National (Gunnamatta) - Victoria - Australia

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


  • +61 (03) 5988 6666

Following the runaway success of the Robert Trent Jones Junior-designed Old course in the late 1980s, The National Golf Club acquired additional land in an adjoining property, enabling it to build another two 18-hole courses, both of which opened for play at the start of the new millennium.

Greg Norman and Bob Harrison designed the Moonah course, with Peter Thomson and Michael Wolveridge setting out the Ocean course. Over time, it became apparent the Ocean course wasn’t as popular as the other two National tracks at Cape Schanck so the club decided to do something about this in 2016.

Members were surveyed to ask their opinions on the playing characteristics of the course and their related levels of interest when playing a round on the Ocean and their responses indicated two things: a number of green complexes and fairway bunkers were too difficult and unfair; and the layout should be more enjoyable and fun to play.

The following year, Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design team submitted proposals for the complete redesign of the Ocean course:

  • All the greens were to be rebuilt and re-shaped, with three new greens on three new holes having the ocean in the background when played from new teeing grounds

  • The routing was to be altered, eliminating parallel holes from the new set-up. This would result in an unconventional par 37 / par 34 for the two returning nines

  • Both fairway and greenside bunkers would be reduced in size and in number, with greenside hazards positioned to never force a lay-up with an approach shot

  • Existing well-regarded features were to be retained: large, open fairways, short carries from tees, existing sandy waste areas and some well-placed fairway bunkers

The course closed during 2018 to allow work to get underway and after months of endeavour, a ‘soft opening’ of the newly renamed Gunnamatta course took place in April 2019.

Tom Doak’s brief from The National was to create a course that complements the Old and Moonah courses. It also had to be playable on the occasional very windy day, providing a fun golf experience for golfers of all abilities and, to all intents and purposes, the architect has achieved those objectives.

The course is beautifully bunkered, but the sand hazards are just the supporting act to the main stars of the show on the new Gunnamatta layout, the putting surfaces, which are as fine a set of greens as will be found anywhere, offering a multitude of stimulating pin positions on every hole.

Please note that Ocean course reviews posted below, dated prior to May 2019, will be deleted in due course. Also please note the current rankings are based on the Ocean course, not the new Gunnamatta layout, which opened after we'd published our latest Australian chart.

If the above article is inaccurate, please let us know by clicking here

Write a review

Reviews for National (Gunnamatta)

Average Reviewers Score:
Description: Right from the start the vistas are spectacular at The National Golf Club's Gunnamatta layout (formerly the Ocean course), with wonderful views over Bass Strait and most of the peninsula’s linksland. Rating: 6.8 out of 10 Reviews: 5
TaylorMade
Peter Wood

There was a ‘soft opening’ of the Gunnamatta course at the end of April 2019. Tom Doak’s brief from the club was to produce a course that complemented The Old and Moonah courses – both of which are quite demanding in different ways. The club wanted a course that was playable on the occasional very windy day, National (Gunnamatta) Golf Course - Photo by reviewer playable for all level of player, and great fun to play.

On this basis Tom Doak has delivered in spades. The Gunnamatta has wide fairways- reminiscent a little of Royal Melbourne in their width. Whilst the course is beautifully bunkered, the bunkering on this course plays second fiddle to as fine a set of greens as you will find anywhere.

The greens are quite magnificent – the keen golfer can get endless enjoyment working out the different ways to play to the various pin placements. This sort of golf – which is a throwback to the games beginnings on the links courses – is all about the running ball.

It is pure links golf.

Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer.

May 16, 2019
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
Tyson Flynn

The National Ocean course. Designed by Perrett, Thompson and Wolveridge. This course starts off with a bang but the middle holes on this course aren't as good as it's 2 other courses. Tough finishing holes make up for the middle section.

April 30, 2019
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
paulofchester
Thompson has done well here, creating a course for all levels. Whilst there are no real stand out holes, each one is interesting and because they are all routed in different directions, the ever present wind provides constant challenges to be answered. The fairways are generous but there are definite angles to play. Be on the wrong side of the fairway and the next shot is often diabolical. The fairway bunkers also give you a lot to think about, many bisecting the fairways. Be aware, you really need a GPS or measuring device as I found distances hard to estimate, especially carries over bunkers. The greens, unlike their neighbours at Moonah and Old, are far more forgiving. Overall a very interesting course, well worth the trip, especially if you are able to play the other two as well. The National is a truly outstanding golf complex.
October 31, 2015
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
grantphelps
I dont understand this course. It is a worthy course in that it tests all elements of your game, but it just feels like it was a missed opportunity on what is the very best land for golf courses in this part of Australia. It feels a bit formulaic (elements of it could easily pass for Moonah Links or Hope Island) and that's probably a criticism of the designer's philosophy and design principles. The seeming predominance of elevated tee, hit to a valley, hit to an elevated green just feels repetitive and after while, dull. The par 3's are the strongest element of the course and as a quartet, very good, with the exception of 9 which ranks amongst the most bizarre holes in the country on a top line course - 180m or so uphill into the wind with no real bail out area. It would be much stronger as a 150m hole. Having said all of that , the Ocean course is well worth playing, its just that it pales in comparison with the neighboring National Moonah.
April 27, 2014
6 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response
John
Billed as the National’s third course, I liked the Ocean just as much, perhaps a bit more than the manufactured Old course. The Ocean feels more in tune with the land but I’m sure the earth moved here too to a lesser or greater extent. I played my best round here, so perhaps I’m reminded of the Ocean through rose-glasses but there are some excellent golf holes on this course and no weak ones in my book. The Ocean is certainly no easier than the Old and I think these three courses at the National are perhaps the toughest three courses at any golf club anywhere in the world. I can’t think of three harder tracks at any one club.
March 26, 2010
8 / 10
Reviewer Score:
TaylorMade

Respond to above review
  Was this review helpful?
0 people found this review helpful

Response