Golf Vacations (Malaysia)
CITY OF MYRIAD FUN
Melbourne calls to the golf traveller in more ways than one, and with more courses to entice and entangle too.
When not on the golf course in Melbourne, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to food, wine, entertainment and sightseeing around the city that is the second most populous in Australia.
As a result, ‘Melbournites’ love to proclaim their city as the beating heart of food, culture, entertainment and sport in the country. From a golf perspective, there is no argument but Sydneysiders in particular like to beg to differ on the others.
However, the city’s eclectic vibe is hard to top. The inner city is famed for a ‘laneway’ culture brimming with restaurants, wine bars, live music venues, historic public houses – even walking ghost tours – a few days strolling the city’s shopping precincts, cafes, parks and admiring the impressive colonial architectural heritage are ‘must do’s.
A day trip out of the city in almost every direction will also find you in a region boasting a tangible difference from the others, begging to be explored.
For a start, wine and food lovers will salivate at the prospect of not one, but several world-class regions within a short hop from the CBD – the Yarra Valley to the north, Mornington Peninsula to the south and Geelong slightly further afield to the southwest.
All are generally regarded as cool climate regions and boast many dozens of historic and more contemporary wineries, most of which are open for daily tastings and with restaurants that take full advantage of excellent local produce.
From the Sandbelt courses to the south of the city, the
For a start, wine and food lovers will salivate at the prospect of not one, but several worldclass regions within a short hop from the CBD – the Yarra Valley to the north, Mornington Peninsula to the south and Geelong slightly further afield to the southwest.”
Mornington Peninsula is the most accessible with a regional focus primarily on chardonnay and pinot noir varieties.
Some tastings followed by a long lunch taking in the sweeping views from the decks at Foxeys Hangout; or Montalto and neighbouring Tuck’s Ridge at Red Hill have been personal favourites, among many.
‘WHERE TO STAY?’
Apart from Peninsula Kingswood, other on-course accommodation can be found further south on the coastal strip of magnificent ‘links-like’ courses on the Mornington Peninsula (The National, St Andrews Beach, Moonah Links) and over at Portsea and Sorrento.
I’ve stayed, played, wined and dined on numerous occasions at the Victoria Golf Club which never fails to be a delight. Exceptional food and well-stocked wine cellar, great fireplace with leather lounges and an impressive collection of golfing artefacts on display – especially in the Thomson Bachli Room dedicated to the great Peter Thomson and amateur Doug Bachli who as ‘Vic’ members, won the British Open and Amateur Championships in the same year.
As you would expect, hotel and other accommodation options abound in a city the size of Melbourne. The gigantic Crown Melbourne complex will again be the host hotel for the visiting Presidents Cup teams this December although it’s highly doubtful the players will be encouraged to explore all Crown has to offer by way of its casinos, bars and restaurants, which are of Michelin standards by the way.
Staying at Crown will be at the top end of budgets but its location on the South Bank of the Yarra River provides easy walking access to a litany of waterfront restaurants and across into the Central Business District.
Other options along Collins and Little Collins streets will place you in the heart of the city, close to the Flinders St Station train, tram and bus hub and entertainment precincts.
‘WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK?’
A visit to Melbourne would not be complete without sampling a few local laneway haunts and food trails.
I often make a beeline for the Block Arcade or bustling Centre Place for coffee or breakfast and for dinner, a walk down Hardware Lane, Lygon St in Carlton for its Italian fare
or any of the other specialist eating destinations – Richmond for Vietnamese, Fitzroy for Spanish and Brunswick for Lebanese – are all excellent options.
Brunetti’s is renowned for its delicate Italian pastries and if I ever return from Melbourne without a few samples of Haigh’s chocolates for my family, my life is generally not worth living to them.
Of the many fine establishments, pubs, wine bars and bistros, high up on my list is the historic Mitre Tavern in Bank Place, hidden between Collins and Little Collins. One of the oldest continually licenced premises in Melbourne, it is a popular CBD haunt for an ale or good quality bistro meal for executives after a long day at work.out of the city, the bayside St Kilda district is a longstanding entertainment mecca and other bayside villages such as Brighton, Sandringham and all along the coast down to Mt Eliza and Sorrento have some excellent suburban eateries and locales.
Black Rock village, home to the Royal Melbourne and Victoria Golf Clubs, is a great example and has been a base on several occasions when attending golf tournaments on the Sandbelt. The local craft brewery and restaurant, ‘True South’, has been a particular late evening sanctuary after many a long day on the golf course.
THE INCOMPARABLE SANDBELT
Melbourne’s collection of eight golf courses to the south of the city that comprise ‘The Sandbelt’ have been pencilled in as a bucket list destination and a source of golf course architectural inspiration for generations of players.
And the most famous club on the Sandbelt, Royal Melbourne, comprises of two world class layouts, the East and West courses, both of whom are rated in the Top 100 courses in the world.
Courtesy of the greater number of holes used in ‘Composite’ layouts derived from both courses for tournament play, the Alister Mackenzie-designed West is generally regarded more highly.
However, to not take time to play and study both courses would be foolhardy. If you could transplant it with ease, the East quite frankly would be the best golf course in any number of countries the world over.
The 2019 Presidents Cup will be played over a Composite layout at Royal Melbourne for the third time this December.