Go hard or go home is my usual approach to golf, but at Barnbougle Dunes my resolve was tested when I was faced with the prospect of chipping over the most terrifying bunker I have ever encountered or taking the safe route around the fairway.
I took on the challenge and ended up on the green. It was a memorable moment on a long weekend filled with breathtaking scenery, great food, even better wine, and amazing golf. I had drooled over photos and read five-star reviews of Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm but nothing prepared me for the real thing. The courses are truly spectacular, and they are also close to several excellent wineries.
Located just out of Bridport on the northeast coastline of Tasmania, Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm are number 4 and 7 respectively on Golf Digest’s top 100 courses in Australia and number 2 and 3 on their list of Australian public courses
We visited Barnbougle Dunes and Barnbougle Lost Farm in August 2019 with a golf touring group. We stayed at Lost Farm and had an absolute ball. We landed at Launceston and after an hour’s bus ride dropped our luggage, grabbed our clubs and in a matter of minutes we were teeing off. While it rained heavily and was bitterly cold that first afternoon (don’t forget the wet weather gear), it added to the experience, and we felt like we could have been playing a links course in Scotland or Ireland.
Lost Farm features 20 holes and the fairways are wide and long but if you hit into the thick grass, you may as well reach into your bag and grab a new ball. At the end of day one I visited the pro shop and bought a woollen jumper and a box of golf balls. The scenery, even in the wet, is gorgeous. Hole 1 is a 467-metre monster of a hole that leads you inland, where you will have plenty of chances to get your swing going. Bunkers are placed in strategic positions throughout the course, with some so steep I couldn’t see over them, and the greens are deceptively tricky, while the thick grass and sand traps require you to think carefully about your shots.
Barnbougle Dunes is the older of the two courses and quickly gained a reputation as one of the best golf courses in Australia, and one of the best in the world. Winding through the dunes and with vistas of the sea, we were lucky to play the Dunes on a day with no wind. Everyone we spoke to told us how lucky we were and that normally the strong breeze plays havoc with your game. Hole 4 is home to Jaws, the bunker that was so intimidating I started to hear the iconic movie theme music in my head, but the Dunes offers a variety of long and short holes with the wide links fairways, undulating greens and almost impassable rough. Hole 7 is a 112-metre par 3 hole, the shortest hole on the course, however I managed to find one of the several bunkers protecting the elevated green and spent some time trying to escape. Hole 1 and hole 14 are long par 5’s, both over 500 metres, which big hitters will revel in. I enjoyed both courses but loved Lost Farm which we were lucky enough to play twice.
The wineries of the Tamar Valley are some of the best in Tasmania. Sadly, we had to be content with sampling the region’s best drops courtesy of the fabulous wine cellar and friendly staff at Lost Farm Restaurant, but I am itching to take our little van across the Tasman and spend a few weeks touring Tasmania. The Bay of Fires vineyard is just over half an hour from Barnbougle and the Pinos Gris is award winning. Darlymple wines, also close to Bridport, has a beautiful Pinot Noir. Both are worth trying and I look forward to visiting the cellar doors of both vineyards along with many others when we next visit the Apple Isle.