Settlers Run Golf & Country Club officially opened in 2007 and it's the latest course in the Cranbourne area which is at the centre of a 500-home residential estate that Greg Norman’s golf and property company helped to establish just outside the city of Melbourne.
On a triangular shaped site, the course’s generous fairways weave in and out of a substantial housing development that (incredibly) somehow manages to lie pretty unobtrusively in the background, divorced from the golfing action.
Some of the holes – particularly on the front nine – have significant elevation changes and the par five 9th is already a firm favourite with a downhill drive followed by a long uphill second (and probably third) shot to a well protected green.
Even though the course has been established for probably ten years, it still feels like a newish championship course. It was designed as the centrepiece of a country club suburb, but the golf course definitely dominates. It's a partially links style course with prominent bunkering and some elevation changes, but also treed along most fairways although they're not really in the line of play. The first time I played at Settlers Run I found the holes weren't really memorable and the conditioning was below what I expected of a Troon managed course, especially the course surrounds. However, a return visit at the start of this year has given a greater appreciation of the overall bold and expansive nature of the design. Certainly the holes that take advantage of the rise and fall of the landscape were the most interesting, but what I realised was that there's very few straight lines to be seen: the fairways meander slightly left and right and the bunkers don't sit past the edges of the fairway, but rather are part of the fairway shaping. It's certainly more interesting than the 'here's a water hazard: don't hit it here' design school. The finishing holes 16 through 18 were the feature. Well worth a round if on this side of Melbourne.