A good sized group of 24 golfers met at Melbourne airport on the Wednesday before the Presidents Cup weekend for a 6 day golfing extravaganza! We headed to The Dunes in Mornington Peninsula first and it was a beautiful sunny day. The course was in great condition and the sea breeze kept everyone honest! The short par 3 3rd hole must be one of the toughest holes down that way as there is always a strong cross wind and a small green target! Some good scores came in and it was a great start to the tour.
In the evening we had a welcome dinner at Sorrento Hotel which is a great base for golf tours to Mornington – nice rooms, excellent bistro and a great bar all combine well with its central location.
Thursday morning and 17 of the keener golfers in the group headed to Moonah Links to play The Legends course – while a little easier than the Open course there, it still has its challenges with long rough and well placed bunkers. Again we had blue skies and a great morning’s golf. In the afternoon we met up with the rest of the group and played The Old Course at The National which is one of the best courses we had all played. The facilities at The National GC are among the best in the world and with 3 courses it satisfies all tastes. The Old course is higher up and has some wonderful sea views especially the signature par 3 7th hole. The fairways are not too wide and thick scrub means any wayward shots are pretty much dead! We finished the day with a drink in the clubhouse overlooking the 2 other courses and the Ocean!
Friday was a chance for a sleep in before we headed back up the highway to Melbourne to play Huntingdale GC. In the same vicinity as Royal Melbourne it gave us a taste of what the players in the Presidents Cup next door at Royal Melbourne were experiencing especially when a very strong and hot westerly wind blew all afternoon. It made scoring tough and we felt better when we saw the President Cup players also struggled in the conditions.
On Friday night there was a Presidents Cup spectator function at Crown Casino – with 2500 people expected many of our group opted for a quiet dinner and bed. Those that did attend had an enjoyable time listening to Greg Norman and Fred Couples give their view on the Cup and enjoyed some good food and wine before venturing into the Casino to try their luck.
Saturday was wet and cold but most braved the elements and headed out to Royal Melbourne for the 2 rounds of matches. Most got good viewing spots and saw some great golf. On Sunday the weather was much better and the atmosphere was electric early on as the International team got off to a flying start and it looked a chance to tie or even win the Cup. Unfortunately by around 3pm it was clear that the charge would fall short and so many headed home. The course was fantastic to see up close and the facilities were excellent.
The last day of the tour beckoned and it was off to Yarra Yarra GC for breakfast and the final round of golf. The weather was excellent and the course was very nice to play – it is more a parkland course even though it is in the Sandbelt region. We finished the tour with a presentation lunch in the beautiful Moroccan style clubhouse. Darren Miles was the overall winner for the men’s golf which was great feat considering he was also last one in from the bar most nights! Jean Reitzer won the ladies competition.
All in all it was a great trip and there was much discussion about going to see a Ryder Cup at some stage in the not too distant future.