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Longest Golf Course Includes Outback Terrain

Carol Bengle Gilbert
January 29, 2013
Longest Golf Course Includes Outback Terrain
Wildlife sign in the Nullarbor, Australia. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/girlunmapped.)

If travel is as much of a lure as golfing when you plan a golf vacation, there's a course in Australia you won't want to miss. Nullarbor Links is a golf course like no other. Not only is it the longest in the world, at 850 miles, according to Matador Network, the holes are spread among neighboring towns along the Eyre Highway from Kalgoorlie to Ceduna.

Playing the course at Nullarbor isn't an afternoon golf expedition, but a multi-day outing. Some golfers reported racing through it in three days on the Kalgoorlie website, while others meandered along for 16.

"It is something that every golfer should do at least once," Andrew and Adam Pyc of Kallaroo, Western Australia, posted on Kalgoolie.com after their 2009 journey.

Nullarbor Links isn't a golf course, per se, but an amalgamation of selected holes at established golf clubs augmented by specially constructed roadhouse holes, Golferholics explains.

The tantalizing hole names are a reminder to golfers that they're playing in Australia's outback. There's Dingo's Den, Wombat Hole, and Border Kangaroo, to name a few. Each hole represents a piece of outback history from the Oyster Beds (hole 1), representing recent industrial initiative, to Cy O'Connor (hole 18), a tribute to the man who piped in water to the region. Hole 7 is in Esperance, where the space station Skylab fell to the Earth in 1979.

The challenges of golfing Nullarbor are the challenges of the outback itself. Some golfters report losing balls in a wombat hole, while others warn of crows pinching balls at Dingo's Den (hole 14). Hole 6 is overrun with sheep and emus. The management thoughtfully leaves a broom out for clearing sheep droppings off the green, Golferholics noted. Golfers face dry and dusty conditions while keeping an eye out for kangaroos, snakes, and bull ants, fearsome and aggressive insects that the Australian Museum says use a multi-sting delivery system for injecting potent venom.

The challenges of Nullarbor invite ingenuity. Where the terrain is rock hard, golfers have found success substituting bottle caps for tees. Another tip for this course, shared by blogger Sommer-days, is coating golf balls with smelly substances to deter the thieving crows.

Golfers who take their time to see the sights as they make their way from Ceduna to Kalgoorlie cross terrain from cliffs to desert to grassy plains, salt flats, and Eucalyptus forest.