Located on the southern edge of the Melbourne Sandbelt at the gateway to the scenic Mornington Peninsula, Long Island Country Club is one of Victoria’s hidden gems and many consider the eight holes from 3 to 10 to be as challenging as any other similar stretch in the entire country.
The course sits on pleasantly undulating land that was formerly used as Frankston Racecourse and golf has been played here since 1938 when a British architect, Gordon Oliver, routed the front nine holes around the perimeter of the property, enclosing the back nine within the centre of the estate. A very much underrated 18 holes, Long Island is noted for the distinctive bunkering that complements its tree-lined fairways and bent grass greens.
With only three par threes on the scorecard at holes 3, 9 and 12, the focus falls on the longer holes at Long Island with back-to-back par fives played at the 4th and 5th. If the wind is from the east, the 440 yard 7th will feel like a par five too. The 518-yard 13th is a very aesthetically pleasing three-shotter with water in play to the left of a fairway that double doglegs to the green.
In 2015, the members of Long Island Country Club and The National Golf Club voted in favour of a merger to create the first 72-hole private golf club in Australia. Club members can now enjoy full playing rights across four Top 100 ranked courses.
The sandy undulations at Long Island have been home to all manner of activities even before the golf club came along. Chief amongst these has been growing peanuts, breeding ostriches and then being home to the Frankston Racecourse.
The first moves to start Long Island Country Club began in 1929, but the Great Depression put pay to those ideas. However Alex Russell was approached by the club in 1933 and enthusiastically endorsed the land as being suitable for a good golf course. Unfortunately due to his workload he was unable to assist any further with the project.
Instead Gordon Oliver was appointed and he oversaw construction of the golf course in 1934. While it is clear that Oliver got the course started and completed at least the first nine, it is not clear what his contribution is thereafter. Mr George Lowe was appointed greenkeeper in 1935 and it is thought he may have completed the 18 holes.
The course has stayed relatively unchanged to this day other than changes to holes 7-9 in 1946.
In 2014 The National Golf Club and Long Island Country Club merged to become a 72 hole facility with over 3000 members
The Melbourne Sandbelt is renowned the world over as one of THE great golfing destinations- with a cluster of world class course in close proximity to each other: Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Victoria, Metropolitan, Commonwealth, Yarra Yarra, Woodlands & Hunitingdale are all wonderful courses.
The sandbelt region extends further south and both Peninsula Kingswood & Long Island are blessed with that same sandy base, perfect for golf. And typical of sandbelt golf Long Island is defined by deep impressive bunkering, and firm, slick greens.
Long Island is a championship course. It is not overly long but is carved out of ti tree and gum trees and requires careful ball placement and accuracy rather than brute strength.
Since the National Golf Club merger the club has the wherewithal to maintain the course in pristine conditions- and it is a pleasure to play!
Long Island is a quality golf course in lovely Australian sand based terrain, not unlike some of the famous Melbourne Sandbelt courses. It is a good test of golf. Members of The National GC are blessed!
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
I played this course on numerous occasion as I had reciprocal rights some time back, and for me a it was a great course to play. If you could not get a game on the sand belt course up the road this was as good if not better than some of the other courses. Great holes excellent greens and deep bunkers, what more could you ask for No wind can be a very hard course when it blows.
Whilst built on great sandy loam ground with terrific topography, especially on the South-Eastern half of the property, Long Island suffers from far too many trees crowding the playing corridors and, more particularly, the landing zones, making for a frustrating day out in the main. With a chainsaw put to good work, the course could easily be made quite brilliant, as its green complexes are excellent. But on too many holes the charm line is obscured by hardwoods.
Just a correction; this course should now be called National Long Island Course, as it has merged with the National GC, and joins the Old, Moonah and Ocean as part of a 72 hole golf complex. Hopefully, with the extra money this will bring in, this course will move up the ranking as it has great potential.