Melbourne has a special place in global golfers heart for a number of reasons.
The Airline Reviewer John Nielsen tells us all about some of Melbourne’s and if not Australia’s best golf courses. Be sure to consider Australia as a prime destination if you’re looking to go on a relaxing golf vacation or want to stay at a golf resort..
Keen golfers traveling to Australia have traditionally sought out the golden sunshine coast of Queensland with its pristine beaches and resort style golf courses. That is now slowly, but surely beginning to change. For the keen golfer the famous Melbourne sandbelt golf courses are a “must” to play, but now new developments are changing the fairways and offering visitors an opportunity to play superb designer courses.
On a global scale Australia has produced its fair share of champions. From five time British Open winner, the late Peter Thomson to Greg Norman, Ian Baker-Finch, 2013 US Masters Champion Adam Scott, former World number 1 Jason Day, Stuart Appleby and the 2009 Accenture World Match Play Championship Winner Geoff Ogilvy.
The state of Victoria is the home to some of the world’s leading golf courses, according to golfdigest.com. The courses are exclusive and private members based with only limited opportunities for visitors. The Melbourne sandbelt golf courses include Royal Melbourne (3), host of the 2010 & 2019 Presidents Cup, Kingston Heath (13), Victoria Golf Club (43) and The Metropolitan (57), host of the Australian Ladies Masters in 2010.
The classic sandbelt courses have gentle undulations, distinctive featured fairways, fast greens and magnificent bunkers, all hallmarks of top global golf courses. The courses are all located with-in 20 min drive of Melbourne’s CBD and count many of Melbourne’s business elite as their members.
For those not so fortunate to be members, Melbourne’s suburbs have an excellent range of public courses that will be a stern test for any golfer. During the past 15 years a gradual change in golf course landscape has taken place with a number of “semi” private club’s arriving on the scene.
Large real estate developments that include golf courses have opened up. Developers have sought leading players to design their courses and use the brand names of world-class golfers to help market the project. Amongst the first of these was the Sanctuary Lakes project designed by Greg Norman. Established in 1999 and located west of Melbourne or only a 20 min drive from down town it now has 1600 private residence and offers a “resort” style living with excellent leisure facilities.
The course is recognized as one of Australia’s top 50 courses and played host to the Victorian PGA Championship. Another Australian golfing great; the late Peter Thomson designed The North Course, as a classic Scottish links style course and the “Champions Course” newer a more resort style at Sandhurst Club, adding a second Championship course to the 800 house development. The course pays tribute to past Australian PGA Champions and has proved a success with visitors and members.
The development is located 35 kilometers from Melbourne CBD or 40 minute easy drive on the freeway.
A number of companies have seen the advantages of combining golf with a conference at such venues where employee’s are based in first rate surroundings away from the hectic pace of the city and can finish the day off with 9-holes.
Next time you visit Melbourne, make sure you ask the concierge at your hotel to book a game of golf at one of these excellent venues. The leading hotels have often special powers that can get you a ticket to play a round or two at the best course or maybe ask business friend if they can get you an invite to one of Melbourne’s sandbelt courses!
One gentleman that often gets an invite is one world’s leading golfers Tiger Woods, who played at Kingston Heath at the Australian Masters 2009 and will be contention for the 2019 Presidents Cup if he keeps performing, again highlighting the quality of the Melbourne sandbelt courses and their attraction.
“Tiger has always enjoyed playing golf in Australia and particularly likes the courses in the Australian sandbelt region,” said his US agent Mark Steinberg.
If your trip does not go via Melbourne, but Sydney, then do not panic, Sydney like Melbourne has a range of wonderful courses to test your skills on that I shall soon be reviewing!
Off I go and try to land on another fairway……. Oh was that the rough!!
Melbourne’s International airport is serviced by leading international airlines including Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Thai Airlines and many more.