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Golf Course Reviews - Australia


Royal Melbourne Golf Club (West Course)

Name: Royal Melbourne Golf Club (West Course)
Location: Black Rock, VIC, Australia
Par: 72
Length: 6023m
Holes: 18

Royal Melbourne Golf Club West Course

The West Course at Royal Melbourne Golf club is has been the top rated golf course in Australia for the past 8 years. It is a course to rival the best in the world and it owes its position to three important factors. The land over which its wonderful holes are played is perfectly undulating and the sandy nature of the ground must have been a dream for those charged with the construction of greens and bunkers.

The clubs initial routing was altered by the great Scottish architect, Alister Mackenzie in 1926 and it, unquestionably, exploited the full potential of the land. It was Mackenzie who came up with the blind drive up over the hill at the par five fourth that was not, in itself, ideal but it opened up the chance to incorporate the best second shot on the course, down the hill to the green and he followed it with the world class par three, fifth and the brilliant sixth hole.

The third part of the equation is the under rated genius of Mick Morcom, the clubs curator and the man Mackenzie entrusted with the job of bringing his ideas and plans to life. "Morcom", said Mackenzie "was the best greenkeeper I have ever worked with".


Mackenzie's ideals were based upon the genius of The Old Course at St Andrews where the golfer had a multitude of options to consider before both club and shot could be correctly selected. He abhorred the use of long grass as a means of punishing the wayward and it seems he enjoyed confusing the golfer as he confronted them with the golfing equivalent of a multiple choice exam.

The finest examples of this aspect of the design come at two of the clubs most famous holes.

The dogleg sixth hole takes up a huge piece of land and demonstrates perfectly the advantages Mackenzie had at Royal Melbourne over the tighter courses he influenced during his extraordinary twelve week visit to Australia in 1926, including Kingston Heath, Yarra Yarra and Victoria.
Royal Melbourne Golf Club West Course
The Verdict
The West Course may not be the most difficult course in the country and many will argue it is not the most "perfectly" conditioned. Nor does it have the spectacular views of courses like The National, Laguna Quays or New South Wales Golf Clubs. What it is, however, is our greatest feat of golfing architecture and it matters not how many times one plays it, there is always another layer of subtlety to be uncovered and another series of fascinating decisions to make.


Visit the Royal Melbourne Golf Club's website: Royal Melbourne Golf Club

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