It was conceived over “couple of beers” and no doubt a bottle of overproof Bundaberg rum – as you would expect in the outback of the worlds driest continent. The Nullarbor Links has opened in the Australian outback and a golf buggy won’t cut it on this course’s fairways, which span much of the dry red earth of the almost-treeless Nullarbor Plain. Starting at Ceduna in South Australia, the Nullarbor Links finishes a whopping 1,365 kilometres away at Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.
Professional golfer Robert Stock, from Manchester, has been a long-time admirer of the distinctive Australian landscape.
He helped construct the 18-hole par-72 golf course, complete with well-kept tees and greens.
“It’s for anybody who’s driving the very long way across the Nullarbor and just wants to break up the journey.”
“The idea is to stop at each roadhouse, get out of the car and play a golf hole, record your score, then get back in the car and drive anywhere between 10 kilometres and 182 kilometres.
Stock says golfers not only have to deal with sweltering heat – temperatures can rise above 50 degrees Celsius during the day – but there are plenty of wild creatures to watch out for.
“You have to have your wits about you,” he said.
“There’s three deadly poisonous snakes out there. You can see wedge-tailed eagles on kangaroo carcasses, dingoes all around where you play at Dingo’s Den.
“There’s also whales across the Great Australian Bight and there’s emus around some of the greens – they circle the green and stick their heads in and out.”
And Stock says players are likely to strike birdies of a very different kind – he lost five balls to one crow while playing the course.
“I thought my ball had gone down the snake hole and then the next thing we saw was a crow flying with a ball in its mouth,” he said.
The holes themselves are in some rather strange locations – some lie beside a long, featureless highway, some are positioned near petrol stations and motels while others rest close to inhabited wombat holes.