Moonah Links is situated an hour's drive south east of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula. It has not one, but two 18-hole courses – the Open and Legends – which are laid out over duneland ideally suited for modern links play with naturally draining soil that enables golf to be played all year round.
Home to Golf Australia (formerly the AGU), the Open at Moonah Links is a championship course built and prepared for national competition and the Australian Open will be held there every few years on a rotational basis.
The Ross Perrett-designed Legends course may be more forgiving than its neighbour but it still presents a stiff test to golfers of all abilities. It is routed through a more varied landscape than the Open, switching between woodland and open links. Fairways are more generous and greens a little less undulating but bunkering is bold and a good score on the card will have to be earned.
Constructed as “a tribute to past champions who have contributed to the rich history of Australian golf” the Legends course has every hole named after a former winner of the Australian Open, starting with Aaron Baddeley, the winner in 2000, at the 1st hole and ending with the 1904 champion, Michael Scott at the 18th hole.
Legends has five tee placements at each hole which allows the overall length to vary from a comfortable 5,586 yards to a hefty 6,946 yards. This flexibility allows the lower handicapped player to be fully stretched as any course around the 7,000-yard mark cannot be regarded as a pushover!
Not one of the four par three holes on the card is under 170 yards from the back markers. The first two are played early in the round, at the 3rd and the 5th holes. The 10th hole has one pot bunker short right, beside the green whilst the 16th – “Gene Sarazen” – has no sand traps at all but has “the largest green on the southern hemisphere” which is definite 3-putt territory!
This course is on another planet of golf, to give 6 balls the course needs to be truly outstanding amongst the best in the world and this course is. The care taken to make this course outstanding is phenomenal. I don’t think I have played on better fairways or on smoother greens.
The Greens run fast and true, giant green after green leave you wondering what you can do to make par with regulation golf. The fairways are firm, well kept and fast, any drawn ball will run on and and fade will end up in a bunker. The bunkers are on another planet, stay well clear to play to your handicap.
This place is truly a golfing challenge and adventure, the precision needed off the tee is only matched by the delicate touch needed on the greens. No golfing visit to Melbourne is complete without a trip the Moonah!