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Victoria Golf Club sneak preview

Works at Victoria Golf Club are nearing completion with all holes under grow-in and fine tuning underway in readiness for member opening on February 16, 2019.  

A view looking backward down the opening hole.

For those unfamiliar with the project, the main focus has revolved around the conversion of the putting surfaces from predominantly poa annua to Pure Distinction bent-grass to help produce more consistently firm, fast putting surface; synonymous to sand belt golf.  For the most part greens have been a pure reinstatement of contours with extensive survey before and after and the use of some purpose built machinery designed to replicate contours within a few millimetres.  

The new practice putting green has been increased in size by 50%….now measuring close to 1800m2

A few greens required minor changes in order to increase the amount of pinnable area such as the steeply contoured 6th, 11th and 13th, but at each we have been able to retain the internal contours and adjust the overall tilt so to the casual observer it seems as though little change has occurred at all.  Outside of this there have been a few areas where we have been able to add a pin position as a result of extending the greens to the edge of bunkers or into areas which were previously surround.  These subtle changes have helped add to the variety and create even more interesting golf.  Of particular note will be the new back right pin on the 2nd, back left pins at the 3rd, at the front of the 7th, front of the 9th, and on the left of the 16th. 
Greens will now feature putting surface all the way to the edge of the surrounding bunkers.  This small change will obviously has an aesthetic difference but more importantly helps maximise the number of pin positions and emphasise the strategy by allowing pins to be tucked even closer to the surrounding hazards.  

A view looking back down the 17th hole (the new fairway bunkers are yet to be built in this photo).

Greens will now feature putting surface all the way to the edge of the surrounding bunkers.  This small change will obviously has an aesthetic difference but more importantly helps maximise the number of pin positions and emphasise the strategy by allowing pins to be tucked even closer to the surrounding hazards.

The 2nd green. The short right bunker is a new addition – but largely a reinstatement, with bunkers originally built here and obvious in the 1930’s oblique aerial photo.

The most significant changes come at the 5th, 12th and 17th holes which weren’t original greens and we felt could be improved.  The new 5th green has shifted slightly left and combined with some adjustments to the fairway bunkers offers a more interesting hole and importantly helps differentiate it from the 2nd and 3rd which all featured very similar tee shots.  The new green is bunkered left and right and is wide at the back and narrower at the front.  Back left pins will reward play down the right near the original fairway bunker while pins in the right half will favour tee shots over the new short left fairway bunker and near the indigenous area up the left.  A larger high tee behind the 4th green offers the alternative to play the 5th as a short par four…a pleasant alternative to the more common long par four tee.  

The 9th green…the right third of the putting surface has been added and offers some great alternative pin positions.

Looking across the new 12th

The new 12th green better matches the strategy set up on the tee, with hazards front left and back left clearly rewarding play from the inside corner of the dogleg and near the hazard.  What was previously a fairway bunker here has been converted into a shallower indigenous area which offers a better chance of recovery. 

Looking across the 15th

Finally at the 17th fairway bunkers now feature down the right of the hole which help soften the bank of the water storage but also guard the inside corner of the dogleg…a more conventional way to arrange a hole that turns.  The new green has been shifted a little forward and left, out from behind the trees, and matches with the strategy of bunkers down the right.  The new green has hazards guarding the left and back of the green while a deep hollow sits front right, similar to the fabulous hollow on the 4th hole.  
Tees have been levelled as part of the works with extra teeing options at the 5th, 7th and 17th hole – the latter providing the alternative to play the par five as a long par four occasionally or under tournament conditions.  

In addition to the earthworks, the project has also included the installation of a new irrigation system and replacement of 7 hectares of cool season grass with couch from on site and off.  

Looking backward down the new 5th.

Looking back down the 7th.  The extended front section of the green is visible here, as is the opened up area of sand and indigenous vegetation between the 6th and 7th in the left of the image. 

The 16th hole – now featuring a interesting new pin position on the left close to the bunker

Good friend Nick Wall from Airswing Media came by late last month and was kind enough to shoot some footage to help highlight the work.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous 2019!
:: Mike Cocking

New 19th Hole at Victoria Golf Club

This short video provides an update on the new 19th hole and practice area at Victoria Golf Club, which is now well established having been built approximately 12 months ago.
:: Mike Cocking

The Practice Facility

THEY say practise makes perfect but in golf, much of that depends on the quality of the facility you have to practise at. In this article I explore some of the game’s great practice facilities and hopefully help inspire golfers and clubs alike to take practising the game more seriously.

Before and After

Before and After


Before and After

Before and After

Click here to continue reading

:: Mike

The practice facility at Victoria GC: with improvements to turf, drainage and a scattering of bunkers, the practice facility now resembles a golf hole and provides a much more stimulating place to practise.

Victoria Golf Club

Victoria Golf Club, the home club of Peter Thomson, Doug Bachli and Geoff Ogilvy, is one of the very best of the sandbelt courses. The original Alister MacKenzie influenced course was changed over many years by the overplanting of trees, the growth of grass bordering fairways as rough and the reduction in size and character of the bunkers.


We have consulted to the club since 1995 and in that time the bunkers have been restored, the negative influence of the trees reduced and the rough has been replaced in many places by sand or short grass. Like so many of the sandbelt courses the greens determine the strategy from the tees because they are best approached from parts other than the middle of the fairways.


Our work at Victoria is aimed at restoring the original bunkers and shaping new bunkers to match the look and character of the originals. Some holes were lengthened for the 2002 Australian Open and 2010 Australian Masters but the emphasis has been on making the course more interesting, not more difficult.