National (Moonah) - Victoria - Australia

The National Golf Club,
10 The Cups Drive,
Cape Schanck,
Victoria 3939,
Australia


  • +61 (03) 5988 6666

The National Golf Club is Australia’s largest private golf club and it’s situated in two locations, downtown Frankston North and 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's Mornington site, with three courses to choose from… the Old, the Gunnamatta (formerly called 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.

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.

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Reviews for National (Moonah)

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Description: 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 for The National Golf Club's Moonah course. Rating: 9 out of 10 Reviews: 8
TaylorMade
Mark White

In my opinion, Greg Norman does not design nor build many good golf courses. At least he does not in the USA where I consider the resort course at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando the best I have played followed by The Medalist. Trump Ireland (Doonbeg) is pretty good but it is on spectacular land so it should be. I did like Cathedral Lodge.

At Cape Schanck on the Mornington Peninsula, Norman built a very good golf course. The fairways are generous and the course builds throughout with the better holes nearer the end. The strategy on most of the holes is obvious but hitting your approach shots into the greens can be tricky if you get a bit off line. You think you have hit a good shot but sometimes it runs through the green or off a side of a hill. The fairways are wide with large greens. The “rough” is pretty easy to locate your ball and still have a reasonable play on it. The land is hilly and rolling and the routing takes very good advantage of all the hills.

I would play this course often. I have not played the “new”course being designed by Tom Doak nor the Old so it would be great to get back and play them to decide which one might be my favorite. The Doak course was under construction and we rode in a cart to look at some of the Old course, but playing a course is often very different than what one sees.

The Moonah is a very picturesque golf course. I gave the course high marks for the routing, the terrain, the playability, and the consistency of the holes. The one negative with the golf course is that the required tee shot is pretty obvious due to the width of the fairways. On many holes even the approach shots into the greens. The course does lack a bit of strategy. The bunkering is fairly obvious. The fairways have a lot of ripples and saddles to them but they are very smooth like a carpet. The greens run true and are rarely difficult to read so three putts are less likely here with the exception of the short par 3 eighth hole which offers a very tilted green with a lot going on.

The holes I liked at Moonah were 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 14 and 15 with 8 and 14 being the standouts. The members rave about the finishing four holes but I did not appreciate them as much as the middle holes on the golf course. I thought the par 3’s and par 5’s are more demanding than the par 4’s.

The first offers an elevated tee with a nice long view to a wide fairway going left ending with a raised green and fronted by a bunker left and a back bunker on the right. It is a nice par 4 starting hole of 370/400 yards.

The second hole is a par 5 playing downhill to another wide fairway. The longer hitter has to contend with cross bunkers nearly going across all of the fairway. For the average player, the second is played down the left side to provide a better angle to the green that is positioned to the right and fronted by bunkers. Much like the first hole, it is very player friendly.

The third is a longer par 4 of 400/440 yards with the fairway narrower. The green has no bunkers surrounding it and has a spine through the middle. This is another player friendly golf hole.

The fourth is a slightly longer par 4 with a tee shot playing over a waste area and trees on either side to a slightly narrower fairway. The green is perched on a shelf with a false front, large bunkers and has a good tilt to it. I liked this hole as it fits perfectly into the land.

The fifth is a short par 3 with a collection of bunkers front left, a bunker on the right, and a nasty one hiding at the back of this plateau green with run-offs to either side. It is a splendid hole and once again takes very good advantage of the terrain.

The sixth is a short par 4 hitting uphill. The big hitter can let it go on this hole given after the fairway crests there are two valleys sloping down towards the green which is perched high above the bottom of the valley. It is another well placed golf hole.

The seventh is a longer par 5 playing as sort of a gentle double dogleg. The green is nestled into the mounds surrounding it with the back part of the green obscured by the hill on the left. It is an okay hole but has that good disguise of the green.

The eighth has a really nice raised green with a grass bunker left, false front in the middle and a set of four bunkers front right as well as the tilted green. The land falls off behind the green. I thought it to be the best par 3 on the golf course.

The ninth is a short par 4 of 310-340 yards playing to a green that is guarded on the left side by bunkers as well as a spine in the green on the left. This hole is designed to tempt the big hitter to drive it but for me I thought it was the weakest hole on the golf course.

The 410/390 par 4 tenth hole has a weather vane on it and offers a wide fairway to a green with another spine through the middle. It fits with the land but it is not a special hole.

I really liked the eleventh hole, a shorter par 4 hitting over a rise in the fairway and then down to a green that is above the land in front of it. The green is well defended by a series of bunkers on the left and bunkers to the back of the right side. It has a fair amount of subtle break in the green. It is a good hole taking advantage of the rolling land.

The par 5 twelfth hole is played up a slight rise to a very wide fairway. The second shot is also straight forward. It is the third that requires a well struck shot to avoid all of the bunkers to the right side of this raised green. The one critique I would have of this hole is that a miss to the left side of the green offers too easy of a chance of recovery.

The thirteenth is a par 3 playing 175-190 yards over waste area to a green that is flat on the right side but has two depressions on the left side.

The fourteenth is the second longest par 4 on the course with the fairway situated atop a ridge line with both sides falling away. The green complex is perhaps the best on the golf course given the bunkers and the setting of the green with a substantial fall-off front left and little room to go long due to the vegetation behind. This is another hole perfectly placed on the land.

The fifteenth is a long par 5 winding its way through the hillside. The fairway feels slightly narrower than it is. The second shot requires one to take on the hill on the left side as the green is situated to the left. In a sense it is a blind shot. The approach shot must clear the bunkers fronting the green. I thought this to be the best par 5 on the golf course and one that once again was nicely incorporated into the surrounding landscape.

My hosts raved about the sixteenth and perhaps I need to play it again to make a better assessment. It is a long fairly straight par 4, the number one index, of 465/500 yards playing uphill at the end. There is a tree on the right side that one can find off the tee. I found this to be just a long golf hole.

The seventeenth is another long par 3 at 220/190 yards that I found to be a bit odd in that the bunkers are all behind the green which was pretty simple.

I disliked the eighteenth hole due to the seven trees either in the fairway or on its edges. It is out of character to the rest of the golf course and for me, it ruined what looked to be a fun hole to finish on. Perhaps the trees are protected. The green is one of the better ones on the course, sort of in a saddle, but I could only think of those trees. It is a disappointing end to Moonah.

The Moonah is a delight to play, it is beautiful, is well conditioned, it offers a fair amount of difficulty although not enough strategy. The National offers four courses in its membership, with three located right next to each other, so it would be a fine club to join. The clubhouse for the three courses is superb with awesome views. The Old course has been ranked in the top 100 in the world.

October 19, 2019
8 / 10
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Tyson Flynn

The National. Australia's largest golfing complex. The Moonah course. No. 8 on Australian Golf Digest Top 100 list. Designed by the shark and what a tough little cookie it is to crack. It scores well on design and memorability, and its bent greens and couch fairways oversewn with fescue are great all year round.

April 30, 2019
8 / 10
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paulofchester
Ok, I am going to sound a bit of a nitpick, but I have knocked this down to an eagle simply because it is a it too tough for the average golfer. Many of the fairways can't be reached into the wind, even from forward tees, by mid to high handicap players. Too many fours and three are also not reachable in 2 or 1 by the same group. And a calm day here would be a gale anywhere else. So it can be a slog.Having said that, once you get near the greens - in however many shots it takes - this course comes alive. You need your A game and plenty imagination to make up and downs, and many a golfer has quality three putts due to the speed and slopes on the greens. As for the bunkers, getting out is the trick, getting close is a fluke.This is a true championship course and if it was in the US would host an US Open or PGA. Sadly, its too far from anything to even host a decent tournament in Australia, but it would be great to watch the best on it.
September 30, 2015
8 / 10
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Alan ritchie
September 30, 2015
would tend to agree with you on those points. a brute for mere mortals but would be great seeing how the pros would score. a lot of excellent holes none the less. I think I had the rare experience of the last 3 playing easy and downwind.
Pat Ruddy
October 04, 2015
One of the greatest thrills in my golfing life arriving here and looking down on the seeming miles and miles or great golf country. Great golf courses, too!!! Magnificent country with great golf added by Robert Jones Jnr, Peter Thomson & Michael Wolveridge, and Greg Norman & Bob Harrison. Heroes and artists all! The only bad thing about golf on the Mornington Peninsula is ... having to leave it.
Fergal O'Leary
The Mornington Peninsula is yet another example of a top golfing location in Australia, let alone the greater Melbourne area. Golfers have plenty of enjoyable, fun and accessible courses to choose from down along the Tasman Sea. As long as you can get comfortable with the fact that you’ll be golfing at a location called Cape Schanck, then you’ll certainly enjoy your round at this wonderful track. Driving into the property, the vista of the vast rolling property is the talking point. The potential for 2 or 3 more courses is all around you as the terrain and opportunity is there. Norman and Harrison laid out a superb routing throughout this roller-coaster property. The spines and saddles that cut their way through the fairways look so natural and the routing flows effortlessly. Depending on the wind, the front nine plays shorter, but length is irrelevant when you’re faced with downwind wedge shots into firm greens that require you to think long and hard about where you want the first bounce to be. I always enjoyed the “infinity” feeling you get hitting into some of these exposed green-sites. As you get down to the end of the property at the wonderful punchbowl 11th green, you turn back for home and face the toughest stretch on the course. Throughout the round, regardless of the weather, the demand for precision is very high, as the slopes and noticeable changes in elevation will eat you up. Playing the 12th through 16th holes into a wind feels almost impossible, but that doesn't take away from the architectural wonders undulating all around you.

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.
January 27, 2015
8 / 10
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DENIS
July 12, 2015
Hi, Just in response to your very last comment about getting together 18 holes of the best. As a member there we actually do have a "composite course challenge" once a month with a routing that flows through 6 holes from each course that make a set of 18 holes the most challenging you will play.
alan ritchie
My first visit to the mornington peninsula to visit the highly rated moonah course and I was not to be disappointed. driving there you can see space for maybe 2 National (Moonah) Golf Course - Photo by revieweror 3 more courses on land that would be just as conducive for great golf. I would agree this is a great second shot course with for me 4-5 world class holes and the majority being excellent. I think the stretch of holes 4-11 are the standouts with great undulation and precision required. Definitely more of a penal style though the wind was fairly kind on my visit. playing with a member was certainly handy as a few lines off the tee were not immediately apparent. for me I could only think of the 17th as being a bit too much but I actually loved the 18th with its various single trees dictating line and length from the tee. definitely top 100 material
January 22, 2015
10 / 10
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Steven
If this course was stuck in between NGLA and Shinnecock Hills on New Yorks eastern Long Island then it would be Top 20 in the world. A great layout, with holes 9-12 to die for. Great land. Better undulation and second shot holes than most of the Worlds top 50.
August 02, 2012
10 / 10
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John
Mornington is the second best patch of golfing country in Australia after Melbourne and the Moonah at the brilliant National was the toughest course I played during my Victoria trip. Brutal does not sum up the difficulty playing here and my friend who’s a mid teens capper here would be a single figure player at my club in the US. It wasn’t very windy when I played the Moonah and I’m glad. It’s very close to being a true links experience but with much better playing surfaces. The last five holes are as tough as they come, perhaps as brutish as Carnoustie, The 400m No 16 into the breeze was a killer and if the wind was up I’m sure it would bring most handicap golfers to their knees. Best course of the National trio by some distance IMO.
March 26, 2010
10 / 10
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David Davis
During my recent trip to OZ I played this great course. It's just as it says in the description. I played it from the back t's it's by no means an easy one, miss the fairway and you are chasing snakes. With the drought this course has done very well. They have well water and right now it just looks amazing fairways and greens are as green and lush as ever and the surrounding land is kind of like typical Australian wasteland. Just loved it. There are some ferocious par 4's in the mix as well. Unfortunately or fortunately I caught this course on the perfect day, almost no wind and that I was told is amazing for this area. A tip for an interesting experience....stay in the Cape Shank light house about 5 minutes from the course. The accommodation is average but the lighthouse grounds and view of the pacific are amazing.
April 13, 2007
10 / 10
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