Axedale Golf Course is a picturesque 18 hole layout that is commonly referred to as “Bendigo’s hidden treasure”. You don’t need to be the longest hitter but if you’re not straight from the tee you will certainly pay the price.
The course was converted from sand scrapes to grass greens over a two-year period based on Kevin Hartley’s design and was officially opened as a full grass green course in 1996. Players hit from one of four tee positions: Black is the longest course and red the shortest.
Hole 1: 128m par 3 black, 128m par 3 red.
A short to mid-iron away, this is a gentle, unthreatening entree to your round … or is it? Just make sure you’re not swallowed by the bunkers guarding both front edges and you should make par, or perhaps even a confidence-building birdie. Don’t drift too far left whatever you do!
Hole 2: 332 par 4 black, 246m par 4 red.
The first of four times you cross the deep creek that cuts through the lower part of the course. From the elevated black, blue or white tee, players must thread the needle between twin majestic red gums, while from the red tee it’s a simpler case of blocking out the yawning gulf immediately in front of the tee. Once safely across, you require a straight approach up a steep hill to a narrow green. Don’t stray right, where trouble lurks.
Hole 3: 240m par 4 black, 240m par 4 red.
A picturesque and disarmingly simple downhill par 4, the third requires a precision drive down the right side. Too straight and your ball will be fed left into trouble, costing a chip to safety. From fairway central it’s a delicate pitch to a generous but well-bunkered green. Birdie chance.
Hole 4: 482 par 5 black, 406m par 5 red.
That creek again: The black, blue and white tees require a long carry, while the red tee is from close range. A generous fairway narrows as you approach the long, bunkered green. Watch and listen for the kookaburras and firetail finches that inhabit this hole.
Hole 5: 295m par 4 black, 290m par 4 red.
The fairway is straight and wide, but two bunkers will catch drives that drift right. The green is protected by a bunker front left. Big hitters should look for birdie.
Hole 6: 151m par 3 black, 151m par 3 red.
Another elevated tee provides a grandstand view of this pretty hole, overlooked by the best river red gum on the course. Bunkers both sides … naturally.
Hole 7: 524m par 5 black, 444m par 5 red.
A cut lunch and a water bag are needed to traverse this monster, which draws to its bunkered conclusion on the banks of the Campaspe River more than half a kilometre from the tee. Before hitting off 8, take a peek at the river bend to see if you can spot a yellow belly or even a platypus.
Hole 8: 260m par 4 black, 260m par 4 red.
A straight drive to the 90-degree corner leaves just a pitch to the elevated green … which is where the fun starts. End up on the wrong tier and two putts is a great outcome. We’ve seen plenty of four-putt frustrations. This hole entices the big hitters to clear the forest between tee and green, but the green is bunkered left and right, increasing the risk.
Hole 9: 335m par 4 black, 323m par 4 red.
From yet another elevated tee, players must drive confidently to clear the creek and position well for the up-hill approach to a sloping green. Nine plays every centimetre of its length and par is a good return.
Hole 10: 309m par 4 black, 305m par 4 red.
From a – you guessed it – elevated tee, drive straight and you’re well on your way to par. Out of bounds to the right and a deep bunker guards the left front. Stray too far left and that creek lurks again.
‘Across the road’ – Holes 11-15.
The five holes on the upper section of the course all slope towards the road, putting a premium on precision hitting. ‘Aim high’ should be your motto.
Hole 11: 332m par 4 black, 265m par 4 red.
A gentle curve to the right to an elevated green. The bunker on the right can sometimes be a blessing lest you career downhill towards out of bounds. Play with care and you’ll be fine.
Hole 12: 124m par 3 black, 124m par 3 red.
Add two clubs here for the steepness of this short uphill par 3. A bunker front left catches plenty of stray shots. You can hole out in one if you like, but you won’t see it from the tee!
Hole 13: 518m par 5 black, 415m par 5 red.
The fairway slopes dramatically to the left, so make sure you ‘hit high’. A hundred metres out from the green the fairway constricts and turns to the right. The long narrow green is deceptively tricky to read, making par a good return.
Hole 14: 170m par 3 black, 170m par 3 red.
A gentle downhill slope means this hole plays a little shorter than advertised. Don’t miss right, where lurk a bunker and a steep drop to further trouble.
Hole 15: 410m par 4 black, 398m par 5 red.
Arguably the most charming hole on the course, the 15th is also one of the most challenging with its sharp dogleg left and long downhill approach to a unique, sunken and blind green. Don’t be fooled into thinking your approach will roll downhill to the green; the grass immediately in front of the green is cut high to pull up inadequate shots. After holing out, cross the bridge and follow the path up the hill and back over the road to 16.
‘Back over the road’ to holes 16-18.
Hole 16: 134m par 3 black, 134m par 3 red.
A charming hole with a sloping green nestled among huge Eucalypts, 16 requires just a straight short iron to avoid bunker trouble. Birdie chance.
Hole 17: 373m par 4 black, 364m par 4 red.
This is one majestic golf hole, the hardest Axedale has to offer. First thread your drive through a narrow opening – creek on left, red gums guarding the right – to an expansive fairway. Long hitters will not hesitate to carry ‘that creek again’ to reach an elevated green. Mere mortals will choose to lay up short of the creek and bank on a good third shot in. Getting on is one thing, getting in quite another – 17’s green is a slippery slope for the careless. Par is excellent; bogey acceptable.
Hole 18: 182m par 3 black, 175m par 3 red.
This longish par 3 is protected by bunkers left and right. Whatever you do, don’t stray right lest you career downhill to double bogey or worse. A tough but fair finish in front of the clubhouse.
- Front nine, 2747 metres, Par 36
- Back nine, 2551 metres, Par 33
- PAR 69
- Front nine, 2488 metres, Par 36
- Back nine, 2350 metres, Par 34
- PAR 70