Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Nullarbor Plains crossing - 23/10/12 to 26/10/12

We headed off from Kalgoorlie for Fraser Range Station, stopping first at Kambalda Golf Club to play the 3rd and Norseman Golf Club to play the 4th and 5th holes of the Nullarbor Links.

We have left behind the beautiful green fairways and manicured greens for now. Kambalda fairway was dirt and their greens sand and oil, with Norseman’s prickle ridden fairways and fake grass for the greens. Both had a ridiculous amount of flies to annoy us whilst trying to take our shots. We had discarded the long pants and shoes that we were forced to wear in Kalgoorlie and opted for shorts and thongs instead. In hindsight, we should have kept the shoes on as those prickles go right through your thongs.

One of Jacob's few missses (remember he is a left hander trying to play right handed). And it seemed somebody always managed to be standing in the wrong spot and copped a dirt shower

Oily sandy green

Nullarbor Plains cool picture

In case you can't read it, this is the welcome to Norseman Golf Course

Doesn't matter how many times they watch "Home Alone 2", it's always funny.

Once set up at Fraser Range Station we headed off to play the 6th hole which was about a half a km walk out the back of the property. Again we had to deal with prickles and flies but this time we were more prepared; with shoes on and I had my fly net in place. We decided to play the rest of the course ambrose style. This saw an immediate improvement in our game with only one over par for this hole.  

Needed the fly net. Aso needed to hit the ball.

Shearers quarters at  Fraser Range Station

Country humour

We were inside the van early that evening as it was getting windy and cold and we knew the temperature was getting down to around 5 degrees. We played Monopoly until bed time, with lots of wheeling and dealing going on with sale of properties.Fraser Range Station was the first station settled on the Nullarbor in 1872 comprising of 437,000 acres. It’s a sheep property but now is in the process of moving across to cattle. The original shearer’s quarters (now accommodation units) and kitchen are still standing today.

The next day saw us heading to Balladonia, Caiguna and Cocklebiddy for the 7th, 8th and 9th holes. We travelled 90 k’s to Balladonia where the 7th hole was out the back of the roadhouse. This time we had dirt moguls half a metre high and about two metres apart to contend with. We were also told to watch out for the snakes. We managed a bogey due to Doug’s magnificent putt from three feet off the green straight into the cup. Luckily we didn’t see any snakes.

Replica of the Skylab that fell from space

Balladonia’s claim to fame is that part of NASA’s Skylab fell to ground there back in the 70’s and they fined NASA for littering.

It was 181 k’s to the 8th in Caiguna which was also out the back of the roadhouse. We had to kick aside the kangaroo poo before we had our shot and make sure we avoided the broken glass and old car parts. There was no difference between the fairway and the rest of the scrub so we had to send the boys out on a scouting mission to find the green before teeing off.  Against all odds another bogey.

Jacob showing us his style, hitting a right handed club left handed.

Caiguna Roadhouse was built to assist traffic crossing for the Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962. It was decided an additional stop was required to make the journey to Perth more comfortable.

Well what a difference 66 k’s made to the terrain on our next hole. The 9th at Cocklebiddy had wide open fairways that actually had a few tufts of grass and we had a clear view from tee to green.  Mind you, I’m starting to get a blister on my ring hand from too many air swings and I think I’m puting my back out every time I swing.  I’ve complained to Doug that he is teeing the ball up too high, however, he has quickly pointed out that I’m missing the ball because I’m swinging over the top of it and the only way he can help further is if he can find a longer tee and get the ball up higher still. Apart from me, everyone’s game of golf seems to be improving. Nate hit a beautiful drive with a 3 wood and we guestimated it traveled at least 100 metres down the middle of the fairway and Jacob’s mastered using a right handed club, left handed. He’s getting some good distance from the back of the club.

Our last hole for the day was a further 94 k’s on to Madura. There we played the 10th amongst the road trains that were stopped for the night. One of the road trains was parked so close to front of the tee, and on part of the fairway, we thought we might hit it so we decided to tee off a little ahead and to the side of it to be on the safe side. Don’t want to upset those truckies.

This is what we were facing fom the tee. Not much margin for error. And the truckies out  here are not to be messed with.

So we thought better of it and moved forward our tee off

Our free camp for the night

We then drove 26 k’s down the road to free camp for the night at Moodini Bluff.  Toilets not the best but we were able to have a fire and the boys enjoyed some toasted marshmallows.

We headed off this morning at 7.15am WA time or 8.00 am south western WA time or 9.45am SA time. Go figure; we don’t know which one to pick, as we are coming out of the first, travelling through the second and heading for the third. We are heading to Nullarbor and have just passed our first “truck kill”; a B-Double that had caught on fire and now lies deserted at the side of the road. 

The first hole for the day was the 11th at Mundrabilla Roadhouse, 91 k’s down the road. I probably played my best hole so far and there’s a good reason for that. I got so angry at Doug because he told me to stop coaching the boys as, apparently, I can’t play so I’m not allowed to coach. Well I showed him didn’t I?  I just pictured his head sitting on the tee and cracked it about 80 metres down the middle of the fairway and with my next shot I chipped it to a couple of metres from the green.  We were eventually on the green for four when Jacob stepped up to have a go at the four to five metre putt. And with my coaching he rolled it straight in. A beautiful shot. Now Doug’s calling me "Super Coach".

Jacob ended up playing the rest of the course right handed. Very talented our Jacob

Looking for that lost ball

The 12th was a 65 km drive to Eucla, where we had to drive inland on a dirt road for 5 k’s, passing the local dump, to get to the Eucla Golf Course. The golf course was also the local shooting range and cricket pitch. The ground was so hard with no trees or grass so the balls ran on well towards the green. Lucky the shooting range wasn’t opened, because we had to play through it.

Shooting range

 Old Telegraph Station 1800's

1970's play ground in Eucla.  Jacob was very scared on this seesaw.

 All of the golf holes have been given names and this one was called Nullarbor Nymph.  Following is the very amusing story of the Nullarbor Nymph : It was Christmas in 1971 in the bar of the Eucla Motel where the Nullarbor Nymph was created. Locals were sitting around the busy motel bar, drinking beer and telling stories, when out of the blue came some made-up yarn about a naked shella living in the desert with kangaroos. In the bar was a PR bloke from Perth, heading east looking for work. He was broke and couldn’t pay his motel bills so he told Mr Scott, the motel owner, he would put his Eucla Motel on the map instead. He sent out the story to a newspaper of a naked woman with long blond hair, running with kangaroos on the Nullarbor at Eucla. The Nymph story went ballistic. Journalists and news crews were coming in by the plane load from Adelaide, Sydney, Perth and the US. The BBC even sent a full TV documentary crew. The story was a monster, and the locals were feeding it. One journalist, however, wasn’t buying it and he wanted to get home. He took Mr Scott, who liked his scotch, into the motel bar. “Of course its bull…t.”, he finally slurred. “And you buggars are goin’ for it.” The journalist phoned the story out from Eucla’s phone box for the Sunday Mail’s front page, "Nullarbor Nymph a Hoax".

The 13th hole was at the border of WA/SA, a short drive of 12k’s from Eucla.  It was the narrowest fairway so far, no wider than the driveway at home and with thick scrub on either side.  Nate finished off the hole for us. First he chipped on just missing the hole and rolling past it by a metre and a half. He then continued his winning form by holing the putt.

We headed for Nullarbor Roadhouse, a 182 km drive, where we were stopping for the night. We didn’t get there until after 6pm as we stopped at some of the lookouts overlooking the Great Australia Bight. At one of the lookouts we saw the Nullarbor Cliffs, which is the longest cliff face in the world, stretching 800 km’s and reaching up to 80 metres high in places. We had had a long day on the road and, as it was getting late and dark, and more importantly, as the 14th hole was a 530 metre par 5 directly into a howling southerly, we decided to play it the next morning. We had our first shower in three days, which cost us $1 each for five minutes, but unfortunately the hot water cut out after three.

Doug had us up early the next morning to tee off at 8am (which was really 5.30am for our body clock’s as we still hadn’t adjusted to the time change). It took us 45 minutes to play our longest hole yet, in cool 10 degree temperature. 

Our camp for the night - still hooked up ready to take off early the next morning

Nate having some fun with broken putter we found.

Bacon and egg toasties for brecky then on the road again. First stop was to check out the Head of Bight.  You can normally see the Southern Right Whales migrating south with their young but, apparently, the last one went past on the 20th October. We just missed them by six days. Magnificent views from the look out of the rugged cliffs. 

Head of Bight

 A further 176 k’s to the 15th hole at Nundroo Roadhouse and, with petrol being 40 cents cheaper, it must be a sign we are getting closer to civilisation. The hole was on a field right out the back of the camping grounds, with a half a km walk to the tee off. This time we were playing over a hill and you couldn’t see the green from the tee. Lunch was eaten at this stop, back in the van which was parked in the scrub where we had teed off.  

That's where you need to aim for Jakie

The drive to the 16th saw us passing massive fields of wheat, heading into the town of Penong, an 80 km journey. A par 4, 260 metre hole awaited us and we left with our heads held high having conquered it – PAR! A first for the course.

Penong is a pretty little town full of windmills. The area around it is full of paddocks of wheat as far as the eye can see. Years ago each household in town obtained their water supply using their own windmill to pump from the underground basin to their home. For this reason there are windmills scattered everywhere around the outskirts of the town.

No stopping now until we reach Ceduna for the last two holes and the end of our Nullarbor Plains crossing.

We headed out to Ceduna Golf Course on our first morning there to finish off the course. We are now back to scattered grass fairways and sand greens. The 17th was another long par 5 and a mixture of decent shots from all of us saw a double bogey 7 returned. Our final hole proved to be a challenging par 4 and, with some of our worst golf played here, we could only manage a 3 over par 7. We should have been getting better, but we were worse. Perhaps fatigue has set in.

The oily sand green ended up being our down fall. We only had 3 of these the whole 18 holes.

So, we have finished our 18 holes in 110, which is 38 over par; not bad for some hackers from the Sunshine Coast. We all agreed that playing the course was a great way to break up the very long journey across the Nullarbor. Now, off to get our certificate confirming we have completed the course, and then it’s on to the 19th.

No comments:

Post a Comment