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Kyle Henderson

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Royal Melbourne Golf Clubís West Course is justifiably renowned and well-documented. This thread is intended to provide another open door for discussion to include those who have played the course but missed out on earlier threads that examined this hallowed ground.

The first hole, a par 4 of  392 meters (429 yards), is probably the least memorable of the lot. The fairway is wide and relatively unprotected, though tea trees will quickly swallow wild drives.  Near the green, a deep bunker guards the right side opposite the mounding and deep rough left and behind.


A view from behind the 1st includes the 2nd hole running away to the left, while the 18th hole of the East course and clubhouse are seen on the right.

« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 01:27:09 AM by Kyle Henderson »
"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

Tyler Kearns

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2011, 01:37:33 PM »
Kyle,

One is certainly not that memorable, but is a good opener in that you can let out a couple of long shots without too many problems to confront. I'm reminded of the Ross edict of a few long, uncomplicated holes to start the round to get players away safely without a card-wrecker.

The bunker guarding the right side of the green lacks the Mackenzian flair and doesn't really cover much of the green, even from the farthest right portion of the fairway.

TK

Kyle Henderson

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At 439 meters (480 yards), the par 5 2nd hole is easily reachable in two for decent players armed with modern equipment.


Sneaking tee shots near or over this bunker at the inside of the dog leg should bring the green within reach.


The sweeping fairway places a bit of pressure on golfers to choose their line carefully into the green. For the first time, the whimsical contours that characterize ďThe WestísĒ greens are tasted. That taste will often be of a three putt.

"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

Scott Warren

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2011, 02:19:45 AM »
One of my favourite features on the whole course (and there were a lot of favourites) was the way that front left greenside trap ties in with the native heath.

You often hear how the par fives at RMW are a let-down because they are too short. Pig's arse they're a let-down, all four of them are full of fun shots, choices, what more can you ask for from a golf hole?

This might have pipped 15 as my favourite for the cut drive and draw approach, and just how great the green complex is given it's on an underwhelming piece of land.

You notice early on in the round at RMW that the vegetation is very different to much of the East course.

Leo Barber

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 04:50:05 AM »
The bunker guarding the right side of the green lacks the Mackenzian flair and doesn't really cover much of the green, even from the farthest right portion of the fairway.

TK

For mine, these are Morcoms bunkers.  Mackenzie may have sited them but he certainly wasn't there when they were built.  They are distinctly unique I feel to the courses morcom had an influence in.  I think this hole is deliberately bland and in that contains some of the genuis.  Broad fairway to get you away, a large green guarded by an uncomplicated bunker.  Perfect way to warm into the round and the wonderful routing that builds with each hole that follows

Chris Kane

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 05:41:15 AM »
You often hear how the par fives at RMW are a let-down because they are too short. Pig's arse they're a let-down, all four of them are full of fun shots, choices, what more can you ask for from a golf hole?

I think you're missing the point Scott. I'm yet to hear anyone suggest that any of the four are poor holes, in fact most acknowledge that they're fantastic holes. The criticism is of the lack of variety in length as a group. Do you disagree that pointing out the lack of a three-shot hole (or at least a par-five where the good player has to hit a fairway wood into the green) is a legitimate criticism?

To only find one hole over 500 yards on the property the West course sits on is pretty disappointing, IMO.

archie_struthers

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 06:19:58 AM »
  :D
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 06:27:56 AM by archie_struthers »

Kevin Pallier

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 06:36:20 AM »
Chris

One maybe stretching "fantastic" when it comes to #15 though I concur with most of what you say.

Mark Chaplin

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2011, 07:26:55 AM »
Chris - RMW is a victim of technology, tees are pretty tight to the boundaries and there is very little opportunity to lengthen. IMO each of the par 5s are good holes and approaches to holes such as the 12th would have been very different 50 years ago, where as a modest rabbit such as myself managed to get home with driver, 6 iron in one round. Likewise 15 with the second shot carry.

Kyle - you do not need to stray far down the left side of the first with driver to catch the fairly thick rough. I found it impossible to hold the green from the left rough even with 2 or 3 very good strikes (I had a hitting it left week!)
Cave Nil Vino

Mark Pearce

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 07:30:29 AM »
a modest rabbit such as myself
How is that sombrero fitting these days?  Still claiming a 12 handicap?
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Mark Chaplin

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 07:40:41 AM »
Hmm mini disaster at Easter, from the middle of the 17th fairway I shanked a wedge and finished 6,6 to come third - by a stroke - and got cut to 11 for my troubles.  :'(
Cave Nil Vino

Scott Warren

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 07:56:58 AM »
Mark P: You can talk! Taking that 12 handicap to the US this week will be like taking candy from babies!

Chris K:

Quote
I think you're missing the point Scott. I'm yet to hear anyone suggest that any of the four are poor holes, in fact most acknowledge that they're fantastic holes. The criticism is of the lack of variety in length as a group. Do you disagree that pointing out the lack of a three-shot hole (or at least a par-five where the good player has to hit a fairway wood into the green) is a legitimate criticism?

When wind is a factor I'm not too fussed on variety in length as much as variety in challenge and in shot requirements.

The four holes appeared to me to require different shots and pose different challenges - mental and physical.

Does it matter that there is only one hole over 500 yards? Not to me. It didn't matter to me at West Sussex, Rye, Swinley, Royal Dornoch, North Berwick (almost qualifies) or Fishers Island either. 500 yards takes three shots for most golfers.

Perhaps it's an issue for tournament golf and tournament players, but I'm not all that fussed about them.

Mark Pearce

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 08:27:58 AM »
Mark P: You can talk! Taking that 12 handicap to the US this week will be like taking candy from babies!
13, actually!  Well, up to 12.5 at the end of last season.
In July 2022 I will be riding 3 stages of the Tour de France,  in the Alps, to raise money for the William Wates Memorial Trust which is dedicated to providing opportunities for under privileged young adults.  To support the Trust, please visit https://fundraising.wwmt.org/fundraisers/MarkPearce/rid

Kyle Henderson

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2011, 12:46:25 PM »
Chris

One maybe stretching "fantastic" when it comes to #15 though I concur with most of what you say.

The tee shot is rather bland at #15, but the last 150 yards or so make for pretty good golf IMHO.

I read somewhere that the 15th was a remnant of the original Sandringham layout that the good doctor left intact as an example of how much worse the course was before his design suggestions were enacted. Is therer any truth to that anecdote?
"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

Kyle Henderson

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At 324 meters (354 yards) in length, the 3rd is a short and rather unassuming par 4. As with many good holes of its era, the 3rd does not necessarily photograph well, as itís modest challenges are quite subtle. The fairway is wide and tilts from right-to-left. The greenís bunkering is easily avoided by decent players when the winds are down. But, in match play, professionals will be pressured by the knowledge that they will often lose the hole with a par.


A tricky false front wreaks absolute havoc when the hole plays down wind, for the green slopes to the rear. Only those able to apply unearthly amounts of spin with their wedges can hold the surface on the fly under such conditions.

"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

Richard Choi

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I know this is a bit silly, but I have been playing a lot of EA Sports TW 12 on my Xbox.

Although I got the game specifically to study Augusta National, my most favorite course on that game is Royal Melbourne. You can tell its greatness even from simulations. I would love to see it in person one of these days...

Scott Warren

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Here's a couple more pics of the 3rd green and its fronting swale, which I think makes the hole.

The front to back slope of the green makes us mortals who can't generate 10,000rpm of spin think that an approach that lands short and bounces or rolls up is the best bet, but the swale being set on that slight angle to the line of play makes that far from a simple play.

When the fescue has firmed up at Presidents' Cup time it will be interesting to see the ways the best players in the world (outside of Europe ;)) play the hole to a front pin.

The swale:


Looking back:

Matthew Mollica

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Good work starting this thread Kyle. I'm looking forward to seeing others comments on one of the world's great courses.

Did anyone try a ground approach to 3 during your round? After a good drive out right, a bump along the ground, with good judgement of weight, which rolls through the small depression at the front of the green, is a joy to watch.

MM
"The truth about golf courses has a slightly different expression for every golfer. Which of them, one might ask, is without the most definitive convictions concerning the merits or deficiencies of the links he plays over? Freedom of criticism is one of the last privileges he is likely to forgo."

Mark Bourgeois

Thanks for the tour, Kyle. Re the 15th, yes I believe Mac decided to leave the fairway landform as is/was as a "monument" to the past.

Re 3 being "modest" and "unassuming," I would say "subtle" but to each his own. I feel it is one of the best short 4s I've ever played, certainly one of my favorite holes in the world.

Next time if the flag is forward I think I will go for the back of the green and take my chances with a lag putt.

I will be interested to see the maintenance meld presented for the Pres Cup as well as hole locations. Being match not medal hopefully will encourage risk/reward locations rather than just hard.

How did the GCAers fare on the hole? Can someone venture a guess as to the % birdies, pars, bogeys, doubles, and others? I'm not interested in the scoring average but the distro.

It certainly is no pushover for me and it's difficulty has only increased with playing. Each time through I have a larger skeleton collection upon which to, uh, draw.

Man I could play this hole until the End Days and not grow weary of its charms and challenges. The many possibilities for hole locations and wind conditions make that possible.

Truly, for how many holes can we say that?

Kyle Henderson

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I used the words "modest" and "subtle" in reference to the challenges offered by the hole, for it is certainly not anywhere near the most difficult ever seen on a "championship" course, but it requires a deft touch to score well.

I never used those two words in reference to the overall merits of the hole. ;)



Thanks for the tour, Kyle. Re the 15th, yes I believe Mac decided to leave the fairway landform as is/was as a "monument" to the past.

Re 3 being "modest" and "unassuming," I would say "subtle" but to each his own. I feel it is one of the best short 4s I've ever played, certainly one of my favorite holes in the world.


"I always knew terrorists hated us for our freedom. Now they love us for our bondage." -- Stephen T. Colbert discusses the popularity of '50 Shades of Grey' at Gitmo

Chris Kane

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2011, 12:37:40 AM »
Chris - RMW is a victim of technology, tees are pretty tight to the boundaries and there is very little opportunity to lengthen. IMO each of the par 5s are good holes and approaches to holes such as the 12th would have been very different 50 years ago, where as a modest rabbit such as myself managed to get home with driver, 6 iron in one round. Likewise 15 with the second shot carry.

Mark, I agree that RMW is a victim of technology...but why does it get a free pass for the inability to lengthen? Most of the sandbelt courses were built in a similar era, yet they haven't suffered this problem to anywhere near the same extent.

Wasn't it Mackenzie who emphasised the importance of the ability to lengthen by saying that the ideal routing should have a forward walk from tee to green to allow for lengthening down the track? Its a real shame that, in what is otherwise one of the great routings, he didn't provide the flexibility for his par-fives to play anything like he intended 80 years later.

When wind is a factor I'm not too fussed on variety in length as much as variety in challenge and in shot requirements.

The four holes appeared to me to require different shots and pose different challenges - mental and physical.

Does it matter that there is only one hole over 500 yards? Not to me. It didn't matter to me at West Sussex, Rye, Swinley, Royal Dornoch, North Berwick (almost qualifies) or Fishers Island either. 500 yards takes three shots for most golfers.

Perhaps it's an issue for tournament golf and tournament players, but I'm not all that fussed about them.
Scott, don't get me wrong, they are four great second shots. However, I've had several rounds there where I hit the same club for my second shot into all four greens. I can't think of another serious course I've played where that club was the longest I hit all day.

For me, its the perfect demonstration about how a course can have a set of par-threes or par-fives which individually are all terrific (I accept Kevin Pallier's point that 15 isn't at the same level), but as a set aren't ideal.

Compare the set of par-threes on RMW - they are 161, 135, 134 and 202 metres, and three of the four are truly great holes (in fact, you could mount a sound argument that 7, 5 and 16 are the best short, medium and long par-threes in Australia). That is what I consider a great set - there is variety in the length as well as type of shot required.

Regarding the six courses you listed where it 'didn't matter to me', as with all issues, we will have to agree to disagree.  :D
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 01:11:03 AM by Chris Kane »

Chris Kane

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Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2011, 12:40:15 AM »
Quote
Perhaps it's an issue for tournament golf and tournament players, but I'm not all that fussed about them.

Is it really just tournaments players though? All four are two-shot holes for a proficient single-figure golfer, and are designed as such. There isn't much strategic interest in the layup shot for the shorter hitter.

RMW is the best course in Australia, but that doesn't mean its perfect.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 01:21:22 AM by Chris Kane »

Mark Chaplin

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Chris I'd suggest it was the land purchased that restricted Mackenzie not his ability.

Ah the b@stard third, so how do you play it? Maybe my mistake was hitting three wood rather than driver but in four rounds I had three pars and a bogey. First round from the left fairway I hit a perfect SW into the green that ran through. Then I hit SW down the left side of the swale it bounced a couple of times checked then rolled through the green. Next time trying the same approach it stopped above the hole leaving a downhill putt.....not easy! Finally a skied tee shot left me short but it had rained the previous day and the greens were no longer rock hard so the ball held the green to a front middle position.

This is a great short par four.
Cave Nil Vino

Scott Warren

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Chris,

I agree there isn't much to the layup at the 2nd or the 4th, but I'd disagree re: the 12th and 15th.

I agree the absence of a genuine three shot hole not perfect, but to me that's no different to a course that lacks a genuine short par four.

Mark_F

Re: Royal Melbourne Golf Club - West Course: A Pictorial!!!
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2011, 04:52:32 AM »
All four are two-shot holes for a proficient single-figure golfer, and are designed as such. There isn't much strategic interest in the layup shot for the shorter hitter.

RMW is the best course in Australia, but that doesn't mean its perfect.

How can it be the best course in Australia when it doesn't have the complete range of holes?

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