The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria has diversified its business interests over the years, developing half a dozen leisure facilities in the states of Victoria and Queensland. Healesville is one of five golf complexes that are available to members of the motoring organisation at these resorts.
The property nestles in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, on the edge of the Yarra Valley, and the course itself is routed over fairly undulating terrain. Mike Clayton was called in during 2008 to modernise the old layout as part of a multi-million dollar refurbishment at Healesville and this enabled him and associate Mike Cocking to radically alter the old design.
Every tee and green was ripped up and rebuilt (old flat putting surfaces are now large and undulating) and more than thirty sandbelt-type bunkers were installed. Fairways were widened and several creeks were added for drainage and strategy but the routing remains largely intact.
The most telling change, however, was the shortening of the course by over 550 yards – quite refreshing in a modern golfing era when distance seems to dominate – and as a result, there are now six par threes on the layout and six of the ten par fours on the card measure less than 350 yards.That said, two of the most interesting holes at Healesville are actually par fives. On the front nine, a narrow creek that wanders diagonally across the 8th fairway has to be avoided en route to the most heavily contoured green on the course. And on the inward half, water also has to be negotiated at the 15th, where another creek splits the fairway in two before reaching a green divided by a deep hollow that runs from left to right through the middle of the putting surface.