Port Fairy is a coastal town on the western coast of Victoria, a solid four hour drive from Melbourne. Visitors to the shipwreck coast find Port Fairy a delightful stopover as the sleepy little town has real character, quality accommodation, decent restaurants, and plenty to see and do- including a visit to see the mutton birds...
Although off the beaten track a little, Port Fairy also has a sporty links type golf course, which is improving and gaining a reputation as a hidden gem...
Although the golf club dates back to 1899, the move to the current site in the dunes east of town did not eventuate until a nine hole course opened in 1963.
By 1985 the course was extended to 18 holes, and since that date the course has been continually upgraded...
There are not many true links courses in Victoria that are sited right on the beach, so Port Fairy is in elite company in that respect.
Unfortunately the course also includes a number of holes routed through flat paddock land behind the dunes, and these holes don't have the same interest as the rest of the course.
If only the club could access the gorgeous crown owned dunes on its eastern border for a few more holes....
The opening two holes at Port Fairy are nice but unremarkable holes through flat terrain behind the dunes. However it is on the third tee that one gains an appreciation for what is to come!
A short par 4, the third has glorious views of the coast, and is exposed to the sea breezes. This is classic links golf!
Holes 4 to 7 are all good holes sited on the back side of the dunes.
The club has made a concerted effort to improve the course over time, and in recent years have eliminated a number of trees from the site, giving the course a more links like feel throughout.
This run of holes has benefited as the flatter land ties in well with the dunescape.
Hole 4 is a strong par 3 with a green complex not overdone.
Hole 5 is a par 5 with the green tucked in the dunes after a flattish fairway.
Holes 6 & 7 are a short, and then a longer par 4- both running west toward town on the back of the main dune, but elevated above the paddocks below.
Seven in particular is a strong hole.
Have your camera ready for the eighth tee where you will find a very pretty short par 3.
The tee shot, which is often downwind, is played from an elevated position with a short iron to a tightly bunkered and very picturesque hole below, with a road immediately behind.
It's a memorable hole!.
Although the par 4 ninth hole is ok, it is a step down in quality sited in flat paddock land...
Holes 10 & 13 are in similar dunesland to 6 & 7 running along the back of the main dune, and 11 is a nice links par 3, exposed to the crosswinds on top of the dunes.
Most people won't forget the long par 5, twelfth hole as it runs right along the beach.
The views are fabulous, and you aren't left guessing what the wind is doing as you are now FULLY exposed. It's a tough hole but a good one! (see pic top of page)
My favourite stretch at Port Fairy are holes 14, 15, & 16.
This folks, is real links golf!
These holes move through some wonderful, rolling dunesland, right adjacent to the beach.
Fourteen is a long 4, often into the wind, and requires 2 long accurate shots to get anywhere near the green. It's a very strong par.
Fifteen is a long par 3, with a fair carry over the tussocks, and where the wind is always a factor...
Sixteen is another top class par 4, with a tee shot along the beach to a tumbling, rolling fairway that doglegs left and uphill to an elevated green (see pic mid page).
Again it requires 2 well struck shots to get home, and is a lovely hole.
Unfortunately holes 17 & 18 are back in the paddocks, and not to the same standard.
There is some very good golf at Port Fairy, and I really enjoy going back there.
If only the club could access a little more dunesland!
If you have the time drive to Port Fairy along the world famous Great Ocean Road.
It takes an hour or so more if you don't stop, but if you take your time you could stop at the 12 Apostles, and lots of other lookouts along the way....
You could also play 9 holes at the cute links like Peterborough course along the way.
And a game at Warrnambool GC is also a must if you are in the area.
The Travelling Golfer can tailor a golf trip to suit your group. For suggested destinations see Great Golf Destinations.
For further information on Port Fairy or a tailored golf trip please enquire here: