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New 14th Hole at Cranbourne Golf Club

The Melbourne sandbelt is full of great short holes made on unremarkable, flat land. It was the sand and the beautiful low-growing heathland plants that allowed for the construction of some of the greatest short holes in the game. The new 14th at Cranbourne provides another such example and prior to clearing the site it was difficult to gauge exactly what the land would feel like. We suspected it would be a good site for a new hole but only once the noxious weeds and debris from its days as a tip site were removed, was the potential of the new hole revealed.

Like most of the great short par threes in Melbourne including the 9th at Commonwealth, the 10th at Kingston Heath and the 13th on Royal Melbourne’s West Course, the 14th demands a quality tee shot. At only 135m metres birdies are possible and perhaps even expected on occasion by the better player, but a miss here is an ever-present danger and will almost certainly result in a bogey or worse.

The advantage of the new hole is that it perfectly links the 13th green to the 15th tee, eliminating the long walk to the current 14th tee as well as providing a hole that runs south-north, which no other par 3 on the course currently does.

The new green and bunkering is sympathetic to Sam Berrimen’s original green complexes and the indigenous heathland which was such a part of the tee carry of the old hole has been translocated here to help create a more natural setting and give the impression the hole has always existed.

:: Mike Cocking

Bonnie Doon Stage 2 is Open!

Saturday April 26th Bonnie Doon Golf Club in Sydney, Australia opened the Stage 2 holes from our Master Plan to their membership for play.   Here is an overview of the 8th and 16th holes.  We will feature the 11th and Spare hole later this week.


8th hole
The uphill 8th hole has largely retained the tee and green positions of the old hole, but the ground in between has altered significantly. Two rows of vegetation have been removed from the left and right, opening up the original corridor and allowing for a more open view up the hole and the fairway is almost double the width.

One of the challenges of the renovation was correcting the steep slope that ran across the fairway from high right to low left. The slope was so severe that even when the fairway was the slow running kikuyu grass, shots would rarely stay on the cut surface. One can only how this would have fared once the conversion to couchgrass was complete.

To create a more playable fairway area we built a tier or spine running lengthways through its middle, creating an upper (right) and lower (left) section of fairway.


The green has been set up to favour a shot up the narrower right hand section of fairway, with the reward both a more direct line and clear view of the target. Conversely, the shot from the left hand side of the fairway is both blind and requires a pitch over a steep bank filled with bunkers.



Hole 16
The dogleg 16th, played over the edge of a large sand dune filled with bunkers features one of the more dramatic tee shots on the course. The largest of the bunkers must be negotiated in order to gain the best line into the angled green, whether short of, over or skirting as near to as possible.

Players can decide to take no risk at all and stay well short of the bunker on the corner, however the shot to the green is largely blind, with only the top half of the flag visible.

Such decisions didn’t exist on the old hole. The tee was well right of its current location and the corner of the hole was covered in pine trees. Whilst long hitters could play over the trouble, short hitters had no hope of a clear second.

Some may accuse us of ‘straightening another dogleg’ but like most of the great short par fours in the world, the golfer on the tee can at least get a glimpse of the target they are to attack. To the right of the 16th lies the spare hole. In the early stages of shaping we looked to try and hide the spare from view, but it felt forced and the ridge used to hide the spare green from view also detracted from the 16th tee. In the end we decided to link the two rather than separate them, with short grass tieing the fairways together and the greenside bunkers of the spare coming into play of off the 16th tee.



:: Mike Cocking

Golf Course Architecture article about Bonnie Doon GC

ARTICLE FROM: Golf Course Architecture

WRITTEN BY: Scott Warren

Newly-formed Ogilvy Clayton Design has completed its first project, as Scott Warren reports.

Play has begun on six new holes at Sydney’s Bonnie Doon Golf Club, marking the completion of the first stage of the club’s redesign by Ogilvy Clayton Design.

The design is the first by the new company that brought together Mike Clayton and his countryman, 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, as well as co-principals Michael Cocking and Ashley Mead, both of whom had worked with Clayton in the previous iteration of his design company.

Five holes were redesigned on the club’s heavily undulating and sandy site, while another two were created from scratch on previously undeveloped land between Bonnie Doon and the neighbouring Eastlake GC. All bar one are now in play, with the last hole planted during Sydney’s cold and wet summer requiring more time to grow in.

Par 3 15th

Among the highlights of the new holes are a treacherous uphill short par three to one of Clayton’s wildest greens that plays just 120m from the back tee, a dual-route par five with a heaving and false-fronted boomerang green and a driveable par four offering a number of options, including a smart mid-iron lay-up to an enlarged natural ridge – that feature among suggestions made by Ogilvy during his time walking the course prior to development.

The next tranche of work on the course is expected to include a further handful of holes adjoining the northeastern section of the property redesigned in stage one, which also saw the club build an expansive short game practice area and extend its driving range.

The influx of new members drawn by the new holes and practice facilities has bolstered its renowned ranks of low-handicap golfers and led to a waiting list being established in a climate where other clubs in the region have been forced to relax entry requirements to maintain a healthy membership.

Clayton had previously co-designed both Barnbougle Dunes and St Andrews Beach with American architect Tom Doak and carried out a redesign of The Lakes GC, which flanks Bonnie Doon and Eastlake in the city’s southeastern suburbs.

The firm is also responsible for the redesigns of Brisbane’s Royal Queensland and Perth’s Lake Kurrinyup, along with well-received work at both Kingston Heath and Victoria golf clubs on the Melbourne Sandbelt, while Ogilvy Clayton Design was recently engaged to undertake work on all 27 holes at Royal Canberra Golf Club.

Scott Warren is a golf journalist based in Sydney.


:: Peter Bessey