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!
Moonah Links Resort is located in the heart of The Mornington Peninsula an hour south of Melbourne. It boasts luxury accommodation and sporting facilties including 36 holes of championship links golf. The two courses are known as The Open, and The Legends courses.
The Legends Course is the younger of the two, and was designed by Ross Perrett from Thomson, Wolveridge & Perrett and opened for play in 2003. Perrett did a terrific job providing a second course with an entirely different feel to it's big sister.
The terrain is more varied and Perrett has used it to great advantage and produced a course that is testing, but fun to play. It is shorter (6315 metres from the back markers) and the perfect partner to The Open Course. Each hole on the course is named after a golfing legend- it's a nice touch!
Whilst The Open Course is set in a vast dunescape of epic proportions, The Legends has a more intimate feel with delightful short par 4's setting the tone, rather than epic par 4's. In this regard holes 2, 4, 11 & 15 are memorable, and fun to play.
I love the start at The Legends- the first hole sets the scene for a grand adventure with an impressively bunkered rolling par 5. Turn the corner and you face a short par 4 which will test your accuracy- it's a tight, shallow green in a lovely setting. And in the background you can see a sea of sand waiting for you on the par 3, third.. Welcome to The Legends!
Notable holes include:
- the epic par 5 opening hole (Aaron Baddeley), a beautfully bunkered adventure from tee to green
- the short par 4 second hole (Steve Elkington) which requires a deadly accurate approach to a small tightly bunkered green
- the mid length par 3 third hole (Tom Watson) plays from elevated tee to an elevated green with a sea of sand in the valley between
- the short dogleg 4th hole (Greg Norman) which has an elevated tee shot, down to a valley and then up again to an elevated green
- the nicely bunkered par 5 ninth hole (Gary Player), which has a lovely green setting surrounded by trouble
- the driveable par 4 eleventh (Bobby Locke) demands a decision on the tee- lay up or take it on?
- the dogleg par 4 fifteenth hole (Jim Ferrier) with a truly scary approach over a minefield of bunkers to an elevated green
The Legends course has proved the more popular of the two courses with both members and public over nearly twenty years, and has always been my favourite of the two. It is just a fun course to play
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
Played the course on a windy day and thought the layout was outstanding. Some really challenging holes from the opening par 5 which was extremely difficult and some beautiful short par 3, I can remember that playing the last hole into a gale I hit driver 3 wood and wedge into a par 4 and made a nice 5. Play it on a sunny day with little wind and you will really enjoy playing there, great fairways, nice bunkering, and good fast greens to put on. Also the club house is pretty impressive
It was a total blast playing The Legends course Moonah links. Mark, Luke and I were meant to play here and I'll definitely have to bring them back to complete the other magical 18 holes at the Home of Golf. The Legends Course. Names like Thompson, Norman and Baddley are who the holes are named after just to name a few. Stunning track and well worth the effort to play here
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!