It’s been a good summer in Melbourne, so far I’ve played the following courses:
St Andrews Beach
Royal Melbourne West
Last one I’m scheduled to play for the time being is Metropolitan and what a way to finish. Again access was granted via a Charity Day and my playing partners for the day were James and AussieTop100 Carl. I heard a lot of good things about Metropolitan and its many people’s favourite golf course on the Sandbelt. Wouldn’t exactly say the course is a hidden gem just a gem. My playing partner in Ko Olina was a former member and he spoke highly of the course. The course shares the same land as Huntingdale and Commonwealth, tucked away in Oakleigh South. Greeted on arrival by a modern masterpiece of a clubhouse which is on the opposite side of the spectrum from Victoria’s. Huntingdale, The National and Metropolitan have all invested vast sums in their respective clubhouses and the results are impressive. My pick would still be the National but then I’m biased.
So onto the course, the Metropolitan golf course was established in 1908 when the site was purchased from a farmer by two Caulfield GC members. Course was designed by JB Mackenzie with further alterations suggested by Dr Alistair MacKenzie made in 1926. The club has hosted seven Australian Opens and five Australian PGAs. The clubhouse was completed in May 2013 at a cost of 12 million. Its often said that the Metropolitan is the best conditioned course in Australia and it’s easy to see why having played it. Even the lush grass connecting each of the holes trumps some greens I’ve played on previously and there is a sense that you’re playing somewhere special.
Highlights of the course include the tough opening dogleg Par 4, there is an opportunity here to cut the corner but two bunkers protect this approach. The second is a short picturesque Par 3 with a smallish green to hit. The fifth is a beautiful short Par 4. The sixth a short Par 5 which is reachable with two well hit shots. The 7th is a long Par 3 where the best shot is to shape right to left to the green. It’s great playing top golf courses but even better when the company is good. My playing partner on the day James has a knack of chipping in, his favourite golfer was Seve which explains a lot. Anyway, James put his teeshot in the bunker and took two shots to get out. The third shot out bunker was a flyer leaving another chip shot. James mishit the chip shot and was further away. Usually I would have given up by now but James marched over to the ball, hit his chip and holed it for a point. Its strange but I had a feeling he would do it, this was the fourth time he chipped in during the two rounds we played! A great attitude. Carl and James are great value on the golf course and looking forward to playing Cape Wickham with them later in the year. Back to the course, there was maintenance ongoing on the 8th and the tee brought forward to make it a short Par 4 instead of Par 5. Looking forward to coming back and playing the hole in its entirety.
On the day we started from the 10th, a mid length Par 4 and was a nice gentle introduction to the round being our first. The twelfth is a shortish Par 4 with a wide fairway sandwiching a large bunker. It’s a big hit to clear the bunker so the best solution is 3-5 wood left of bunker to open up the green. Great hole. Short 3 13th awaits, anything short will be snaffled by the bunkers. The 16th is another strong short Par 4, a well struck mid iron will open the approach to the green. The 18th is a fairly straightforward Par 4 up the hill with the clubhouse in the background and closes the round.
Really enjoyable day and we managed to get round before a fairly angry thunderstorm passed over. In fact the club sounded the sirens to call play in as we were finishing so lucky to get round. The Metropolitan is a great course and probably sits with Victoria behind Royal Melbourne\ Kingston Heath on the sandbelt. Not overly hard, with beautiful tranquil surroundings the Metropolitan is Melbourne’s gem.
Best Hole – 12th Hole
Hardest Hole – 15th Ho