The Takeaway: The premier course in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the finest tracks on Mother Earth. Pictures don’t begin to sufficiently show the curves, subtleties, and movement that this property enjoys. Architecturally it is a masterpiece that is only trumped by the Composite course as having the ultimate property for golf in Melbourne. Grade A+
Designer: Alister MacKenzie in 1931
Cost: Private Private (Interstate, International, and Reciprocal visitors welcome) Click for membership information
Phone Number: 61 3 9599 0500
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Royal Melbourne Golf Club (West)'s official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - Cheltenham Road, Black Rock, Victoria 3193
Accolades: Ranked 3rd in Australia by Golf Course Gurus.
What to Expect: Simply one of the finest golf courses in the world. This is the course that sets the standard for Australia golfing greatness and an attraction that draws in players from all over the world. Heading into my round I was a bit worried that Royal Melbourne would be overrated because the pictures I saw depicted little movement in the property and it was difficult to identify the architectural greatness. After the first hole, my worries increased. After the second hole, I was feeling a little better. By the time I came to the world class 5th hole I knew I would be experiencing golfing nirvana. The movement throughout the property exceeds virtually anything else in the Melbourne area with holes 4 - 11 being a particularly excellent stretch. It becomes more impressive to consider how good the holes are and the undulations in the property when you see the primitive shovel and plow equipment that was used along with a horse to do construction. The West course is not long, but instead relies on top shelf green complexes and testy pin locations to put some teeth in the layout while tempting you with risk/reward opportunities that can bite you hard if you get too greedy. The one-shotters stand out at Royal Melbourne with brilliant bunkering and green surfaces that are demanding in both slope and speed while some of the par fours are as good as anything you’ll ever play. Crossing the road and getting to the flatter part of the property on holes 13 - 16 is less inspiring and a worthy omission when Royal Melbourne routs the Composite course that is used for major competitions such as the President’s Cup. The vast majority of players will walk the course and caddies are available, particularly for visitors, but there are some medical exceptions that would allow a motorized cart. In the end, Royal Melbourne is world class. The staff and membership is extremely friendly, accommodating, and not near as stuffy as one would expect as a similar caliber course in the United States. A true fan of golf course architecture hasn’t completed their studies without a visit to Royal Melbourne; it is the fundamental of minimalist greatness.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 5th Hole – 176 Yard Par 3 –
Best Par 3: 7th Hole – 148 Yards –
Best Par 4: 6th Hole – 428 Yards –
Best Par 5: 4th Hole – 504 Yards –
Birdie Time: 10th Hole – 312 Yard Par 4 –
Bogey Beware: 11th Hole – 455 Yard Par 4 –