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.
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!
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.
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?).
Luke @ Golf Blog Australia