[Review] Maroochy River Golf Course

After a very slow start to the year I’ve managed to play four times in the last 10 days. And when I got asked to join friends at the new Maroochy River Golf Course, I jumped at the chance.

It’s always great to play a golf course for the first time. And it’s even better to play a brand new course for the first time because you don’t know what to expect. There’s no stories to judge. You can write your own script

And to be honest, I thought Maroochy River was going to be pretty rough. It’s built on a flood plain/sugar cane field and the word on the street was there were some struggles with getting grass to grow.

I thought the ground was going to be soft and the greens bumpy. I was about to be pleasantly surprised.

A few weeks back I wrote about the Palmer course, how there was nobody there to enjoy that magnificent facility. Maroochy River Golf Course had no people problems. The car park was loaded and there were golfers everywhere.

Lots of cars equals lots of golfers

Lots of cars equals lots of golfers

And because I’m overly punctual, I arrived at the course a little early. This gave me a chance to sample the vast practice putting green.

And it was awesome. The green was firm and was running at a good speed. Very impressive for such a new course. You could spend hours putting if that’s your thing.

Note: There’s also a driving range but I didn’t hit any balls.

When my playing group arrived we congregated in the pro-shop. Here we were greeted by really friendly staff and another nice surprise. Green fees were only $50. And this included the use of a motorised cart. At the time I thought they could easily charge more for the privilege.

Sidetone: I don’t normally like riding in a cart, but it’s always a nice change. Whatever.

On to the golf course.

There is water everywhere. The course seems to be a blend of a links style, not a tree in site with a mixture of a resort feel. The water is definitely in play, but it’s back from the playing lines. You’ve got a bit of room to move, without feeling like you’re going to lose too many balls – although our group did lose our fair share.

I think the course would be a real beast from the back pegs. It measures a tick under 6400m from the Tiger Tees and a much more friendly 5900 from the white tees. And because the course is so flat and exposed, the wind will definitely offer its challenges.

And the entire course was firm. I loved hitting irons from the hard ground. Not sure how the course is going to hold up under a lot of rain, but I was impressed at how firm this new course is.

View from the practice putting green

View from the practice putting green

Play was from the forward tees. Not ideal and I wasn’t going to upset anyone by playing from the back tees. And I’m sure my friends, all playing off dodgy 24 handicaps appreciated having a nice start on the holes. So I didn’t use my driver, instead choosing to give my 4 wood a nice workout (I have just put it back in the bag after 3 years on the bench).

I found the course interesting. Each hole was different and there was enough trouble to keep you focused. Large fairway bunkers are well located and there was the ever present water. My favourite holes are short par 4s and Maroochy River has two good ones. The 6th is sandwiched between two par 5s, is well bunkered and the green tricky. I hit my best shot of the day here, but managed to three-putt for a par.

Water, bunkers and an interesting layout. Maroochy River is a nice golf course

Water, bunkers and an interesting layout. Maroochy River is a nice golf course

The 15th is a beauty. It has a really wide green but has rough and deep bunkers guarding it. One of my mates managed to drive the green, but he was so far from the pin that he did well to take a four.

The course also has some nice par 3s. I particularly liked the 12th, which is short, but well bunkered with water on the right. I’m sure when the wind picks up, this kind of hole will be very challenging, even though it’s only 125 metres long.

I tend to notice small things these days. It must be because I’ve now entered my forties. Here are two things that jumped out at me.

I loved how the tees were constructed. They were dead square, just like playing in the UK at those Championship courses. I reckon they look great and I’m sure they’re much easier to maintain than those tees that have curves in them. Here’s a picture…

I enjoyed the straight lines of the tee. This is the 4th tee - a nice little par 3.

I enjoyed the straight lines of the tee. This is the 4th tee – a nice little par 3.

And I was impressed with the drink cart guy. True, it would have been nice if he was a she and 40 years younger, but he did make sure we were well lubricated and fed. He was good to chat to and, like the pro-shop staff, was very friendly. And the prices were very fair and reasonable. I think Maroochy River is trying hard to cater to everyone and not getting carried away charging upwards of $9 for a beer.

Now for the bad stuff.

It was slow. Very slow. The course was overcrowded and at times there were up to 5 groups on a hole. Slow play really pisses me off and it’s a blight on the game. In this instance, I reckon they (the management) allowed too many people onto the golf course.

So it ruined what would have been a very enjoyable afternoon. We hit off at approximately 12.45pm and by the time we hit the 16th green at 5.15pm it was dark. We attempted to play the 17th but it was a wasted effort. Just too dark to see the hole properly.

Most frustrating of all is a course marshall came out to us on the 16th. We didn’t spot him all day until it was too late. Where had he been hiding? All throughout the day, golfers were taking too long to play, look for balls and generally just moving around the course.

Mr. Course Marshall was more upbeat, “Sorry about the delay guys. It’s not really our fault. It’s a new course and golfers are still learning how to play it. Things will settle down in a few weeks”.

I didn’t buy his excuses but kept my mouth shut because he attempted to rectify the situation, “Pop into the clubhouse after you finish and we’ll give you a voucher to come back and play again”. It was an honest attempt to apologise for what was at times was quite an frustrating day (first world problems I know).

The admin lady didn’t know what to do “who told you about the vouchers?” “But you got 16 of the 18 holes in”. She told us to go to the pro-shop, “but the pro-shop is closed”, was our reply.

She then went to speak to the manager, who in my opinion just brushed us off. Lady Admin asked for our phone number and said they’ll call in the morning to arrange. They never called.

And this was a wasted opportunity. The manager had four local guys who wanted to come to their golf course and play. And this means spending money and perhaps being regular players (or even members) for years to come. But he didn’t bother to come out and speak to us, to learn about our day and get some valuable feedback. He missed a chance to fix an issue and set us on our way as happy campers. A shame really.

We did visit the fancy bar for one drink (we’d normally have two or three) but time was already tight.

I’d give the course a 7 out of 10 and if it wasn’t so slow and we weren’t brushed so easily I’d probably gladly have given an 8. But like most public courses they need to ensure slow play doesn’t derail the experience and make sure they’re on the ball. For the most part however, I think Maroochy River Golf Course is on the right track and they’ve done a good job. If you’re in the area it’s worth a game but make sure it’s not too busy!

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3 Comments

  • Grayden Provis

    Reply Reply June 10, 2015

    Great comments about where management missed the boat. Spot on. I always used to tell my people “complaints are gold – they let you know what you need to fix!”

  • Sean

    Reply Reply June 12, 2015

    Hi Cameron, Thank you for your comments on Maroochy River Golf Club good and bad. We can only fix issues when we are made aware. Please give us a call so that we can organise that free game for you and your friends.

    Regards
    Sean Seymore
    Club Professional
    Maroochy River Golf Club

    • Cameron

      Reply Reply June 12, 2015

      Hi Sean, thanks for stopping by. I’m sure all issues will be sorted soon and we look forward to having another hit. Thanks for the offer.

      Cheers,

      Cameron

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