Famous Golf Courses
The Nullarbor Links
Australia is laying claim to the longest golf course in the world. This unique course, the par 72 Nullarbor Links, stretches from Ceduna in South Australia to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. The eighteen holes are dispersed over 1,365 kilometres, traversing the Nullarbor Plain with its contrasting and fascinating geographic features.
The mastermind behind the 'links' was a man by the name of Bob Bongiorno. Bob saw the Nullarbor Links as a way to change the outlook of those crossing the largely uninhabited 'space' between the east and west of the continent. Many travellers perceived the Eyre Highway crossing as an endurance test and most had a race track mentality. If motorists could be persuaded to slow down and become aware of the many attractions and stories of the Nullarbor, the crossing would become something very special. Each hole is dedicated to a local identity.
Travelling from east to west, the first two holes are at Ceduna Golf Club. Ceduna is the major commercial centre of the far west of Eyre Peninsula. The name 'Ceduna' is a derivative of the aboriginal 'Chedoona' meaning 'resting place'. The area surrounding the town offers unspoilt beauty, azure waters and a huge array of unique flora and fauna.
Hole No 1 Oyster Beds Par 5 485 metres
The relatively new aquaculture oyster industry is rapidly developing to a major part of the district's economy. There are now 85 hectares under cultivation at Denial Bay with a further 40 hectares off St Peters Island. The oyster are now in great demand throughout the continent and overseas.
Hole No 2 Denial Bay Par 4 370 metres
Denial Bay was the first settlement and port in the area. Ceduna and the Port of Thevenard developed from foundations set down at Denial Bay. In 1985 the first oyster beds were established there.
We now head west on the Eyre Highway. The highway is named for Edward John Eyre (1915-1901), an explorer and the first to cross southern Australia from east to west.
Hole No 3 Penong Windmills Par 4 260 metres
Named after a derivative of an aboriginal word meaning 'waterhole'. Penong has a unique skyline of wheat silos and windmills. It is known as the 'town of 100 windmills' or 'Windmill Flat'. Most households have a windmill which pulls water from underground basins. Just south of Penong lies Cactus Beach, renowned for its surf.
Hole No 4 Nundroo Wombat Hole Par 5 520 metres
Nundroo is the western extremity of South Australia's agricultural land. There are old settlers' cottages in the town and wilderness fishing due south on the Great Australian Bight. The area also has the largest population of Southern Hairy Nosed Wombats of anywhere in Australia. Their isolation has protected them from introduced diseases. The species is being used in a surrogate program in an attempt to save the Northern Hairy Nosed Wombat from extinction.
Hole No 5 Nullarbor Dingo's Den Par 5 315 metres
Nullarbor is derived from 'nullus arbor' or 'treeless plain'. The Nullarbor oasis is located 94km west of Yalata. A unique highway sign, warns the motorist against wombats, camels and kangaroos. The Nullarbor was once part of the ocean floor and is the world's biggest and flattest piece of limestone. It covers an area of about 200,000 square kilometres and can be up to 300 metres thick. The Murrawijinie Caves are 15 km north of Nullarbor Roadhouse. The National Park is home to Bunda Cliffs, blowholes and a huge range of unique fauna.
Hole No 6 Border Village Border Kangaroo Par 3 160 metres
Border Village is on the border (surprise, surprise!) between Western Australia and South Australia. There is a plaque here commemorating Edward John Eyre's crossing of the Nullarbor in 1840-41. A quarantine checkpoint stops all traffic entering Western Australia and most fruit, vegetables and certain plant material are confiscated. Thanks to this service, Western Australia has remained free of many pests and diseases which plague producers of food crops in the eastern states.
Hole No 7 Eucla Beach Nullarbor Nymph Par 4 315 metres
In the early 1900s, Eucla was the busiest telegraph station in Australia apart from the capital cities. It had a population of over 100 at that time. The Eucla Telegraph Station opened in 1877. It was a vital cog in the communication network of Australia, linking Western Australia with its eastern counterparts and with the world. Eleven thousand messages were sent annually. The ruins of the Telegraph Station are 4km south of the highway.
The Nullarbor Nymph was a modern-day legend of a naked, blond woman seen running and living with a mob of kangaroos. After causing much media excitement, the story was revealed as a hoax.
Hole No 8 Mundrabilla Watering Hole Par 4 330 metres
Mundrabilla Roadhouse and Station sit on the Roe Plains between the scenic Hampton tablelands and the coast. The plains are named for John Septimus Roe, WA's first Surveyor General. Roe Plains was an important source of sandalwood in the past. Not far from Mundrabilla is the discovery site of Australia's biggest meteorite which weighed over 10 tonnes.
Hole No 9 Madura Brumby's Run Par 3 125 metres
Madura lies halfway between Perth (capital of Western Australia) and Adelaide (capital of South Australia). Madura Station was settled in 1876 and polo ponies and cavalry horses were bred there for the British Army. The horses were shipped to India as mounts for the Britons. At the top of Madura Pass, there are spectacular views of the Roe Plains. From the lookout at the top of the Pass are views towards the Southern Ocean.
Hole No 10 Cocklebiddy Eagles Nest Par 4 347 metres
Cocklebiddy is a nature lover's paradise. It was originally established as an aboriginal mission. Cocklebiddy now has an international reputation for one of the largest cave systems in the world. The system is unique as it penetrates an aquifer that lies 90 metres below the Nullarbor Plain.
Thirty-two kilometres south of Cocklebiddy is Twilight Cove, popular with fishermen and whale-watchers. This is a 4WD track. Eyre Bird Observatory is housed in the historic Eyre Telegraph Station while Baxter Cliffs and Nuytsland Nature Reserve are accessible by 4WD south-west of Cocklebiddy.
From Caiguna west to Balladonia is the '90 Mile Straight', a 146.6 kilometre stretch of dead straight highway, the longest straight stretch in Australia.
Hole No 11 Caiguna 90 Mile Straight Par 4 310 metres
Caiguna sits atop the Baxter cliffs. These stunning formations are named after Edward John Eyre's overseer, John Baxter, who met a tragic end here on 29 April, 1841. It is believed that 'caiguna' means 'spear track'. The roadhouse came into existence to assist traffic crossing from east to west for the Commonwealth Games which were held in Perth in 1962.
Hole No 12 Balladonia Skylab Par 3 175 metres
'Big red rock' is a loose translation of the aboriginal word for Balladonia. Balladonia made headlines round the world when, in 1979, debris from Skylab landed 40km east on Woorlba Sheep Station. The Balladonia Hotel Motel had a personal phone call from then US President Jimmy Carter who apologised for Skylab falling on them. For only the second time ever, the National Geographic Magazine held up printing so it could include the story. With typical Australian humour, a littering ticket was presented to the director of NASA by the local shire ranger.
Hole No 13 Fraser Range Sheep's Back Par 3 141 metres
The historic Fraser Range Sheep Station is on the western edge of the Nullarbor. Here, a scenic range of granite hills is surrounded by the world's largest eucalyptus hardwood forest. Over twenty species of eucalypt are found here. Blackbutt, salmon gum and gimlet trees stand 20 to 30 metres tall, attracting an amazing number of wildlife species.
Hole No 14 Norseman Golden Horse Par 4 354 metres
Western Australia's gateway to the Nullarbor is Norseman. Legend has it that a prospector, Laurie Sinclair, tethered his horse to a tree overnight. This was in the 1890s. The horse, Hardy Norseman, was restless and in pawing at the ground, he uncovered a piece of gold-bearing quartz. Over 5 million ounces of gold have been mined from Norseman, making it the second richest goldfield in WA.
Hole No 15 Norseman Ngadju Par 5 436 metres
People belonging to the Ngadju aboriginal tribe are the traditional owners of this area. The lake near this hole is called Warrarnbunna (place of the long ground). The forest area is the Great Western Woodland and the largest woodland forest on earth.
Hole No 16 Kambalda Silver Lake Par 4 392 metres
Lake Lefroy has an area of around 510 square kilometres. Because of its size and the texture of the surface, it is considered to be one of the best places internationally on which to sail a land yacht. The lake has been used for Australian land speed record attempts. The 2007 Pacrim Land Sailing Event was held on the lake attracting entrants from all over the world.
The last two holes are at Kalgoorlie Golf Club.
Hole No 17 Golden Mile Par 5 519 metres
The dedication at this hole is to Bob Bongiorno, 'father' of the Links.
Hole No 18 Kalgoorlie C Y O'Connor Par 4 356 metres
Charles Yelverton O'Connor (1843-1902) was Western Australia's Engineer-in-Chief. His vision was to build a pipeline from Mundaring (on the outskirts of Perth) to the eastern goldfields of Kalgoorlie, supplying water to towns and individuals as it went. Fresh water is still piped 560 kilometres serving almost 100,000 people and millions of sheep and cattle through agricultural areas along the way.
Those wishing to play the Nullarbor Links can purchase a score card from Ceduna, Norseman or Kalgoorlie Goldfields Visitor Centres. At every hole, golfers can hire clubs if they wish and have their card stamped. Completed score cards can be handed in at Ceduna or Kalgoorlie whereupon a personalised certificate is presented as a memento.