Outback Australia - Nullarbor Links
By David Ellis
Nullabor Golf Course
You've got to have a pretty good explanation when you saying you’re
going out for a game of golf and you don’t come home for four days.
that’s the average on Australia’s newest course, Nullarbor Links where
every hole of this 18-hole track has a 19th attached to it, but which
alone is not reason enough for your tardiness.
Rather it’s the
tyranny of distance that’s the major obstacle in getting home on time
from this one: because from where you drive off in the direction of the
first hole, and through to the 18th, is anything but your average
6500-yards or so.
This par 72 course stretches an amazing 1365
kilometres across two States including the seemingly endless Nullarbor
Plain, and when opened in October last year wrote itself into history
as “the world’s longest golf course.”
So unique is it that
American, European and UK television networks have given
prime-time air space to it, with show hosts musing over obstacles from
that daunting distance, “to wandering camels, obstinate wombats and
And in just two months when the course
opened, its website received 7,600,000 hits, including from
twenty-seven non-English speaking countries.
Nullarbor Links is
the idea of the Eyre Highway Operators Association whose members runs
service stations, motels and roadhouses along that great stretch of
bitumen from Port Augusta in South Australia to Norseman just south of
Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
Three members in particular,
Bob Bongiorno, Alf Caputo and Don Harrington were the principal
drivers, seeing the golf course as a unique way of publicising the
tourist route, while also breaking up the monotony of the long trip
across the vast and arid landscape.
Not that you’re expected to tramp that 1365km from first to last hole.
hole is in fact located at a different town, village or way-station
along the Highway between Ceduna in SA and just-off the other end at
Kalgoorlie, at mostly “one-hole courses” – plus the obligatory 19th
within easy coo-ee.
And on average they’re around 80km apart.
1000 golfers from the serious to once-in-a-lifetime hackers wanting to
record playing “the world’s longest golf course” have already paid the
$50 for a scorecard at whichever end they began their cross-Nullarbor
journey, had the card stamped at the local roadhouse at each subsequent
hole, and at the 18th received a free certificate of their achievement.
popular has it become in the few months that its been opened that
Nullarbor Links is now sponsored by the Federal Government’s Department
of Tourism and a half-dozen major corporations.
true golf courses are involved (2-holes each at Ceduna, Norseman and
Kalgoorlie,) with artificial greens at the others. Fairways could, at
the most kindly, be referred to as “rough,” and to date only one player
has carded a hole-in-one.
And of course there’s no need for artificial bunkers – Mother Nature has provided ample at no extra cost.
have been given typically Aussie-vernacular names such as Wombat Hole
at Numdroo, Dingo’s Den (Nullarbor Motel,) Brumby’s Run (Madura,) and
90-Mile Straight (Frazer Range.)
One of the most famous is The
Nymph at Eucla: according to local legend, back in the 1970s a
beautiful blonde who’d gone feral could on occasions be seen romping
near-naked in the sandhills out of town.
When word got out,
photographers flocked from around the world hoping for a million-dollar
snap of The Nymph, who’d allegedly lost the ability to communicate in
anything but animal-like grunts; most failed, but in 1972 a Melbourne
journalist and photographer said they’d tracked her down and even
managed a blurred pic before she fled back into the dunes.
“rare photo” is now held in the National Archives in Canberra – but
those of the era who’ve seen it, say it bears an uncanny resemblance to
a barmaid the journo and the photographer befriended at the Eucla
Roadhouse during the search for The Nymph…
Another famous hole
is Skylab at Balladonia which was showered by debris when America’s
Skylab space craft broke up over the little settlement when crashing
back to earth; President Jimmy Carter phoned the-then owner of the
roadhouse to apologise for the debris on his roof and in his carpark.
If you’re tempted to play “the world’s longest golf course” go onto www.nullaborlinks.com