Peninsula Kingswood (North)
A Modern Take on Sandbelt Golf - One of the Great Renovations
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Architects: OCCM Golf
Kiwi Caddy Tier: One
The Holes that Stick:
2nd- Par 3/150m
3rd- Par 5/455m
18th- Par 4/370m
Naturally, as the least traditional of the Sandbelt layouts, Peninsula Kingswood was the course I knew the least about on my trip to Victoria. Comments in passing however, alerted me to the fact that the extensive four year renovation by OCCM had been wildly successful in creating something uniquely special and its rapid rise in various rankings lists had made it obvious just how good it was.
Straight off the bat PK’s complex was wildly different to anything else in the area and its winding driveway boasted a distinctly unique feeling. As the grand 36 holes of golf, extensive practice facilities and the amenities of a US country club revealed themselves it was clear that not a dollar had been spared in the development or maintenance of the property. What an incredible place!
PK’s North course has quickly become the favourite child of the club despite its routing leaning more heavily into a championship test. The course’s most distinct feature is the dramatic terrain which it occupies- large slopes, deep contours and significant changes in elevation which the routing has integrated beautifully, gives rise to bold features and extremely memorable holes throughout.
Outside Royal Melbourne and the back nine at Victoria, land with this level of intrigue is a rare trait on the Sandbelt and off the bat made PK North a captivating collection of holes with a compelling natural advantage giving rise to shots I wanted to hit over and over again.
Visually, PK is off the charts stunning. Expansive areas of crispy white exposed sand are a stark contrast to the backdrop of towering trees and perfectly conditioned fairways, and this combined with the outstanding parcel of land and elevation change present gorgeous long views of the course and its surrounds. A uniquely modern twist on the Sandbelt aesthetic.
The course is firm, fast and offers plenty of short grass around the greens, placing creativity at a premium. Clusters of artistic bunkering, reminiscent with its more famous neighbours, in conjunction with a collection of more severely sloped and undulating green complexes, as well as the natural contouring of the land drives the strategy of each hole. I found the tighter fairways lined by wasteland and trees a real test off the tee, with anything off line a sure chance of a lost ball.
In my opinion variety is the ticket to a compelling golf course, and PK North offers it in spades. A melting pot of changing hole shapes, elevation changes, bold slopes and creative green complexes combine to create a layout which sets the heart racing for the first time player and would only get better across multiple plays as more of the strategy reveals itself. Each hole possesses a feature of intrigue different to the last, not a weak one among them.
In a part of the world lauded for its world-class short par 4s and compelling one-shotters, PK’s par 5s caught my eye. A sensational set of strategic and attractive par fives varied in their length and direction, each strategically brilliant in different ways and demanding different shots off the tee and into their greens.
The signature third is the poster-child, presenting a tee shot over a crest to a downhill kicker, leaving a second shot into a green tucked into a hillside surrounded by a sea of bunkers. Truly one of the best par fives I have played, and walking over the hill is one of golf’s great reveals!
On the whole Peninsula Kingswood North is an outstanding experience and a wonderful combination of thrilling, strategic and original golf holes which have elevated it to truly one of the best courses in the world.
The layout has maximized the rolling terrain, holes have been bunkered to perfection and 18 intriguing green complexes have been shaped to create an end to end modern masterpiece.
Booking a Tee Time
Like most of the Sandbelt, playing Peninsula Kingswood 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 made available at certain 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
Peninsula Kingswood offers some of the most luxurious on-site golf accommodation you will find. The facilities are elite, including swimming pools, a gym, tennis courts, bowls and a games room. As you would expect, the accommodation doesn't come cheap, but the experience would be world class!
Alternatively, staying in Melbourne or at the top of the Mornington Peninsula would both be fantastic options, offering plenty of AirBnbs and hotels.
Best Golf Within 45 Minutes:
Melbourne is an absolute hotbed for world-class golf, with the Sandbelt at the forefront. Within 45 minutes of Peninsula Kingswood you can get to:
- Peninsula Kingswood South
- Royal Melbourne East
- Kingston Heath
- Yarra Yarra
- The National - Old
- The National - Gunnamatta
- The National- Moonah
- St Andrews Beach