One of the jewels in the Melbourne Sandbelt, Kingston Heath enjoys an enviable reputation for its superb conditioning all year round.
Shortly after World War One, prominent Melbourne solicitor Stanley Dutton Green led a committee of members from the Elsternwick Golf Club in a search to acquire sufficient land within the Melbourne Sandbelt to construct their own championship golf course. The search for the ideal site brought them south to Cheltenham, to a small gently undulating parcel of land with perfect sandy soil and a number of excellent natural features.
Designed by Dan Soutar with bunkering from Dr Alister MacKenzie, and constructed by Royal Melbourne greenkeeper Mick Morcom, the course was ready for play in 1925. It was officially the longest course ever seen in Australia. Measuring a little over 6200 metres, its par of 82 included 12 par 5s and just two par 3s. Nowadays as a par 72 course, many golfers are grateful they were not around to tackle the Heath in its infancy armed with a hickory shafted Brassie and Niblick.
While most courses in the modern era are built on over 100 hectares, the 18 holes at Kingston Heath were built on only 50 hectares. The course is perfectly manicured. Its bunkering and clever use of dips and hollows fool the non-observant golfer. If you wildly deviate from the fairway, the rough (comprising long grass, tea-tree and sandy scrapes) will test your ability to get the ball back into play. The 14th hole is a longish par 5 which, depending on the wind direction, can tempt the golfer into reaching the green for 2. One golfer, Roger Mackay, did better than that in the 1987 Victorian Open when he holed his second shot for an albatross. Roger went on to win the tournament.
The three par 3 holes are a feature of Kingston Heath and show off one fantastic feature of this great golf course – the classic, natural bunkering. In particular, the 15th hole is a real test – one that’s not necessarily needed towards the end of your round.