The Ratho Farm Golf Links dates from 1822, and is Australia’s oldest golf course, and the oldest remaining course outside of Scotland.
Originally Ratho Farm was settled by the Reid family from Scotland, and it is they who set up the golf links. In 1936 the Ramsay family purchased the property and after four generations of Ramsays restoration of the timeless links is well under way. Greg Ramsay will always be known as the vision behind the iconic Barnbougle Dunes Links in Tasmania's north east, but his passion for the family history, and the links itself has led to a well thought out restoration. Leading Australian architects Crafter & Mogford have recently completed four new holes ( 15-18 ), and Ratho Farm Golf Links now plays as an 18 hole course ( it used to play just 12 ).
Undoubtedly with input from the irrepressible Mr Ramsay, Crafter & Mogford have massaged the holes at Ratho into a most intriguing golfing adventure. The course's history shines through with square fenced greens still in play on a number of holes- enabling players to get a glimpse of golf as it was in the early days. Famous courses like St Andrews and Prestwick started this way with square greens fenced off to stave off the sheep roaming the links, tending the fairways!
In keeping with the original course came the reinstatement of several quirky but fun features found on the original holes. As well as bunkers, ‘hazards’ such as hedges, vegetable gardens, rock walls and sheep yards all came into play! And sheep on the fairways!
In modern golfing society, there is a growing interest in playing hickory clubs and in Australia there is no better place to gain an understanding of how golf was played in the days of yesteryear.
Ratho Farm Golf Links combines a quirky historic links with a gorgeous rustic setting, and a surprisingly strategic layout. Mogford and Crafter have added some testing modern holes to perfectly complement the heritage sections of the course.
Favourite holes include:
- the long par 3 1st hole hitting diagonally over the stockyards
- the par 5 3rd hole with another carry off the tee over stockyards and between pine trees.
- the long par 3 4th hole along the River Clyde with tee and green tucked in against the water. Anything right is wet!
- the par 4 5th hole with its wonderful rambling walk across the river, through the bush, and up to an elevated tee where the drive must carry the river and substantial bushland to reach the fairway
- the quirky long par 3 8th hole where the tee shot must carry a hedge and approach a green unseen from the tee, but tucked in between fences and a water hazard
- hole 15- a new hole- a par 5 which requires 2 water carries to a green tucked in by the river
- hole 16- a new hole- a short driveable par 4 with a wicked green, and river running diagonally across the landing area and in front of the green.. lay tip or go for it?
- hole 18- another new hole - a par 5 arcing around marshland. The green is actually located in the homestead gardens, and the conservative approach requires a short iron approach over a substantial hedge to reach the green. However if the longer hitter can catch a long drive, he will give himself the opportunity to approach the green through a gap to the left of the hedge not accessible using the conservative route…
In time the conditioning of the course will improve ( it’s fun to play now ), and word will spread
Ratho Farm is a wonderful place to getaway. The accommodation and hospitality draws you in- cabins on the creek, old farm buildings with modern renovations- are all very tasteful, and in keeping with the Ratho Farm heritage, and it’s place as a modern day destination.
Apart from the golf course, popular activities at Ratho Farm including fishing in the River Clyde, and visiting the wonderful Nant whisky distillery.
I really enjoyed our weekend at Ratho.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor golf trips to suit your group. For suggested itineraries see Great Golf Destinations
For further information please enquire here: