The small town of Yarrawonga sits on the south bank of the Murray River in the state of Victoria, across from its twin town Mulwala in New South Wales, which lies on the other side of the man-made body of water known as Lake Mulwala.
Opened for play in June 2015 and designed by Peter Thomson and Ross Perrett, the course at Black Bull Golf Club forms an integral part of the Silverwoods Golf & Lifestyle Resort, which occupies a site on the shores of the lake that was once a Black Angus stud farm (hence the club name).
The layout features a tough three-hole sequence, starting at the par three 15th. According to an article published in the Border Mail: “The highlight is a stretch of three holes to rival Augusta’s Amen Corner.” It’s known as the “Bull Ring” and a more than life-sized statue of Charlie the bull greets golfers at the entrance way to this trio of holes.
Director of Golf and Head Professional James McCully reckons more than $22 million has been spent on the course over a seven-year period since it was first planned in 2010 and he thinks it’s not quite as tough a track as some might imagine:
“From the championship black markers, it is the longest course on the river but moving to the blue or red tees takes a lot of heat out of that. The par three that starts the Bull Ring is the only shot across water, despite holes having the lake and other water as lateral hazards.”
Black Bull GC is located on Lake Mulwala, 3 hours north of Melbourne. It is on the Victorian side of the border near Yarrawonga, which also has a terrific golfing facility.
Black Bull GC was conceived as part of the Silverwoods Golf & Lifestyle Resort. The former Black Angus Stud Farm is now a golf course surrounded by housing.
Renowned architects Thomson & Perrett designed the course which opened in 2015. I have always found Peter Thomson courses to be a little penal in places, but that is not the case at Black Bull.
Perhaps it is because it was designed for public access, or perhaps it was the influence of leading man, Justin Trott
For wahatever reason Black Bull is definitely a little more forgiving than some other Thomson courses.They got the balance just right on this one! Off the appropriate tee it is eminently playable, and fun.
The large greens and bunker complexes are a feature. Natural watercourses surround many of the holes, but rarely is the golfer forced to carry over the water (except on the par 3, 4th hole)
Black Bull promotes a trio of holes at 4, 5 & 6 as their equivalent of 'Amen Corner' Collectively these holes are known as 'The Bull Ring'. They are three good holes- all with water hazards very much in play.
Black Bull is just a lovely place to play golf.
It's an easy drive from Melbourne, and with the Sebel hotel on site it is a nice place to play and stay. It's a perfect weekend destination on it's own, or as a starter for more golf along the Murray..
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
I just don't get the hype about this course. Maybe in 20 years I'll come back to see how it's grown in, but for now it still resembles the flat cow paddock it was 10 years ago, but with some nicely mown grass patches, some shallow scraped out water hazards, small trees and minor mounding and bunkering. It all feels a little too artificial, as though the adjacent and ongoing housing development mandated the square 'figure of eight' basic routing and the back and forth nature of many of the holes.
The upside: the course is still relatively new so conditioning was fine and green fees were good value, but I found nothing memorable above a by the numbers golf course / housing development.
If I was heading to Yarrawonga, I'd play the two main courses at Yarrawonga Mulwala GC, then I'd play them again, then I'd play Black Bull.
The final course played on Dad's 60th birthday trip was the recently (at time of playing) opened course right at Yarrawonga, along Lake Mulwala, Black Bull. The place to go for family holidays if you enjoy boating, fishing, jet sking and all things waters sports based. The course has been designed by Peter Thompson and has a tremendous routing that has now been completed to form a wonderful 18 hole championship course. Both excellent bunkers and great usage of water come into play here. Once the course develops more in the next 12-24 months this course will rise in the Australian rankings I feel. Enjoy the "bullring" holes 15 -17! The addition of a major brand hotel and clubhouse will definitely bring more people to this already thriving area a few hours north of Melbourne.