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Sandbelt

Is the Melbourne Sandbelt golf's greatest postcode?

The Courses

Kingston Heath- #2 in 2014 Australian Golf Digest's Australian Top 100 # 28 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100 

Ranked as the number one course in Australia and the 27th best course in the world, Kingston Heath enjoys an enviable reputation for its superb conditioning all year round. The 18 holes were built on only 50 hectares (most courses in the modern era are built on over 100 hectares), it is perfectly manicured and its bunkering and clever use of dips and hollows visually fools the non observant golfer. If you wildly deviate from the fairway, the rough (comprising long grass, ti-tree and sandy scrapes) will test your ability to get the ball back into play.

The 14th hole is a longish par 5 which, depending on the wind direction, can tempt the golfer into reaching the green for two. One golfer, Roger Mackay, did better than that in the 1987 Victorian Open at the Heath when he holed his second shot for an albatross. Roger went on to win the tournament.

The three par 3 holes are a feature of Kingston Heath and show off one fantastic feature of this great golf course - the classic, natural bunkering. The 15th hole, in particular, is a real test (not necessarily needed towards the end of your round). An uphill par 3 of moderate length, the path to the hole is surrounded by a myriad of bunkers (some of them very deep) all waiting to swallow the errant tee shot. If you reach the putting surface par is still not guaranteed as the undulating green gives up more 3 putts than 1 putts. The remaining finishing holes are long par 4's and can ruin an otherwise good score.

Royal Melbourne (West) - #1 in 2014 Australian Golf Digest's Australian Top 100 #13 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100 

The West Course was designed by Dr. Alister Mackenzie in 1931 and it lies on terrain as fine as any in world golf. The timeless strategy of the great Doctor's design is brilliantly simplistic - the wide fairways are playable for every golfer but, like The Old Course at St Andrews, demand precision shots to the tightest corners in order to access the preferred route to the greens. The course is full of highlights - its bunkering is spectacular, the natural vegetation frames each hole and shot beautifully and the greens are true whilst being devastatingly fast and undulating.

The West Course supplies 12 of the Composite's holes - the Composite has hosted every major domestic tournament as well as the World Cup, Bicentennial Classic and President's Cup. Gene Sarazen famously commented: "It burns me up that with the billions of dollars spent on course construction in the last 50 years all architects together haven't been able to build another Royal Melbourne".

Royal Melbourne (East Course) - #7 in 2014 Australian Golf Digest's Australian Top 100 #94 2013 Golf Magazine's World Top 100 

Designed by Alex Russell in 1932, the East Course differs somewhat from the West - more because of the terrain than the architect. The course traverses 3 different allotments - starting and finishing in the "Home Paddock". The bunkering and greens are as spectacular and challenging as its neighbour's and the variety of hole lengths and styles provides for an exhilarating day's golf.

Metropolitan- #13 in 2014 Australian Golf Digest's Australian Top 100

Designed by Dr. Alister Mackenzie in 1926, Metropolitan is not blessed with the same natural undulation as most of its 'Sandbelt' cousins. However, considered planting of natural vegetation has transformed the environment into a botanical sanctuary. The club has also focused on maintaining its reputation by setting unprecedented standards of course conditioning - for the last decade it is unchallenged as the best conditioned track, year-round, in the country. Pure couch grass fairways with large, fast bent grass greens that are hand mown to the edges of the greenside bunkers add greatly to the challenge of the course. In total there are 96 bunkers and almost every hole is flanked by huge stands of Australian native trees which provide sanctuary to many species of native birds.

Metropolitan has hosted all the major domestic tournaments as well as the World Golf Championship Match Play event. It is truly a world-class venue. Now you have the chance to also walk these magnificent fairways.

Victoria- #11 in 2014 Australian Golf Digest's Australian Top 100

Designed by Dr. Alister Mackenzie in 1927 and situated right across the road from Royal Melbourne, it contains many features in common with its famous neighbour - the undulating terrain and wide fairways demanding precise tee shots to access preferred lines into the naturally sited greens, along with stunning bunkering and immaculate playing conditions.

Victoria is the "home" club for five time British Open Champion, Peter Thomson and he has been responsible for some minor and sensitive "tweaks" to the design. The course has been host to several Australian Open Championships as well as most other local amateur and professional events.