Founded in 1894, Kew Golf Club is Melbourne’s third oldest golf club. Its first course was laid out on leased land about a kilometre south of where the club is currently located. A move was made to a new site in 1922 when 92 acres became available nearby and all was well for around forty years.
The construction of a major road in the early 1970s saw the club lose part of its course but additional land was acquired then architect Kevin Hartley was asked to redesign the layout. He then made great use of the natural lakes and billabongs on site by bringing Glass Creek and the Yarra River into his plans.
Drainage has always been a problem on the property so in 2012 the club commissioned Graeme Grant to address this issue and suggest improvements to the overall layout. He redesigned and built eight new holes – three on the front nine and five on the back – while overseeing the conversion of all the fairways different types of grass.
Kew’s new holes have not added much length to the course, which at 6,179 metres is more than enough for general member play, but the addition of fairway bunkers, greenside swales and angled putting surfaces now ask questions of a player’s course management skills.
Graeme Grant was kind enough to provide this information in January 2021:
“In the early 1970s the course was modified by Kevin Hartley’s company, Golf & Recreation Planners, to accommodate the Eastern freeway.
My work at Kew was to redesign and build all greens, green surrounds and bunkering, including fairway bunkers, and to re-contour fairways to ensure effective surface and subsurface drainage.
Questionable turf quality was the catalyst for all the work. Poor drainage was the primary reason for the turf problems and to overcome that major re-contouring of all the playing surfaces was required.
The fairways now consist of pure Santa Ana couch, the greens are bent, having been converted from Poa Annua and the green surrounds are fine fescue.”
There is a lot of competition in Melbourne for quality courses, but for its location (along the banks of the Yarra River) it is the best in class.