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Joe_Tucholski

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2023, 08:10:46 PM »
Don't have much advice as I only played St. Andrews Beach and The Dunes.  I can recommend playing both of them.  I played the Dunes in the morning with some rough weather.  It's a bold place and I enjoyed it.  Luckily for me the weather improved but kept people away as I had St. Andrews Beach basically to myself (other than tons of wallaby and kangaroo).  It's a fun round with enjoyable holes.  Tim says earlier in his thread it's his favorite Doak.  It's not my favorite (maybe best value) but that's showing the quality (if you want to take a pretty affordable flight to Tasmania, Barnbougle is probably my favorite Doak).


The National Courses on the Mornington Peninsula were mentioned.  I didn't play them but I did play the Long Island course that is part of the National membership.  It's an enjoyable course that I'd be happy to play if I were a local but not really something I'd say you need to seek out to play on an international trip from the US.

JLahrman

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2023, 09:20:30 AM »
If you're looking for kangaroos on the golf course, I would recommend Anglesea Golf Club which is about 40 minutes from Barwon Heads on the Bellarine Peninsula. This was 22 years ago, but I went out on that course near dusk and there were a few hundred kangaroos per hole milling about.


And as far as the snakes go, Australians take a peculiar pride in having so many poisonous snakes in their country. Didn't see any while I was there, but good luck with that!





Chris Kane

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2023, 07:47:21 PM »
I really enjoyed St Andrews Beach.  I played the Old course at National and wasn't blown away (though I'm told by a member that I'm wrong in my assessment). 
I am a member, and your assessment of the Old Course (the golf, rather than the views) is entirely correct.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you'd split 5 rounds:


It's already been noted above that 13th Beach, Barwon Heads and Lonsdale Links are on the Bellarine, which will be two hours or more door-to-door from the other courses listed (80 minutes for the ferry alone: vehicle check-in 40 minutes prior to departure, plus 40 minutes across).


If you're to do the Mornington Peninsula only, I would play the Gunnamatta and Moonah courses at The National (Gunnamatta is the superior course but Moonah is light years ahead in terms of conditioning), St Andrews Beach (which has always been in excellent shape during the 2-4 times I play it each year), The Dunes and the Legends course at Moonah Links. I'd also consider Portsea.


If you're going to include the Bellarine, I would take out The Dunes and Moonah Links, and substitute Barwon Heads and Lonsdale Links (which I haven't seen but by all accounts is excellent).

Kevin Pallier

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2023, 06:12:13 AM »
Jordan


There's more courses on the Mornington side as opposed to the Bellarine side. That said, some of them are private as well (The National x3). According to their website, The National does accept overseas guests (& interstate visitors) with a letter of introduction. It also states, Victorian residents can only play with a club member.


You could stay on either side and have a good time as all are relatively close to one another


I've listed below my recommendations on each side which are public-access + those with on-site accommodation (a)


Mornington (I've left The National out)
SAB
Portsea (a)
The Dunes (a)
Moonah Links x2 (a)
Cape Schanck (a)
Rosebud x2 (a)


Bellarine
Barwon Heads (a)
13th Beach x2 (a)
Lonsdale Links
Curlewis (a)












Mark Pearce

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2023, 07:51:51 AM »
How good is Portsea?  On my trip in 2016 I stayed there but didn't play (seemed a good place to stay before an early morning ferry and the Great Ocean Road).  From my room window, it looked quite interesting!

Tom_Doak

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2023, 08:01:16 AM »
How good is Portsea?  On my trip in 2016 I stayed there but didn't play (seemed a good place to stay before an early morning ferry and the Great Ocean Road).  From my room window, it looked quite interesting!


Portsea is a really cool club which reminded me a bit of Crystal Downs, both in terms of the vibe and the property.


The golf holes are certainly not in that class, though.  Twenty years ago they were making good strides with Mike Clayton's help . . . then they decided to move the clubhouse and changed some more holes because of that, without Mike's help I think.  I haven't been back, but that was the point at which I stopped hearing much about it.

Mark Pearce

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #31 on: April 28, 2023, 08:27:34 AM »
Thanks, Tom.  Shame.  The land looked really good.

Mike_Clayton

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2023, 08:29:50 AM »
Portsea is still worth playing but they sold the 1st tee, the 9th green, the 10th tee and turned the first half of the 6th onto a car park for the new clubhouse.
The changes were not particularly well implemented but one unintended consequence was most of the best holes finished up on the back nine-and it's great fun to play.

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #33 on: April 28, 2023, 02:09:37 PM »
Portsea is still worth playing but they sold the 1st tee, the 9th green, the 10th tee and turned the first half of the 6th onto a car park for the new clubhouse.
The changes were not particularly well implemented but one unintended consequence was most of the best holes finished up on the back nine-and it's great fun to play.
Mike,


Was the club just short of money?
Tim Weiman

Mike_Clayton

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #34 on: April 30, 2023, 06:50:48 PM »
Tim,


There was a group of members who got some power who thought the club was short of money and faced a crisis.
It was always a place - both course and clubhouse -  that could run on the smell of an oily rag and did for a long time.
The plan was to sell the land and built a hotel as part of a new clubhouse and use the hotel as a continual source of revenue.
Hotels have never worked on the Mornington Peninsula and airbnb (the Mornington Peninsula is full of them) didn't make it any better so as far as I can tell that plan hasn't been as successful as they hoped.
They still own a couple of blocks in the old car park - probably worth a couple of million each - but that's it.


My guess is if different people had been in charge, they'd still be where they were and doing just as well as they are now.
The irony is Sorrento GC is a couple of miles down the road and it's the choice of club for old-money Melbourne. Portsea is a noticeably better course but the financial position of the clubs is much different.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2023, 09:52:34 PM by Mike_Clayton »

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #35 on: April 30, 2023, 09:58:43 PM »
Tim,


There was a group of members who got some power who thought the club was short of money and faced a crisis.
It was always a place - both course and clubhouse -  that could run on the smell of an oily rag and did for a long time.
The plan was to sell the land and built a hotel as part of a new clubhouse and use the hotel as a continual source of revenue.
Hotels have never worked on the Mornington Peninsula and airbnb (the Mornington Peninsula is full of them) didn't make it any better so as far as I can tell that plan hasn't been as successful as they hoped.
They still own a couple of blocks in the old car park - probably worth a couple of million each - but that's it.


My guess is if different people had been in charge, they'd still be where they were and doing just as well as they are now.
The irony is Sorrento GC is a couple of miles down the road and it's the choice of club for old-money Melbourne. Portsea is a noticeably better course but the financial position of the clubs is much different.


Mike,


Thanks. One more question: is it common for people who live in Melbourne to drive down for the day and play courses on the Mornington Peninsula? Is a full weekend more common?


For comparison, to the best of my knowledge, not many people travel out to the Hamptons just for a day of golf. Typically, they want to stay overnight.
Tim Weiman

Chris Kane

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2023, 12:53:08 AM »
Thanks. One more question: is it common for people who live in Melbourne to drive down for the day and play courses on the Mornington Peninsula? Is a full weekend more common?

For comparison, to the best of my knowledge, not many people travel out to the Hamptons just for a day of golf. Typically, they want to stay overnight.


I live 15 minutes from the Melbourne CBD and do day trips at play at The National most weekends. So do most of my regular games. 70 minutes door-to-door.

Tim_Weiman

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2023, 01:11:41 AM »
Thanks. One more question: is it common for people who live in Melbourne to drive down for the day and play courses on the Mornington Peninsula? Is a full weekend more common?

For comparison, to the best of my knowledge, not many people travel out to the Hamptons just for a day of golf. Typically, they want to stay overnight.


I live 15 minutes from the Melbourne CBD and do day trips at play at The National most weekends. So do most of my regular games. 70 minutes door-to-door.
Thanks Chris. That sounds nice.
Tim Weiman

Mike_Clayton

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2023, 05:31:35 AM »
Tim,


The roads from Melbourne to the Peninsula are so much better than they were 50 and 20 years ago.
It's an easy drive to The National and St Andrews Beach and Portsea is another 15-20 minutes down the road.
But it was the improved roads which made golf viable in the area.

Ben Stephens

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2023, 03:11:59 AM »
Tim,


The roads from Melbourne to the Peninsula are so much better than they were 50 and 20 years ago.
It's an easy drive to The National and St Andrews Beach and Portsea is another 15-20 minutes down the road.
But it was the improved roads which made golf viable in the area.


Clayts


Isn't Frankston on the way to Mornington Peninsula and is it worth playing for GCAers?


Cheers
Ben

Mike_Clayton

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #40 on: May 02, 2023, 06:08:38 AM »
Tim,


The roads from Melbourne to the Peninsula are so much better than they were 50 and 20 years ago.
It's an easy drive to The National and St Andrews Beach and Portsea is another 15-20 minutes down the road.
But it was the improved roads which made golf viable in the area.


Clayts


Isn't Frankston on the way to Mornington Peninsula and is it worth playing for GCAers?


Cheers
Ben


The 9 holer? It's right on the way and it's worth seeing for the clubhouse and the model alone.  Bring your own food and drink. Clubhouse is literally a small two bedroom house.
And the golf is really fun - you can play it in an hour and a quarter.
And there are some fun holes there.

Ben Stephens

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2023, 07:08:36 AM »
Tim,


The roads from Melbourne to the Peninsula are so much better than they were 50 and 20 years ago.
It's an easy drive to The National and St Andrews Beach and Portsea is another 15-20 minutes down the road.
But it was the improved roads which made golf viable in the area.


Clayts


Isn't Frankston on the way to Mornington Peninsula and is it worth playing for GCAers?


Cheers
Ben


The 9 holer? It's right on the way and it's worth seeing for the clubhouse and the model alone.  Bring your own food and drink. Clubhouse is literally a small two bedroom house.
And the golf is really fun - you can play it in an hour and a quarter.
And there are some fun holes there.


Yes I remember someone mentioned it before I headed off to Mornington Peninsula in 2011 bay thats a long time ago. Looking at the aerial of Frankston - it looks like plenty of room for 18 holes there however there must be a reason why it stayed as a nice looking 9 hole course - a missed opportunity then.

Mike_Clayton

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2023, 06:43:38 PM »
Ben,


I think there was room for 18 but it's always been known as 'The Millionaires Club' (back when being a millionaire really meant something!) and it was a summer holiday course for wealthy sandbelt members. They probably only needed 9 holes for late afternoon or early morning games.

Jordan Beasley

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Re: Seeking your advice - Mornington Peninsula
« Reply #43 on: November 24, 2023, 12:26:17 AM »
Hi everyone - after all your great advice, I thought I’d report back on September’s trip. The Mornington Peninsula is truly a special and beautiful corner of the world, and the abundance of quality public-access golf seems almost unparalleled outside of GB&I. We played six courses, not created equal but all with their virtues. I’ve included below a short review of each, along with a question intended to prompt discussion. I’d love to hear your thoughts!


—-Growling Frog: I’m not sure I fully remember a single hole in detail. And I’m not sure I’ve ever had a better wildlife viewing experience on a golf course. Between the dozens of kangaroos hanging out on 17/18, the odd fox ambling across the fairways, and a dazzling variety of colorful parrots and other birds, the pain of each double bogey was short-lived.
Question: how high can non-golf elements raise a golf course?  Is there a bad golf course that you love to play because of the scenery/wildlife/clubhouse/food, etc.?

—-The Dunes: Thrilling! A tour de force off the tee and from the fairway, on fantastic land that really feels comfortingly ancient. If #17 weren’t so blah, this would be one of the best sets of short holes I’ve ever played. And #4 should get more press as a world-class short par-4. It’s a shame the greens aren’t as epic as the rest of the course!
Question: What’s a course you would nominate to have its greens renovated, without doing much to the rest of the course?
 
—-Flinders: Plucky and charming and simple. Unforgettable as a whole experience, even if many of the holes blend together and fade away in my mind. Of the same breed as a few beloved courses here in California - Pacific Grove and Northwood.
Question: Hole #4, Coffin, gets the press, but is the pair of #11 and #12 actually the high point of the round?
 
—-Moonah Links (Legends): For an unknown reason this wonderful golf course failed to stir much emotion in me. I can’t find much of anything to criticize, but perhaps the holes and/or the accompanying long views were a little too homogenous?
Question: what is a course that you gladly respect but can’t bring yourself to love?
 
—-St. Andrew’s Beach: Wow. Engaging and challenging and decidedly uncomfortable the first time around, especially in a strong afternoon wind.  This would be a fantastic members course, or a place to play weekly if you lived in the neighborhood. Were I a local, I think the challenge of making a par or better on #13 would become a “white whale” experience that could keep me coming back to this course for decades. #1 to #4 is an excellent opening stretch, with #3 being my favorite hole on the course.
Question: Seriously, I know “par” is a construct….but can you name a harder par for the amateur golfer than #13 at SAB?
 
—-The National (Gunnamatta): A golf course of pure fun, beauty, and strategic joy. From the tee ball on #1 to putting out on #18, time passed in the blink of an eye. Gunnamatta goes straight into my lifetime top-10, preliminarily at #7 just above Sand Hollow and just below Portmarnock. Like The Dunes, I think the perfectly paced par-3’s are one of the great strengths of the course. I wonder if anyone has ever packed so much variety and fun into a set of just three short holes. #5 is friendly and accommodating early in the round- a short or mid-iron played downhill over a well-positioned bunker onto some delightful right-to-left helping contours. #11 is heroic and awesome in the heat of battle, a hole where all four members of our group used driver to hit probably the most exciting shot of the day. And right when I started to feel sad that we were running out of holes, #16 refreshed me with its epic ocean view and kept me engaged with its ask of a long iron struck boldly into the wind in order to catch a piece of the relatively benign putting surface.  And as high as I rate the start of SAB, I think the opening stretch at Gunnamatta is even better. Hole #2 was probably my favorite of all.
Question: What is the best course in the combined areas of the Mornington/Bellarine peninsulas?

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