The Sorrento Golf Club was formed as Sorrento and Portsea Golf Club in 1907 but, within two years, “Portsea” had been dropped from the name – maybe due to a difference of opinion, who knows? Whatever the reason, it would take another twenty years before Portsea golfers set up their own golf course – along with the help of Scottish professional JDA Scott – to the west of the Sorrento property.
Laid out near the tip of the Mornington Peninsula, the Sorrento course is one of the oldest in the area and its hilly, sand-based fairways are set within densely forested terrain, ideally suited to all year round play. Accuracy is all-important here so golfers who can plot their way round the layout will have the opportunity to score well.
The outward half is regarded as easier than the back nine though the left doglegged, short par four 4th is a hole where a big number can easily be carded if played carelessly. The par fours at 8 and 12 are two of the hardest holes on the course and must be tackled with caution whilst the par threes at 2 and 13 are the best of the five short holes at Sorrento.
The course has been altered down the years, of course, including alterations made by former club member Peter Thomson and his associate Michael Wolveridge.
There is plenty of quality golf to be found in the Mornington Peninsula. Whilst the small Sandbelt area with courses such as Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath and Victoria GC receive the global plaudits (and rightly so) they are the expensive, private and gentrified clubs. An hour south on the Mornington, there are the wonderful modern courses at The National, Moonah Links, The Dunes, St. Andrews Beach, Portsea and to a lesser extent, here at Sorrento.
This semi-private club has a parkland style course that retains some elements of coastal linksland, most obvious in the rise and fall of the land over the ancient coastal dunes. I found the first few holes to be the weaker offerings, perhaps compromised by the dams securing the clubs vital access to water, but the course improves from there, especially on the back nine. The course isn't particularly long, but the green complexes provide the defence of par; many well bunkered and relatively small. Greens and fairways were in excellent condition.