The doors to the Ranfurlie course first opened in 2002 and its generally wide, open fairways were the perfect foil for the tighter, tree-lined holes on the older Amstel Park course. However, in 2016 the Park course closed and the Amstel Club focused its attention on entertainment rather than golf.
In truth, the Ranfurlie Golf Club property at Cranbourne is only average, set in a gently rolling landscape that has one or two trees to break it up but architect Mike Clayton made the very most of what he had, installing wonderful Sandbelt-style bunkers and medium-size plateau greens with fronts that allow a run-up shot to be played.
A couple of strong par five holes are found on the front nine. Hole 2 plays from an elevated tee to a long, two-tiered green guarded by sand on either side and the uphill 8th features a fine risk/reward split fairway running adjacent to the 13th hole.
Many consider the 299-yard 16th hole to be one of the best short holes in the country. From the tee, the further you hit, the tighter the landing area that leads to a predictably small putting surface located between deep bunkers – those who try to drive the green had better be accurate or a score of bogey or worse will result.
A Melbourne members club course that has tried to emulate a linksland layout and partially succedded. The trees are sparsely scattered and the rough is mostly low reed-style native grasses and the bunkers are generally large and prominent. The conditioning was solid when I played in mid summer. However the site feels as though it should accomodate only 14 golf holes and the others are squeezed in. It makes the routing mundane and after the excellent start on holes 1 - 4, it becomes, well, a little too boring. The length isn't the problem, as the course is a par 72 of over 6200m, just that everything feels a little too packed in to a smaller parcel of land.