Eynesbury is yet another modern golf course to arrive on the Australian golfing scene from the critically acclaimed Graham Marsh design studio.
The 18 holes here have been laid out on a former sheep station with a magnificent 1870s restored mansion now in use as an imposing, rather grand clubhouse.
Generously proportioned fairways have been shaped from flat, uninspiring land to form a layout that has gained many favourable reviews since opening in 2007.
With a recycled water irrigation system installed, the course is invariably presented in tip-top shape and – thanks to water from the lakes at holes 10, 14 and 18 – tees, fairways and greens are kept in championship condition.
Fairway landing areas may be wide and inviting but strategic bunker placements and creek crossings demand precision off the tee in order to set up the best angle of approach to well-protected, often multi-tiered, greens.The 505-yard 4th hole is a beast of a par four which only the biggest of hitters will reach in regulation from the back markers. Its offset green sits slightly uphill over a fairway bunker that partially obscures the pin position with more sand protecting the putting surface front right and back left.
This course is somewhat hard to qualify as it has elements of linksland in the undulating fairways and swales around the greens, but also some sparse parkland and the big, bold bunkering of modern resort courses. The designers deserve praise if this really was just flat grazing land previously, as it's certainly not that now. It also appears to be the centre point of a planned residential suburb over an hour from Melbourne.
There was plenty of challenge especially with the very prevalent bunkers, but there were also excellent risk/reward holes, like the short 13th. When I played, the course appeared quite dry and had some tight lies.
Playing here only once didn't really do justice to the course, as although I had my golf gps with me, it doesn't show the different options that were available for taking on fairway bunkers or where best to position for approach shots. Not sure there's caddies available, but playing with a knowledgeable member would be better for the first time around here if scoring well is your aim.
What courses like this regularly remind me of however, is the richness of quality and affordable golf available in Australia. $50 for green fees and an excellent course, yet which is (in my opinion) correctly ranked near 100 in the country...