Location: Fingal, VIC Established: 2001 Architect: Thomson, Wolveridge & Perrett Date Played: 2nd December 2012
Catching up with my Melbourne compatriot James, we decided to head down south to the Mornington Peninsula and play the second course at Moonah Links, the Open Course. We had been down in September to play the Legends Course and had been extremely impressed with the layout.
Entrance to Moonah Links
The Moonah Links golfing complex is the largest golf tourism development of its kind to have been built in Victoria on the Mornington Peninsula. It is known as “The Home of Australian Golf”. The complex comprises of two courses, the Open Course and the Legends Course, includes a driving range and quality practice facilities. Peppers Resort is also found on the same property, so is an option for accommodation if travelling far or just wanting to get away.
Moonah Links Clubhouse
The Open Course was designed to host championships, having hosted the 2003 Australian Open, whilst the Legends Course was designed for golfers of all levels. The Open course was designed to ensure wind would have an effect on the game and that no particular direction is helpful.
Memorabilia in the clubhouse at Moonah Links
The clubhouse has a collection of various memorabilia, ranging from old trophies, clubs showing progression over the years, photos and scorecards for tournaments. Well worth having a quick look at if you have time to kill.
Men’s locker room at Moonah Links
Some of the great names of Australian golf have utilised the facilities during major tournaments. There is also a gymnasium available for use.
Map of the Moonah Links Open Course
The course has two loops of nine which start and end at the clubhouse, allowing a drink or snack during the game.
Moonah Links Open Course scorecard
Hole 1 – 326 meter par 4
We start the round with a nice easy medium length par 4 which turns to the left. Playing from a slightly elevated tee, you need to hit across a gully which has a fairway trap on the right.
Approach to the 1st green
The approach to the green will either be from an upslope or downslope, if you carried the hill. Playing over another gully to the 1st green, this has a pot bunker located in front. The green slopes away on all surrounds.
Hole 2 – 446 meter par 5
This par 5 curves to the right. From the tee shot ensure you don’t play too far to the right ensuring you avoid the rough. There are two bunkers to carry from the tee.
View from the fairway to the 2nd green
The approach shot is a choice of going for broke over all the bunkers leading up to this raised green or picking the best point to layup. Left is a safe option.
Hole 3 – 352 meter par 4
A tricky medium length par 4 which doglegs to the right. The second shot must be played up a steep slope. The main danger from the tee is putting it on the fairway.
Approach to the 2nd green
Playing to a green through a saddle, the fairway narrows with plenty of rough to catch the ball. The green surrounds slope away from the front and to the right, however from the left and rear slope back to the green.
Hole 4 – 472 meter par 5
Playing down hill all the way to the green, the main obstacle is the numerous bunkers dotted all over the fairway. Some of these will make this hole even longer. Undulations may cause some unusual stances to be taken playing this hole.
The 4th green
Once reaching the green, you play to an elevated surface, with one bunker on the left. The green has two tiers to contend with.
Hole 5 – 158 meter par 3
A par three which has a green raised up on a hill. Deep bunkers align either side (I had to assist one playing partner to get a line to the pin), but anything short will contend with the slope leading away from the green.
Hole 6 – 351 meter par 4
I remember playing this hole into the wind, making it much more difficult. From the tee you play over a small hill, which will prevent you seeing you ball land. On the left the fairway falls away slightly.
Looking back from the 6th green
The approach shot to the green is best played to the left. Three trees located on the right will catch any ball slightly off line. This green is raised leaving anything short to run away from the green.
Hole 7 – 149 meter par 3
The easiest par 3 on the course, plays up a slight slope to a green protected by bunkers on the left and a large swale on the right.
View back from the 7th green
The green slopes from the left to right and back to front. The putting surface is of average size with gentle slopes.
Hole 8 – 370 meter par 4
This longish par 4 is the second hardest hole on the course. Playing from an elevated tee there are three bunkers in play from the tee. If taking the driver aim up the middle, other wise a fairway metal might be the best option. Don’t hit too far left or risk losing your ball.
The raised 8th green
Playing you approach shot to the 8th raised green, will require an extra club. Two further fairway bunkers are short of the green but shouldn’t come into play. Right of the green the surrounds slope towards the green, whilst the left side slopes away.
Hole 9 – 306 meter par 4
To finish the front nine, we play the easiest hole on the course. Playing from another elevated tee, two bunkers are located on the fairway which will come into play if playing this hole safe with a long iron.
James satisfied with his shot on the 9th
Looking back from the 9th green
The fairway narrows as you get closer to the hole, making driver from the tee a high risk. The approach shot must be made up a small incline to the green, which has a backdrop of the clubhouse behind.
Tee markers and pin flags of Moonah Links
Hole 10 – 382 meter par 4
Hardest hole on the course, this par 4 curves to the right. Playing from an elevated to a hill which obscures the fairway, the tee shot must play slightly to the right of the fairway.
The 10th green
Making your approach, you must take into account the two bunkers protecting the front of the green. The putting surface has some slopes and undulations to take into consideration.
Hole 11 – 357 meter par 4
This hole is predominantly flat (compared to most of the holes on the course) and fairly straight. Two bunkers are in play on the right.
The 11th green
Two traps protect the left side approach to the green with a false front also found. The rest of the green surrounds actually slope into the green.
Hole 12 – 335 meter par 4 – Playing my tee shot
Playing uphill all the way to the green, the fairway on the 12th is quite generous, but has two separate groupings of bunkers in the center of the fairway. Playing to the left leaves a blind approach to the green, so better to take on the bunkers and play from the middle.
The hidden 11th green
When making the approach shot you will see the green appear between two mounds, which slightly obscure the full landing area to the green. One bunker is found left, whilst swales and mounds surround the putting surface. Danger is to the right as a step slope falls away in heavy scrub.
Hole 13 – 165 meter par 3
This par 3 is the longest on the course. Flat all the way to the green, four bunkers protect the center right of the hole. Another trap is located on the left as well.
Well protected 13th green
The actual putting surface slopes from the left to the right, and back to front. The green slopes away on the right side as well to a large collection area.
James playing from the left trap on the 13th hole
Hole 14 – 321 meter par 4
This medium length par 4 has a semi blind tee shot. Heavy grass and hills either side of the hole obscures most of the landing area. From the tee a large bunker can be seen in the middle of the fairway. What is not seen is how much room there is either side of this.
The elevated 14th green
Beyond the bunker a large gully is found in front of the green. Get you distance wrong and you will find a tricky chip or putt up a steep slope to the green. The landing area is deceiving from the fairway and looks quite narrow, however there is more depth due to the putting surface sloping away towards the rear and right of the green.
Hole 15 – 397 meter par 5
Ranked as the easiest par 5 on the course, as well as second easiest on the course. From the tee, play is to a small hill, which has two bunkers on the right side. If you carry the hill, you may run to a third, but this would be an extremely long shot. Reachable in two, the approach to the green is up a steep hill with further traps located either side of the fairway.
The elevated 15th green
You must carry the full distance to the putting surface, otherwise the ball will roll part of the way back down the slope. You can take advantage of the slope behind the green to feed the ball back on, so it is not an issue with being slightly long.
Hole 16 – 361 meter par 4
On the home straight we face three difficult holes. The 16th doglegs to the left. From the tee a large hill obscures much of the view down to the green. Two large traps are found on either side of the fairway. Long hitters should be able to reach the down slope gaining extra distance. Beyond the bunker on the right is another bunker for the 8th hole which is not visible.
The large 16th green
Making the approach to the green, one bunker comes into play on the right, with plenty of space to the left for any miss. This green however has two large swales at the front which make any chip of putt difficult to reach a pin on the back section. On my last visit I almost saw a putt roll from the top section down into one of these swales, so remember speed is critical if playing from the rear or right of the green.
Hole 17 – 155 meter par 3
The most difficult par 3 on the course, playing to the 17th requires a carry over a gully. Two deep traps are located to the right with a small false front also found. Putting on this wide yet narrow green, sees slopes going from the left to the right, but also running from the back to the front. This hole is all about carrying to the green and on the correct portion to the pin.
Hole 18 – 503 meter par 5
Finishing the round on the longest and most difficult par 5 on the course, the hole plays downhill from tee to green. The fairway is littered with bunkers, mainly on the right portion, but there are a couple to the left. Ideal tee shot will be down the left side to avoid most of the traps.
Looking back along the 18th from the clubhouse
With the approach you must be careful of the bunker on the right, which is the ideal target to aim at as the fairway slopes right to left leading into the green. If laying up the safest approach would be from the left. The green is slightly raised with surrounds sloping away on most sides of the hole. The putting surface has some gentle slopes to contend with.
Overall this is my least favourite of the two courses at Moonah Links. The conditioning of the course is of high quality in all areas (fairways, greens and bunkers). There is a great variety in the holes, both lengths and direction. My biggest criticism is the penal nature for any slightly off line shots. If slightly off the fairway on a majority of the holes it will be lucky to find the ball. I have noticed some culling of the long grass since my last visit, but there is still a lot around. For the average golfer they would find more pleasure in the Legends course.
Please note that photos for this course have been taken over numerous trips over a three year period.
Moonah Links is a publicly accessible course open to the public seven days a week. Ring the proshop to book a tee time or book online to receive a slight discount.