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Capital Golf Course
||Exclusive layout designed by Peter Thomson and maintained in immaculate condition. Course has 14 hectares of lakes and 190 bunkers.
||(03) 9292 8888
||A private club, open to members and invited guests only. Members of Golf Clubs from overseas and interstate may apply to the Manager to establish playing conditions. Introduction from home club required.
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2020 GOLF Course FREE APP
THE CAPITAL GOLF CLUB - EXCLUSIVE REVIEW by Darius Oliver, from Australia's Finest Golf Courses Capital Golf Club
Course Opened – 1997
Designer – Peter Thomson, Michael Wolveridge, Ross Perrett, Lloyd Williams
‘And so it sits, locked away for the exclusive benefit of Lloyd and his friends who love it and cherish it for what it is, simply the best kept secret in Australian golf.’ Michael Wolveridge. above - The Capital Golf Club - the pitch across the creek to Capital's par five 7th hole.
Throughout the glorious history of golf course architecture there have been numerous examples of visionaries who, when struggling to discover golfing perfection, have instead attempted to create it themselves. Most famously Bobby Jones at Augusta National and George Crump at Pine Valley instantly recognised the world class potential of their respective sites and refused to rest until the finest golf courses imaginable had been built. above - Capital's final hole and magnificent clubhouse.
In the modern era American billionaire Steve Wynn took nature out of the equation by using extravagant modern earth moving techniques to craft his own masterpiece in the flat Nevada desert. Shadow Creek was the course and its success inspired Melbourne businessman, and passionate golfer, Lloyd Williams to indulge a golfing fantasy by attempting to build his own version of golf’s classic course.
The Williams vision was to create a true championship layout, free from crowds and distractions, which could challenge the world’s best golfers and inspire them with its beauty. The starting point was a modest market garden within the fertile Melbourne Sandbelt. With a seemingly infinite budget the design was complimented by 35 acres of pristine handcrafted lakes and thriving wildlife reserves complete with emus, wallabies, wild swans and more than 85 species of birds. In excess of 500,000 trees were also planted to create a secluded oasis with the 300-acre site transformed into sacred golfing grounds the equal of almost any on earth.
Opening in 1997 the Capital Golf Club concept was instantly surrounded by mystique. Serene yet surreptitious the course made immediate headlines by attracting high profile clientele and providing fodder for speculative gossip on what lay behind the wrought iron gates and electric security fences. As one of those who have been fortunate to sample the Capital’s bounties, I can confirm all lusting golfers worst fears – that the course is as good as they have imagined.
First the amenities, which are the most lavish in Australia. The magnificent clubhouse is a five-star construction of immense proportions with all the trimmings of a luxury hotel as well as an astonishing collection of photographs from the great courses of the world. The opulent practice facilities are superior to any I’ve seen and it’s little wonder that the game’s leading players choose to warm up here when playing big tournaments in Melbourne.
On course, golfers are truly pampered starting with enormous tee boxes that are flat enough to satisfy the most sophisticated spirit level and surrounded by pristine luma hedges. Gently undulating fairways of pure couch offer impeccable lies and facilitate thrilling approach shots into beautifully contoured Bentgrass greens, which run as quick and true as any on the Sandbelt. Designer Peter Thomson actually makes the point that the Capital’s conditioning is almost too good. ‘Tees, fairways and greens have a smoothness and quality that touches upon the incredible’ he says, ‘it seems an act of wanton destruction to take a divot or to march through a white bunker. Putting on the greens is like walking on smooth silk.’
Aside from exceptional playing surfaces, the Capital is also a masterpiece of design. Peter Thomson and Michael Wolveridge were chiefly responsible although they clearly worked to a detailed Lloyd Williams master plan. Describing the Capital as a fantasy ‘which has become a reality’, Williams drew inspiration from all corners of the globe and recalled experiences at the world’s finest golf courses to help create his unique vision. Of particular interest is the bunkering, which is a mix of the classic Sandbelt style of sprawling bunker and the more traditional shape of the Thomson/Wolveridge pot bunker. The combination works beautifully to create a number of stunning sandy sequences, particularly on the four short holes.
The owner’s continued pursuit of perfection and meticulous attention to detail has seen a number of holes tweaked since opening with all eighteen now leaving an indelible impression on those who play them. The most significant facelift came at the water carry 8th hole when the series of small traps, that originally protected the peninsula green, were converted into a sandy wasteland. The bunkering was extended to the water’s edge and framed by thick clumps of kangaroo grass to form an awesome vista from the tee. This is not the only sublime par three on the course however with the equally attractive 16th another highlight.
An accomplished golfer himself, Williams recognised the desire of modern professionals to be constantly stimulated and obliged by building a number of strong back ‘Tiger’ tees. The par five 7th is a classic example and is as charming and challenging as the hole it is often compared to, the famous 13th at Augusta National. Measuring more than 500 metres the green is only reachable for the longest hitters who can take on the sand, water and dogleg from the tee and a tantalising creek on the approach. Tiger Woods has hit a six iron into this green while Aaron Baddeley once holed a two iron here for an albatross.
To avoid any semblance of disruption from a bustling outside world the holes are enclosed by built up mounds and plant life cleverly positioned to eliminate unattractive views but subtle enough to appear as natural undulation. Aside from protecting the integrity of the course from the prying eyes of unwanted observers, the mounding also gives an amphitheatre backdrop to many greens and fairways.
High rollers from the Melbourne casino and the social and sporting elite including past Presidents of the United States, Prime Minister’s of Australia, State Premiers and contemporary golf icons like Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Sergio Garcia have all enjoyed the tranquillity of the Capital fairways. Whilst sadly a course solely for the fortunate few, the Capital Golf Club is clearly one of Australia’s finest golf experiences.
‘In time the course will become acknowledged for what it is – a golfing masterpiece that should stand the test of time and take its place amongst the famous. There may never be another quite like it.’ Peter Thomson. This review features in Australia's Finest Golf Courses
(RRP $49.95). For more details on the book click here. Green Fee access
- The Capital Golf Club is a private club and access to the public is restricted. ausgolf
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