The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria’s resort course at Cape Schanck is located on the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula, where the Bass Strait meets the tidal bay of Western Port, and it’s one of around twenty 18-hole layouts sited on an expansive tract of land that lies to the south east of Melbourne.
When it opened in 1986, Cape Schank was the second of five Australian golf projects – the others being Joondalup (1985), National Old (1987), Coolum (1988) and Meadow Springs (1993) – that Robert Trent Jones Jnr was responsible for during a very productive nine-year period in Oz.
Although the tree-lined fairways are set tantalizingly close to the coast, the nature of the course is more parkland than links. What characterises the layout are the enormous greens and huge, open bunker complexes on each and every one of the eighteen holes as they weave around pockets of discretely positioned real estate.Highlights of a round here include playing the back-to-back par threes at holes 3 and 4, putting on the very long, narrow multi-tiered green of the left doglegged 6th hole and taking in the wonderful ocean views from many of the elevated tee positions on the more undulating back nine.
It beggars belief that this fine layout is ranked 47th and well below courses such as Port Fairy, a very good course itself. Cape Schank is a smasher! We played it the day after playing the wonderful St Andrew's Beach; I can't separate them after just one round each.
Cape Schank is a fitness-improving walk with steep dunes to climb and descend. The fairways are generous and they need to be with a stiff breeze blowing and huge well-placed bunkers ready to swallow your ball. It could not be confused with a parkland as this site's introduction suggests. Yes, there are some trees and bushes and lots of heavy rough. Bring spare balls.
The conditioning was excellent. The greens rolled well with all sorts of deviations and were large to very large. On some holes getting on the green was only half the story.
Every hole is very interesting with lovely challenges, yet the higher handicapper will enjoy it. The low handicapper will find it hard to dominate the course. The fairways roll very well and they are typical of classic links.
The off course facilities are excellent. Stay here and play here, St Andrew's Beach, Portsea and the rest for golfing heaven.