Few ‘second fiddle’ courses resonate with golfers as much as Kingston Heath. The perennial understudy to Royal Melbourne’s West course – and located only a few kilometres away – Kingston Heath has an armada of admirers across Australia and around the world.
Well, it might be getting a few more fans if plans for a stunning new short course on the Cheltenham property gets the green light from members.
While details are still sketchy, this render video beautifully captured by Harris Kalinka using Gary Lisbon’s drone footage brings to life the proposed new layout to be built on the land to the left of the par-5 12th hole. Australian Golf Digest understands the new build will be designed by the team at Ogilvy Cocking Mead, with a budget of about $1.3 million. Check it out:
If approved, the spectacular new layout will do wonders for attracting new players to Melbourne’s illustrious Sandbelt region, particularly juniors and women, and complement one of the finest 18-hole layouts in the world.
On land ringed by market gardens sits an already brilliant example of how an astute mind can create a masterful layout on a small parcel of space. Once the longest course in Australia, Dan Soutar’s genius routing coupled with Dr Alister MacKenzie’s expert bunkering unveiled one of the great showpieces in world golf.
“The bunkering is just phenomenal,” Tiger Woods commented while winning the Australian Masters at Kingston Heath in 2009. “You don’t get to see bunkering like this in any other place in the world.”
The 15-time Major champion is correct. While Kingston Heath is a memorable excursion through heathland and magnificent Australian flora, the bunkering is exceptional and almost every shot is framed by at least one pocket of sand that dominates the golfer’s view and pre-swing thinking.
One unusual aspect of Soutar’s design is the dearth of short holes. The conventional routing includes only three par-3s (although an additional 19th hole was added as a spare hole earlier this decade), two of which are outstanding. The tiny 10th measures 127 metres and the target is a must-find, for the bunkering and surrounds are so dire that securing even a bogey from off the green is often no easy task. Uphill short holes are difficult to design well, yet the 142-metre 15th is among the best on the planet. With a green far larger than the golfer sees from the low-lying tee and a yawning bunker to the left and more sand on the right, it is a daunting shot at a key moment in the round.
Fans of the original course will be hoping for more of the same in the shorter sibling.