Spring Valley Golf Club
The story of Spring Valley Golf Club’s early days is not dissimilar to that of many clubs which now call Melbourne’s sandbelt home. Spring Valley began its existence outside the sandbelt, as Forest Hills public course, and the first rumblings that it planned to move from its Dandenong premises were heard in 1947. The club started looking for land on the sandbelt. Within two years a site was found. Vern Morcom was asked to turn it into a golf course. Work on clearing what was part-native scrub and part-market garden began in January 1949, and two and a half years later Morcom’s creation was ready for play.
Although the routing has remained the same over the years, all of the holes have undergone some form of modification under the guidance of Mike Clayton. He built new greens, revamped Morcom’s bunkering and repositioned tees to maximise the degree of strategy required at each hole. The changes went a long way to raising Spring Valley’s profile and reputation. It is nowadays home to the Victorian Open and one of the sandbelt’s finest layouts.
Spring Valley is an easy-walking course where the terrain fluctuates little. The 377-metre opening hole is a good, medium-length par-four that turns left to right. Your tee shot must follow the left side of the fairway. Morcom’s bunkering becomes apparent the moment you head towards the green, where a large and dramatic sand trap guards the front left edge. Players visiting the sandbelt’s lesser-name courses, like Spring Valley, will inevitably find themselves likening the holes they encounter to their more famous equivalents at Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne. This is hardly surprising, given how prolific were the Morcoms – both Vern and his father Mick – who helped design and build golf courses all around the sandbelt, while simultaneously maintaining their jobs as curators at the ‘Heath’ and ‘Royal’ respectively.
The design of Spring Valley’s 386-metre, par-four 2nd encourages the same strategy needed to tackle the classic 17th hole at Royal Melbourne’s West course. The doglegleft calls for a right-to-left tee shot to be shaped around the fairway traps on the inside corner of the dogleg. Skirting the edge of the bunkers will leave a shorter and more direct approach to the green, sailing past the bunkers that protect the right half of the putting surface. One of the best short par-threes on the sandbelt opens the back nine. The 134-metre 10th has been criticised by some as too severe, because of the shape and size of the putting surface and the severity of the deep bunkers ringing the green. But there are far more penal par-threes to be found elsewhere; this short offering simply rewards the player who hits a good tee shot with a birdie chance. A bad tee shot, in turn, means a bogey is more than likely. The 389-metre, par-four 18th makes for a grandstand finish to the round, culminating in full view of the magnificent modern clubhouse. A crop of bunkers is best avoided with a drive into the left half of the cut portion. Your second shot is uphill, to a green guarded by three bunkers short and left and another bunker to the right, majestic hazards that would not look out of place on any of the more famous sandbelt layouts.
Spring Valley is a private course. Members of interstate or overseas clubs can apply for a tee time through the general manager.
1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 18th
Where to go
Heatherton Rd, Clayton South, Victoria 3169
Book a round
(03) 9562 3811,
Where to stay
Dingley International Hotel, an excellent base for exploring Melbourne’s sandbelt, is 3 km south of Spring Valley.
Before/after your round
Go to the city and take a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Relive some wonderful sporting memories as you stand on the sacred turf, then relive a few more at the National Sports Museum.comments powered by Disqus