Sorrento Golf Club, like its neighbour – Portsea, is another of the Mornington Peninsula’s somewhat hidden golfing gems. It is a members’ club, but opportunities exist for visitors to enjoy the immaculately presented course year-round. Sorrento is an undulating, well bunkered course whose wide fairways are often framed by densely wooded plantations. At times, it has almost a parkland feel to its layout, but the tight, firm, sand-based turf beneath your feet remind you of the course’s links character and heritage.
Sorrento Golf Club was formed in 1907 by a group of well-to-do businessmen who wanted a golf links closer to their luxurious Peninsula holiday homes. Originally designed by the founding members, in 1929 JD Scott redesigned the layout. As the years progressed, several architects including member and 5 times Open Champion, Peter Thomson, had a hand in its current form.
Just 5 minutes from the delightful Portsea Golf Club, Sorrento is similar in terrain with rolling dunes, sandy subsoil and an abundance of coastal vegetation. Blessed with playing surfaces equal to some of the best found on the Peninsula, the greens and general course conditioning are renowned and are equal to, or even superior to, the Melbourne sand belt clubs.
Like Portsea this layout is condensed, bouncy, and exposed to persistent coastal winds. It has a fabulous collection of short holes that vary in length and direction testing all your shot making capabilities. The par 3 holes are a feature at Sorrento and the 141-metre 2nd hole is one of the best. The green is narrow at the front with deep bunkers on the right-hand side and a hollow on the left. A difficult green to hit as the wind is usually against or across, only a quality shot will find the putting surface. On the backside, No 13 at 168 metres from the black tees is often thought of as one of the toughest challenges with a raised, immaculately bunkered green that is hard to access with efficiency. Most will come up short here. A path behind the green is the ideal line with at least one additional club to contend with the breeze.
Sorrento is a favourite in Victoria and a very absorbing and interesting course to play. Since the passing of Mr Thomson, respected designers Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford have been engaged by the Club in a proactive manner to ensure the design stays relevant. A game at this charming and sophisticated venue on the Mornington Peninsula should not be missed when in the region.