It’s now a long and time honoured tradition (all of 3 years) amongst a close bunch of friends that head to golfing heaven that is Barnbougle golf resort in Tasmania. The courses (3) are located near Bridport which is a little over an hour’s drive North West from Launceston airport.
Rounding Up the Troops
We had people coming from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne for the annual pilgrimage. To accommodate different work and home life balance requirements, we needed 3 different rental cars. The first scouting group arrived early Thursday afternoon and were going to be 5 people plus some of our beer sponsors (Young Henrys) product as well. So we had arranged a 12 seater Toyota Commuter van to deal with people, bags, golf clubs and sponsorship items.
The later group were planned for just 3, so we’d organised one of the new, amazing and very affordable BMW iX3 EVs. They’re a slightly smaller size SUV. The last group of 4 was coming the next day and we’d organised a Toyota Fortuner, a larger SUV.
However there was a flight delay so the forward scouting group commandeered the faster chariot to get to Barnbougle quicker so we could play a little in the afternoon and also we didn’t think it could take luggage for all 4 of them. The friendly staff at the SIXT counter were very flexible and accommodating with our requests, there was no line up and we were on our way quickly. We put all the non-essential luggage in the van for the others to take and hit the road.
Fun fact: on the new BMW iX3, Hans Zimmer – the very famous music composer from loads of films – actually created the artificial sound for the car and it sounds like a spaceship. I’ve never seen so many people volunteer to drive on this trip, it was super fun and great to drive. Ideal for the windy road and the hour or so flew by, as did the beautiful Tasmania landscape.
The Beginning of Our Barnbougle Trip
Turning into Barnbougle around 5pm, we were all so excited, the weather was glorious with no breeze, ideal for a late afternoon game. We managed to play 9 holes at Barnbougle Dunes before the sunset and ran into the second group towards the end who managed a few holes as well.
We started to get a few hungry grumblings from some in the group who were famished as it was just past 8pm and many are used to eating with their kids at 5pm. We headed off in the van for a late and unplanned meal in the sports bar at Lost Farm. They only serve pizzas there, and we believe they are either cooked very quickly on one of the Ooni style pizza ovens that are all the rage or on the face of the sun, they come out as hot as lava. Unfortunately as many of the team were starving they weren’t patient enough to wait for it to cool down at all. Note the pizzas are delicious, ideal for what the sports bar is and no complaints from the group. Just a few burnt mouths to deal with.
Every year we’ve gone to Barnbougle, there’s been a group that has gone swimming daily as a morning ritual. The course hugs the coastline and from both places it’s a short walk to the beach, at Lost Farm there’s quite a spectacular wooden tunnel they’ve built through the sand dune. The water is shallow and surprisingly warm for Tasmania. It’s a great way to freshen up and get the old, tired body up for another round of golfing. Just another reason this place is special. Another group of friends that played in June last year had the penalty for losing the day’s round was having to take a dip in the icy water.
We had to go to Bridport, one of the crew managed to not bring a toothbrush or charging cable among a few other things he forgot. We also wanted to grab some bananas, muesli bars and lollies for the course. It’s a beautiful seaside town that’s only 5 minutes drive from the course that has nice cafes, bakeries and some small supermarkets. There were quite a few golf groups in town and many chose to stay there instead of in the resort.
Golfing in Barnbougle
There are now 3 courses available to play, all public access which is part of the beauty of the place. Barnbougle has no members and as a result, there’s a great relaxed vibe to the whole place despite the first class golf courses, facilities and restaurants. In golfing terms, this is all quite new, Barnbougle Dunes was the first course opened in 2005, subsequently they added Lost Farm around 2010 and during Covid the team got work on a 14 hole short but very fun Bougle Run. Depending on where you look at ratings, they stack up very strongly on the national and global stage.
This is what they have on Wikipedia for Barnbougle Dunes. The course has been highly rated since opening in 2005, recognised as Australia’s number one public access course, and fifth best course of any sort in Australia. Barnbougle Dunes is the first new Australian course to enter the World’s Top 100 courses since rankings began, coming in at 49 after its first appraisal. It has since improved to be ranked the 35th best course in the world, and is ranked the 12th best links course in the world.
Here’s a spiel on Lost Farm from their website which for the record is my preferred out of the 3.
Ranked as the #2 public course in Australia by Golf Australia Magazine, and #23 in the World by US Golf Digest, the Lost Farm course is an exciting challenge for Golfers of all levels.
Tasmania isn’t exactly famous for its great weather and especially in these parts where there are quite a lot of wind farms, it’s rare you get days without the fans being turned on. For the times that we’ve come through February we’ve been very lucky and I think the window we travel and play in is one of the better times to go. Most golfers that I mention that I am going are quick to say good luck with the weather or have a tale around heavy wind, hail or rain. For this trip we had sunshine for most of it, and a little bit of a stronger breeze in the afternoon on one of the rounds.
Animals and wildlife are a highlight, the course is brimming with wallabies snacking on the lush fairways. Other notables we’ve seen on the trips have been wombats, blue tongue lizards, eagles and a few different snake varieties including a large tiger snake out the front of Lost Farm. It’s suggested to not look hard for your ball if you get it off the fairway into the longer grass. The highlight this year was spotting a large echidna tracking over a fairway.
Staying fed and hydrated is easy. There’s food and drink carts out on the course. The Dunes bar & restaurant has a simpler style setup which is more cafe/pub gastro style food in an intimate bar & balcony setup. The Lost Farm restaurant is eye-popping, perched on top of the hill overlooking the course and ocean. You can have more extravagant food there, but there are still more standard fare options available as well. It’s a must visit as part of a trip to the resort and for our group it’s always where the final dinner is.
This year I learned a new word, Jeroboam which is a double magnum bottle of wine. Slightly extravagant but efficient, a lot of fun and very tasty.
I won’t bore you with the results too much as I missed out on taking out the illustrious green jacket for the top player on the competition days, but it was a highly enjoyable trip that I recommend to anyone who has a passion for golf and travel.
To round out the trip on the Sunday morning we’re first group off at Barnbougle Dunes for the day at 7am, playing Ambrose golf to enable quicker and fun group play before we load up the rental cars to make the afternoon flights back from Launceston airport.
One of the knocks on electric vehicles is around range and concerns around charging. For this trip with the BMW iX3 we didn’t need to charge at all and returned the car with around 30% charge left. It has a 400km range and the trip is only 100km one way so you shouldn’t let this point deter you.
Reach out to the car rental team at Launceston airport, they have a wide variety of vehicles to meet your needs. Barnbougle is very popular so you’ll need to book well in advance, they can help with golf, accommodation and dining.