The National Golf Club is located at Cape Schanck on Victoria’s beautiful Mornington Peninsula and has 3 highly regarded layouts. Situated on seaside farmlands, the National Golf Club’s Moonah course is a modern links experience built on breath taking coastal dune land with indigenous Moonah trees scattered throughout its wild rolling hills.
Built on pure sand and designed by Greg Norman in collaboration with Bob Harrison, Moonah opened in 2000 and was the design team’s first experience in true links land and accordingly they had to modify their style to the wind and ground.
Stunning ocean vistas and rural farmland along with an abundance of wild dunes and ridges, Moonah’s untouched land gave Norman and Harrison a significant number of almost pre-existing golf holes. The pair and their team spent copious hours on the site to maximise the enormous potential at their disposal, much thought given to prospective routing, the goal to facilitate the maximum number of exquisite holes. Central to the whole process was the 411-metre par 4 11th, hidden away in a corner of the property, so much so that the design team was willing to forsake perfect routing to access it.
The hole in question drapes languidly over undulations with the tee ball played to an elevated saddle landing area encased in sand. The exacting approach is a visual feast with the Bass Strait dunes in the distance framing a large bowl-shaped green. The home stretch features a series of lengthy holes that head back toward the distant clubhouse and can be subject to some coastal winds. The key to a decent Moonah scorecard lies in navigating the first 11 holes efficiently as the closing stretch is one of the most demanding in the country.
There are several truly memorable holes on the Moonah course, but what truly stands out is the natural, wispy-grassed signature bunkering, notable fairway shaping and a fun collection of putting surfaces. With plenty of space to land across the course, the aggressive golfer will gain significant advantage by flying the ball over ridges and valleys, gaining as much distance as possible, and setting themselves up to reach the greens with a bit more ease.
Right from the outset, the par 4 339 metre opening hole presents with a hard-to-miss sizable landing area. The 2nd is a splendid 517 metre par 5, that threads along an intimidating sand ridge, followed by a fabulous par 4 featuring diagonal fairway mounding that projects well struck tee shots toward the target and deflects less accurate shots away. The second par 5, the 4th, is another significant hole, with the tee shot struck from elevation to expansive fairway undulations. Other holes of note include the beastly par 4 10th – 424 metres with a punishingly undulating green; the downhill and rolling par 3 189 metre 17th and you are almost free of the formidable sequence of finishing holes.
Play any of the courses at The National Golf Club as they will all speak to you somehow, however the Moonah is certainly the best and most inspiring of the three and invariably ranks highest. Blessed with superb playing surfaces year-round, any standard of player will relish the challenge offered. That said, the layout will appeal most to accomplished ball strikers seeking exposed and rugged features.