So you are coming to Tassie to play some golf.
I’ll bet you all the hats I wear on my second head that you will do it wrong. You’ll head to Bridport, play Barnbougle, drink a beer at the sports bar of Lost Farm, play that course the next day then fly to King Island and replay the action plan from Bridport?
Someone get me that ‘Family Feud’ buzzer – BAHBOW! WRONG!!
Granted, the gravy you’ve just made by using Bridport and King Island as your key ingredients have given you Grandma’s homemade mix. But what I’m about to give you is Paul Kelly’s dollop of tomato sauce for that sweetness and extra tang.
She’s hidden away in a sleepy ol’ town called Ulverstone. It’s where former Australian test cricketer Ben Hilfenhaus grew up. The parents of our Prime Minister from 1932 to 1939, Joseph Lyons, Buildahaus there too.
I once dated a girl called Allison and I’ve gotta say, the similarities between the two are striking: pretty with long limbs, a reddish tinge in the fading summer sun of the cartpaths and she’s one of the rare beauties capable of putting you through the nervous breathlessness from the isolation you’ll experience when it’s just you and her – Allison, Ulverstone Golf Club.
Spend five hours with either Allison and by the end of it you’ll feel lost, unsure of your lot in life, perhaps contemplating cheating on her and questioning why you can’t ever make an up and down. It’s the fact the greens hold more grain than a wheat silo in China, not because you’re ugly.
Yet both are strikingly pretty and they challenge you like no other. And we all know that it’s this type that just keep drawing us back, no matter the pain they cause.
The Ulverstone course is made up of gargantuan gum trees that line the fairways and are never-ending in their composite beyond the first cut of rough. Their density is what builds the isolation into every hole. You could smack your bag, yell the loudest profanities while strangling a native quoll and only your playing partners would ever know. Sure, if you’ve an imagination, it’s been known to attract mafia bosses for the occasional game, but hey, that’s what happens when you bulldoze a 20-metre wide row of trees out of a jungle for the creation of a fairway and provide a harmonious club environment that is open to all.
Point being, this is a damn hard golf course. And the folk that play Ulverstone regularly for subscriptions hold an easygoing and relaxed core. It’s just the style of the sleepy natured town, a style I wish all golf clubs held, as opposed to holding onto a more elitist style than Cricket Australia!
This course is not just one of the hidden gems of Tasmania, it has to be one of the great unknowns in the country – and you must play it.
Perhaps more important than the golf is which beer you should drink during your stay. Boag’s or Cascade? Would you believe that the two major brewers of the island are responsible for the rivalry that has engulfed our great state? The divide between the north (Launceston through to Burnie: Boag’s) and the south (Hobart: Cascade) is so unhealthy that it was used as a reason why the state was not given an AFL licence.
Would you believe that the two major brewers of the island are responsible for the rivalry that has engulfed our great state?Brett Geeves
The rivalry is real, but former AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick was really reaching on that one.
Remember, this is only guidance and I would recommend you try both to form your own opinion. Understand, too, that I give you this guidance through the risk of having my Hobart passport revoked.
It is an absolute must that you drink an ice cold Boag’s Draught can. Can. Out of the freezer. But please, don’t shot-gun it like the locals do; beer is not meant to be sucked out of a garden hose and into your gullet without making a little sweet love to your palate.
Do Tassie the right way: drink a Boag’s Draught can with Allison.
By Brett Geeves