The Moonah Links Golf Resort was built to be ‘The Home of Australian Golf’ and its Open course was conceived and constructed to host the national Open – which it did in 2003 and 2005. At 6,829m off the tips, The Open course is comfortably the longest highly-ranked golf course in Australia, but there are (thankfully) many other sets of tees from which to tackle this vast course. Length is not its only defence either, as the ever-present wind here varies greatly in direction and strength and affects the demands of each hole.
The course was designed by Peter Thomson and opened in 2001 with the aim to present a classic course that would also be a substantial modern championship test of golf. The site was very suited to the purpose and required minimal earthworks. Being one of the more challenging courses Thomson designed, in what has been a storied design career, in his own words he described the courses as ‘extremely tough, but it has flexibility’.
With its colossal length from the back tees, the challenge is multiplied by several blind shots, wildly shaped greens, and a scattering of devilish pot bunkers. These are spread over the course, some hidden in corners and some right in the middle of fairways – there simply to test.
Add to that test – three holes that are more than 515 metres long, par 3s over 165 metres, and five par 4s exceeding 400 metres – coupled with coastal winds? This equates to a challenge of epic proportions. At the first you are lulled into a sense of false security, being the shortest of the par 4s. A gentle fairway leads to a lovely green encased in the areas delightful Moonah trees. Such a contrast to the 580-metre beast of a closing hole, often played into the wind, it requires substantial effort to reach the surface, not aided by 12 or 13 nasty pot bunkers that dot the ruffled, endless fairway.
The Open Course at Moonah Links is certainly unique and alluring. Without doubt it is one of the sternest tests in world golf from the back tees. You’ll have a much more enjoyable time of it if you play the course from 6300 metres – especially those not blessed with excessive firepower. Played from the longest tees it could well be the most comprehensive test of the modern-day tournament professional!
Play The Open course at Moonah Links if you want a real taste of modern Championship golf.