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Best private track in Melbourne


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#1 shankman

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:28 AM

Do Royal and Kingston Heath justify their hype?

#2 Hawkers2015

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:41 AM

Yep

#3 Rossco34

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 12:55 AM

I went to Melbourne for a boys golf trip away just over 12 months ago. We played Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath and the Open & Legends layout at Moonah Links. My 2c worth.... don't bother with R.M, it was such a big letdown after reading so much about it. Admittedly, there are parts under repair in preparation for the Presidents Cup in 2011, but aside from that we were thoroughly underwhelmed by the course itself...and for $270 for interstate visitors were expecting so much more. Conversely, Kingston Heath was one of the best golfing experiences we've had. From being warmly welcomed by the G.M, who organised for the kitchen to be opened early so we could have breakfast before we started, to the quality of the course, and the challenges it throws at you. We just wish we played there twice instead of visiting R.M Thoroughly enjoyed Moonah Links as well btw, aside from the Open course tearing us all to bits in 30 knot winds!

#4 BuggeraCup

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 11:38 AM

Rossco, No disrepect intended but if you honestly believe that Moonah Links Open course is superior to Royal Melbourne then you have little to no understanding of golf course architechure. Even if you only played RM East then it is still leagues above Peter Thompson's abberation and waste of great golfing land that is the Moonah Open track. Admittedly, RM and most other sand belt courses don't believe in setting up there courses to be green and lush and at first glance the playing surfaces can look poor (although they rarely play that way). However these purely asethic issues, which are made worse by US PGA tour/Augusta National coverage, which has lead armchair amateur golfers to link greeness, lushness and presentation with the quality of a course design, whereas in reality these two issues are mutually exclusive (within reason). If you were to ever play it again, consider all of the options off each tee and each approach shot, the amazing green complexes and the impeccable placement and seamless integration of all of the hazards and I'm sure your appreciation and enjoyment of the course would increase. It is these qualities that make RM memorable, playable and enjoyable for players of any standard and thus worthy of it's position of number 1 in Australa and in the top 5 in the world.

#5 Ewan_Porter

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 06:27 PM

Do Royal and Kingston Heath justify their hype?

F'king oath

#6 St_Andrews

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 06:51 AM

No disrepect intended but if you honestly believe that Moonah Links Open course is superior to Royal Melbourne then you have little to no understanding of golf course architechure.
BuggeraCup Where does Roscoe say Moonah Links is better than RM ?

#7 Rossco34

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:40 AM

Thanks St Andrews, I was thinking the same thing after the lecture I received from Buggera...but to be fair I did imply that. Buggera, I do not profess to be an expert on golf course architecture, and after re-reading my post perhaps i should have said "we were underwhelmed by the experience", and not the "course". I appreciate your comments on the layout, but there are other aspects that contibute to my golfing experience, not just how the course challenges you. In short, 80% of the bunkers were having the sand replaced, and were either not groomed and just lumped there, or were being pushed around by tractors. It was in drought in Melbourne when we we there, so our expectations were not that high regarding the aesthetics, but even so, it was way down on what we expected, with quite a few areas under repair, even more so after playing K.H the next day, when it was great. The staff; now i know it's a private club, and we did not expect the champagne to be cracked when we arrived...but, the word indifference springs to mind. We thought that maybe this was normal for a 'old school' private golf club, but again the next day at K.H where they were so friendly and helpful, that the experience the day before was highlighted even more. I guess our expectations were way high, thinking we were playing the BEST course in Australia, (and it may well be from architecture perspective Buggera), but we come away thinking it wasn't even the best course in the suburb, due to the reasons I mentioned. I'm interested Buggera, why you have such a strong dislike of "Peter Thompsons abberation...Moonah Links". Can you explain to someone like me, with "little or no understanding of golf course archtecture", what is wrong with it, or with me, for enjoying it?

#8 hAcKpRo

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 09:11 PM

yep

#9 Malvern

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 09:19 PM

The staff; now i know it’s a private club, and we did not expect the champagne to be cracked when we arrived…but, the word indifference springs to mind. We thought that maybe this was normal for a ‘old school’ private golf club, but again the next day at K.H where they were so friendly and helpful, that the experience the day before was highlighted even more.

Rossco, from time to time these discussions go on, some like me and by the sounds of things you, are happy to pay and play but the day is about a bit more than golf course architecture. We had a group of 20 at RM, all decent golfers from Sydney, we were treated like a turd on a shoe, soured the whole day, never been back

#10 BuggeraCup

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 10:41 PM

Thanks St Andrews, I was thinking the same thing after the lecture I received from Buggera…but to be fair I did imply that.

Buggera, I do not profess to be an expert on golf course architecture, and after re-reading my post perhaps i should have said “we were underwhelmed by the experience”, and not the “course”. I appreciate your comments on the layout, but there are other aspects that contibute to my golfing experience, not just how the course challenges you.

In short, 80% of the bunkers were having the sand replaced, and were either not groomed and just lumped there, or were being pushed around by tractors.

It was in drought in Melbourne when we we there, so our expectations were not that high regarding the aesthetics, but even so, it was way down on what we expected, with quite a few areas under repair, even more so after playing K.H the next day, when it was great.

The staff; now i know it’s a private club, and we did not expect the champagne to be cracked when we arrived…but, the word indifference springs to mind. We thought that maybe this was normal for a ‘old school’ private golf club, but again the next day at K.H where they were so friendly and helpful, that the experience the day before was highlighted even more.

I guess our expectations were way high, thinking we were playing the BEST course in Australia, (and it may well be from architecture perspective Buggera), but we come away thinking it wasn’t even the best course in the suburb, due to the reasons I mentioned.

I’m interested Buggera, why you have such a strong dislike of “Peter Thompsons abberation…Moonah Links”. Can you explain to someone like me, with “little or no understanding of golf course archtecture”, what is wrong with it, or with me, for enjoying it?

Sorry mate, it wasn't intended to be a lecture so I'll get off my high horse now. Golf course architechure is something of a passion of mine so I often try and pass (force?) some of those principles and qualities on others. I was not aware of all of the course works going on in prep for the President's Cup which was obviously disappointing for you. I still believe though that Moonah Open is a poor course that is overly long, penal and where the hazards look out of place and are positioned so as to only be a factor from the championship tees. Essentially it is a course that is not equally strategic, enjoyable and challenging to all levels of golfer. A great challenge of course design (as anyone can design a course that is difficult) is the great skill and imagination required to produce a course that allows hazards to either be challenged or avoided depending on the bravado/skill of the golfer. It is also arguable that the land on which Moonah open is built is actually far superior golfing land to that occupied by Royal. I definitely accept your point though that many facets combine to produce an awesome golfing "experience" including course design, service, the club house, setting, course conditioning and perhaps even how you play on the given day. It is just that I usually place design and architechure above most of the other factors. I hope though that if you had the opportunity to play RM again under better circumstances that you consider all of the points I mentioned in my previous post and you will realise what a masterpiece and treasure the good doctor left us with.

#11 rockatansky

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 06:05 AM

I'm with Offie! Yes they do!

#12 voss

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 07:13 PM

To try and compare The Open course at Moonah and RM West is very difficult. Both courses are differant in design and are intended that way. I love both courses. It is true that some players dislike the feel of Links style courses but everyone should experience the true magic of Moonah. Very impressed by the comments of hospitality as shown at Kingston Heath. I have had the same experiences there and overall rate KH at #1.

#13 Hawkers2015

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 08:09 PM

I have heard such dreadful stories about services at RM and having acted as an official there I didn't get the same warm response that I got from other clubs. After hearing Malvern Stars comments other than to play in an event I don't think I wil bother going there again. Its really the kind of place you only want to play in a tournament or in the compay of one of their members. For the money they ask you to pay there is no excuse for the club to dispense such shitty service. The reception at Metro can sometimes be a bit on the cool side as well. Again for money they ask you to pay there is no excuse for the club to dispense such shitty service. Kingston Heath on the other hand is totally the opposite. In my experience the staff can't do enough for you. As a player or an official I have allways been royally treated there. My only complaint about KH is that I never played around there when the spare hole has not been in play - maybe I am just unlucky. From a purists point of view I think its a fair critism of Moonah Links that the hazards are much less effective from the forward tees. But people need to look at what ML is all about. Its a purpose built links like, stadium like golf facility designed to host our national open. As a business it still needs to make a buck and it only hosts the open once in a while. As for for the fact that the hazards are much less effective from the forward tees personally I don't think this is a designn accident at all (its no different at the Dunes either). The financial success of the course depends upon pay for play rounds from average hackers and its competing with the Dunes and other nearby courses for these players. Making it less of a challenge for them is generally better for repeat business. The service standards here are generally pretty good its a decent place to take a group of players.

#14 Porterhouse

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 02:14 AM

I'm a lucky bugger - I have a mate who is a member at RM and another who is a member at KH. You should here the two of them trade barbs over the "greatness" of their respective courses. I've played both probably over 20 times each over the years (as I said, I'm very lucky!) For what it's worth here are my two cents. There is no doubt that RM has not been in very good condition for probably five years. However with the Presidents Cup they have been granted "Major Event" status so they have been given an extra allocation of water - I'm super confident that by the end of 2010 RM will be at its peak condition wise in anticipation of this event. They have also poached the greenskeeper from Metro recently who is doing a good job I believe. My mate was saying the entire west course is closed for three months next year in preperation. As far as layout goes its a bit like saying "will I drive the Ferrari or the Porsche today". As for "course magnificence" in every sense of the word in order I'd go RM West, KH, RM East. They are all superb tracks. I lean slightly towards RM West over KH for a couple of reasons. Firstly I think the final two holes on KH let it down. I believe they are changing the hole order for the Masters to have the magnificent 6th hole as 18 (same as they did for the ladies event last year). This is a good move - 17 and 18 are dare I say it "standard" holes compared to the rest of the track. KH does have the better Par 5's no doubt, but I think RM west has the better Par3's and slightly edges out KH in the Par 4 stakes. (Although the short Par 4 3rd at KH is a masterpiece in my opinion.) Now onto the delicate matter of the staff etc. This is interesting. In my experience KH do a sensational job at making visitors feel welcome. I'm actually playing in the guest day on Grand Final day - looking forward to it. Every time I go there they treat you like a member (within reason of course) which is great. I mean the place has an esky full of VB cans on the 10th tee which is an honesty system - it doesn't get much better than that! I actually haven't been treated "badly" per se at RM, but I've heard too many stories to not think it doesn't go on. Interestingly RM poached the GM from KH about 12 months ago. I've heard things have turned around a fair bit already in that time. The new guy is doing a good job at trying to relax the place a bit and make it better for all. There is still a high demographic of older members at RM that still unfortunately have that "born to rule" mentality in them. They are slowly dying off though and I think (hope!) in another 5-10 years the place will be far more relaxed and welcoming. Interstingly I believe at the last new members ballot over 50% of eligible people off the waiting list said "thanks but no thanks" when offered membership. This has never happened before and I think it gave them a wake up call that they needed to get their head out of the sand. So what does that all mean? Not much I guess - other than to say for the overall experience of having a hit of golf with friends, KH probably will provide the most memorable day for you. But in another few years, RM will probably be again back to the best golf course in the country.

#15 ellimb

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 03:54 AM

Good and informative comments by you guys. BuggeraCup, if I follow your advise about enjoying RM and study the options whilst playing, it will take me 7 hours I think. Hope I can play there when no one is around. have a hoegaarden




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