Saturday, 26 March 2016

Millaa Millaa Golf Club

Millaa Millaa Golf Club's ninth green and clubhouse
I'm on a gradual tour of the golf courses of Far North Queensland, and of course there's a fair bit of variability among them. I had previously driven past Millaa Millaa Golf Club and peeked across what I thought was essentially a dairy paddock with greens. I really wasn't expecting much from the course, but after heading up there last weekend I was pleasantly surprised.

The course was in excellent condition, particularly the greens - the best I've seen on my "tour" so far. There were a couple of patches of browner grass, but even there the ball ran smoothly and at a good pace. The area receives good rainfall and has rich soils, so the fairways and rough were also very good. There's a nice mix of holes, with the third and fourth being the stand outs.

There are no bunkers on the course, I assume due to the expense of maintaining them in a high rainfall environment. Some mounds and hollows around the greens would be a good solution and would add to the course.

Photos and brief hole-by-hole descriptions are below the fold.

Another course that breaks with the usual convention of opening with par fours, Millaa Millaa's first hole is a short 131 metre par three from an elevated tee, over a dip, and to a raised green with a dairy country backdrop. It's a rather scenic opening. The dip seems to make the hole seem shorter than it really is, so keep that in mind for your club selection.

The Millaa Millaa course is set on some severely undulating countryside, and this has resulted in some of the holes having blind tee shots. The first of these is the second, a 393 metre par four over a crest to an open fairway that gently falls to the green. Most of the trees along the fairway seem fairly recently planted, so missing the fairway isn't going to be too costly - though the rough is long enough to make it a little difficult.

If you lay up on the third, this will be your approach shot
The third hole is a 326 metre par four with the option of laying up to the crest of a hill, or taking a longer club, hitting blind, and risking the gully that runs in front of the green. The green is a small target, protected not just by the gully in front but also trees and a creek to the right.

The fourth tee - another blind shot. Aim to the left of the large tree in the middle of the photo
The fourth is the course's only par five, and, while a little short, it's a beauty. The tee shot is another blind shot to a fairway curving around thick trees and out of bounds. The fairway falls from right to left, with the room to bail out to the right side. The hole is only 448 metres, so a good tee shot will give you the chance to get home in two.

The fourth hole from the crest looking greenward. The green is behind the trees at left.
The green is tucked back in the back corner of the course, slightly blocked by trees encroaching on the left. There's a large drop off if you miss the green to the left. I thought this the stand out hole on the course, edging out the third.

The fifth is a 128 metre par three to a fairly small green with little danger. It would be nice to see the green moved and/or expanded to the left to bring the trees into play more. A cricket ground and a function hall are to the right.

The sixth is a 267 metre downhill par four through a narrow chute in the trees to a smallish green. It will definitely tempt longer hitters, but care should be taken to avoid the thick trees on the left of the hole.

At 237 metres, the seventh hole is really too short for a par four, and would be better served by moving the tee forward and playing as a par three - as it is when played the second time as the 16th (at 207 metres this could be the longest par three in Far North Queensland). The tee shot for the seventh is slightly blinded by a crest, and you need to draw slightly around the trees on the left to get at the green.

The eighth is a 295 metre par four doglegging slightly to the right around the trees. The fairway falls and narrows around the area of a long drive. Once again, the green is a fairly small target.

The ninth is a 331 metre par four climbing up the hill all the way, making it play a bit longer. It's fairly open to the right, but has some trees on the corner that could come in to play. The green is fairly long, and pin placement could add a club or two to your approach.

The clubhouse was closed by the time I had finished (1600 on a Sunday), but it's nicely located near the high point of the course and has views over almost all the holes. If the clubhouse is closed, an honesty box system is in use for your green fees of just $10.

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