Bill Coore on Bougle Run

The latest edition to the Tasmanian golf scene is something a little different - 14 holes in the dramatic sand dunes around Barnbougle's Lost Farm golf course. We caught up with Bill Coore to discuss Bougle Run, a course that had been waiting in the ground for Bill and owner Richard Sattler for many years. It was just a matter of letting John Hawker and Riley Johns to work their magic in shaping it into a short course that is well worth another visit to Barnbougle.

Photographed, filmed & edited by William Watt

Spoken by Bill Coore:

If you have really interesting sites to work with, we try to do something that takes advantage of the contours you’re given, but also do something that looks like it belongs on those sites. And to me, Bougle Run, just, boy, it ticks those boxes. Check, check.

When we were laying out the course at Lost Farm, I remember walking and looking at the big dunes above our eighth hole and thinking, “Boy, those are dramatic. They’re spectacular.” So I ventured up a few times up there to walk about. They were so beautiful, so spectacular, but also very severe. And just felt like the land forms up there were severe enough but packed in enough that it was going to be very difficult to build regulation type holes on those without, quite frankly, destroying them. We were going to have to bulldoze them or alter them so much to make longer holes. That just felt like, that’s not our goal. That’s not what we’re coming for. So I was certainly aware of those big dunes up where the upper part of Bougle Run is. So when it came time and Richard said, “We’re thinking about doing a par three course,” and I think he knew as well that was one of the most dramatic, visually spectacular, parts of all of Barnbougle Dunes landscape, all included. And so it was pretty easy to come to the conclusion, that’s where the par three course should go.

We speak with Bill Coore about Bougle Run

When John Hawker first came, and he and I were wandering up in the dunes and studying just to see what type of holes might fit, we didn’t start off with any preconceived notion, because Richard didn’t put a constraint like that on us. He said, “I don’t care so much what the holes are.” He even expanded that freedom to the point that when John and I were there walking and we were trying to envision certain ways to break up a couple of longer expanses in the dunes there, we both just came to the belief that we could have a couple of short par four holes. Now, that’s pretty radical indeed when you’re talking about putting in a couple of short par fours in amongst a lot of par threes. And Richard was, he was just completely open-minded about it. He said, “All I want you to do is find the most interesting holes.” So that’s how we ended up with not only 14 holes, but with two of them being par fours. And so it’s truly a hybrid sort of course.

Well, one of the things that John and Riley did so well out there was, particularly on the holes, the upper holes, the land forms, again, were quite extreme in terms of their contours and some elevation change. And they were able to create some greens out there that were, without question, more extreme than what we would do on a regulation type golf course. But they so fit that property and those natural land forms, but they were able to do it in such a way you almost invariably have a backstop. You have something for people who aren’t necessarily that accomplished at playing. There’s a way to almost use some banks and certain contours to help you.

It’s absolutely beautiful. The long vistas from up there are incredible. Not just the views of Barnbougle Farm, but all the way into Bridgeport and far beyond and out to sea. It really is. So I think the golf course takes advantage of so many of the natural attributes of that site. It’s got a strong sense of character and individuality in place, and that’s pretty neat.