Update on the North Course at Peninsula Kingswood

With nearly all holes on the South course now open for member play, our work at Peninsula Kingswood has moved on to the North course. This video update features drone footage from December 2016 of the North course’s back nine, providing a glimpse of the scale of transformation that is taking place. Our work on the North course will continue throughout 2017, with all 36 holes due to be open for play during 2018.

:: Mike Cocking

New 9th Hole at Ranfurlie

This video provides an update on recent work at Ranfurlie Golf Club in Melbourne, which involved a redesign to the 9th hole. The new hole is due to open for play in April 2017.

:: Ashley

More New Holes Open at Peninsula Kingswood

Four new holes opened for play this week on the South course at Peninsula Kingswood, with the 3rd, 6th, 7th and 10th (temporary) being incorporated into the 18 hole composite course. Next month we expect to open the 4th, 5th and 18th holes, which will complete the opening of the South course.

Works meanwhile continue on the North course, with the revamped 36 hole course scheduled to open in full in 2018. More images from Gary Lisbon will be released in the coming months to showcase the work completed so far.

Cranbourne GC :: 14th Hole

Our new 14th hole at Cranbourne Golf Club is progressing well after finishing construction and grassing in spring. The below drone video provides a unique perspective of the new hole and helps explain a little about where the hole sits and how it plays. We expect play will commence in late summer ready for the club championships.


:: Mike Cocking

Royal Canberra Course Redesign

2016 saw the completion of our redesign of the original 18 holes at Royal Canberra Golf Club, which culminated in the recent re-opening of the course. The two year project included the reconstruction of all tees, greens and bunkers, the installation of many kilometres of new drainage, and the widening & re-grassing of almost 20 hectares of fairway.

We look forward to 2018 when Australia’s top 100 courses are again rated by the leading two golf magazines in the country, and we hope Royal Canberra is returned to its rightful position amongst the country’s best courses.

The video below shows a time lapse of the course redesign, and demonstrates the extent of the course’s transformation from above.

:: Mike Cocking

New Nine at Royal Canberra Opens for Play

We’re please to announce that the new back nine on Royal Canberra’s original 18-hole course has opened for play this week to great acclaim from members, guests and the media. Celebrations for the opening included a ribbon cutting by the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and a demonstration match featuring Geoff Ogilvy. This milestone marks the completion of the original 18-hole course, with the front nine completed 12-months ago. The future redesign of holes 19-27 will then complete the project, and further contribute to Royal Canberra’s elevation back into the top echelon of clubs in the country.

The back nine takes in some of the best land on the property, with the stretch of holes from 13 through 17 being the most dramatic. This stretch includes the long par-4 14th hole (see below) that plays over the edge of Lake Burley Griffin, the design of which was loosely based on Commander Harris’ original design. Tree removal down the right of the old hole helped create a wide corridor – so wide that we felt it could handle a central bunker to help set up some of the strategy of the hole from the tee. The green features wings that serve to emphasise this strategy, with a left pin rewarding an approach from the right of the fairway close to the lake, while for a right pin the strategy flips, favouring an approach from the left.

Over the coming weeks we will post some hole-by-hole images and commentary, including before and after pictures in order to help explain how the holes have changed and the reasons for the changes.

:: Mike Cocking

Royal Canberra’s 14th Hole

The 14th at Royal Canberra has been transformed by using the true width of the piece of land it occupies, and the principles of the original concept design of Commander John Harris. Harris had drawn the hole from what is now the 13th tee and he envisaged a dramatic tee shot across the lake on the right. For whatever reason the hole was never built and whilst the 13th made a beautiful downhill par three, the 14th always failed to make any strategic use of the lake. This failure was a disappointment given that it was the primary natural feature of the land.

The new hole captures the essence of Harris’ original concept. Tees were added to the right, trees removed and the fairway widened out to the water on the right and consequently, many more options of line have been made available from the tee. The most desirable line will depend on which of the three tees is being used but most importantly, players now have a choice whereas previously all they were asked to do was to hit straight between the bunkers on the left and the trees on the right.

Bonnie Doon’s Redevelopment

In this episode of The Week in Golf, Course Superintendent Justin Bradbury and I speak about our early progress at Bonnie Doon on stage three of the course redevelopment.


Spring Valley

For many years we have consulted to Vern Marcom’s wonderful but too often under-rated sand belt gem – Spring Valley, which was recently reviewed in Golf Australia Magazine. Some alterations have been quite extensive but more often than not the work has involved repositioning a tee or perhaps subtly reworking a bunker or tee carry.

As with all our construction on the sand-belt we try hard to give the impression the new work have been there for a long time. Changes at the 5th were completed 12 months ago and show how even a small change such as widening a tee and making some changes to the carry can make a significant difference from the tee.

:: 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.

Royal Queensland GC – Eastern Land

In 2007 we completed a major redesign at Royal Queensland due to the duplication of the Gateway Bridge. Since then we have been working on a number of various concepts for the 30 hectares of land that now remains vacant on the Eastern side of the bridge.

Some of the options that we considered were:

  • A traditional stand-alone nine hole course
  • Construction of nine new holes and a reconfiguration of the current layout to produce a 27 hole course with returning nines
  • A practice range and associated facilities
  • A reversible course.

The routing concept of the course has been settled so that the Club may commence long lead-in items such as a new water storage dam and access road. The Club is very excited by the concept of the reversible course and its details will be worked through by the Club and OCCM in the near future. After five years in design, we are hoping to get started soon.

The concept of a reversible course originated at St Andrews in Scotland. The opening hole in the reverse course plays from the 1st tee to the Road Hole green at the 17th hole; the 2nd hole from the 18th tee to the 16th green, and the course continues all the way (anti-clockwise) to the finish, where golfers play from the 2nd tee to the 18th green. Those who have played the course confirm that it includes some remarkable holes.

Tom Simpson, the British architect who built some of the very best golf courses on the European continent, drew his concept of a small reversible course in his book The Architectural Side of Golf. Simpson summarized the advantages of a reversible course as:

  • Reducing the impact of divots or pitch marks, and allowing greens keepers to rest areas
  • Spreading traffic wear and compaction
  • Increasing pleasure and variety
  • Allowing the effect of wind on play to differ
  • Favouring a ‘strategic’ type of design, as little (if any) additional bunkering on a strategic course is needed for reverse play

George Thomas, the American Architect (Riviera Country Club in LA), also developed the concept of a ‘course within a course’ where holes could be played, for example, as either long par threes or short par fours. The Women’s 17th hole at Royal Queensland is an example of Thomas’ concept. It would be possible to include parts of this concept into the reversible course to create even greater variety. The land of the old 14th hole could, for example, be used to make a short par four as well as a recreation of the old par three hole.

There is enough land to build a reversible course with no formalised tees that would create something unique, varied and fun to play as well as offering eighteen quite different holes.

:: Ashley Mead

RQ_Reversible Course Masterplan
RQ_Clockwise Loop
RQ_Anti-Clockwise Loop
RQ Supporting Images Blog Post

Stage 3 at Bonnie Doon Commencing in April

We’re excited to announce that Stage 3 of our Masterplan at Bonnie Doon is to commence on April 26. Expected to take roughly 5 months, the works will include reshaping the five holes in the Southern Paddock which, in the new configuration of holes, constitute the 3rd through 7th.

Major changes include removal of the current spare hole (previously the downhill par 3 16th) and converting the current 3rd (old 11th) from a par five to a par four while stretching the current 5th (old 13th) from a par four to a par five. The latter hole should be one of the more spectacular on the property with the tee reverting back towards its original position (prior to 1993) closer to the Southern boundary and the green pushing back onto the current spare hole (old 16th) green.

Below are two images from a recent site visit with the club’s board and management team, plus the plans for the five Southern Paddock holes.

:: Mike Cocking

Kingston Heath Practice Facilities

The new practice putting green and front tee at Kingston Heath has opened after being rebuilt in Spring 2015. The entire front lawn area has been reshaped to maximise the size of the practice green & tee, and generally to improve the contouring of the area. The putting green extends all the way to the courtyard and better reflects the slopes of the greens on the golf course. In addition we’ve created a perfectly level section close to the pro-shop where golfers can practise their stroke. To view the plan we prepared for the club, click here.

:: Mike


The Evolution of a Golf Hole

LIKE most living things, golf courses change over time.  Sometimes this can be slow. Trees grow, bunkers erode, even putting green levels can change with constant top dressing and bunker play, adding as much as 30cm over time. Some changes occur much faster.

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Victoria GC – Short Game Facility & 19th Hole

Works were completed on the new short game facility / 19th hole at Victoria just prior to Christmas. The area will compliment the chipping and bunker complex located closer to the clubhouse, but golfers will be able to play much longer pitch shots (up to 100m) as well as a variety of bunker shots, chips and putts. Rather uniquely the area will double as a 19th hole if required by using the back section of the tee, playing at close to 120m.

With the hole currently growing-in, play is expected to commence in late Summer / early Autumn.

:: Mike Cocking

Morning Drive

The team travelled to The Golf Channel’s studios in Florida recently to appear on Morning Drive. Here’s the video of our interview with Matt Ginella.

OCCM Appointed at Shady Oaks CC in Texas

It gives us great pleasure to announce our appointment as golf course architects to Shady Oaks Country Club in Forth Worth, Texas.

The brain child of Marvin Leonard, Shady Oaks has a rich history dating back to the original 1955 design by Robert Trent Jones. As the home of one golf’s greats – Mr Ben Hogan – the club holds an important place in American golf and we feel honoured to be entrusted with this important task.

We’ve started looking at design opportunities on both the main course and the ‘little nine’ – a 9 short hole short course built over 10 acres which has the potential to double as a world class practice area.

Plans will be completed early in 2016 with construction to commence on the little nine later in the year.


The Importance of Routing


In the last few months I’ve been fortunate enough to look over new sites in Vietnam and Queensland as well as continuing to refine the routing of a new development in Tasmania. This has led to the idea for this month’s column: routing the golf course, one of the most important aspects of any golf course design.

:: Mike

Whistling Straits: A Monster, But How Much Fun is it to Play?

Reflections from my recent trip to the USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits, a spectacular course built on flat plain land on the shores of Lake Michigan to emulate the famous dunes courses of Ireland and Scotland. Visually beautiful, bold and intimidating, but how much fun is it to play?

:: Mike


What I Learned from Royal Melbourne

Here is an excerpt from my first feature on golf course architecture with Golf Vietnam Magazine, where I share some insights from great courses like Royal Melbourne and Augusta National.

It took a while but the more I played Royal Melbourne the more it became clear there was more to the course than first meets the eye. I started to realize there were places to drive the ball that gave better lines to the flag, and quite often those places were not in the middle of the fairway but rather off to one side. Usually a drive near a bunker or close to the corner of a dogleg provided the best approach. I was beginning to see why the course held such an enduring appeal for so many players….”

Click here to download

:: Geoff

Why I Love St Andrews

“ST. ANDREWS, UNITED KINGDOM – JULY 17: Geoff Ogilvy of Australia tees off on the 18th hole during the final round of the 134th Open Championship at Old Course, St Andrews Golf Links, July 17, 2005 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)”

In the lead up to The Open Championship, Geoff discusses his love for St Andrews with Golf Australia, a course he first played as a teenager.

My Perfect Golf Course by Geoff Ogilvy

Here is an excerpt  from my latest Golf Australia article.

It hasn’t been built yet. And it probably never will be; the perfect golf course, that is. But we’ve come close a few times, with the Old Course at St Andrews the nearest so far. Ironically, that might have something to do with the fact that the Home of Golf is the course that has seen the least input from humans. It just evolved into the ‘perfect’ course, which is, by its very nature, the way of evolution…”

Read more at: http://www.golfaustralia.com.au/perfect-course-geoff-ogilvy/#sthash.i00v7Y9j.dpuf

:: Geoff