THE COURSE

Golf Australia - - AUSTRALIA'S 50 FAVOURITE GOLF COURSES -

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.

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