Located at the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula, Portsea Golf Club can sometimes be overlooked in comparison to its more illustrious neighbours. But make no mistake, the course is worthy of inclusion in any Mornington Peninsula golf holiday itinerary. Portsea boasts a wonderful array of holes, ocean views, perfect playing conditions and a members-club charm that will make you glad you made the effort to play it. The course is complemented by a striking, modern clubhouse and is also the home for the Mercure Portsea offering boutique accommodation.
Portsea Golf Club was founded in 1924, adjacent to Point Nepean National Park, and features rolling sand dunes covered with tea-tree. Originally only 9 holes and designed by Scottish professional Jock Young, at the time it took 15 men the best part of 12 months to clear the site of its dense undergrowth. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the layout reached 18 holes, this design overseen by Sloan Morpeth and Jack Howard.
Early in the new millennium former Victorian Open winner and then-emerging course designer, Mike Clayton, was engaged to make some changes to this well-regarded layout. Clayton researched early photographic records of Portsea Golf Club and set about restoring unchecked and encroaching undergrowth to its original state. This was done on several holes and he also lengthening the 15th and 17th holes and built a new par three at the 16th creating a stronger back nine.
Cut out of dense coastal tea-tree, Portsea flows beautifully across its compact site, with couch fairways encased in rolling dunes and Port Philip Bay visible from much of the higher ground. The holes that most impress are the ones with the true links characteristics, these being the par 5 8th, the nearby par 4 14th, the reachable short 4 10th and the frantically sloping, difficult closing 18th with its blind tee shot and partially blind approach – a fitting finish.
At under 6,000 metres, Portsea is certainly short by modern standards but this by no means detracts from the enjoyment to be had. Every aspect of your game will be put to the test, with short par 4s and reachable par 5s keeping the birdie prospects flowing, but the ever-present Peninsula breezes and the compact, quick putting surfaces definitely provide enough of a challenge for any golfer.