Following the success of the Robert Trent Jones Jnr design for the Old course in the late 1980s, the National Golf Club constructed not one, but two additional courses in 2000. Greg Norman and Bob Harrison created the Moonah and Peter Thomson and Michael Wolveridge designed the Ocean.
Of the two new courses, the rankings clearly indicate that the Moonah has captured the imagination of the golfing public more than the Ocean course but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is an inferior 18-layout in any shape or form. It’s just that not everyone appreciates a more traditional style of course design in the modern world of golf. Especially the pot bunkers!
Unlike Trent Jones who shifted a mountain of earth a decade earlier when shaping the Old course, Thomson and Wolveridge routed the Ocean over the property with minimal disruption to the natural landscape. As Wolveridge stated, fairways “retained the subtle undulations of the existing landform, thereby revealing their true links character.”
Right from the start at the Ocean, the vistas are spectacular, with wonderful views over Bass Strait and most of the peninsula’s linksland. The 545-yard par five opener has a split level fairway with the riskier high road offering the big hitters a chance to reach the green in two and the safer low road leaving a longer route to the pin. Such risk/reward options continue throughout the round with course management a critical factor in making a good score.
Another feature hole on the front nine is the 457-yard par four 4th with a sand quarry to the right of the fairway and a tricky green that slopes left to right. One of the best holes on the inward half is the 400- yard par four 15th where the punchbowl green is only visible from the left side of the fairway.
In 2017, members of The National Golf Club overwhelmingly approved the club's proposal for a redesign of the Ocean by Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design company. Work is expected to start in June 2018, with the course closed for eight months.
The development is expected to cost $4.8 million and will involve all the greens being reshaped or re-built to complement the natural contours of the land, a reduction in the number of fairway and greenside bunkers and a re- routing of the course to bring the ocean into the background on three of the new holes.
It’s obvious from these progressive new developments that the club is committed to offering the best possible golfing experience for current and future members. The course redesign is expected to generate significant interest in membership as the club continues with its aim of providing golfers with Australia’s best package of golf courses and practice facilities.