The Metropolitan Golf Club was established in 1908 and is the second-oldest club on the Melbourne Sandbelt behind Royal Melbourne.
The original course was laid out on farmland by J.B Mackenzie – who was also responsible for planting the iconic trees and shrubs – before Dr Alister MacKenzie visited in 1926 to work on the bunkers and greens.
Thirty-four years later, in 1960, the state government acquired part of the land for a local school development – and so American designer Dick Wilson was commissioned to create seven new holes on the back nine.
Nearly 50 years passed before Mike Clayton was brought in to rebuild and modify several holes in 2006, while Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford of Golf Course Strategies were recently approached for their input.
Metropolitan is regularly ranked as the best-conditioned course in Australia and will once again impress players and spectators alike with its pure couch fairways and bentgrass greens, which are hand mown to the edges of the bunkers.
The second hole at Metro gives an early insight to this and is one of the better one-shotters on the Sandbelt, once described by MacKenzie as: “One of the best short holes in Australia.”
Another iconic hole – which is sure to create drama during the World Cup – is the relatively short par-5 on the back nine.
At 546 metres from the back tee, the 14th hole is easily reachable in two shots for most players (provided they avoid the deep bunker that skirts the left portion of the fairway). This is one of the better scoring opportunities late in a round and should produce its fair share of birdies.
Conversely, the par-4 closing hole has been something of a brute since the championship tee was added for the 1997 Australian Open. The 434-metre hole is dead straight but the Sunday flagstick – on the left portion of the green – will entice players to challenge the bunkers on the left side of the fairway.