Trundle Golf Club
If you’re a fan of ABBA, you probably have heard of Trundle. Home of the yearly ABBA Festival held each May, we had never heard of Trundle, nor Trundle Golf Club. The golf course wasn’t on our radar until we went to the Elvis Presley Museum in Parkes. We mentioned our golfing journey to the museum caretaker, and she remembered that there is a golf course in Trundle. “But you might not like it” she continued, “because the grass is brown, and the greens are black.” Black greens? That sounded exactly like the type of golf courses that we are searching for in our world travels, and so we drove there that day!
Unfortunately, this year’s ABBA Festival event was canceled due to COVID-19. But arriving in Trundle, we learned that it is home to one of the longest wooden verandas in Australia. Check! But, more importantly for us, it is also home to Trundle Golf Club.
We weren’t even supposed to be in Trundle, but border closures caused by COVID-19 had altered our travel plans. So, after the lockdown, we decided to travel to the Hinterland of New South Wales. It was late in the day when we arrived, and we decided to wait until the following morning to play. While we were reading in our campervan Putu, a car arrived in the car park. We walked up to say g’day and were greeted by a local cabinetmaker and teacher with shag bags hoping to get in some late evening practice. We chatted about golf, the town, and even ABBA! As we said our good evenings, we walked away realizing that they must really love their golf!
A Cold June Morning
As the sun began to wake, we slowly made our way out of Putu. It was late June, and it was cold! We have played a lot of golf in late June, sometimes even in trousers. But June in Australia is winter, so we donned a jacket and a winter hat to battle the fresh morning! Taking our clubs out, we could feel that it was going to be a stiff-back type of morning. Menekse reluctantly decided that maybe it was too cold for her to play. But she said that she wanted to walk, take some pictures and maybe even caddy a bit.
As I was attempting to loosen my back with some swings, we saw a sign in front of the Clubhouse stating that Trundle Golf Club was built back in 1912! Trundle has a full 18 holes that measure 6125-yards from the back tees, and 5692 from the forward tees. Par at Trundle is 70, from both tees.
We peered through the Clubhouse window and saw the handwritten local rules. “Be aware, crows are active on course”, was the note that especially caught our eye!
Black and Brown, And Exactly What We Wanted
You are going to need a map to find the first tee! And more than likely you will need to check the map a few times during your round! Luckily, one is found on the back of the scorecard. Just trust your map, follow the signs, and you will be fine.
The 412-yard sixth is a straightaway par 4 that narrows the closer you get to the green. Hoping to turn one over, my tee shot remained down the right side of the brown fairway. With 170-yards in, I could see the small flag and something that appeared to be floating above the green. I grabbed 6 iron and hit a great ball through the trees that acted as a funnel but could not see it land.
As we walked closer to the black sand green, we could better see what was floating above the green. It was basically a gong that was used for a target! The gong was suspended above the green with a rope that was tied between some trees.
Just as we were warned, the golf course is black and brown. But in terms of uniqueness, Trundle Golf Club was exactly what we wanted!
We needed another check of our map to find the seventh tee. Trundle is located on a huge amount of land. While the golf course itself isn’t the longest, there are a few green-to-tee walks of at least 100 yards or more.
Once we found the tee, the 405-yard par 4 seventh gave us our best birdie opportunity of the day. After a tee shot that settled down the left side of the fairway, I was left with an 8-iron in. With a swing that felt more like summer than winter, my ball flew far and sure and came to rest pin high. Trundle has perfectly circular tiny greens that maybe measure 6 steps across. With sand greens, however, even a 2-putt is never a sure thing. Having played sand greens many times in my youth at Woodburn Golf Club in Oregon, I knew to hit the putt firmly.
I pushed my tee shot into the trees right on the short 340-yard par 4 sixteenth, but it was a long ball! Only about 50-yards to the green, I was just past the trees and had a clear opening. Attempting to hit a knockdown wedge, I hit it fat and left it short. Like really fat! About 25-yards short fat!
Take a Chance
There was something that really appealed to our eye on the 168-yard par 3 seventeenth. In front of the green lay the brown that we had become familiar with. But behind the green, among the gum trees, for some reason it reminded us of the savannah. It seemed more akin to the view that we imagine we will have when our golf clubs take us to Africa someday!
The distance and elements put me between clubs, an easy 6, or an aggressive 7 iron. Still feeling cold, I eased too lightly into the 6 iron and pulled it left as I often do. One day I will learn to hit the lesser club and swing more aggressively. We walked off seventeen with another bogey and no wild animal sightings.
After our round, we met Jenny, one of the friendliest persons we have met, and a volunteer at Trundle. With only 5-dollar green fees or only 60-dollar yearly fees, she said that the club has 70 golfing members! That is an impressive golfing community considering that the population of Trundle is not many. And it was our first time playing in what the Aussies call woop woop! As we said our goodbyes and steered Putu out of the car park, we pushed play on The Best of ABBA playlist. We are so happy that we took a chance at Trundle Golf Club!