The golf course at Victoria is certainly one of the very best in Australia. Only a single road separates Victoria from Royal Melbourne and the public course at Sandringham. Together they represent the largest contiguous belt of golfing land in metropolitan Melbourne.
Victoria Golf Club has benefited from a dedicated programme of renewal and refurbishment. The elegant green and white pavilion that sits handsomely at the end of a tree-lined drive is a well-designed, comfortable facility much in demand with the club’s 2,000 members. Mike Clayton’s recent course enhancements have focused on the restoration of bunkers that had been grassed over and the regeneration of trees.
Victoria’s golfing bloodlines run deep. It has won the Victoria Golf Association’s Division One pennant more than any club in the state. It is the home club of five times Open Champion Peter Thomson and British Amateur Champion Doug Bachli and the club has hosted the Australian Open three times.
The front nine runs along the north and west extent of the property, while the back nine fills the central part and extends to the southern and easternmost limit of the land. Several of the holes are laid out in pairs alongside one another so the golfer is reversed.
The club has twelve double bedrooms on the top tier of the clubhouse and welcomes visitors to stay. Some out of state golfers have been returning to the Victoria Golf Club for 30 years. Whereas devotees of the wonderful golfing lands of Melbourne’s Sandbelt will find all the themes at Victoria familiar, there is clearly something about the place that renders it even better than the sum of its very impressive parts.
Peter Thomson, the most decorated member of the Victoria Golf Club wrote: “Some clubs have a special character that sets them apart. It is not necessarily the quality of the course or the accommodations of the building that distinguishes them. It is more essentially the membership, past and present and the file of achievement over a period of decades that creates at tradition.”
The above passage on the Victoria Golf Club is an extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.
The Australian Masters was hosted at Victoria in 2010 and Tiger Woods headlined the event – defending the Masters title he won at Kingston Heath in 2009 – but the 2010 title went to Stuart Appleby, with Woods finishing fourth. Ian Poulter lifted the Australian Masters title in 2011, winning by three shots from Marcus Fraser.
Victoria is another course that is very high on my list to return to given it's been so long since I visited. Without photos I can only remember certain aspects of the course and no so much the exact holes and layouts any more. What I do remember well is how wonderful the bunkering is and how the bunkers, like much of the sand belt courses kind of work their way into greens and really seem to be one with them rather than simple obstacles places there. They are true tests when you wind up in them.
My favorite hole from memory was the medium length par 3, 4th which had such a cool, slightly raised greens with wonderful bunkering. Another great hole was a short par 4 on the back 9. Number 15, which actually reminded me of various great short par 4s at Kingston Heath.
One of the main reasons I want to get back to this course is because after my two trips to the sandbelt I really didn't hold it as highly as a lot of people so I feel it's time to reassess to see if I somehow missed something or just don't remember it well enough.
Separated from Royal Melbourne only by a road, Victoria naturally displays some of the same characteristics as its famous neighbour, although the land has less movement in part, and is not set on such a grand scale.
Victoria sets its own standards, however, with wonderful firm greens, and a design dominated by the artful and strategic bunkering that defines the Melbourne Sandbelt.
The course is beautifully routed, getting the most out of the predominantly flatter terrain encountered in holes two through six with some gorgeous greens settings, and beautiful bunkering.
Somewhat unusually both nines finish with consecutive par 5's, although it must be said that land dictated such an outcome.
The par 3's at Victoria are the strength of the course, each of them uphill and heavily bunkered, but there the resemblance ends. The fourth hole has a skinny plateau green which requires a straight hit.
There are may top class holes at Victoria, but perhaps my favourite is the shorter par four, tenth hole with its dipping turning fairway and short iron approach to an elevated green. Great fun!
Play Victoria GC in Melbourne's summer months, and you will gain an appreciation for real championship standard golf.
With the greens firm and fast, and a hot north wind blowing, posting a decent score will require a steely nerve, clear decision-making, and a very tidy short game.
Don’t miss any opportunity to play Victoria.
Peter Wood is the founder of The Travelling Golfer – click the link to read his full review.
The Victoria Golf Club is the home of the Great Peter Thomson, OAM. This beautiful course sits in the heart of the Melbourne Sandbelt.
Simply amazing use of bunkers down here, extensive bunkering that provides great memorability and the reason we love the game is, as the 'Vic is, visually stunning and undulating couch fairways meet the golfer both off the tee and from pitching distance out.
What a way to end playing 36 holes in a day, than by playing this beauty!
The course was in great condition when I played and I also really enjoyed the ambience The Victoria GC gives off.
While the back nine at Victoria Golf Club has possibly the greatest collection of holes in the Sandbelt, it is sometimes let down by conditioning, especially on the greens. Victoria was my favourite course on my last trip to the Sandbelt and I jumped at the opportunity to play it again.
Some people knock it due to its back-to-back par five conclusion to each nine and the fact that three of the four par threes play uphill. Having played the course multiple times myself to establish my own independent perspective, you see something new every time. Admittedly, I did find that the 18th hole downwind is not an exciting or stimulating finishing hole. Furthermore, I continue to personally dislike the design of the greenside bunker on number 12, it’s very “un-Sandbelt like” and out of character with the rest of the bunkers on the property.
Victoria is genuinely in the upper echelon on Australia's golf courses - clearly within most people's top 10 and really only behind RMW, KH and Barnbougle Dunes ( am yet to play Cape Wickham so I cant comment on that with authority). It's only weakness in my view is that all 4 par 3's are uphill with only the 4th giving a glimpse of the green from the tee. That and the rather unsightly dam which encroaches on the right of 17. Otherwise it is hard to fault Victoria. Tremendous fun, rewards good shot making, and a pretty decent walk over some of the best golfing land in the world. Fabulous. Do not miss this if you're in Melbourne.