There was a time in life when I really enjoyed playing golf. I would play every chance I got. You can imagine how excited I was when I learned my next duty station in the Air Force was to be in Australia—Woomera, South Australia to be exact, and there was a golf course nearby. Yay!
My first chance to play golf in beautiful, and I do mean beautiful in many ways, Australia finally arrived. I was excited and ready to play, but had no idea what to expect. In hindsight, my lack of knowledge about the course was probably a good thing.
When I arrived at the course, I thought it strange that I was the only person on the premises. Sure, it was 125 degrees F that day, but that’s common in the outback of Australia. Even stranger was the sign in front of what appeared to be the golf shack. The sign had an arrow pointing in the direction of the 10th tee and read, “Enjoy your golf, Mate! BEWARE of the dingoes.” Hmmm! I was more interested in birdies, not wild dogs.
The photos below show the overall layout of the golf course and a closer view of a few holes near the golf shack.
As I walked to the tee box, the view resembled what I would expect a Martian landscape to look like. It had the appearance of a place forgotten by time. There was not one blade of grass visible anywhere. All I saw was dirt, dirt, and more dirt, with sporadic clumps of small-brown Spinifex bushes or something similar. I started to return to my car and leave, but decided I had to experience this strange patch of land down under.
Here’s a photo of the 10th tee and the others looked much the same. Sort of takes your breath away doesn’t it. Yeah, right!
Then there was the fairway, also barren of grass. It was like playing an entire round of golf from a giant sand trap.
The “browns” (aka greens) were the same as the fairways with one exception—the dirt had an “oily” substance applied to it. Look closely at the photos and you can see the flag stick marking the location of the hole. The other vertical rod is a tool with a pipe welded on the end at 90 degrees. The tool was for smoothing the surface of the dirt between the ball and the hole. You have to remove the footprints of kangaroos, dingoes, humans, and tractors. It was certainly a challenging experience putting the ball.
We won’t talk about how many rounds of golf I played while stationed in Woomera. I’ll keep that a mystery for another day. Let’s just say I’m glad I had the opportunity to play a course like no other. I promise you that I have not seen another golf course as strange as the one located in Woomera, South Australia.
Okay, I bet you can’t wait to have a chance to play on this fabulous track of dirt in Woomera! If so, let me know when you are going and maybe I’ll join you—maybe!
Tom Tatum – Author – 2018
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