Designed by Tom Doak with assistance from Michael Clayton, St Andrews Beach opened for play in 2005.
The course is located in 'the cups region' of The Mornington Peninsula, just an hour south of Melbourne's CBD.
This region is perfect for golf with miles of undulating sandy terrain reaching out as far as the eye can see. No wonder then that the peninsula is famous for it's golf, with The National Golf Club, Moonah Links, The Dunes, Portsea etc- all impressive courses. The Mornington Peninsula is a seriously good golfing destination!
Doak originally designed 36 holes at St Andrews Beach- the existing Gunnamatta course and a second course to be named the Fingal (which was never completed).
The icing on the cake was a composite course which included 9 holes from each course.
Sadly a change of ownership lead to accommodation being built in a location which effectively ended any chance of the Fingal and composite courses happening as per Doak's plan.
Look around when playing the Gunnamatta course- the playing corridors of the Fingal course are not difficult to spot- the land was made for golf holes...
Doak has always rated St Andrews Beach as one of his favourite efforts as the miniminalist shaping of the fairways was right down his alley- very little earth was moved in the process.
Most of the shaping was done by Brian Slawnik and Eric Iverson, with some help from Brian Schneider after he had completed Barnbougle Dunes
While located near the beach in dunes, the playing corridors do not offer any sea views at all.
It is a relatively protected site with big dunes framing parts of the course. The feel changes as the routing takes you through valleys in the dunes, then opens up to wider spaces and over ridges, and then back into the dunes. It is not unlike walking through different rooms in a house!
The bunkering is both wonderfully strategic for the thinking golfer and artfully dramatic for those just out for a hit.
The greens too are very natural- quite often raised, with ridges running through the putting surface, and with drop offs like upturned saucers. This is not to my taste, although I suspect I would be in the minority. I prefer the bowls and backstops of Barnbougle!
At 6074 metres from the back blocks, St Andrews Beach is not a long course, but there are some tough holes out there!
Hole 13 is a brute!
It plays 457 metres as a par 4 with a blind uphill tee shot. Say no more..
Hole 10 is nearly as hard- although only 384 metres long, the small elevated green is very well protected with bunkering and long rough
However this is balanced by a number of shorter par 4's, which always add interest
Par for the Gunnamatta course is only 70.
But with the greens firm and rolling, the course is well defended!
Notable holes include:
- the short heavily bunkered par 4 second hole (see top of page)
- the longer par 4 third hole with the green in it's own dune ampitheatre
- the mid length par 3 eleventh hole from dune to dune
- the wide sweeping par 4 twelfth hole with elevated green
St Andrews Beach is regarded as one of Australia's best courses (often ranked in Australia's top 10), and there is no doubt it is a quality design in wonderful golfing terrain. It is not one of my favourite Doak courses, but then again that competition is about as tough as it gets...
Don't miss the chance to play St Andrews Beach
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