Review: Mandalay Golf Course

Mandalay is one of the newest courses on offer for Melbourne golfers. It’s a par 72 Peter Thomson designed championship course and is located in Beverage approximately 45 minutes from the CBD.

This is a traditional estate course with housing surrounding many of the holes. The course is very wide spread with a distance between each tee and green. It is set in a grassland environment with lush rolling hills forming the backdrop. The course also rolls with undulating fairways and many elevated tees. You can usually clearly see where to go with the exception of a few holes which cleverly bend and dip or rise.

The condition of the course is amazing. Quite notably the greens were in fantastic condition and rolled very true and smooth. The tees and fairways were also in great condition with a lush cover and well manicured turf. One of the features of this course would have to be the bunkering. There are quite a few well placed bunkers, but many can be easily avoided by selecting appropriate clubs or shots. As mentioned above, this course emerges from the surrounding grassland. The fairways are generous which is good because the rough is, well, rough! I also know that this particular area is a wind tunnel and you will almost always have some wind to contend with. When I played the wind was moderate but by no means strong. Still, I found that the ball was being pushed quite a long way.

I think this course has an interesting and challenging layout. It will test even the best of golfers. I was playing okay and made plenty of pars with a few good opportunities for birdies. When I was in the fairway, the holes seemed quite straight-forward with good sized greens to hit. However, and it is a big however, roll even the slightest into the rough and the ball is most likely lost. I lost four out of five balls hit into the rough. I lost one ball that landed only slightly long of a green, took a bounce and…gone! This also happened to my playing partner as well. With the amount of wind, distance control was difficult and the consequences were huge for even the smallest misjudgement. Personally I’d like to see the rough a little more forgiving. I’m not saying mow it to the ground. If I miss a fairway, I do deserve to be penalised. But a lost ball every time is just soul destroying and can ruin a good round very quickly.

All in all, this is an excellent golf course in fantastic condition. The layout is varied and interesting with many challenging holes that will not let you relax till the very end. I’d definitely recommend coming to Mandalay Golf Course for a game if you want to try out your skills against a championship course.

Here are some of my favourite holes.

The 3rd: A 182 meter par 3. You tee off from an elevated tee to a large green that sits horizontal to you. Distance control is the key here. Long will be better than short as there is a large mound at the back and a deep bunker at the front. Putting should be fairly straight forward once on the green.

Mandalay Golf Course, 3rd Mandalay Golf Course

The 15th: A 202 meter par 3. A very long par 3 guarded by a dam short (really wont come into play unless you really hit a bad one). Bunkers short and long with a lay-up area left. Shoot for the green and hope for the best!

Mandalay Golf Course, 15th Mandalay Golf Course

The18th: A 391 meter par 4. A fantastic finishing hole. Long with well placed fairway bunkers and a guarded but generous green. Shoot for the centre of the fairway and play a long to mid iron into the green. Will really change depending on the wind. A tricky putt if you finish above the hole here.

Mandalay Golf Course, 18th Mandalay Golf Course

On an extra note. I must say that I really enjoyed the back nine. It had many great par 4’s that weaved through the fields to a scenic hilly backdrop (may change as housing continues?).

Mandalay Golf Course


Luke @ Golf Blog Australia


Tip: How to fix ferrules

I’m sure that most golfers would have had this problem at some point. You look at your club and the ferrule has come up or lose. The first things that slip into your mind are; is the head coming off? Is the shaft breaking? Or maybe just – my beautiful clubs don’t look as good as they could.

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule

Don’t worry. This is a fairly common problem and one that is easy to fix.

Firstly, let’s check if the head is actually coming off. There are two ways you can do this:

1) Put the head between your feet and try to twist the shaft. Is there a clicking sound? Does the shaft move? If so, stop using it and re-set the shaft (I will be covering this soon).

2) Check the length has not changed by placing the club next to the clubs either side of the club. For example, if it is your 8 iron, stand it next to your 7 and 9. Look at the length of the clubs.  Does the size graduation look right? Does it fit between them evenly? If not, the head may be coming off.

length of golf shafts

You can see here that the lengths are equal and even. Pictured is my 6 iron to Pitching Wedge.

These are not fail safe tests, however, it is most likely that it’s just the ferrule coming lose. Now, let’s fix that.

What you will need:

– Grip cloth or a rubber glove
– Hair dryer
– Epoxy glue (optional)
– Toothpick (optional)
– Acetone and a rag (optional)

Step 1:

Use the hair dryer to gently heat the ferrule in order to break the glue bond. Yes, it did pay off buying the missus a good hair dryer for her birthday! Slowly does it here, you don’t need too much heat. Just enough to loosen the ferrule so heat and try, heat and try. You may not even need any heat. I moved one of my ferrules back into place without any heat (this is where you would use glue to re-set it – see below).

Alternate Method

Mix up the epoxy and using a toothpick carefully place the glue around the bottom of the ferrule (between it and the club head). Slide the ferrule back into place and clean up any excess glue with acetone.

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule

Step 2:

Use your grip cloth or rubber glove to twist and push the ferrule back into place. This can take quite a bit of force. Get a good grip and go!

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule

Step 3:

You’re done. Hit the course with your awesome looking clubs.

golf ferrule, how to fix golf ferrule


Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Junior Clinics

Golf is an awesome sport for any age. Being a teacher I see many of my students (and parents) looking for things to do over the school holidays. When a good buddy of mine said he was running a Junior clinic, I was all to happy to help promote his upcoming event. If you know a child who is still looking for a sport to play or just to try something new. Give Daniel a call.

After all the future of our sport is the children who fall in live with this game.

Junior Golf Clinic

The Golf Course Guide 2014 – APP


The Golf Course Guide has always been a good publication. With details on over 600 courses and great discounts and deals to entice players. When I opened my emails earlier today and saw they have launched an App, I was straight in there!

The guide can be downloaded for phones and tablets (although it did tell me it was not compatible with my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!). I downloaded it to my phone and, hey presto, access to all the contact details and course information any golfer would want.

How good are mobile Apps? You can search by Name, Nearby Map, Nearby List, Australia Map and even their own rankings list. I really like the ease of being able to simply click on a link to see the clubs website or even make a call to book right there and then.

Best of all the App is free! Yes free, and if you download the App and like their Facebook page they will send you a free copy of the book (for a limited time) so you can enjoy those special offers and discounts. All you have to do is pay the postage cost (for me $6).

For further details go to Ausgolf. If on a mobile device the special offer will display. Not to sure how long this offer will last so be quick.

google iconitunes icon 2

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Taylormade Tour Preferred Glove

Taylormade, Taylormade Tour Preferred, Taylormade Golf Glove

To some it may seem a little silly to review a glove, but to those out there who really appreciate performance and feel and understand what a glove can do for them, I have found a great glove at a reasonable price point.

I had been using the Taylormade Targa Tour glove for some time and really loved its performance and long-lasting wear time. Unfortunately the time came when I just couldn’t find it any more, so had to make a choice on a new glove.

Sticking with Taylormade I decided to try out the new tour model; the Taylormade Tour Preferred glove. It features AAA Cabretta leather for that soft feel, a new stretch fit closure system and a moisture wicking wrist band. The glove is quite different to my previous model with larger breathing holes on the fingers and no smaller perforations over the palm and back of the hand.

The first notable thing about this glove is that it fits really well. Maybe a little tighter out of the box than the previous model but it will stretch out a little bit. Sizing is still the same for me. The leather is high quality and has that supple feel. The closure system is no doubt an upgrade. It has an elastic stretch section which really allows you to find the right feel. With a large velcro patch this glove will wear well and always provide a comfortable fit.

All in all your golf glove needs to perform well in a range of temperatures and conditions. You should always choose one that you like the feel of and that functions just the way you like. This glove is definitely a high-end glove and performs just the way I like my gloves to.

Taylormade, Taylormade Tour Preferred, Taylormade Golf Glove

Cost: You will find them for around $20

Website: Taylormade (note this is the US website as the AU site does not list the TP Glove).

 Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Gardiners Run Golf Course

Gardiners Run golf course is one of the newest additions to the Yarra Valley. Located in Lilydale off Victoria Road, this course has been built to replace the Chirnside Park course and continue to serve the local community for all of their golfing needs.

I must start by saying that I had one of my most enjoyable rounds this year. As mentioned, the course is new and only opened in May 2014. That’s just three months ago. Like all new courses in mid-winter, the lies are a bit bare, the fairways don’t quite soak up the water as well as they will and the green surroundings are a little patchy. I was surprised that these blemishes were minimal and the course is still very, very playable.

I always think that if you’re building a new course then the greens have to be right. The greens here are in amazing condition and roll perfectly and the guarding bunkers are interesting and also in good condition.

I think the course designers have done an awesome job here, creating a real members course. All too often clubs are forced to move for financial reasons and end up building an overly demanding course. Here they have created a challenging but playable course with generous fairway landing areas. This is not to say it is easy, there are some very difficult holes that play long with wind but all in all just the right balance of short and long pars fours and fives. I really enjoyed all of the par threes. They were varied and look amazing, featuring water carries and well guarded greens.

This course has quite a bit of growing-in to do but this will only help to make it a better course. I would definitely recommend a game here. Really is a refreshing and exciting experience.

Here are a few of my favourite holes.

The 1st: A 365 meter par four. What a fantastic opening hole. Long slightly dog-legging right to an elevated green. You need to hit a good drive and avoid the fairway bunkers left and right. The smart play is to leave it in the middle of the fairway and play a mid to short iron into the green. Once on the green putting is fairly straight forward as the green is quite flat.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

The 3rd: A 157 meter par three. A very pretty hole which requires a water carry to a long thin green. Play for the middle and try to make your putt from there. Sure to be a favourite.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

The 11th: A 166 meter par three. A tough little one that requires a good tee shot to a guarded green. The play here is to err on the long side, as you will find less trouble here.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

The 18th: A 388 meter tough par four. What an amazing finishing hole. You drive the ball up the shute avoiding the fairway bunker on the right. A good drive will leave you with a mid iron to the green which is surrounded by water on three sides and a bunker short left. Go for the center or be brave and hit at the pin but miss and you will pay the price.

Gardiners Run, Gardiners Run Golf Course

Gardiners Run Golf Club have got everything spot on here. The course is amazing and will only get better, the staff in the pro shop and bar were very friendly and welcoming and the clubrooms are perfect. You really must come for a game here, it will not disappoint. I personally can not wait to come back.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Cobra AMP Forged Irons

Cobra AMP Forged Irons, Cobra Irons

A very classic looking club with a splash of colour. The finish on the face is matte where the grooves are and polished everywhere else. 3-7 irons have visible weighting on the bottom of the club and 8-G have no extra weighting. All the clubs have a really nice AMP forged stamp on the back which exudes class. 3-9 irons have a pocket cavity which is filled with rubber and is stamped ‘Cobra’. These pockets look really nice and let you know you’ve got some help out there. PW and GW have no pocket or weighting and look like traditional forged wedges.  The cavity on the rear of the face has an aluminium back-plate which is a striking orange colour and features the Cobra logo. The grips are also made to match in the orange.

As a better player I don’t like looking down and seeing a huge topline. It just doesn’t suit my eye. They have done a few very clever things with these clubs and the most striking is the bevelled topline. It has had some material taken away and gives you the illusion of a thin precise topline without losing the benefits of having more perimeter weighting. The other is that at address you can not see the pocket. They almost look like blades which I really like, as that’s what I have mostly played with.

Put these next to the Titliest 712 AP2’s and at address they look almost the same! Turn them up and look at the sole and you’ll notice that the soles on the Cobra AMP Forged are slightly wider and the visual weighting can be seen on the Cobra 3-7 irons.

This club really inspires confidence. I just felt like I was always going to hit them well.

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

The first thing that struck me was the feel. The forged face is soft and the ball just springs off. The clubs are weighted well and the KBS S+ shafts react just like you would expect for premium shafts.

The wider sole definitely helps out with turf interaction, allowing the club to slide through and catch the ball cleanly. I’ve only played pocket cavity irons a few times and I really like the feel of these clubs. The vibration dampeners must really work because shots feel extremely smooth yet crisp. When I middle a shot, I can really feel where the ball left the face. However, when I hit one off the toe or heel it isn’t too smooth though by no means harsh. I can still feel where it came off. This is really important to me. I like to know when I’ve hit a bad one and I also like to feel where the miss was. You can tell with these clubs.

These clubs do fly a little further than my previous clubs but I think this is more to do with the strong lofts in the Cobra AMP forged (see Specifications below). I can easily work the ball left to right, high and low. Definitely a club that will do what it’s told.

All in all they are forgiving, accurate and sweet feeling. They provide the right amount of feedback for the player seeking to improve their game and combine advanced club construction methods to give the player every advantage you can get.

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

All clubs are 1 degree strong. 3 iron come in at 20 degrees through to PW at 45 degrees.

For more information see link below.

A huge yes! I just love them. They are in the bag and staying there for sure.

For better to mid players seeking some advantages in control and feel. Very consistent distance control with the ability to work the ball.

Cobra Irons, Cobra AMP Forged Irons

For more information on these clubs visit Cobra Golf.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

All opinions expressed are my own. Information accurate at time of publication.


Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect

Golf is not a game of perfect, Dr. Bob Rotella, Golf Book

Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect
Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen

It’s funny how often I feel like I just don’t play to my potential. How often I seem to crumble under pressure or never really get going after a bad start. Does this sound like you?

As I was playing the other week, partnered up with a new group, I got talking to one of the players. He was telling me about how he had changed his mental approach to the game. He said he’d taken his game down a few strokes by simply focussing on the things that matter. He credited this new found focus to a book. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not that cynical and am a huge believer in the mental aspect of the game and how it can help or hinder you, though how powerful could a book really be? He was convinced it could help me. So one week later, what do I think?

In one word, YES!

This book was quite a revelation. A revelation of common sense and things that I really deep down understood and knew. So, probably not that much of a revelation after all! However, it is written in a way that really speaks to me and provides a validating clarity for some of the things I often question.

The way he describes the approaches to the mental game and the stories he tells about his work with tour pros are insightful and very helpful. Bob Rotella understands that “Winners learn to accept the swing they bring to the course on any given day and score with it”. This is one of my problems. “Without realizing it, they’re (me, and probably many golfers) doing everything possible to undermine their own game”. Some of the quotes that tell me I’m doing damage to my game were spelt out clearly in this book. Things like; “A little doubt or a little indecision is sufficient to impair performance”, “Dwelling on mechanics or trying to correct a swing flaw in the middle of a round (is hurtful)” or “The important thing is to adjust (to your swing for the day). Too many players get obsessed with straightening out a hook or a slice that they could simply play with. Without realising it, they change their goal from shooting their best score to fixing their swing.” These are all things I am guilty of!

One of the strong themes that runs through this book is that “The foundation of consistency is a sound pre-shot routine.” and that confidence and deciding to be confident is very important. He describes techniques used by many pros such as visualising and having a 100% focus on what the ball will do. Some of these ideas are described in such straight forward terms like, “Confidence at the level of any shot is nothing more than thinking about your ball going to the target. If you’re thinking about the ball going to the target, you’re confident.”

Of course as golfers we know these things can be very hard to do. Dr. Rotella states, “A golfer chokes when he lets anger, doubt, fear or some other extraneous factor distract him before a shot”. This book tries to teach you about how important the mental game is and how you can work on becoming a mentally stronger golfer. He also understands that golf is about mechanics and that without sound mechanics you’re still going to have a high handicap. He gives meaningful tips about practise and how to maximise this time working on both mechanics and the mental game.

For me, this book answers a lot of questions about why I can shoot par on the front nine and then 7 or 8 over on the back, or vice versa. I can feel my mental game drifting. Sometimes, I just can not seem to get back in that place where I’m scoring well. This book tells me that it is something I need to work on. To sustain that focus and be able to stay “loose and trusting” throughout a round requires commitment and focus. My mental game needs training just like my swing.

If this sounds like you, I would definitely recommend this book. An easy read with realistic and helpful advice. You just have to be ready to hear it like I was.

“In the end, you will realise that you love golf because of what it teaches you about yourself”. Dr. Bob Rotella got that spot on. Because what I learn on the course definitely helps me off the course too.

Do you have a book that helped your game? Golf Blog Australia would love to hear. Feel free to leave a comment.

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Adam Scott Number 1!

Well, it’s been a long time coming. Finally we have another world number 1!

Adam probably doesn’t feel it’s a massive thing given he’s been around the top ten since 2004. Then again, maybe he feels like I’m sure every Australian who love the game – unbelievably awesome!

Well done Adam! It has been such a long time since Norman held the spot and I’m sure the whole nation of golfers here in Australia have the same grin I do tonight.

Send Adam a congratulations here at the PGA Australia website.

Golf Blog Australia wishes you all the best in holding the spot and a great year ahead for Australian golf.

What an inspiration. Just what the up-and-coming juniors and golf in general in Australia love to see. A world number 1!

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia

Review: Sandhurst Golf Course (North)

Sandhusrt Golf Club is the home of the PGA Australia. It is located in the prestigious sand belt of Melbourne. As you would expect, the golfing complex is amazing, with fantastic practice and teaching areas, and boasts two 18 hole championship courses (Champions and North).

When I was presented with the opportunity to play, I didn’t hesitate! Very fortunately, teaching comes with a wonderful perk – school holidays! One of my former colleagues had recently turned professional and started a traineeship. He plays tournaments regularly and often has the chance to bring along a friend. Finally it was my chance.

With a 7:30 meet, for an 8:00 shotgun start, it was early as I made my way to the course. It was one of those drives through the mist that seemed to promise a magical day. As I got there (way too early – very excited!) the sun was starting to come up over the 9th green. Amazing view, coffee in hand, life is just awesome, right?

The course has a great layout with a real mix of holes. Long and short par fours, threes and fives. There are some holes that do present with great scoring opportunities if you want to be aggressive. But all are well guarded and the price will be paid if you miss in the wrong spots. The fairways are wide in places but demanding in others. All holes feature well placed fairway and green side bunkers. The greens were a real highlight; firm, fast and true.

The course was in immaculate condition. Tees, fairways, greens and bunkers could not be faulted. Well done to the green staff here, what a job.

I really enjoyed the experience. The following would have to be my favourite holes on the day…

The 3rd: A 181 meter par three titled “Wall”. This hole has a fairly straight forward tee shot with plenty of room to miss on the right hand side. The green is large and features gentle undulations that run off the green in some parts. The green is guarded left and also long by a 4 foot stone wall. Missing either direction would be very damaging to your scorecard!

Sandhurst Golf Course, The Wall, Sandhurst Golf Course  North,

Sandhurst Golf Course 3rd “The Wall”

The 9th: A long par five at 512 meters. This hole has water running all the way up the left hand side, fairway bunkers that sit right in the middle and a moat that crosses in front of the green. Danger lurks everywhere here! The smart play is to drive well away from the water and fairway bunkers. Consider hitting a shorter club because going at this green for 2 is almost unthinkable (didn’t stop me from trying!). Layup to a comfortable shot and shoot for the center of the green from there.

Sandhurst Golf Course 9th, Bluidy burn, Sandhurst Golf Course North

Sandhurst Golf Course 9th “Bluidy Burn”

The 18th: A longish length par 4 at 392 meters. What a finishing hole. It is again guarded by water down the left. Well positioned bunkers in the fairway make for a demanding drive. The play here is to go long center right to avoid the shorter bunkers. This will leave a tricky approach over the fairway bunkers to a long narrow green. Putting is difficult as the green has some large undulations. A magnificent finishing hole which again rewards the brave. I could just imagine trying to finish a tournament on this demanding hole with the club rooms in the background.

Sandhurst Golf Course 18th, Woe Betide, Sandhurst Golf Course North

Sandhurst Golf Course 18th “Woe Betide”

All in all, a very tough course with some challenging holes which require power, precision and a good short game. What an amazing day and great company. After all, that’s what I love about this great game; the camaraderie amongst the group – the applause of good shots and the slurs for the bad ones. It’s not everyday you get to have a potential pro helping look for your lost ball in the water, rough, trees, moat…!

Luke @ Golf Blog Australia