a couple of areas of the first and second holes after rain, but the rest seemed to have dried out well. It's a woodland style course and a habitat for the endangered mahogany glider, for which the club is providing nesting boxes.

The course makes good use of a small creek that runs down it's southern edge, crossing it on the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 8th holes. There's also a pond on the 9th, so you may want to bring a few spare balls. The greens are unfortunately a bit unimaginative, generally small and circular, which seems the norm at small courses for some reason, but were well maintained. The fairways and rough were also in good condition.

Green fees are $20, with an honesty box system in use. As usual, photos and a brief hole-by-hole description are below the fold.

A slightly boggy approach to the first green
Cardwell opens with a 498 metre par five, continuing the growing tradition of FNQ country courses breaking with my expectations of first holes. It's long and straight, with a wide fairway.

The second green
The second hole is a short (288 metre) par four with a generous fairway leading to a small green with some protective mounds. I'm not sure what it was about this hole - perhaps a bit of an amphitheatre feel despite its flatness - but it just has a really nice feel to it. It's definitely a good hole to pull out the driver and have a go.

The third green is protected by a creek with deep rough
The third would be my pick for best hole on the course. It's a 161 metre par three over a creek to a small green. I took a five iron and thought I hit it pretty well, but found I had underclubbed. The creek has some extremely dense rough on its banks, and I really should have dropped out with penalty.

The fourth hole starts with a tee shot over the creek to another generous fairway. It's only 300 metres long and there's little danger.

The longest par four on the course is the 401 metre fifth hole, running straight back toward the coast. For such a long hole the green is tiny, and sits out in the open past the tree line.

The sixth hole is a 437 metre par five with a sharp dogleg to the left. The seventh and eighth hole lie within the dogleg, but are declared out of bounds. The approach shot to the green is over the creek again.

That creek keeps on appearing
The second par three on the course, the seventh is a 129 metre hole back over the creek again, though its well short of the green. There are no bunkers or mounds around the small green.

The eighth green
The eighth hole is a 317 metre par four and suits a fade off the tee or a lay up with an iron. I hit the trees on the right and lost my ball on my first tee shot, then opted for the safe lay up. On the approach a couple of mounds lie quite a bit short of the green.

Your tee shot on the ninth has to avoid the pond on the left
242 metres is too short for a par four, but if you must have a short par four then you really need some water. The ninth at Cardwell crosses another creek and is then flanked by a lilly-lined pond down the left hand side. It's a nice finish to the round.

The ninth green looking back down the fairway
Cardwell is a nice holiday town course. The flatness of the terrain makes it a bit less interesting than some other courses around the region, and it would benefit from some more contours around the greens in particular.

The clubhouse seems to be shared with the lawn bowls club, and has a large patio area looking down the ninth hole. It was closed when I was there, so I didn't get to peek inside. If playing during the week I would recommend picking up some drinks from the shops just in case.

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