Perhaps the most naturally endowed residential golf estate in Australia, Thirteenth Beach is a 36-hole development that stretches for two miles along Barwon Heads’ famous surfing beach. Designed by Tony Cashmore, the older Beach Course is the pick of the golf and enjoys most of the dramatic duneland. Built on a former asparagus farm, the course starts by taking golfers in a loop away from the shore and through low-lying farming pastures, before turning seaward at the 5th and heading deep into the rugged sandhills for the majority of the remaining holes.
Although Cashmore did a good job shaping the flatter housing precinct land into a convincing golf experience, repeat business here is driven by the dunes, and an excellent series of holes within the natural dells, valleys and thick vegetation of the precious coastal areas. Particularly striking are the three gorgeous short holes, each framed by messy sand formations and testing a different aspect of your iron play. Despite measuring little more than 100 yards, the 16th is the hardest of these as it is totally at the mercy of the wind and plays to a tiny thumbnail green set on a spur and semi-concealed by a sandy waste foreground. The long 7th and mid-length 12th, with its green squeezed into a natural hollow, are also impressive. Of the longer holes, the three-shot 11th through a dune valley is a standout, while the dogleg 17th is a strong hole with an abundant wasteland. The gathering, punchbowl greens on the 8th and 18th are other memorable features.
Complimenting the raw glamour of the natural landscape and the severity of the coastal winds with generous fairways, large sensible putting surfaces and rugged bunkering, Cashmore managed to create a fine layout at Thirteenth Beach, which rises above the disparity in terrain to sit comfortably within its surrounds.
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