The Barwon Heads Golf Club was founded in 1907 and moved to its present site on the Bellarine Peninsula in 1921. Designed by the then Professional at Royal Melbourne, Victor East, it is a fabulous links course, shaped originally with horse and plough.
Situated only metres from Victoria’s roaring Surf Coast, with the frequently snarly weather conditions, Barwon Heads is a course reminiscent of famed Irish or Scottish links. The salt breeze blowing over the natural contours of the course and its immaculate greens will have you swear you’re on one of the UK’s elite courses. The undulating terrain, in harmony with the natural features of the land will ensure that you will remember quality time spent at Barwon Heads.
Being a coastal layout with often challenging breezes, you can expect great variation in how the course plays on different days. A combination of varied tee positions, devilishly placed bunkers and hazards, along with beautifully subtle green shapes, the course presents a considerable contest for any player despite not possessing modern length.
The opening stanza of 6 holes feature classic links characteristics. Exposed to the elements, the remaining 12 holes meander through unforgiving coastal tea-tree shrubbery. Being close to the ocean, the earlier holes are outstanding, in particular, the right turning 3rd with its diagonally placed fairway that features a wind-affected carry over harsh wasteland. It can be futile to try to tackle the hole with an overly aggressive line over the wasteland, just to achieve a shorter second to the hillock perched green. The stunning Barwon Coast is viewed from the next two tees, whereas No 6 directs you back in the direction of the stately old Clubhouse. The green on this hole is reminiscent of a UK links experience as it is protected by multiple rough mounds. The course starts to bare its teeth on the remaining journey, becoming more daunting from the tee with potential irregular bounces into damaging rough sectors. Members at Barwon Heads are most proud of the iconic par 3 13th. Barely a postage stamp sized green that features uncompromising undulation, it is fabulous as a bunker-less target and proof that a short to medium length par 3 has a place on every course.
Barwon Heads makes a mockery of the notion that technological advances have diminished the challenge presented on older links courses. If you encounter it on a calm day armed with the latest and greatest of gear, you might be lulled into believing it is there for the taking – too short, too open. However, very rarely will you be blessed with such a day. In all likelihood, the breeze will be up and the vagaries and charm of links golf will see you fighting for a respectable card.
The links at Barwon Heads regularly rates in Australia’s top golf courses and is a mainstay in the top 10 rated public access courses in the country. This is classic ‘old school’ and if you love to play the game in its purest form amongst relatively treeless terrain, don’t miss the opportunity presented here!