The Great Ocean Road, winding around to coast west from Torquay is one of the most famous stretches of road in Australia. By quirk of fate or geography #1 Great Ocean Road is the address of the Torquay Golf Club. The good fortune of the address lead the RACV to invest in a complete revitalization of the club and aside from a combined hotel, spa and clubhouse, the company committed to upgrading what was a nice seaside golf course but one not without its flaws.
The new building consumed the original (and very ordinary) par three 10th hole. It has been replaced by the new 12th, a hole made on unused land fitting in nicely between the 11th green and 13th tee. The old 15th hole was a poor hole, flawed in so many ways including concluding with a green where the back half was unusable. The fairway tipped from high on the right down to the left, the inside corner of the hole was smothered by big, old and dirty cypress trees and at the point of the dogleg the hole swung sharply to the right fighting the land all the way. The trees came off the corner, replaced by a bunker and the green was moved almost fifty meters to the left. Tillinghast spoke of making holes capable of ‘holding their head up in polite society’ and here was an example of an awful hole improved by following simple yet long proved architectural principles.
The new bunkering followed the lines of simple, small shapes, easily maintained yet positioned always to keep players thinking about where best to play. RACV Torquay is far from being a difficult course. It isn’t long nor is it particularly narrow from the tee but the ever-present coastal winds ensure the golf is challenging, interesting and fun.