Monash Country Club

Par-three 14th at Monash – ‘a 194-metre brute’, Brendan James

The first few years after World War II were boom years for golf course construction in Sydney, particularly north of the harbour. The founding members of Monash Country Club – which is today located high in the hills overlooking the beautiful northern beaches – began as a Jewish social golf club that travelled around Sydney most weekends playing on different courses. The club, named after Lieutenant General Sir John Monash, soon grew to more than 120 members, prompting its decision in 1946 to find a permanent home.

James Herd Scott, who grew up beside the famed Carnoustie links in Scotland, was at that stage the longserving professional at Elanora Country Club. He was also a course design consultant of great experience. Scott advised the club that land was available next to Elanora. Though rugged and densely covered with trees and scrub, he thought it would make a fine layout.

The club agreed, and Scott oversaw the design and construction, including an 11.3 million-litre dam. The dam is not only the property’s visual centrepiece. It has ensured that the course is seldom critically short of water and that the high standard of its playing surfaces is not compromised. Opened for play in 1951, Monash has been a challenging and highly regarded course ever since, twice hosting the Australian PGA Championship – in 1964 when Monash club pro Col Johnston won, and in 1984 when Greg Norman claimed the first of his two titles. Monash blends easily with its natural bushland surrounds. Most of the undulating fairways are heavily tree-lined. Perhaps the course’s most talked about and memorable feature is its greens, which are notable for their tiers, swales and plenty of slope, in keeping with the dramatic landscape. They are treacherous for any player lacking confidence in their putter. They are also slick – and it is not unheard of for players to four or five-putt on certain greens.

Some very good holes are spread throughout the layout. But the most exciting holes, and the most thrilling surrounds, come on the back nine. The beautiful 315-metre, par-four 13th marks the beginning of a six-hole stretch to the finish that represents the best of everything Monash demands: good strategy, nerveless putting and quality hitting, using every club in your bag. You can rest your driver on the 13th, a sharp dogleg-left, where a lay-up to the crest of a hill leaves a downhill approach with a short iron. The green is ringed by four bunkers and plenty of trees.

The long par-three 14th is Monash’s most photographed hole, and for good reason. The tee of this 194-metre brute lies on the edge of the massive dam. Players must hit over the edge of the water and on to an elevated green. The opening to the green, between deep bunkers left and right, is relatively narrow, meaning your tee shot must not only be long but pinpoint accurate. The fun really begins once you’re on the green, which slopes from back to front and features an arcing tier running through the middle, creating two distinct levels. Given the slickness of Monash’s putting surfaces, a putt on the high side of any pin position is not desirable.

The same can be said of the final hole. Protecting par on this 311-metre par-four is a wild, sloping putting surface. A long iron or fairway metal across the base of a hill leaves you with a pitching-wedge approach to the green, which is kidney-shaped and highly elevated. That second shot must be precise, for this is another green at Monash where you don’t want to leave yourself a putt on the high side of the hole.

Memorable holes

4th, 6th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th

Where to go

Powderworks Rd, Ingleside, NSW 2201

Book a round

(02) 9913 8282

Where to stay

The nearest accommodation is by the beach at Narrabeen, less than fi ve minutes’ drive from the course. The contemporary Hotel Sands has 46 rooms, all with views and private balconies.

Before/after your round

Learn how to surf. The Sydney North Surf School offers beginners’ lessons, suitable for all ages from eight to 80, in a controlled and safe learning environment at some of the best surfi ng spots on the northern beaches.

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