Location: Eynesbury, VIC
Architect: Graham Marsh
Date Played: 23rd August 2015
Travelling west of Melbourne again into the country, but this time not alone with regular playing partner James was accompanying me, Eynesbury Golf Club was the destination to tick sixty seven courses off the top one hundred list.
Entrance to Eynesbury Golf Club
Eynesbury started out as a station, originally part of a property which was subdivided when the owner passed away. The area now has housing development along with the golf course.
The Homestead at Eynesbury Golf Club
There are many buildings located on the property, which have been restored and are heritage listed. The Homestead serves as a restaurant for the club and has some great meals for after the game, as well as a wide variety of beverages (especially beer). This serves not only the golf visitors, but the township. We saw many non golfers enjoying the relaxed atmosphere.
Locker room at Eynesbury Golf Club
Previously the Men’s Quarters, these now serve as the locker rooms for the club. These have been designed to give the feel of being on a working station, with the locker doors having iron incorporated in the doors. The previous coach house and stables now serve as the pro shop.
Map of Eynesbury Golf Club
Eynesbury Golf Club Scorecard
One thing I noted straight away about Eynesbury Golf Club is that the course is quite long. On our day of play we where using the white tees. The course slope rating is 141, so you know you are in for a challenge.
Shed and silos near the 1st Hole
On the way to the first tee, further evidence of the course heritage is found, with a shearing shed and two silos overlooking the practice green.
Hole 1 – 321 meter Par 4
The first thing I noticed when arriving at the course was how dry the area was. I have seen much drier, where there is no green tinge to the grass, but there was lots of dry, barren areas. So I assume that water is not abundant in the area. Hole one is an average length par four which dog legs to the left. Bunkers in play to the right but it is easy to cut the corner without too much penalty.
Reaching the 1st Green
Approaching the first green, I notice that different quality of grass, which will hopefully be not to big of a concern as we move around. The sand, as I managed to hit a green side bunker, seems to be medium course, but easy to play out of. The putting surface is a little bumpy, some gentle slopes, but has decent run. Overall a nice hole to start the round, allowing the player to not be punished too much from the tee, but a little more demanding on the approach.
Hole 2 – 333 meter Par 4
The second hole is a lot more testing, with a dogleg to the left. Really critical, especially if you take the wrong line. Down the left are many bunkers, protecting the shortest route, but it is easy to overshoot the fairway and take in the right side bunkers.
Approach from the 2nd Fairway
Some slight undulation is found on the fairway, but the main issue reaching the green, is the forced carry across a creek. Three bunkers are found on either side or rear to the green. The putting surface has some larger slopes, with the rear pin positions, have the ground slope away. A nice challenging hole after an easier start.
Hole 3 – 166 meter par 3
This mid length par 3 looks slightly enclosed from the tee, with trees running along the rear, but it is quite open around the green. The large bunker located left is just short of the green, slightly deceiving the distance to the putting surface.
Narrow 3rd green
The landing area is quite small for front pin positions, widening towards the rear. With short grass on all the run off areas around the green, it allows for a variety of shots in getting the ball to the hole. A hole with simple design but very effective in the way it is played.
Hole 4 – 431 meter Par 4
After three holes ranked in the middle area of the scorecard, we hit a stretch of some of the harder holes. Starting with the hardest on the course and longest par 4, this hole doglegs to the left. There is a large bunker to the left, which if carried will shorten the hole significantly. Unfortunately I made it a lot longer by landing in it.
Ball in footmarks on 4th hole
This photo does not show how far below the surface the ball actually is. To put this in perspective, this is halfway up the face of a bunker with some significant slope. Some nice person decided to walk up the face and not rack their footprints when the left this nice playful sandpit. Story is I shouldn’t be in there in the first place and that is the penalty of any reward/risk shot where it does not play out.
Approach from the 4th Fairway
From the second shot, play is up a slight hill to the green. With bunkers either side and a small false front, you are glad just to reach the green. Definitely the hardest hole on the course, purely based on distance. Taking on the bunker from the tee is a huge decision which didn’t pay off for me. Would hate to play this into a strong wind, would be more like a par 5.
Hole 5 – 481 meter Par 5
Playing the first par five for the day, is a hole which really gives a country feel, with paddocks running all down the left and rear. The direction is relatively straight, although it feels like a bit of a roller coaster with some of the large undulations along the way.
Undulations surround the 5th Green
It will take a couple of big shots to reach this green in two. With us playing into a head wind it was an easy three shot. The green is slightly raised, which allows for mounds and swales to be found around the hole, allowing for some creative play.
Hole 6 – 351 meter Par 4
Finishing of this tough stretch is this dog leg left hole. Tempting as it is in cutting some distance off over the dog leg, the grass was quite rough and long. We had already learnt to avoid like the plague, as it would eat the balls and send them to the centre of the earth.
Approach to the 6th Green
Making the second shot to the green, requires playing over a creek, best avoided also.
Undulating 6th Green
Bunkers are found on three sides to the green, but the main problem is the tricky putting surface. Some large undulations to ensure putting is not so easy, especially if you find yourself on the wrong side to the pin.
Hole 7 – 468 meter Par 5
The shortest and easiest of the par 5 holes, starts the journey back to the clubhouse. There is a slight curve to the left along the way to the green. Water is found down the left also.
The Raised 7th Green
Another hole with a bunker short of the green, trying to deceive the distance remaining. Plenty of room is found to the right to bail out if required. Didn’t rate as a very memorable hole on the front.
Hole 8 – 153 meter Par 3
The shortest and easiest of the par 3 holes is next to be played. I found this a clever hole and allows for some great play. The hole looks quite open, with lots of native grass staggered along the way to the green. Again there is use of a bunker well short of the green to deceive the player. Is this a signature of Graham Marsh design? Must look that up.
Run Off Areas Around the 8th Green
With a slightly raised green, there is lots of run off in various directions. What impresses me here though is plenty of short grass around these areas as well, which are used to funnel the ball away, but also allow a variety of shots depending on pin position and conditions.
Hole 9 – 384 meter Par 4
Finishing the front is another tough hole, a long par 4, slightly curving to the right. From the tee two fairway bunkers are located either side at the same distance, which did not impress me much, but there is plenty of width between them.
Trees Encroach the 9th Green
Making the approach to the green is a bit tougher, with a few trees found either side, leaving an opening up the middle.
Tee Marker and Pin Flag at Eynesbury Golf Club
Hole 10 – 497 meter par 5
The wind really picked up for the second nine, with the tee shot on ten into a head wind, which wasn’t really required since this was the hardest of the par 5 holes. There is a wide fairway to land in, but water is located on the right. The bunker on the left is also quite deep as I would discover. Today this was a true three shot approach, especially considering a waterway runs along the front of the green, in fact the entire width of the fairway.
Well Protected 10th Green
With water running along the front and three bunkers around the putting surface, this is a bit of a fortified area to reach. This was an unusually designed hole, certainly unique on the course.
Hole 11 – 169 meter Par 3
Next was the hardest par 3 on the course, they like these little patterns here at Eynesbury Golf Club. From the tee you can take a line over the scrub, or push a little right to take a safer line. Just in case the ball decides to fall out of the sky.
Hidden 11th Green
The green has been well placed and angled here. Quite wide, but not overly deep, most of the surface is hidden from the tee due to a small mound. Left is a large bunker, but again one is put in short to create another illusion.
Hole 12 – 317 meter Par 4
A short par 4 playing over a small hazard to reach the fairway. This hole has a slight turn to the left, even more so the further right you play. There is a large hill to encounter, with bunkers either side, which blocks the view to the green.
Approach from the 12th Fairway
The fairway runs off on either side as we make our way to the green. More pots are found to the left, but it is easy to find your ball running away from the green if slightly left or long. Nice short hole which will punish if not hit accurately.
Hole 13 – 277 meter Par 4
This hole is very short with a forced carry eighty meters from the green. Playing from a raised tee and down wind, made it even shorter. Here I was ready to kill my playing partner, who I trusted to give me accurate distances, which were a bit out, leaving me down in the creek.
Approach from the 13th Fairway
If only I had been playing from here, instead I was down a bit further in the creek. Lucky it was quite dry, although I did have a mud ball to hit. There is a large slope in front of the green which must be carried, otherwise a difficult chip will be left.
Well protected 13th Green
With three bunkers around the green, this hole is well protected. Further the putting surface has a few mounds to encounter, especially if in the wrong quadrant.
Hole 14 – 383 meter Par 4
After playing two of the easiest holes on the course, we encounter one of the hardest. This long par 4 dog legs to the right, with a large body of water. Left are quite a few bunkers for those trying to take the safer line.
Looking back from 14th Green
Play over a creek is required to reach the green, which angles away to the left. There is a large hollow almost in the middle, leaving a tricky putt if you are on the wrong side of the green. This was to me one of the more traditional hole designs, which was enjoyable.
Hole 15 – 161 meter Par 3
The last par 3 for the day, this mid length hole is surrounded by traps. One issue I found was that most of the par 3 holes were of the same length. In fact three only had 8 meters difference between them. They did have variety in how they played, but it was almost the same club for the three.
Poor conditioning around the 15th Green
Large slopes are found either side of the green, which can leave a tricky chip. This was probably one of the worst conditioned surrounds I came across on the day.
Hole 16 – 509 meter Par 5
Starting our way back to the clubhouse, we hit the longest hole on the course. This monster of a par 5, plays over a hazard to reach the fairway, before we turn to the left.
Play from the 16th Fairway
Playing the second requires another forced carry over the creek. The landing area is quite large, with a bunker sixty meters short of the green making it appear a lot smaller. The putting surface is quite large, but is slightly raised, leaving balls slightly off line running away on either side.
Hole 17 – 322 meter Par 4
The last of the short par 4 holes is the penultimate hole. This was one of the more enjoyable ones also. With a slight turn to the right, there is a large fairway to land on, with four fairway bunkers all in reach. They actually force play slightly to the left, unless you are confident of carrying them, which requires a big hit.
Huge two tiered 17th Green
It was the approach to the green and its surrounds that really pricked my interest. A small mound is found protecting the front of a large green with a two distinct tiers. Having a front pin position made this all the more interesting, allowing the slope between the tiers to be used as a back stop to get closer to the pin. Admittedly this was probably excessive in the size of the slope between the two, but it did allow the imagination to run a little wild.
Hole 18 – 373 meter par 4
Finishing out the round was this mid length par 4. This was a hard hole into the wind, leaving us not sure on if the creek could be easily carried running through the middle of the fairway.
Divided 18th Fairway
The approach to the green narrows the closer we get. Bunkers are found either side, which are quite deep, whilst the rear slopes away. I did notice a change in conditions around this green. Grass was a little denser, but the green surface a lot softer. Tough hole to finish the round.
James and I on the 18th Tee
So in summary how do I feel about this course. There has been a bit of discussion with some others who I know have played and we all have quite differing ideas. One of my pet hates on this was the number of forced carries encountered. I don’t mind some, would prefer none, but know they can be a necessary evil. There was a good assortment of holes found throughout the course, although playing the front, most seemed to turn left. This was counter balanced on the back with most turning right, although it would be preferable to have these mixed up a bit more on either nine.
I was very impressed with the green designs and the surrounds. Having the ability to choose a variety of shots in getting the ball to the hole is one then I really enjoy. Bump and run, flop or even just putt, most areas left it to your imagination.
The condition of the course was quite mixed. Certainly off the fairway it was quite dry at times, although we did find some patchy areas on the fairway. Greens and their surrounds were generally very good, especially the even roll. I did come across someone who played a month later who thought the greens were terrible, jumping all over the place. Guess we were lucky. The bunkers were a bit hap hazard however. In most there was more than enough sand, but a few were easy to bottom out. Lesson is not get in them as they are a hazard.
These leaves me still a bit undecided on the course. Would I be in a hurry to get out there again? Probably not. It just didn’t charm me quite enough and with that many courses out there available to play, it would be quite some time before I would put it on the calendar to return.