Victoria’s Warrnambool Golf Club is proud of its longstanding association with Marc Leishman. But it doesn’t necessarily depend on it. The golf course continues to climb the national rankings due to its improved playing surfaces and subtle design tweaks.
Despite another bogey on the card, ‘Sea View’ (as it is appropriately called) impressed with its meandering fairway and long, bunkerless green – and it should, in my opinion, be considered one of the best holes in this part of Victoria.
The final challenge of Shipwreck Bend, named ‘Lummies’, plays 345 metres uphill and doglegs to the right. There is ti-tree bracketing the fairway for most of the journey, but Thomson Perrett, together with Warnaar and his team, have cleared a significant amount of vegetation short and right of the green to reveal the sand.
“If we’re going to remove any trees or vegetation, obviously we go through Thomson & Perrett first and make sure they think it’s going to link in well with the rest of the course,” says Warnaar.
“We would like to do a lot more – but it’s difficult to get stuff through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.”
In addition to Shipwreck Bend – which is genuinely worth the green fee alone – and the par-5 10th, there are three other holes at Warrnambool that deserve to be praised.
The short, 230-metre, downhill par-4 8th does everything it should in terms of asking questions from the tee. Its green is protected by bunkers – and you will struggle to find your ball if you end up in the trees left or right. The fairway tightens the closer you are to the putting surface, so laying up is order of the day.
This is one of those great, strategic holes that could yield anything from an eagle to an unmentionable.
Onto the back nine and you will find the aforementioned 13th hole, which is the shortest offering on the course at 117 metres.
Labelled ‘The Plateau’, its green slopes heavily from back to front and sits more than 20 metres above the tee box. There are bunkers short and right, while anything long or left leaves an extremely difficult putt or chip. But there are plans to improve that.
RIGHT: Clearing scrub from inside the dogleg on the par-4 14th hole has created a more interesting test of golf.
“I would think the next project that Thomson Perrett has here would be to redo the 13th green,” says Warnaar. “We’ve already got the plans for it, we’re just waiting for the right timing and to make sure it fits into our budget.
“Overall, the hole won’t change a lot. But the bunkers will probably be removed and the green will be reconfigured and enlarged to allow for more pin positions.”
The par-4 16th (‘Newmans’) lies ahead – and it presents another good scoring chance for the longer hitters, measuring 283 metres and playing with the prevailing wind. But, once again, hungry ti-trees are ready and willing to snatch anything that’s slightly wayward.
The green, meanwhile, is defended by bunkers left and right and the sloping banks can often make chipping tough.
Indeed, many aspects of this golf course could be regarded as tough. The wind is, generally on most days, constant and the routing covers dramatic topography at times during the round. But it reflects the terrain that it’s laid upon, it is natural in its design and it provides one of the most enjoyable tests on the Shipwreck Coast.
LOCATION: Younger Street, Warrnambool, Victoria, 3280.
CONTACT: (03) 5562 2108 (Clubhouse); (03) 5562 8528 (Pro Shop).
DESIGNERS: George Lowe Jnr (1928); Thomson Perrett (ongoing).
COURSE SUPERINTENDENT: David Warnaar.
PGA PROFESSIONAL: Craig Bonney.
SLOPE RATINGS: Men – Blue 120; Red: 111. Women – Red 126.
PLAYING SURFACES: Kikuyu, couch, fescue and ryegrass (fairways and tees); Bentgrass/Poa annua (greens).
GREEN FEES: $45 (18 holes); $30 (9 holes).
MEMBERSHIPS: Full Ordinary memberships cost $997 and provide playing rights seven days per week. Intermediate memberships are $811 and entitle holders Sunday to Friday rights (Saturdays are excluded). Student, Introductory, Progressive and Country memberships are also available. For full membership categories, and their prices, visit the club’s website.
RECIPROCAL CLUBS: Warrnambool Golf Club currently enjoys partnerships with 27 golf clubs Australia wide. For the full list of reciprocal clubs, visit the club’s website and click “club info”.
WEDDINGS & CORPORATE GOLF: The Warrnambool Golf Club function room is available for hire for a variety of activities at competitive rates. The helpful staff will give assistance in planning social and corporate events such as: weddings; small group meetings; seminars; trade exhibitions and corporate golf functions. To discuss your requirements, contact (03) 5562 2108 or email@example.com