Although not as well known internationally as Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath or Victoria, nearby Woodlands Golf Club is one of the great charms of the Sandbelt courses. It was completed in 1919 on open woodlands that had been used for grazing. The land was part of the estate of a Count Fonceca, a French nobleman, known as the “Mad Count” for his eccentric behaviour.
Although laid out on the same sand based soil as its peers, the atmosphere is distinctly different at Woodlands. The clubhouse is more comfortable than monumental, its design based on an extension of the classic Australian bungalow with overhanging eaves. The bent grass greens are smaller than most on the Sandbelt and prove to be most elusive targets on a bad day. Course modifications have toughened the test and this is not a golf course where the golfer is invited to slash away from the tee. Patience rather than power hitting will be rewarded.
The clubhouse sits at the southern extremity of the property and the first nine works its way through native bush in a general counter-clockwise direction, returning to the clubhouse by the 9th. The back nine then describes a general clockwise rotation commencing with the 10th.
Woodlands even gets omitted from some commentators’ accounts of the Sandbelt. This is unjustified. The course offers a subtle test of golf in beautiful conditions.
The above passage is a brief edited extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.
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