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Golf Australia Express : June 2014
It’s not until I meet my playing partners, Tom Long (the head pro of eight years) and Louis De Bievre (general manager of Lodges at South Park Lodges) that I’m told almost every undulation— including the sheep rubs — have actually been placed strategically by Jason Garton of Kingsbarns fame. Man-made sheep rubs — now that’s attention to detail. The Scottish influence on this track is particularly evident at the fifth and sixth holes, which weave up into hills reminiscent of the famous Scottish highlands. A real stand out for me at Kinloch is the length of the par 3s. The 224-metre 15th must be one of the longest par 3s in the world. And it’s tough. With magnificent views of Lake Taupo from the tee, you have to play your shot downhill to the right of the hole and hope it will feed down to the green. If you miss left you drop off the plateau green down a sheep-rub lined cliff to a grassy quarry area below — only a flop shot that would impress Phil Mickelson himself will see you saving par from there. Another standout is the undulating greens — you could be mistaken for thinking some of the greens were burial sites there were that many lumps in them. They present a true test for the better putters out there and can really hurt those who struggle to roll their rock with any consistency. It’s a pity I didn’t play all that well here because Kinloch is that good it deserves to be played properly. Louis tells me they are building a modern day Scottish Castle above the 18th green where guests can stay and play til their brave hearts are content. “Should be finished in November and promises to make Kinloch one of the world’s best golf resorts,” Mr De Bievre says. Hopefully I didn’t disgrace myself too much and I can get a invite back in a few months. Scrap that. Who needs an invite? I'll be back at Kinloch any time. OTG THIS LINKS COURSE HAS BEEN PERFECTLY POSITIONED TO FIT THE NATURAL LANDSCAPE. Andrew McCombe is the host of Golf Getaway which airs 4.30pm on Sundays on ONE.