Set out on a spectacular site overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the southwest coast of Fiji, local golfing hero Vijay Singh (in association with the design team at IMG) should have laid out the fairways at Natadola Bay, but a dispute between Vijay and the developers saw him walk away from the project.
In stepped Singapore-based construction company Heritage Golf to complete the design and so Natadola Bay – boasting ocean views from fifteen of its Seashore Paspalum grass fairways – became the fifth 18-hole golf course in the island nation when it debuted in 2009.
Toughest holes on the card are the 1st (index 1) and the 18th (index 2), both of which play as testing long par fours. The 544-yard 6th is perhaps the most memorable hole, with an elevated tee positioned 200 feet above a fairway that snakes right then left to the green.
Best of the short holes is the 145-yard 15th, played to a green that’s protected by three front bunkers.
The Fiji International was
first hosted at Natadola Bay in 2014 and shortly after Brandt Snedeker’s 2016 victory,
Vijay Singh (in collaboration with Ernie Els’ Senior Design Associate Greg
Letsche) stepped back in to make a number of alterations to the layout ahead of
the 2017 tournament.
Natadola Bay Golf Club is a seaside and beachfront course in which fifteen holes can be played while watching the cobalt blue Pacific Ocean with beautiful coral shoreline. The course extends from a small hill to the coast. With multiple tight holes, with long fairways protected by thick rough on both sides, continuing throughout, accuracy will be a key factor on this beautiful course. Also, the intensity of the sea breeze needs to be put into consideration. The course is suitable for intermediate and advanced players, as it is a quite a challenging course. My favorite holes are the next four holes.
The par 4 496-yard 1st is a downhill and long hole hitting toward the sea. The landing area off the tee is narrow with a bunker on the right and deep rough on both sides. A guarding greenside bunker on the front right will come into to play on the approach shot. The green is slightly elevated and slopes from right to left. The par 5 556-yard 5th is demanding with a dogleg to the right. The tee shot is dynamically downhill, and the landing area is narrow. With an uphill second shot, players will encounter a much steeper uphill third shot. Players should avoid at all costs an extremely deep bunker protecting the front side of the green.
The par 4 328-yard 12th is a nice risk & reward hole. This short par four is reachable as it is downhill, but a small pond located just in front of the green will come into play. Players need to make a decision whether they use drivers or lay up off the tee. The par 3 220-yard 13th is a long par three in which the sea and coral reef on the left are beautifully aligned. There is a long bunker located on the left side stretching from the tee to the green protected by pot bunkers on both sides. To read more about the course at Natadola Bay click here to visit my website.
Brilliant Golf Course #1 Fiji that I've played certainly in the harder bracket as a Championship setup with the Fiji open being played here.,, at the time I played the course wasn't in prime condition as low rainfall had limited fairway watering etc
I played off the white tees and was humbled in my first round blowing out my HC in the first Nine Holes!! much respect must be given not only off the tees but attacking the greens you don't want to miss as best case you land in one of the many bunkers.
Scenery is spectacular the designers did A+ job many early and late holes in stunning coastal beaches water views ...then next few middle holes you are playing in hilly jungle feeling miles away from the cooling sea breezes
Some major elevation changes across the course some of the most I've ever played on (No way you would want to walk this course!!)
I did warm up and play at our local resort's Nine hole course and had a good practice pre-game but still carded my worst Nine hole score for the year its that hard mainly because I didn't give the course the respect it deserves, I think if you can score to your HC or below you have done exceeding well.
I enjoyed the course so much and felt I didn't give it my best I returned a couple days later to have another crack but yet agin Quad Bogeyed the 5th PAR 5 a monster 461m hillclimb hole(My worst hole of both rounds!!) I ended up within 1 shot of my first round..
Do get a Course Guide (will be paid back in ball savings)
tee off early heat + day breeze only makes it harder
Do contact the club direct I saved on transport and got a sharp price on the round
Natadola = breathtaking and brutal
PS-I'm certainly coming back with a goal to play to HC and score a sub 90!!