One of the most naturally endowed golf estates in Australia, Thirteenth Beach is a 36-hole development that stretches for three kilometers along Barwon Heads’ famous surf beach. Designed by Tony Cashmore, the older Beach Course is the pick of the golf and starts by taking golfers in a loop away from the shore and through low-lying farming pastures, before turning seaward at the 5th and heading deep into the rugged sandhills for the majority of the remaining holes.
Although Cashmore did a good job shaping the flatter housing precinct land into a convincing golf experience, repeat business here is driven by the dunes, and an excellent series of holes within the natural dells, valleys and thick vegetation of the precious coastal duneland. Particularly striking are the three gorgeous short holes, each framed by messy sand formations and testing a different aspect of your iron play. Despite measuring little more than 100 meters, the 16th is the hardest of these as it is totally at the mercy of the wind and plays to a tiny thumbnail green set on a spur and semi-concealed by a sandy waste foreground. The long 7th and mid-length 12th, with its green squeezed into a natural hollow, are also impressive while of the longer holes the three-shot 11th along a ridge, the short par four 13th and dogleg 17th are also very strong.
Complimenting the raw glamour of the natural landscape and the severity of the coastal winds with generous fairways, large sensible putting surfaces and rugged bunkering, Cashmore has managed to create a fine layout that rises above the disparity in terrain to sit comfortably within its surrounds.