Commonwealth’s golfing origins date back to 1915 when 11 enthusiasts came together to form the precursor club of Murrumbeena which changed its name to Waverly Golf Club upon the lease of new lands. Commonwealth was instigated in 1920 when the club settled on the present location off Warrigal Road. By 1926 and for the first time the course was laid out as an 18-holer. The early work on the design was performed by the club’s professional Sam Bennett but the bulk of the improvements and upgrades were done by a club captain of the time Charles Lane who had ventured overseas to study course architecture.
The course meanders efficiently. The holes sometime loop and other times back-up on one another so the golfer will always face differing conditions if there is a breeze blowing. Although the land has been very well used with all holes running along side at least one other hole, you play along the fairways with a high degree of isolation due to the maturity of the bush that has grown up along the edge of the fairways. Commonwealth has some of the finest examples of Australian bush trees in the State of Victoria. Grand examples of mature eucalyptus, wattle, pine, gum and peppercorn line the fairways.
The 7th, 11th, 15th and 16th are holes that the golfer will recall for a long time after the round at Commonwealth has finished. The course will tempt you into errors that make you curse all the more for having been apparent. A handicap maintained at Commonwealth would render most golfers pretty competitive versus their peers at other clubs.
The above passage is an extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.
Based on a rolling sandy terrain, Commonwealth displays all the attributes of the great sandbelt courses. Firm greens and beautiful clusters of sand faced bunkers dominate. Each fairway is framed by an impressive array of gum trees and typical Australian bush.
Commonwealth is perhaps a little tighter in the playing corridors than other sandbelt courses, and demands thoughtful and accurate play. The green complexes are tilited to favour an approach from one side or the other so an accurate tee shot is rewarded.
Notable holes include: Hole 1, a short par 4 where longer hitters need to make a decision- lay up or have a go? Hole 8, a long and difficult par 4 with a severe elevated green. Hole 9, one of the scariest short par 3's anywhere! It's a brilliant hole! Hole 16, a longer par 4 with a lake very much in play off the tee, and a green that favours a tee shot near the lake. Hole 18, a par 5 which meanders across in front of the majestic clubhouse to a lovely green site.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Commonwealth GC is a superb test of golf for all standards of player. It's a strongly tree lined course with traditional sandbelt type bunkering surrounding the greens, the course has some water on it at the par 4 3rd with the dam located on the right hand side and the 16th which is positioned on the left side of the fairway and is unusual for it's neighbouring courses down these parts.
The short Par 4 first is excellent with it's risk reward as well as it's closing hole the 18th with it's wonderful green setting around the clubhouse.
It can be tight off the tee here, but whether the club decides to embark on a tree removal program then it will remain this way.
The course routing is fairly well up and back, north south facing with not one hole running directly east or west.
The variety in length of holes was excellent as well, not all the same length can kill course makeup, some dogleg holes here make for testing tee shots.
Standing on the first tee offers a magnificent view of the mown grass between the 1st and 18th holes.
The short opening hole is mobbed with iconic Sandbelt bunkers, and although the green is not in its original location, my hopes were up for the other 17 holes.
Holes 14 to 18 are by far the greatest stretch of holes on the course, yet tree/bush removal continues to be required. The 18th hole is a glorious walk back towards the clubhouse.