Devilbend Golf Club
"So I jump ship in Hong Kong, make my way over to Devilbend."
On February 28, 1973 a public meeting was held in the Hastings Public Hall attended by 80 people. Councillor Cyril Fox moved “That this meeting resolves to form a Golf Club in the Shire of Hastings.”
On April 18, 1973 a further public meeting was held and the Golf Club was formed and the draft constitution as submitted was accepted.
Permission was sought and granted to utilise 141 acres of the exchange land for the construction of the Golf Course.
(extract from the Devilbend website history)
This was how the Devilbend golf course was started. The 141 acres was set aside and the golf course construction was started. 18 beautiful holes now sits on this land and apparently, there are plans to extend that to 27 holes in the future. Not that the extra 9 holes will matter, as the 18 they currently have are just right. The good Doctor Buzzer and I headed down to Devilbend to continue the matches we love to play against each other on a neutral playground.
I had never played Devilbend before, but the Doctor had played the front 9, so we started on the back to make it fair. To keep things the same for this review, I will start on the back as well.
The 10th hole is a downhill par 5 that winds its way a little left off the tee, then back to the right where a blind second shot towards a well protected green follows. Before I get to the green though, I should mention that you should NOT GO RIGHT off this tee. Your ball will most likely land in one of the many dams here. Anyway, keep your second shot to the right of the gap to get the best result in getting to this green. A par for me had the win.
The 11th is a uphill par 3, only about 160 from the back markers. Take a little extra club as its better here to be long. Bunkers left and right towards the front of the green will catch the wayward shots. Another par had me 2 up as the Dr was struggling early.
12 is a great looking hole off the tee and even better when you hit your second shot. Keep the ball away from the left hand side of the fairway as it may kick into another dam on the left. The uphill second shot of about 150 meters plays about 10 longer, so take an extra club to get onto the putting surface. Bunkers here are long left so bail out right if you have to. Hole squared and I remained 2 up.
The second par 3 of this nine is the 13th. From the back markers it's only 155, but there is trouble here everywhere except short. Bunkers surround and the road runs down the left. The tee looks like a bit of a chute between tall trees and this is a great little par 3. The long green had me in 3 putt distance, but the hole was halved.
I wish I saw the 14th fairway, but I carved a 2 iron into the right trees. Luckily, I did find it, but I can tell you, play down the left of this dogleg right par 4, with a 3 wood for the best results. It should only leave you a wedge in to a small back to front sloping green. That is just what the Dr did. He grabbed one hole back.
The 15th is a downhill blind shot par 4, that is driver, 9 iron. This hole is pretty straight and as long as you keep it out of the left or right bunkers, you should make par. Its 389 meters is lessened by the downhill slope, but keep it away from the left off the tee as it is OOB. Hole to me and back to 2 up.
16 goes back up the hill off the tee, so take driver. It's a narrow fairway here so don't miss or you won't have a shot at the small green over the hill. Keep it away from the swail right as it's hard to get up and down from there. A good half wedge to this green and a putt got me another 1 up.
For the bigger hitters out there, you will really enjoy the 17th. At only 328 meters from the back tees and downhill, grip it and rip it to get close. A simple green that slopes back to front will help any shot hit at it, so make birdie and move on to the 18th. The Dr did and grabbed one back.
The 18th hole is a short par 4. At only 308 meters, you may be tempted into going for it, but it is uphill and doglegs a little around to the left, so the smart play here is 3 wood to the right fairway. The green has many undulations and was tough to read. Hole halved and I went to the front nine 1 up.
Making our way onto the 1st tee, something looked familiar. This hole is just like the 10th. A long downhill par 5 with water right, but the second shot is too a green that you can see. There is room right of the green if you miss, but not too much. The green is a little tricky here and I started the front with a win.
The dam on the left of the second tee is just to try and scare you, try not to look at it as you hit your driver over the left trees for the best result. This hole has a severe 2 level green, so whatever level the flag is on, make sure you land your ball there. Flag was at the front and I was at the back, not a great combination, but the Dr had his own problems with the trees, so the hole was halved.
The 3rd has a massive elevation change. It's only 135 from the tips, but it's about 60 feet down a hill so take a little less than the yardage suggests. It looks so easy, but beware, bunkers are left and right, OOB to the left and long. Be happy with par and move on.
The 4th hole goes a little down hill to a smallish green with no bunkers. A drive and a wedge is all you will need here, but stay away from going long. The water waits. Hole was halved.
5 is one of the best holes on the course. An uphill par 5 of 455 that plays a lot longer. To have a shot at the green for 2, you will need to flirt with the water hazard that extends down the right of this fairway. You can carry the water, but you will need a 240-250 meter hit to do so. The second shot is uphill to a small sloping green that is tough if you are long or left. It was here that a concerned member asked us if we knew where we were. Puzzled, we told him, we were on the 5th green and he went back to his friends after saying he thought we were lost and on the 2nd. Nice of him to ask and that's what you will get from this country course. It's friendly.
6 is another downhill hole that you will have to be careful of off the tee. 3 wood is most likely the best club here as my drive went long into the trees. A good recovery and a good putt had me the win as the Dr had bunker troubles.
I was 3 up with 3 to play and when the Dr sliced his drive on the par 4, 7th hole, I was looking the goods. The uphill 347 meter hole is best played by taking driver or 3 wood to the right or you will be blocked out by trees. The left handed Dr was blocked, but played an amazing recovery shot onto the green for his 3rd. A sand save handed me the match as the Dr's putt slipped over the edge of the hole.
With the match done 4 and 2, we enjoyed the downhill par 3, 8th and the finishing 9th, par 4. The 9th does have a small dogleg to the left, just like the 18th. Hit out to the right to get the best angle in to a green that slopes towards the front and left.
We were pleasantly surprised by Devilbend. It was in great condition, especially the greens which were fast, but soft to hit to. A great combination. The tees were a little long, but I suspect that was why they were so green, so it didn't really bother me. They were a little unkept though. The fairways were good, but there was plenty of debris in the rough. The old trees do drop plenty of branches and bark and that got in the way sometimes. The bunkers too were a little inconsistent. Some were fantastic, but some were a little heavy or lacking a solid base. The biggest disappointment was that the bar was not open after the round, so we had to find a nearby pub for our after round celebrations. I suspect, it's only because it was a Monday. Our bad.
The second of our matches now done and the score is 1-1. Stay tuned for the best of three match coming soon.
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1. Tees 8/15
2. Fairways 10/15
3. Bunkers 9/15
4. Greens 12/15
5. Design 12/15
6. 19th Hole ??????
7. Price 9/10
TOTAL: 60/85 (Normally out of 100, but 15 less for the 19th being closed)
At $30 weekday and $39 weekends, Devilbend will suit the golfer who doesn't want to pay the earth for a good quality golf course. Let's face it, that's just about all of us! The country feel to this course is relaxed and friendly, but the golfers are serious, so keep play moving or suffer their wrath. It's a little rough around the edges, but aren't we all? Go play it!