The Takeaway: Known perhaps best for its elite level conditioning, Metropolitan is a classy club with exceptional greens and bunkering that is seen as the standard to shoot for in Melbourne. While other courses in Australia’s Sandbelt have more engaging terrain and hole designs, Metro is a classic staple to be included in any trip to Melbourne. Grade B+
Designer: J. B. Mackenzie in 1908 (Modifications made by Alister MacKenzie in 1926 and Dick Wilson in 1959)
Cost: Private Private (Interstate and Overseas visitors welcome) Click for membership information
Phone Number: 61 3 9579 3122
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Metropolitan Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Golf Road, South Oakleigh, Victoria 3167
Accolades: Ranked 14th in Australia by Golf Course Gurus.
What to Expect: Metropolitan represents one of the original clubs in Melbourne and as the early membership grew there eventually was a split with one portion of the membership wanting a club close to the city while the other wanted one closer to the ocean. As a result, a group of members went out and purchased land and built Royal Melbourne Golf Club near the water while the rest stayed closer to the city with the aptly named Metropolitan Club. Perhaps the thing that Metropolitan is best known for is the greenside bunkering. Bunkers are cut into the greens which pair with double digit stimpmeter readings and no fringe which can result with players putting off the green and into the sand. Nowhere are the bunker edges cut tighter or steeper into the greens than at Metropolitan which set the standard for other Sandbelt courses to imitate. The course is laid out on relatively flat terrain with tree lined fairways that get fairly dense in spots and a single water hazard that comes into play behind the green on the par five 14th, but it is the opening six holes that often get applauded for their merit. As a general rule the course is walking-only although there are some medical exceptions that would allow players to take a motorized cart. The tame terrain and easy flow from green to tee makes Metropolitan a pleasant walk especially with a trolley in tow. On a side note, the pro shop and clubhouse setup oozes class with a professionalism that only top tier clubs can successfully pull off.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 2nd Hole – 175 Yard Par 3 – The opening six hole stretch at Metropolitan is often applauded as one of the finest beginnings to a golf course in Australia, and the 2nd hole is the solo one-shotter in that grouping. Two bunkers are found on each side of the green so there isn't a substitute for accuracy here, but the putting surface is fairly generous so you'll just need to pick your spot based on the day's pin placement. The largest part of the green is found in the back third, so if you are between clubs take the longer one and make sure you find the perfectly groomed putting surface.
Best Par 3: 13th Hole – 159 Yards – The 13th hole tees off from the southeast corner of the property and plays to a green that is totally fronted by a large bunker and further protected by two additional bunkers on the sides. The depth of the bunkers paired with the raised putting surface create a strong motivation to find this green on your first shot to avoid a bogey quickly working its way onto your scorecard. With the strong back-to-front slope of the green, staying below the hole is always the best play.
Best Par 4: 16th Hole – 377 Yards – A brilliant short dogleg right, the 16th is a risk/reward hole that can change daily on how to play it based on the wind and pin placement. A total of ten bunkers protect the right side of this hole and finding yourself in one of the fairway bunkers virtually guarantees a bogey. While some players may want to challenge the dogleg and see how close they can get to the green, a pin tucked behind the front right bunker is better attacked with a full swing that creates spin on the ball as opposed to a short chip. It is a creative hole that rewards accuracy and finesse over brute power.
Best Par 5: 6th Hole – 514 Yards – One of three par fives on the front nine, the 6th hole features nearly as much sand in the driving zone as there is grass. The fairway slopes slightly left to right and while it might be tempting to blast a drive over the bunkers on the right side, the superior angle into the green is from the left where a deadlier bunker awaits. Precision on the drive is absolutely paramount for success on this short hole that can quickly yield a birdie if you position yourself well off the tee. The front of the green features a narrow opening due to the bunkers pinching the turf and the putting surface is well undulated, two brilliant features on a reachable par five. This is a fun hole and a worthy conclusion to the fantastic six hole opening stretch at Metropolitan.
Birdie Time: 4th Hole – 520 Yard Par 5 – The first of three par fives on the front nine, the 4th hole is an early chance to throw a birdie on the card. If you avoid the three fairway bunkers with your tee shot then you'll have the green light to get aggressive with your second shot. Taking dead aim up the right side of the green is a perfect line if you can carry the small bunker 25 yards short of the putting surface. From there you'll either have an eagle putt or easy chip with an excellent chance of going one under par.
Bogey Beware: 1st Hole – 473 Yard Par 4 – If you haven't warmed up, 473 yards is going to look especially daunting as your first hole. Two fairway bunkers on the left side of the driving zone stand as your primary concern because you want to be as close to them as possible to shorten the hole but falling into one brings a big number out early in the round. Like many Sandbelt courses, you'll find bunkers 30-40 yards short of the green that stand mostly as an obstacle for the ground game which is a popular play on the first, fast conditions commonly found in the area. So an aerial approach shot to the green is best with the left half of the putting surface being more welcoming than the right. It is here you will be introduced to the sharp edged bunkers framed by tightly mown grass that entice balls to enter them. With plenty of length and trouble to consider, this opening hole is a bear to start off with.