Located in the heart of the Fleurieu peninsula, just a 45-minute drive from Adelaide, the Mount Compass Golf Course was founded as Fleurieu Golf Club in the 1990s. It occupies 140 acres of what was once a sand mine owned by A.G.Bennets Pty Ltd and there’s a large mining operation still in action immediately to the northwest of the property.
Brian Crafter designed the initial 9-hole layout but he died before construction began. His son Neil took over and completed the work in 1995, returning three years later to add another nine. New owner Stephen Connor stepped in to purchase the business in 2016, determined to turn around the fortunes of a layout that had become a little neglected.
The first move was a name change to Mount Compass then Neil Crafter was called back to advise on course improvements. This has resulted in the trimming, pruning or removal of overgrown vegetation and encroaching trees, along with a bunker renovation that has breathed new life into around 90 sand hazards positioned around the layout.
Highlight holes include the left doglegging par four 6th (which demands a tee shot carry over swampland to the fairway), the risk-reward par five 10th (where a raised green lies at an angle to the fairway), and the par three 12th, featuring a broad green that pushes towards a small lake on its right edge.
If you are of a mind to experience some fine wines, good dining and a round or two of golf then a journey through the Fleurieu Peninsula, just south of Adelaide will fit the bill nicely. Along with enjoying the ambience of The Southern Vales wine region, you can play golf on two pretty good courses - The Links at Lady Bay [which I will review later] and Mount Compass Golf Club.
I note that Mount Compass GC has recently been elevated into the Top 100 Golf Courses in Australia and rightly so. For anyone interested in the history and development of this club, I would direct you to an excellent article in ‘Golf Australia’
Now, this is a little treasure of a course. For the grand total of $A50 you can play a round that you will enjoy and I think you will remember for quite a while.
It is quite undulating and, especially on a hot day, would be a tiring walk. Consider taking a cart the first time.
The fairways are tight but very fair, the greens are pure and fast with some score destroying borrows and the bunkering is brilliant - very natural, much like Barnbougle Dunes. All maintained to a high standard by a ground staff of 2 or three. Amazing!
So, to the course itself.
Hole No. 1. Short par 4. A cracker of a starter. Although measured as 366 metres it is a sharp dogleg left and a brilliant risk/reward. A three ‘wood’ played across the wasteland will leave a short iron to the green. Too short or too long can ruin a score straight up.
Hole No. 3. Par 4, Difficult, extreme care needed. Turns left at about 180 metres. Too far left is OOB, too far right and/or long is a red penalty area. Often a long second - par is a good score.
Hole No. 6. Short Par 4. Love it - maybe the best hole on the course. Temptation everywhere. Plays, technically, L to R but a straight drive across an area of scrub leaves a short approach to a tricky green. Gorgeous natural bunker on the right [described differently if you are in it!!]
Hole No. 7. Par 5, blind tee shot. If you can, go to the top of the hill and check your line. Anywhere right of centre, the ball will scuttle away into a bunker or down onto the eighth fairway
Hole No. 9. Par 3. Short but good. Reaching the green is easy. Making par is a challenge - 2 putts from nearly anywhere is special.
Hole No. 10. Short Par 5. Another terrific design. Reachable in 2 for many players but the green is built into the side of a hill. Everything falls steeply from the right. The base of the bunker on the left side is 2 metres below the level of the putting surface. A hole one really needs to play several times to sort out the correct strategy.
Hole No. 11. Long Par 4. SI 1 and rightly so. Down hill drive to, again, a sloping fairway and green. Take 4 and say a little prayer as you walk to the next tee.
Hole No. 12. Par 3. 180 metres. Plays across a lake, all carry. Bailing out left can be a sensible option.
Hole No. 14. Par 3. Long - 201 metres, slightly uphill. Wide landing area towards the green for us mere mortals.
Hole No. 15. Par 5. Good hole: through the fairway right are 3 greedy bunkers or a drop of a couple of metres onto the 15. Needs 3 well played shots to reach the quite small green
Hole No. 18. Short Par 4. Fantastic finishing hole. Plays uphill perhaps 10 metres at the end. In most cases a short iron to the green. Extreme care needed with the putt - anything slightly overhit could end up in the divot of your previous shot.
A round of golf here is a great experience for players of all handicaps. A very natural course, not contrived. Lots of native wildlife: kangaroos, lizards and snakes of the venomous type in the warmer months so be careful, especially off the fairways. The bistro is not at all bad either for a post-round wind down.
Rating courses has become so much more difficult since I noted that Torrey Pines South, where the US Open will [hopefully] be played this year, gets 4 Balls! Prior to that I would have said 4 Balls and that fits with the descriptors provided for reviewers so 3 and 1/2 brand new TP5’s but go see for yourself - I don’t think you will be disappointed
Sorry, a small typo. The description of the 15th should read ' a drop of a couple of metres onto the 16th fairway'