The National Golf Club is Australia’s largest private golf club and it’s situated in Cape Schanck on the dramatically undulating and beautifully sandy seaside land of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
There’s no shortage of golf to be played at the National Golf Club, with three courses to choose from… the Old, the Ocean and the Moonah. All three courses appear in Australia’s Top 50 but if you only have the chance to play one round at the National Golf Club, make sure it’s on the Moonah course, which was designed by Greg Norman and Bob Harrison.
The Mornington Peninsula could easily be one long stretch of golf holes and it must have been a challenge for the architects to decide on their routing plan. The rolling topography is perfectly suited to golf but the property is irregularly shaped which no doubt made the routing even trickier. The links-like land pitches and rolls across swales and hollows in a most pleasing manner, but when the fickle prevailing winds are up, hold on to your hat and ignore your scorecard.
You’ll need good mastery of the low bump-and-run shot to get close to the pin on the Moonah’s raised, but open-fronted greens. This is a very traditional course with outstanding bunkering and you’ll need the old-fashioned game to score well here at the fabulous National Moonah. If the club could somehow assemble a stronger collection of one-shot holes, we think the raw and memorable Moonah would warrant permanent inclusion in the World Top 100.
This course is just as much fun to walk as it is to play. It is very firm and certainly favours those golfers who can play the ball along the ground. The rolling terrain offers endless opportunities to use your imagination to figure out how best to keep the ball on the slick greens. I encourage golfers, when appropriate, to look around you and just see how vast the property is. There is a frequent sense of great openness and exposure to the elements. There are many memorable moments around the course, including the difficulty of the last 3 holes. The uphill par 4 16th hole may be the toughest par 4 in Australia, and it really plays like a par 4 and a half. If you hit your drive into either of the fairway bunkers, you pretty much can’t hit the green in regulation. The very long par 3 17th is just as punishing surrounded by hazards. Although you are beside the sea, you can’t see the water from the golf course, which I felt was a little disappointing given the location, and the wonderful ocean view you have from the new clubhouse. The Ocean course borders the Moonah with commendable land and opportunity. One would argue why the club didn’t pick the best holes from both courses and make a stunning 18 hole routing that takes advantage of all the natural benefits sitting on your doorstep. It’s just a theory. The popularity of this golfing area is growing each year, and with a large membership that has to travel to get here, it’s a surprise that the enormous clubhouse doesn't have bedrooms. Put this course on your OZ itinerary, as it is part of the greatest golf complex in the country.