Victoria Golf Club has challenged some of the game’s greatest players in professional tournaments. Yet it still provides an enjoyable round for the skillful player or the golfer that simply enjoys playing the great game of golf. Five-time winner of The Open Championship, the late Peter Thomson, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen, Tiger Woods and Karrie Webb have all graced Victoria with their presence. Thomson joined the club in 1947 and was a member of the club until his death and a magnificent sculpture of the golf legend in full flight overlooks the course.
Part of the hidden beauty of Victoria is that it demands sensible decision-making no matter how good a player you are.
The skilled player can try to reach the first green off the tee, only to face a difficult bunker shot to a very tricky green. Par becomes a task from here. But a shorter tee shot gives you easier approach and a short birdie putt.
The fourth is the first of Victoria’s memorable par-three holes. The only strategy here is to hit the green because bunkers guarding both sides of the putting surface require exquisite technique to get your ‘up-and-down’ for a par.
The sixth is one of the most difficult holes on the course and the prevailing breeze makes ball-striking imperative. It will take two of your best to be up there. Most players should treat this as a three-shot hole. The challenge continues on the green, which slopes dramatically from back to front. You must be below the hole unless the challenge of a testing downhill putt with the breeze is your idea of fun.
Distance off the tee is again paramount at the ninth hole, a veritable ‘beast’. This hole lays claim to being the longest hole in women’s competition golf in the world.
The 10th starts a great run of four mid-length holes, each slightly different, but all with a similar challenge, placing a good drive in play on the right side of the wide fairway. The approach shot then needs to be well-crafted as each of these greens has a character of its own. Two-putting from many areas will be a challenge.
The 15th is considered one of the best holes among Melbourne’s renowned, sand belt courses. At just 289 metres (317 yards) from the men’s tips, it might seem like another short four. Club member and US Open Champion Geoff Ogilvy suggests you ‘be as aggressive as you dare’ on this hole.
‘Reaching the green in one is possible for the long-hitters and eagles can be made. But the smart play is a shot well to the right and perhaps level with the first bunker. From there, a short iron, and maybe a putt for birdie’ Ogilvy says. This hole can make or break a round.
The 18th is a short par five with an uphill drive. The further up the hill the drive you are with your tee shot, the more critical accuracy becomes because balls either side of centre get pushed into the bunkers on both sides. Deft touch is required with your approach to the last green because it is heavily guarded by bunkers which punish the errant shot.