Point Lonsdale Golf Links was founded in 1921.
Initially a nine hole course was laid out by George Lowe Jnr. (the Professional at nearby Barwon Heads GC).
Over time the club gradually acquired more land and with the assistance of Vern Morcom finally opened an 18 hole course in 1954.
But change was a constant at Lonsdale as more land was acquired and new holes added and moved.
New housing built adjacent to the course caused problems as errant balls broke windows
Holes were reversed or taken out of play..
The club was constantly evolving, reacting to outside pressures
But now the club has taken it's future into it's own hands, selling part of the links for housing development, acquiring more land and effectively starting again.
In December 2020 a new 18 hole course designed by OCM opened for play, with impressive modern clubhouse and all facilities including a practice range that converts to a par 3 course.
With Ashley Mead from OCM in charge of the project, Lonsdale Links steers a new path for golf in Australla
Charles Blair MacDonald's 21 template holes are integral to golf architecture in the USA with iconic courses like The National Golf Links and Chicago Golf Club still regarded amongst the best in the world.
But there has been no hint of template holes being used in Australia to date
It was a bold move, but a good one.
The short sporty new course at Lonsdale Links is endlessly interesting and challenging, although it rarely tests a player for length
That in itself is road less travelled, but with nine template holes and nine complimentary originals, Lonsdale has a winner on it's hands.
The Template Holes
C.B. MacDonald's template holes were based on the strategies of 21 of the best holes in the U.K.
They were not copies of the original holes, but merely adaptions suitable for the local terrain
MacDonald also added original holes with strategies sympathetic to the original 21 templates when building his new courses
At Lonsdale Links Ash Mead and the team at OCM have included 9 classic template holes and nine originals.
The nine template holes are:
Hole 1- Alps, first designed by Old Tom Morris as seen at the 17th hole at Prestwick
Hole 2- Biarritz, original concept from France, but introduced to the USA at Yale Golf Course
Hole 3- Plateau, also known as Double Plateau can be found at the 11th hole of National Golf Links
Hole 6- Eden, based on the 11th hole at St Andrews Old Course
Hole 9- Leven, based on the 16th hole at Lundin Links in Fife, but perhaps best known from the 17th hole at National Golf Links
Hole 11- Punchbowl, a natural occurence for greens in early days in the sandy links of the U.K. The 5th hole at Royal Cinque Ports is a perfect example. National Golf Links no 3 announced the hole to the world
Hole 12- Thumbprint, an original concept by C.B.MacDonald first seen at Chicago's 10th hole
Hole 14- Redan, the most popularly used template hole is based on the 15th hole at North Berwick's West Links
Hole 16- Road, based on the 17th hole at St Andrews Old Course
I enjoyed the course, but for my part the most memorable holes were:
- hole 1 (Alps), a heaving, rolling short par 4 with character- welcome to Lonsdale Links!
- hole 2 (Biarritz), a mid length par 3 with a dramatic green and plenty of protection. Par is well earned.
- hole 4 (Buckley's Chance), a driveable par 4 with little room for error
- hole 7 (Gil's Carry), a very short uphill par 3 to a partially blind green
- hole 9 (Leven), a short uphill hole to the clubhouse with small elevated green amply protected by the yawning bunkers dominating lines of play
- hole 15 (Samphire), another short par that demands distance control for both the tee shot and the all carry approach over the marsh (see pic mid page)
- hole 16 (Road), an outstanding interpretation of the Road hole, this driveable par 4 is a joy to play (see pic top of page).
Lonsdale Links is an outstanding addition to Victoria's golfing landscape.
The template concept is something different for Australia, and great fun, but Lonsdale is more than that
With only 120 acres at their disposal the club has built a course for their members- it's not built for championship golf and does not aspire to test golfers with length.
Lonsdale Links has interesting greens with ample movement and enough different pins positions to change the nature of an approach
Lonsdale won't necessarily suit the big bombers, but will appeal to those who like to think their way around the course
It's a little tight in places and will be testing in the wind, but as the course matures it is sure to be softened in some areas
Knowing your way around will be a great help, so members will be pinching themselves at their good fortune once they get to know the course...
I for one, can't wait to go back..
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