Although the first ball was struck in Tasmania and the first club formed in New South Wales, Australian golf’s spiritual home is Victoria. The history of the game in this country is inextricably tied not only to the state but also the 1891 birth of our greatest golf club, Royal Melbourne. Prior to its momentous shift to the southern Sandbelt the club hosted the nation’s first professional match and first men’s amateur championship and also became the first in Australia to be granted the ‘Royal’ prefix.
The discovery of the club’s Sandringham site and subsequent move inspired other clubs to seek out similar sandy golfing grounds and the Melbourne Sandbelt was born. By the end of the 1920’s the city’s major clubs had established themselves within the Sandbelt and the area subsequently developed into arguably the finest and most recognisable golf region on Earth.
The most significant episode in the development of the game within Victoria was the visit of Dr Alister MacKenzie in 1926. While in town he designed the brilliant West course at Royal Melbourne, consulted at several other Melbourne tracks and trained the two men, Alex Russell and Mick Morcom, who would continue his legacy after he departed. The success of the entire Sandbelt area is a tribute to the skills of these three incredible men.
The actual Sandbelt area is located to the South East of the Melbourne CBD and is blessed with ideal golfing conditions. Its superb courses are built on a magnificent sandy base, which allows instant drainage and ideal playing surfaces year round. The majority of the courses are located within a 10-15 kilometre radius of each other.
The leading Sandbelt golf clubs are private, however limited access is granted to international and interstate golfers, email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance and advice on securing tee times.
The Sandbelt Golf Courses
Royal Melbourne West - That Royal Melbourne is Australia’s foremost golf club is irrefutable. For more than 100 years the club has been at the pinnacle of the game in this country, its golf courses the most celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere.
Royal Melbourne East - Royal Melbourne's fabulous East course complements the more famous West course and features some of Australia's finest golf holes.
Kingston Heath Golf Club - Australia's second highest ranked golf course, Kingston Heath is a Sandbelt stunner that features possibly the best bunkering system on Earth.
Victoria Golf Club - Designed by club identities William Meader and Oscar Damman, Victoria was one of several Sandbelt courses that travelling architect Dr Alister MacKenzie visited during his 1926 Australian trip, his bunkering a standout.
The Metropolitan Golf Club - The second oldest golf club in the Sandbelt, Metropolitan’s founding members were originally part of Royal Melbourne and now golf on a course generally regarded as having the best fairways in the world.
Woodlands Golf Club - Largely unheralded outside of Melbourne, the Woodlands Golf Club is yet another exceptional example of classic Australian golf course architecture within the glorious Sandbelt.
Yarra Yarra Golf Club - Like most of the major Melbourne Sandbelt clubs Yarra Yarra was born many miles away from the fertile golfing ground it currently calls home. Originally the Eaglemont Golf Club the name Yarra Yarra was adopted when a move to Rosanna, along the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River, was made in 1898...
Commonwealth Golf Club - Superb course that evolved over the decades into an Australian classic largely thanks to careful club management. The course features a series of tremendous holes including one of the best sets of par fours in the country.
The Peninsula Country Golf Club - The Peninsula Country Golf Club is one of our best golfing facilities, with two excellent courses beautifully positioned geographically within the Melbourne Sandbelt yet only minutes from the thriving Mornington Peninsula.
Huntingdale Golf Club - Shooting to prominence in 1979, when it hosted the inaugural Australian Masters Tournament, Huntingdale Golf Club emerged through the 1980's as one of Australia's most famous and instantly recognised golf courses.
Spring Valley is a relatively young Sandbelt course that has continued to improve and is highly regarded by the locals. A variety of native flowering trees line the fairways, and come into play on several long dog-leg holes. The tenth hole at the Valley is a brilliant par three played from an elevated tee with a mid-iron to a green guarded by three magnificent, deep bunkers.
Keysborough Golf Club is a long, wide course and ideally suited to big hitters. It has played host in recent years to the Victorian PGA championships. The club got into financial difficulties with an impressive driving range development, which is now a separate entity next door to the course. As well as plenty of land, Keysborough has huge water storage, so that green conditions may be maintained even in Melbourne’s driest summers.
Kingswood has a fine variety of golf holes packed in between well established trees and some very tough rough encroaching onto the magnificent pure couch fairways. The course has undergone a series of changes since opening in 1937 as Australia’s longest layout (6371m). Kingswood is most respected for its greens that feature severe swales and slopes. The 180m par 3 13th is regarded as a classic Sandbelt hole, with uncut rough in front of the tee, thick ti-tree bordering the fairway and severe greenside bunkering.
Southern Golf Club is perhaps most harshly dealt with in the latest ratings of all the Sandbelt courses. The improvements to this course over recent years have been dramatic, with the pure couch fairways equal to the very best, and the greens very slick and true. Southern is another widish track that rewards long hitters. The course was obliged to develop several new holes as a result of roadwork, and is now 6336m par 73.
Read our exclusive reviews of leading Sandbelt courses
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