Bonville International Golf Resort lies a few miles south of Coffs Harbour, in New South Wales, and many regard it as the nation’s most beautiful inland layout – some, in fact, describe it as Australia’s Augusta National, which is high praise indeed.
The national Rugby Union team, the Wallabies, uses the town as a training base and the team has been known to unwind on the local 18-hole championship course at Bonville International. Actor John Howard described the course as, “An exquisite combination of feng shui, zen, Buddhism beauty and cruelty. If you’re not hitting it well just look around you”. Russell Crowe lives close by and he has also teed it up here too – are there any tee times left for us mere mortals?
Literally carved through rainforests, the holes at Bonville are played in virtual isolation to each other, with huge Blackbutt, Ironbark and Tallowood trees framing every fairway. The course is laid out over gently undulating terrain with creeks and ponds adding to the visual splendor. Greens are generously proportioned but don’t expect to find many where one or two putts are guaranteed!
Three of the five par five holes on the card are found on the back nine so it’s no surprise that the inward half is a demanding 400 yards longer than the front nine. The pick of the five par three holes on the course is also the shortest. The 156-yard 17th is a delightful hole played from a secluded tee across water to an angled green.
The layout was updated in 2009 when bunkers on seventeen holes were rebuilt then topped up filled with brilliant white sand – a move that caused some to draw even more comparisons with the home of The Masters in Georgia, USA.