Peninsula Country Golf Club (South Course)

Peninsula, South course, 14th hole, Brendan James

A round at either of Peninsula’s two courses is always an enjoyable mental and physical challenge. Upon finishing his remodelling of the North course, Mike Clayton turned his attention to the South, traditionally considered the superior of the two. Its 18-hole makeover was completed in 2007, and although the North layout has since moved ahead in the rankings, there is little to separate them in terms of design or conditioning. And the South course remains Big Brother: from the championship markers it is a lengthy excursion across rolling terrain, wide fairways, expansive bunkers and huge greens.

The early rebuilding work concentrated on some of the poorest land – the flat, heavy ground along the course’s western boundary, incorporating many of the front nine holes. A creek was constructed, which not only helps with the drainage but at various intervals poses a strategically tricky and visually pleasing hazard to negotiate. The creek comes into play on the first tee shot of the day, from one of the highest points on the course. This 308-metre downhill par-four is drivable for the longest hitters, who must contemplate carrying their tee shot over the diagonal line of a snaking stream to leave a short chip on to the green, which tilts towards the creek. Most players will hit their second shot from short of the water, on the generously wide fairway, but depending on the pin position there is usually only one ideal spot from which to approach the green.

Although the course is long, several short holes – like the 1st – stand out. The 7th is another drivable par-four for the golfing brutes among us, a 299-metre hole that relies on sand rather than water to add an element of risk. The fairway turns around a massive sandy wasteland on the inside of the dogleg – exposed when overgrown thicket was cleared during the refurbishment – before reaching the green, which is set on a right-to-left diagonal. Players who skirt the edge of the wasteland with their tee shot will be well rewarded. Players who steer well clear of it are confronted with an awkward second shot over a greenside trap.

But it is the long par-fours that offer the sternest test, and there is no harder examination here than the 403-metre closing hole. From its elevated tee, players are afforded one of the best sights on the sandbelt, with Port Phillip coming into view in the distance. A staggered pair of fairway traps – one short and right, another further along on the left – must be safely avoided. The green, like so many on the South course, is angled in such a way that the best approach comes from the edges of the fairway. On this occasion the right side of the short grass, alongside the right fairway trap, offers the clearest line into any pin position on the huge green. Rounding out Clayton’s firstclass redesign of both courses is the outstanding presentation of the Santa Ana couch fairways and bent-grass greens. Peninsula is a private members’ club, but visiting golfers from interstate and overseas can apply for a round through the general manager.

Memorable holes

1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 12th, 14th, 16th and 18th

Where to go

211–279 Skye Rd, Frankston, Victoria 3199

Book a round

(03) 9789 2222

Where to stay

Peninsula Country Golf Club has stylish on-site accommodation. Reciprocal and non-members may reserve rooms with a letter of introduction from their home club. Play-and-stay packages are available.

Before/after your round

Drop a fi shing line into Port Phillip from one of the piers that dot the shore north and south of Frankston. Fishing charters also depart from nearby Patterson Lakes Marina.

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