Brandybottle Golf Club
Perhaps like you, we had never heard of Brandybottle Golf Club. The drive to Tropical North Queensland is exhaustingly long, and it was beginning to get later than we like to drive in Australia. Deciding that we needed to find a place to stay, Menekse began searching our campground apps to find us a campsite for the night. With nothing sounding too appealing, she found a campsite at a place uniquely named Brandybottle. “And the campsite has a free golf course” she exclaimed excitedly! I knew immediately that this campsite was an absolutely perfect fit for these traveling golfabonds!
Brandybottle Golf Club is conveniently located between the “Are we almost there dad”, and the “how much further mum” signposts on beautiful Queensland‘s Bruce Highway. It was after dark when we arrived, but we were warmly greeted by Jacky, the owner. Deciding to wait to tell her our story of traveling the world playing golf for the morning, we found our way to our campsite. It was a quiet night, and we couldn’t believe our luck as we fell asleep under the Milky Way dreaming of the day to come.
Welcome to Hacker’s Paradise, Golfer’s Nightmare
We woke to blue skies and a warm morning. Since it was mid-July, winter in Australia, we were excited about the thought of being able to wear shorts on the golf course again. We met Jacky and told her what a perfect campsite Brandybottle was for us. “Well, Welcome to Hacker’s Paradise, Golfer’s Nightmare,” she said with a proud smile. She shared with us the story of how Brandybottle, Camping and Recreation Reserve, came to be.
Hacker’s paradise, golfer’s nightmare? We asked her what she meant. Jacky answered that the golf course was built by hand and crafted with love. Not much effort went into the design, she mentioned. They built holes around the trees, and the greens are “just a place where a cup is placed”, she said. While the golf course might not be much, what is most important is that “we all need some fun, especially in these times” she rightfully added.
Brandybottle measures just 1845-yards from the lone set of tees and plays to a par of 34. Armed with one of the coolest scorecards we have collected, we made our way to the first tee.
Through the Trees
The 104-yard par 3 second hole has a well-protected green. A very well-protected green! Surrounded by trees, it was no surprise that both Menekse and I found tree trouble off the tee. Menekse pushed her 6-iron right into the trees, while I pulled my wedge left. I had an opening, hit a decent pitch shot off a dry lie, and made a 10-footer to save par. But it would be my only holed putt of any length for the day!
The green on the slightly elevated 141-yard par 3 third hole is completely blocked by trees short. With trees seemingly shorter on the left, the best approach would be a high fade, which is a shot I can only dream of! I hit a high 8 iron that went up and over the trees directly in front of the green which looked great coming down. We found it resting just a couple of yards long of what must be the world’s smallest green! The green was made from leftover green outdoor carpet and measured 1 by 1 yard, at the very most. But it was the smoothest green on the golf course!
Continuing the theme of trees in front of tee boxes, Menekse hit a low screamer that stayed safely under on the 311-yard par 5 fifth. Yes, you read that right, a 311-yard par 5! There are trees off the tee and more trees that rest directly between your approach shot and the green. Hitting my second high 8 iron of the hole to the left side of the green, Menekse ripped another to the right side on her way to an easy par. If putting wasn’t so impossible, she would have made birdie!
Before heading out, Jackie gave us instructions on how to find the 175-yard sixth. Walk past the ninth tee, past the eighth green and you will arrive at the par 3. The scorecard says it plays 175-yards, but Jacky said that due to the closeness of the road, it was safer to relocate the tee box. We measured it at 74-yards with the distance finder. Menekse then proceeded to almost hole it! Her shot landed short and left but took a big and odd kick straight right, just missing the flag!
Menekse laughingly said that because of all the obstacles on the course, it reminded her of our day playing Urban Golf in Portland! Just without the urban, and on grass. Well, some grass!
At only 280-yards, you will wonder why the ninth hole is a par 5. Until you reach the tee box that is. Framed by towering trees, it almost feels like you’re in jail standing on the tee! So, back to the safety of my 8 iron off the tee I went. Another 8 iron for my second shot put me left of the pin in two. Luckily, I bounced my second putt in for our only birdie of the day!
Menekse made another par, her third of the day, and a score that was really good considering both the amount of golf we had been able to play recently, and, the quirkiness of the golf course.
Afterward, we sat and admired their book of memories at the clubhouse. Before our round, Jacky had said that Brandybottle is hit-and-giggle golf. And we did a lot of both! What a fun day at a fun golf course!