A New Course and a New Dream!
Ratho Farm maybe a course you’ve never heard of but it’s this week’s Dare To Dream!
Australia’s Tasmania has offered world renowned golf challenges for some years including Barnbougle, Lost Farm, Cape Wickham, Royal Hobart to name but a few, and now Ratho Farm.
Ratho Farm’s website is boasting Tasmania’s ‘warmest welcome’. You’ll need to test that yourself and while there, stay in one of their boutique suites – restored convict cottages, no less!
But lets present the golf! Promoted as Tasmania’s newest 18-hole Links Course, its origins date back to a pioneering family from Scotland, back in 1822. A public course, alongside the Clyde River, the fairways have been mowed by sheep in their day. A variety of holes and views. Check it out, click here.
Ratho Farm is in fact Australia’s oldest golf course, and the oldest remaining outside of Scotland. As well as the Reids’ at Ratho, three other settlers around the predominantly Scottish valley laid out golf courses on their farms. In a rare arrangement, the Bothwell Golf Club initially rotated its events around all four courses. Four generations of Reids have enjoyed the charm and challenge of the Ratho Links, along with four generations of the Ramsay family who since 1936 purchased Ratho for its fine trout fishing.
Ratho’s pedigree shines clearly from the era of feathery ball and long-nosed woods, sharing many traits with equally antique arenas. Square greens are still evident at St Andrews, where the vast scale and wild undulations hide the fact that their shape was originally set by the keeper of the green, who placed four pegs in the ground, and strung wire around to keep the messy sheep off. Ratho, the same.
Another legacy to be found on early golf courses, certainly at Ratho, are that tees are hard up against greens. This originated from the rule of grabbing a pinch of sand out of the hole after putting out, and teeing off within two club lengths. Yet another similarity with ancient Scottish golf was that golf at Ratho was abandoned over summer for the same two reasons that early Scottish golf was a winter game: the late-spring / summer growth made the grass too long and rank for sheep to maintain to a ‘ball-finding’ standard. As well as Ratho’s above-ground originality, it still distinctively plays like early golf. The lack of automatic watering preserves the varying challenges through seasons: hard and fast in summer through autumn, frosty and firm in the winter, before softening up with the lush green of spring. Limited tree planting through the years ensures the ever-present wind from different directions demands varying lines of attack and shot-making.
While not a championship rated course, the experience of Ratho Farm make it a fun place to visit, and along with golf, try your hand at world-class trout fishing or visit nearby Bothwell township, sampling some local Whisky from Nant Distillery.
Bothwell and Ratho Farm are located 45 minutes from the world famous Mona Museum in Hobart, 90 minutes from Launceston and 2 hours from Devonport.
Ratho Farm – worth a look and a wee dream.