The Takeaway: Woodlands is just a fun course. With some gettable par fours, a nice routing, and terrain that has just enough movement to keep players engaged, Woodlands is like comfort food; it doesn’t dazzle but always feels good. Grade B+
Designer: Rowley Banks & Sam Bennett in 1913
Cost: Private Private with visitors welcome $80 AUD - $230 AUD Click for membership information
Phone Number: 61 3 9580 3455
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Woodlands Golf Club's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 109 White Street, Mordialloc, Victoria 3195
Accolades: Ranked 15th in Australia by Golf Course Gurus.
What to Expect: Often overlooked in the mix of Sandbelt courses, Woodlands is a sporty track with some great holes; particularly the short par 4s and the one-shotters. The course is laid out on gently moving terrain which lends itself to being a nice walk, especially given the relatively modest length and comfortable routing. As evidenced on the opening holes, Woodlands doesn’t enjoy a very secluded setting with a busy road bordering the property but the number of trees on the property help buffer some of that. As you work your way deeper into the course you get to the quieter end of the property and enjoy the interaction with nature and the holes more. A variety of different birds call the course home and often fly overhead or can be heated squawking at your golf swing. As if commonplace among the Sandbelt courses, Woodlands features greens with edges that run off onto tight chipping areas that will test your short game, but perhaps the one word that describes it best is fun. It is simply a design with fun holes while still staying true to its classic design roots. When golfers go to the Sandbelt of Melbourne there are four main courses players seek to visit; Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Victoria, and Metropolitan. But there is more to see in the area and Woodlands is among those at the top of the list to add to your itinerary.
By the Numbers
Individual Hole Analysis
Signature Hole: 4th Hole – 275 Yard Par 4 – It seems that every great Sandbelt course features an intriguing driveable par four, and at Woodlands it presents itself here at the 4th hole. Length certainly isn’t the challenge here, it is the plateau green with the hard slopes off every edge that make it difficult to chase a drive up on and can quickly repel low spinning chip shots that are not spot on. The great thing about Sandbelt courses is that the don’t rely on gimmicks but are still fun due to the sound design principles and engaging strategy. This hole reels you in with the short length, but you quickly find out that a short chip can be more difficult than a full spinning shot on this sloping green. Which strategy do you employ? Try to drive the green or layup and take your chances with your wedge? The choice is yours.
Best Par 3: 5th Hole – 184 Yards – The picturesque 5th is a classic Sandbelt par three that plays to a slightly elevated green lined on each side by cavernous bunkers standing ready to consume any ball that veers offline. Natural foliage areas engulf the areas outside of the sand with a small area short and right of the green being the only safe place to bailout to. It’s just a good hole; hit a good shot and you will be rewarded but a poor effort is quick to be penalized.
Best Par 4: 7th Hole – 373 Yards – I don’t know why I liked this hole so much, but I did. This shortish dogleg left can be played safely out to the right but if you are too aggressive you’ll get to the portion of the fairway that narrows down and runs away from the player. The bold tee shot is a 3-wood that challenges the height of the trees on the left and looks to land in the narrow fairway neck leading to the green. From this aggressive position players are afforded a shorter approach shot to a shallower target while from the right side the hole opens up but requires a lengthier approach. Options and strategy? That is what Sandbelt golf is all about.
Best Par 5: 6th Hole – 559 Yards – The 6th is a double dogleg with soft turns and is fully lined by trees on each side. Once you are able to navigate the corridors you come to a green complex that features a series of bunkers 25 yards short of the green that extends up the entire left side of the putting surface. The strategy here is seeing how much you can challenge the final dogleg turn on the right side of the fairway which will effectively take the massive bunker complex out of play on the left side. But if you flirt with the right side too much then you can have a tree swat you down into the native foliage which is certainly more difficult to recover from.
Birdie Time: 13th Hole – 323 Yard Par 4 – With a much less challenging green than the shorter 4th hole, there is little reason to not be aggressive off the tee here on the 13th. This slight dogleg right begs for a cut off the tee that stays right of the bunkers protecting the outside corner but stays short of the greenside bunkers right of the green. From this position on the left side of the fairway an easy chip to a receptive green awaits. Not taking a birdie here can be a bit of a disappointment.
Bogey Beware: 10th Hole – 437 Yard Par 4 – There aren’t many long holes at Woodlands, but the back nine starts with one of them and finishes a challenging four hole stretch. The tee shot needs to carry long enough to crest the hill while avoiding the bunker on the right side of the driving zone. Approaching the green from the left side of the hole brings a necklace of bunkers into play that are quick to make bogey a quick reality. Coming in from the right is the best angle but brings the fairway bunker into play, so picking your poison off the tee dictates the strategy here and with plenty of length to contend with to boot.