The Sandbelt's Most Handsome Member
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Architects: Alister MacKenzie
Green Fee: $400AUD
Kiwi Caddy Tier: One
The Holes that Stick:
1st- Par 4/233m
4th- Par 3/164m
15th- Par 4/289m
When you’re part of an esteemed, globally elite neighborhood of golf courses such as the Sandbelt, you can see how it might be easy to be overlooked for the more illustrious courses down the road, however, Victoria is simply too good for that!
From the clubhouse to the 18th green, Victoria presented itself beautifully - quaint, classy and full of charm, I found the reception to be the most welcoming to visitors and the overall vibe of the club to be unmatched across the Sandbelt.
From purely an aesthetic standpoint, Victoria was the most handsome golf course in the neighborhood. Mature trees provide excellent frames for each hole, and some intelligent tree removal carried out over the last few years has ensured playing corridors are relatively wide. Beautiful areas of exposed, scrubby sand line fairways and the bunkering here is a true art form in their unique shapes, design and variety.
A special note should be made of the conditioning, which truly was superb. Firm, fast, sandy fairways and pure distinction greens which ran as fast and firm as any I have seen. The cliché of no bad lie on the course applies perfectly at Victoria.
Anybody who has played Victoria will have something to say about the first hole- perhaps the quirkiest opener going around. When you’re presented with a 230 metre par 4 with your first shot of the day, it certainly ask far more questions than your run of the mill two-shotter.
It presents a large percentage of golfers the opportunity to eagle the first hole, however the sea of steep-faced, sharp edged bunkers guarding the right hand side make a six more likely than a two- a provocative, risk-reward challenge to get you away.
The front nine at Victoria is limited by some relatively flat land, however ample strategy and challenge is ensured by the tree-lining of the fairways, excellent bunkering and a collection of green complexes with a fantastic balance of subtle slopes and more significant contours. Although there are certainly a few moments of excellence throughout- namely the aforementioned opener, and the par three fourth, the topography dictates that the front nine is the more forgettable half of the golf course.
Victoria’s back nine is where the course really leaves its mark, characterized by dramatic rolling terrain which may well be the equal of Royal Melbourne, it truly is some of the best golf you will find anywhere in the world. I have heard multiple people remark that it may be the best nine on the Sandbelt and although I’m sure other courses would have plenty to say about it, I’m not entirely sure they’re wrong. The land itself drives the variety, with changes in elevation, large slopes and rolling contours asking plenty of questions and commanding a range of shots.
The stretch of holes from 10-15 is the peak, with the combination of land movement, bunkering and world class variety, it laid out some of the most fun I have had playing golf. A sweeping downhill dogleg left, a sprawling uphill dogleg right, a blind tee shot cresting a hill to a wild green complex tucked into a hillside, and one of the best short par fours on the planet- the 15th. A stretch that could go toe to toe with anywhere and an absolute joy to play.
Victoria is often regarded as having the best collection of par threes on the Sandbelt, which in an area laced with par three excellence is one heck of a reputation. A true test of accuracy, each of the one-shotters feature greens smothered by bunkering and steep run-offs, however each will see you with a different reasonably short club in hand, commanding a different approach but always making you feel like you have a chance.
The fourth hole, my personal favourite, brings something of non-traditional island green encompassed by gorgeous bunkering which creates the narrowest of entrances. A hole that can truly unravel a tidy start!
Playing Victoria was an absolute joy- a beautiful golf course with plenty of outstanding architecture and variety end to end. Although there are a couple of forgettable holes across the front nine, which in my opinion stops it from reaching the heights of the Kingston Heaths and Royal Melbourne’s of the world, the excellence of the back nine pushes it pretty close!
One of the truly elite and most under-rated courses in the world and one which should under no circumstance be overlooked on a trip to Australia!
Booking a Tee Time
Like most of the Sandbelt, playing Victoria is a heck of a lot easier if you don't live in the State of Victoria. Visitor tee times for International and interstate visitors are available at specific times of the week- enquiries can be made HERE. I would advise enquiring as early as possible as tee times are few and in high-demand!
Where to Stay
Victoria Golf Club offers 12 rooms on site for guests to stay. The rooms are definitely nice and their proximity to the first tee is ideal. More information on accommodation can be found HERE.
The great thing about the Sandbelt is its proximity to Melbourne's CBD, which can be reached in around half an hour. If you want to experience the city of Melbourne as well as the golf, this is 100% your best option! If you are in town strictly for golf, then staying in the suburb of Cheltenham is a fantastic option as the heart of the Sandbelt. There are a few hotels and a number of Air Bnbs available.
A note should also be mad of the train network, which can get you from Cheltenham direct to the CBD in around 35 minutes.
Best Golf Within 45 Minutes:
Melbourne is an absolute hotbed for world-class golf, with the Sandbelt at the forefront. Within 45 minutes of Victoria you can get to:
- Royal Melbourne East
- Royal Melbourne West
- Kingston Heath
- Peninsula Kingswood North
- Peninsula Kingswood South
- Yarra Yarra