The Royal Melbourne Golf West Course is consistently ranked in the Top 10 golf courses in the World by the biggest rating platforms. The Club was founded in 1891 and has since been host to numerous national and international tournaments, including the 2019 President’s Cup. The West Course is rated as the best in Australia and number five in Golf Digest’s 200 Greatest International Courses 2018. Other major tournaments that have been played at Royal Melbourne are the Australian Open, Worl Cup and Bicentennial Classic. The Royal Melbourne Golf Club has been easily accessible from the CBD, and is the crown jewel in Melbourne’s famous Sandbelt region of golf courses. Nearby golf courses include The Metropolitan Golf Club, Kingston HeathKingston Heath Golf Club and Victoria Golf Club. Various images by Gary Lisbon.
Much has been written on the qualities of the West Course but put simply it’s a combination of great design and construction, designed by Alister MacKenzie. It is full of dramatic undulation, fertile sandy soil and a natural rugged appearance. MacKenzie’s 1926 routing fits snuggly into the contours of the rolling Sandbelt land. His greens are miniature versions of the surrounding topography. His crisp bunkering, with vertical edges a foot or more tall, chew into fairways and putting surfaces. Most holes dogleg, so distance means nothing and angle into the pin is everything. The greens are brilliant and for decades have consistently provided the finest putting surfaces in Australia. They are large and beautifully contoured, they are built to accommodate approaches from a number of angles with each progressively more difficult the further the tee shot strays from the perfect line.
To say it simply: The West Course was expertly designed by MacKenzie, it has stood the test of time and what simply requires good maintenance today is a testament to MacKenzie’s design in the 1930s. The massive bunkers and contoured greens are the real challenge to scoring your handicap, but it is also the subtle differences that makes the course stand out. The doglegs on almost every hole take away from big hitters going large with every shot, and they force a real degree of strategy when making second shots or approach shots after the tee. It is the subtleties in the layout that gives the West Course its timeless setting, and the year-round playability of the course due to easy drainage with a sand foundation allows the course to stay in the spotlight.
The Practice Range is open seven days a week from 7AM to 5PM and is for Members of the club and guest of the club if you have a green fee for that day. Tokens for 40 range balls can be purchased directly from the Pro Shop on the day. The practice short game area consists of a pitching area and putting green, as well as a practice bunker. You will need your own golf balls, however, because range balls are not permitted in the short game practice area.
The Royal Melbourne Golf Club consists of the full range of services including hire clubs, hire buggies, caddies and hire shoes. They also offer tuition for those wanting to learn or improve their game of golf. They use the services of a Trackman Range in their game development lessons, providing the latest technology to improve your golfing game. Club fitting and club repairs are also available in the Pro Shop. The Pro Shop features all the latest branded apparel including Royal Melbourne’s own-branded attire. They also have accessories, golf equipment and refreshments to purchase in the pro shop. The Clubhouse has a fully licensed restaurant, so you can relax with a beer and meal after your round, but please be aware of the strict dress code they enforce, available on their website but consisting of the usual respectable golf etiquette.