Cathedral GC is located approximately 2 hours north east of Melbourne near Thornton in the Cathedral Ranges. The large farming property is owned by Melbourne businessman David Evans and his wife Sonia, and the golf course is David's dream come true.
Cathedral was designed by Greg Norman and opened in September 2017 as a very private members course- based on the more exclusive high end members courses David enjoyed whilst working in the USA.
The golf course has some similarities to the Norman designed Ellerston GC owned by the Packer family, as both are routed through typical Australian terrain. However whilst Ellerston was designed specifically for the better player, and is deliberately very demanding, Cathedral has a more rounded approach and is quite playable off different tees for all level of golfer.
The golfing experience at Cathedral starts at the clubhouse- perhaps the most appropriate of it's kind in Australia.
Sitting on the hill behind the 18th green looking back down the valley it is beautifully positioned, and a simple, yet practical structure just oozing class..
The course is just a pleasure to play.
The greens are pure- and a joy to putt on. Overall the playing surfaces are in great shape.
The routing works well in that makes good use of the natural terrain, although the short steeply uphill 5th hole is the key as it enables a transition from one valley over the hill to another. It wasn't my favourite hole on first playing- I felt it might be compromised by the need to connect from A to B- but I reserve the right to change my mind on future plays!
Being so young the course will no doubt evolve, and already additional bunkering is to be introduced on the par 5 sixth hole, and this will enhance the hole.
The long strong par 4 seventh is a very good hole, although perhaps a tad penal at present with long grass left and creek right sure to trouble the shorter hitters.
These trifles aside, the course offers great variety of holes throughout, and builds to an epic finish.
Holes fourteen through eighteen are the money holes at Cathedral and will be great fun to play in any form of friendly competition.
The short par 3 fifteenth hole has tees tucked away in the bush and requires a tight approach along a creek to a green set in the creek valley. It is a unique hole, picturesque and quite challenging.
The par 4 sixteenth hole is all about the approach to the green- which sits adjacent to the creek and is well bunkered. It's a simple shot, but intimidating. You simply need to select the correct club and execute! Just don't go long!
The seventeenth is a longer par 3 tucked in the bend in the creek. It is a lovely looking hole and quite testing.
But in my view the most memorable hole at Cathedral is the the eighteenth hole. With the creek always in play laterally and crossing the fairway as well, decisions need to be made. It is rare to come across a hole that confounds people quite like this hole does. In the end it is all about the second shot. It's a great way to finish, and unique to Cathedral.
Cathedral is a private members course and can only be played as a guest of a member.
It is a full day experience- it's a decent 2 hour drive from Melbourne's CBD (the club does offer helicopter transfers from Essendon airport).
On arrival you will be greeted by the concierge who will take your golf bags and car keys, and whisk you into the clubhouse for a refreshment.
Accommodation is available on site and the hospitality is relaxed but top notch as you would expect.
I could get quite used to it!
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