In 1891 The Melbourne Golf Club was formed, but with housing encroaching on the original site, the club moved to Black Rock and eventually became known as Royal Melbourne GC.
Members of the original club that did not want to move quite so far formed the Caulfield GC which in turn became Metropolitan GC when the new course in Caulfield came to fruition.
The course was designed by engineer J.B. McKenzie and was completed in 1908.
The more famous McKenzie- Dr Alister McKenzie had some input on the course design in 1926, but then the course saw little change until 1960 when a significant part of the course was compulsorily acquired for a school to be built.
The resulting land swap enabled the club to engage American Dick Wilson to design new holes which comprise much of the back nine.
In 2005 Mike Clayton design was engaged to revise a number of holes, and in 2014 Crafter + Mogford Golf Strategies were appointed to oversee further development.
To date Metropolitan has hosted 7 Australian Opens, 5 Australian PGA's, 5 Australlian Amateur Championships , and 10 other professional tournaments of note.
Metropolitan GC is known as the best conditioned course in Australia, and one of the best in the world- comparisons have even been made with Augusta National because of the magnificent carpet of santa ana couch fairways, and immaculate presentation of bunkers and greens.
But Metro has more to offer than it's wonderful presentation.
It is a joy to play, and demands a golfer put some thought into his game.
The fairways are wide, but the distinctive clean edged bunkering is everywhere. Fairway bunkers push you one way off the tee, and then challenge you again with approaches to greens amply protected by more sand
There is no better example of this than the long par 4 first hole.
The 'safe' drive to the right side of the fairway avoids a larger bunker complex at driving length on the left.
As with much of the fairway bunkering at Metro the bunker intrudes well into the fairway, and draws the players eye...
However the green is heavily protected on the right side, and has more gaping bunkers well short and right as well- meaning the safe tee shot to the right will then demand a long approach over a number of bunkers to reach the green.
It is strategic, it is difficult, but it also eminently fair as it is all laid out before you on the tee.
Welcome to Metropolitan!
The first 6 holes at Metro are absolutely world class in my opinion.
The aforementioned opener is followed by a devilish, but picturesque par 3, a dogleg par 4, short par 5 with tricky elevated green, and very tight tee shot over sand and rough, and a par 4 and par 5 that flow through the native gum trees and shrubbery...
The vegetation is dominated by the red flowering gum that became the club logo, and it frames the holes beautifully..
The bunkering is wonderful, and the crisp lines eat into those santa ana carpet fairways and demand your attention.
But it is the sculpting of the fairways around the bunkering that really impresses me. I don't know of any other course where these dips and hollows in the fairway carpet are so captivating- they give movement to the fairways in such as way as to make them a natural extension of the bunkers...
However after hole 6 the course is laid on flatter terrain.
This is a result of the land swap in the 60's.
There are many good holes later in the course- the par 3 11th is a gem.
And the short, tight dogleg par four 16th is memorable with bunkers everywhere.
The longer par 4 seventeenth hole is unique with a copse of non native trees protecting the right side of the green.
And the closing par 4 is a strong hole.
However as good as the course is, it does not consistently match the quality shown in those first 6 holes.
The latest revision by Crafter + Mogford Golf Strategies may well rectify this!!
Metropolitan GC is a Travelling Golfer 'must play'
The new clubhouse at Metro is superb, and the service levels for visitors and members is world class.
This is a great place to visit, and for the fortunate few- a wonderful club to be a member of....
Other Courses in the area
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