A golfer’s schooling is incomplete with out seeing Royal Melbourne and the programs of Australia’s Sandbelt. 

Many American golfers, softened by the primping of their residence programs, love visiting traditional British hyperlinks for his or her rugged naturalism and the flexibility to play quite a lot of photographs alongside agency, fast-running turf that’s uncovered to the weather. British golfers, in contrast, generally tire of the vagaries of hyperlinks golf and relish the excessive customary of greenkeeping current at many American programs, the place the grass does certainly appear greener and the solar usually shines brighter.  

What’s particular concerning the programs of the Australian Sandbelt is that almost each course on this concentrated space of the Melbourne, Victoria suburbs, whether or not humble or celebrated all through the world, manages to attain the perfect facets of each British and American golf with out the downsides of both, combining superbly offered inland programs that look and play as if they’d be at residence on a rough-hewn, fast-running British hyperlinks. 

Attaining this uncommon trick requires a mixture of sandy soil on rolling terrain, the sort of land that gives glorious drainage and promotes the standard grasses that make programs bouncy whereas retaining a parkland really feel. 

This chemistry produces a mode of golf that led Victoria native Peter Thomson to really feel at residence in successful 5 Open Championships within the British Isles from 1954 to 1965. He felt unwelcome on squishy American programs that eradicated, in Thomson’s opinion, the important third dimension of the sport: the run of the ball. 

The best of those Sandbelt programs, Royal Melbourne Golf Membership, hosts its third Presidents Cup in December and includes two 18-hole programs (East and West), mixed in numerous permutations by way of the years to kind a Composite Course over which this yr’s competitors might be performed. But Royal Melbourne is much from the one present on the town.

If Royal Melbourne is, design-wise, to Australia what Augusta Nationwide is to America, sharing Alister MacKenzie because the co-designer of each, then certainly Kingston Heath qualifies as that nation’s Merion, a compact, superbly routed championship course that requires shotmaking of the best customary whereas being pleasing for club-level gamers. 

Victoria Golf Membership, simply throughout the road from Royal Melbourne, produced Thomson, 1954 British Beginner champion Doug Bachli and 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy. Even when not for its more-famous neighbor, individuals ought to get on an airplane to see Victoria’s distinctive bunkering and beguiling half-par holes. 

But, simply as it’s all the time higher to ask an area for recommendations on discovering the perfect pub round, I requested a number of Australian pals to share their ideas on what makes Royal Melbourne and the programs of the Sandbelt so admired and what we’d be taught from them. 

What makes the Sandbelt distinct as one of many world’s nice religious houses for the sport?

Will Kay, a former member of Royal Melbourne: “With all the finest architects having their work on show in a 20-mile radius, it improves everybody’s requirements accordingly. The unreasonable density of world-class programs will not be seen anyplace else, and other people in Melbourne don’t understand how good they’ve it.” 

Lynne Claney Brown, 15-time girls’s membership champion at Kingston Heath: “A excessive customary of conditioning and year-round golf in all probability makes Melbourne a great location for high-quality golf. A temperate local weather – not too moist in winter, no snow, reasonable rain, heat and dry summers – is good for constant {golfing} situations yr spherical. Combine in with that, majestic native bushes and vegetation and fixed birdsong make for nice environs for golf.”

Mike Clayton, touring skilled and course architect at Clayton DeVries Pont: “The methods are fairly easy on most Sandbelt programs. There’s all the time a neater shot from one half of the golf green – and it’s a aspect nearly all the time guarded by a fairway bunker or some tough grass. It’s additionally the house of a few of the biggest quick holes – between 130 and 170 yards – on the earth.”

How would different programs all over the world, no matter local weather or geography, profit from copying concepts discovered at Royal Melbourne? 

Neil Crafter, golf course architect, Crafter + Mogford Golf Methods: “Dr. Alister MacKenzie and Alex Russell designed holes the place width and latitude got off the tee. But when the golfer was joyful to complete anyplace on the golf green, he might face a really daunting and troublesome method over bunkers to a sloping inexperienced, if not positioned accurately.” 

Will Kay: “There’s a lack of size from the members tees which makes it extra interesting to the lots. A brief course may be much more attention-grabbing and difficult than an extended course, and that is usually forgotten in at this time’s efforts at design. This shouldn’t be confused with it being often known as a straightforward course, as these tracks in the course of summer time are as troublesome as anyplace.”

Mike Clayton: “Mowing traces. There isn’t a tough between fairways and the golf green bunkers, so the ball runs freely into them – and in case you are ok or fortunate sufficient to skirt the sting, the ball isn’t held up by lengthy grass. There isn’t a try to make the tough uniform or to create ‘fairness of punishment.’ Members by no means complain about ‘unfair’ lies within the tough.”

Along with the well-known Sandbelt programs like Kingston Heath, Victoria and Metropolitan, what programs would you are taking a visiting pal to play?

Mike Clayton: “Alister MacKenzie by no means visited Woodlands for a day, but when he had it’d be a lot better identified. Spring Valley was designed by Vern Morcom, son of the greenkeeper who constructed all of the MacKenzie work at Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath. Lengthy Island was a struggling membership with a terrific course till The Nationwide took management and secured its short-term (and hopefully long-term) future. With a little bit remedial work, it may very well be among the best programs within the metropolis.”

Lynne Claney Brown: “I all the time contemplate taking part in Woodlands an expertise. Tight fairways and small, laborious greens require quite a lot of talent. Spring Valley is commonly referred to as the ‘hidden jewel’. It’s a nice design all the time in nice form.”

Will Kay: “Peninsula Kingswood has not too long ago undergone some incredible modifications which line it up extremely nicely towards Royal Melbourne.”

Neil Crafter: “I’d take them to Yarra Yarra, Commonwealth and Woodlands. That subsequent tier of Sandbelt programs are good and can give any customer a beautiful sense of what golf in Melbourne’s Sandbelt is all about.” 


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