The following edited extract is taken from Toby Cumming’s The Golf Courses of Vern Morcom:
“Eaglemont Golf Club was formed in 1898 on land just east of today’s Eaglemont train station. In 1912 the club moved to a 101-acre site two stations up the line at Rosanna, changing its name to Yarra Yarra Golf Club. When, in 1928, the club decided that its future lay to the south of Melbourne’s sandbelt, a group of local members were reluctant to move and left to establish the Heidelberg Golf Club.
The years of golf by the railway line were not over. With the depression looming, sale of the Rosanna course fell through, and in 1963 local businessman Robert Treganowan purchased the property. Rosanna Golf Club was formed the following year and used the course for another 25 years. In 1961, increasing land rates and taxes forced them to consider alternative sites, and they selected a 133-acre property at the confluence of the Plenty and Yarra Rivers.
It was three miles by road from the original Rosanna course. In the opinion of Vern Morcom, the undulating land was eminently suitable for the construction of a first-class golf course. Purchase of the new land was approved by members at extraordinary general meetings in May and June of 1962, and construction began on 4 March 1963.
The first club competition was held on 30 October 1964, but there were only 14 holes (3, 4, 5 and 8 were unfinished) and extreme rough swallowed hundreds of balls,. Morcom’s course was formally opened on 27 March 1965. Although essentially a vacant greenfield site, the land had two major constraints; its irregular shape and the bisection by the Plenty River.
Vern’s design used the river only as a lateral hazard with no hole playing across it. Minimizing crossings was part of his brief – the Rosanna golfers didn’t want a repeat of the numerous creek crossings at their previous course. As early as 1970, there were changes to the alignment on the northern boundary to increase safety in this tight section.
In 1999, Michael Clayton developed a course masterplan and his reconstruction work included tees, greens and bunkers, alongside extensive tree removal. Some of the scorecard imbalance has been rectified, with the 15th truncated into a par three and the 18th extended into a par five. Yet much of Vern’s course still remains, and today’s par 71, 6123m course is within 6 metres of the original.”.