The following edited extract is taken from Toby Cumming’s The Golf Courses of Vern Morcom:
“The Australasian Golf Club formally changed its name to Rossdale in 1949, the same year it sought advice from Vern Morcom regarding remodelling its course. Morcom’s revisions included rejigging the order of the holes, which had been laid out in 1924 by top amateur – and five-time Australian Open winner – Ivo Whitton.
The course architect’s greatest challenge was the ground’s unyielding flatness; nowhere has it been easier to build an artificial-looking mound. Some of the Morcom-ers changes from the early 1950s are still visible – the addition of a greenside bunker on 14, the shapely bunkering on 12 that crowds the surface and the bunkers either side of the 18th green.
The most substantial alterations were to the 2nd and the holes along the southern boundary. Once an open hole with three circle pots around the green, the 2nd was transformed into a strategic quest through the addition of a left-side fairway bunker and a rebuilt green that angled behind big sand pits front right.
Changes to the 6th had a similar flavour, with its relocated green sitting obliquely beyond front right bunkers. The shift of the 6th green away from the perimeter allowed the 7th tee to be moved south, creating a dogleg out of a plain, straight, bunkerless hole. Three bunkers were added to the outside of the fairway and two large traps flanked the green, though only one of each remains.
In the late 1960s, the course was lengthened to a par 71 of 6444 yards (5892m). With the addition of 5 and 13 on a strip of old flood plain to the east, the course area is greater than in Whitton’s day. Yet some holes still stand too close to each other, lacking a little personal space. Like Kingswood, Rossdale is a victim of the irrepressible spread of Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
Once bordered by farmland, the course is now abutted by houses along its northern and southern flanks. The resulting boundary issues have necessitated several routing changes and the temptation to sell valuable land hovers over the club.”