• The Border Village Roadhouse – The Border Village Roadhouse

THE NULLARBOR LINKS: The world’s longest golf course. 18-holes and par 72, it spans 848 miles from the former gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to the fishing port of Ceduna in South Australia  across the mighty Nullarbor Plain.  It can take 5 days to play, in either direction.

The idea  is that after playing one hole, you drive to the next, but the next can be 100km further down the road.  The idea was conceived by roadhouse owners along the A1 Eyre Highway, trying to encourage drivers to break their journey and spend money.

Each participating town or roadhouse offers a green, a tee and a fairway of sorts, with clubs available for hire, together with a free map.

Current High and Low scores for the  course: High – 479, Low – 70.  Dust, dingos and 48 degree heat, or biting 60mph winds from the South Pole, and astroturf greens.  St. Andrews it isn’t.

If you start from  Kalgoorlie holes 1 and 2 have fairways and decent greens.  You stay overnight, then drive 440km, playing the next 5 holes. No. 3 is at dusty Kambalda Golf Club.

“Don’t go left mate,”  they warn you, “That’s death adder country.”  No’s 4 and 5 at the Norseman Club, site of a worked-out gold mine, then 106km further on at the Fraser Range sheep station you play the  par 3 6th.

After hole 7 you camp overnight.  There are  funnel web spiders and snake warnings (3 deadly varieties. )

On day 3 you drive 446 km playing holes 8,9,10 & 11.  You spot the odd camper van or Harley-Davidson with clubs strapped on the back.  The Cocklebiddy Roadhouse has a population of 8.  This is the Outback. If the flying doctor is needed, the roadhouses have airstrips. Try not to fall ill.

Day 4, 207 kms playing holes 12 13 and 14.   Marked  by a giant statue of a kangaroo holding a jar of Vegemite, Border Village Roadhouse (hole 13) marks the border between W. Australia and  S. Australia.   At the Nullarbor Roadhouse (Humpalicious camel milk coffee) the highway hugs the cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight and the weather can be cold and wet.

 Day 5, 274km, holes 15,16,17 and 18.  The last two at the Ceduna Golf Club, where your score card is stamped and you collect the  certificate of completion of Nullarbor Links.   I don’t know about a certificate,  I think you’d need to be certified.

SEBASTIAN SODERBERG was in the Belfry clubhouse on the final day of the Betfred British Masters  waiting to hear whether he would be in the playoff against Thorbjorn Oleson.  After Olesen holed  a 28-foot eagle at the 17th and sank a 35-footer at the last to salvage a one-over 73 it would not be surprising if poor old Soderstream stayed in the clubhouse and got paralytic.

The same could be said for Chile’s Mito Pereira who needed a par to win the PGA  Championship and drove into the water for a double bogey.  Life is hard.

THE VOLVO CAR Scandinavian Mixed tournament from June 9-12th at Halmstat G.C. features a field of 78 men and 78 women playing for one prize fund, and is  jointly hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Henrik Stenson,  Defending Champion will be  Jonathan Caldwell from N. Ireland.

Home favourite is Alex Noren, a 10-time DP World Tour winner.   The Volvo  aims to be fully carbon neutral, with electric bikes and shuttle services for fans,  and for every ticket sold one tree will be planted in Sweden.  That should please Greta, if anything could.

THE IRISH OPEN kicks off on June 30th at Mount Juliet.  The welcome leaflet says that ”There is a short walk of about 300m to the hospitality tent, if you find walking difficult and are in need of assistance let us know.” The spectators might walk there unaided but after knocking back some of the Irish ‘hospitality’ they may well need assistance walking back.

Until next time: Happy Golfing.

Contact Mick for regripping and repairs. Tel. 638 859 475, or visit https://mickthegrip.blogspot.com