These days you're more likely to see Dermott Brereton on a golf course than on a footy field. He was very happy with his assignment to play Australia's number one public access golf course, Barnbougle in Tasmania's Bridport, just an hour north-east of Launceston. The 18-hole links course has a driving range, putting green, chipping green with bunkers and four- star accommodation cottages.
Covering 81 hectares, Barnbougle Dunes encompasses beach and farmland and was designed by famed golf architects Tom Doak and Michael Clayton. It is similar to St Andrews in Scotland, the home of golf where the game evolved and the spirit and traditions of golf have been safeguarded for more than six centuries. It also continues in the tradition of another of the great courses Pebble Beach in California. Barnbougle is managed by St Andrews Links Trust.
As outstanding as he was in his Aussie rules days, Dermott realised he needed some help from Barnbougle's resident pro, Brett Partridge. The first thing he learned was that the Scottish word "links" means the course is the link between the ocean and the land.
He was a little overwhelmed playing not only Australia's top public course, but it also ranks seventh public access in the world and 35th best in the world overall. Not bad considering it is just a few years old.
The lie of the land makes a round of golf challenging the rolls and slopes can make or break, and that's before the weather is taken into consideration. Most golfers are challenged by playing links golf, as they need to play a different game to their usual style and make up shots they have never played before.
Barnbougle has been given the nod by such luminaries as Greg Norman, Richard Green and Geoff Ogilvy, and by having no members, everyone is welcome to take the challenge.
The spectacular clubhouse is perched on a sand dune between the ninth and 18th greens overlooking the beach. It has a shop stocking all your golfing needs.
Barnbougle cottages were designed to resemble the beach boxes at Brighton Beach in Victoria, but thankfully are a lot more spacious. Each accommodates a foursome of golfers with two rooms and a bathroom. A patio overlooks the sea and golf course. The villas each have four queen bedrooms and ensuite facilities, large kitchen, dining and lounge rooms. They rate five stars and there are three of them.
This casual resort-style restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. They serve gourmet local foods, home-style favourites and chef's specials. There is also a bar for celebrating or forgetting.
Flying Teapot Café and Gallery
If you want a little break from the little white ball and fancy a little exploring, The Flying Teapot Café and Gallery is part of Manalanga Farm, a 162-hectare Angus cattle property.
The 1870s homestead is surrounded by a large garden for customers to wander through and there's even an airstrip for flying visitors.
Light meals, coffee and cakes are served and the works of resident artist John Gibbs are displayed. His watercolours capture the Tasmanian landscape, and he regularly conducts painting and pottery workshops at the gallery.
The Flying Teapot is part of the North East Garden Lovers Trail, which is a showcase of 12 Tasmanian gardens located between Bridport and Winnaleah.
Bridport, an hour's drive north-east of Launceston in Tasmania.
Barnbougle Dune Top Villas cost $750 a night. Golfing weekends start at $552 for two × 18 holes based on two people. Overnight accommodation in a twin share cottage and fully cooked breakfast are included.
Barnbougle Cottage is $140 for a single, $160 twin share, $180 a triple and $200 for four. Breakfast is $15 per person. They run year-round.
Check in time is after 2pm and checkout is before 10am.
Prices correct at March 26, 2009.
For further information
Barbougle Dunes Golf Links
425 Waterhouse Road
Ph: (03) 6356 0094
Fax: (03) 6356 0095
The Flying Teapot Café and Gallery
1800 Bridport Road
Ph: (03) 6356 1918
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