It’s Summer in Australia
With the LPGA Tour set to return to Victoria, Australia in February, we tee up that state’s capital, Melbourne, and its golfer-friendly environs.
Located on Port Philip Bay, less than an hour south of where the ladies will compete at The Victoria Golf Club, this historic and vibrant metropolis is celebrated for the just-completed Australian Open Tennis Championships, 1956 Summer Olympics, Melbourne Aquarium, Royal Botanic Gardens and Brighton Beach, plus a huge variety of diversions including ballet, opera, music festivals, wine country tours and fashionable boutique shopping.
The golf? Simply awesome. Here are four of our favorites:
Royal Melbourne: Charted in 1891, this private facility is the head-turning handiwork of Dr. Alister MacKenzie who tamed a heaving, sandy loam landscape into a pair of 6,500-yard benchmarks. The West Course, with cavernous bunkering and highly penal greensites, regularly earns Australia’s No. 1 ranking and world top-100 honors. Royal Melbourne twice hosted the Presidents Cup (1998 and 2011) and the Australian Open 16 times, including memorable victories by Tom Watson (’84) and Greg Norman (’85 and ’87). Strict dress code. Confirmed reservation required.
Kingston Heath: Australia’s No. 2-ranked course is hypnotically beautiful and generously playable, a 6,932-yard routing crafted in 1930 by Dan Soutar with immeasurable guidance from Mackenzie. This prestigious 18 is renowned for immaculate conditions, strategic bunkering, wicked green contours and thick native vegetation boundaries. Contact well in advance for guest-play requirements and reservations.
Moonah Links: This double, links-style destination on the Mornington Peninsula offers 36 holes of golf crafted specifically to host the Australian Open, which it did in 2003 and ’05. Peter Thompson crafted the stadium-styled 7,421-yard Championship Course, while countryman Ross Perrett orchestrated the 6,908-yard, player-friendly Legends Course. Daily fee, with learning center, luxury accommodations, spa, restaurant and conference space.
The Dunes Golf Links: Set on 300 acres of gently rolling Mornington Peninsula landscape, this 27-hole venue is regarded among Australia’s better public-access facilities. If you value Scottish links golf, Tony Cashmore’s 7,069-yard Tournament Course will prove captivating and memorable. The Dunes earns a top-20 ranking among Australia’s best courses with wind-exposed greensites, tradition-steeped bunkering and nerve-testing fairways.
Chris Duthie is a contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.