Lorne Country Club
"So I jump ship in Hong Kong, make my way over to Lorne"
The town of Lorne, along Victorias Great Ocean road, has many things that make it a great place to stay. I have been going down there for years because they have so many "dog friendly" accomodation houses that are a short walk from the beach and dog walk heaven for my little buddy. If you are not a dog person, and I know there are some of you out there, nothing compares to letting the dog off the lead and watching them enjoy the beach. But that's enough of that, where is the golf course review?
High overlooking Lorne is the 9 hole golf course. Yes, it's only 9 holes but this course does not suffer though because the 9 holes they have here are great. For most of the year, you can just turn up and get a game here. The members competition day is Sunday and a time sheet operates during the busy christmas to February time. Other than that, you should be good for a very interesting 9 holes of golf.
The Lorne Country Club (it has tennis as well) is only 2kms from the city centre and believe me when I say, there are no better views here than at the clubhouse. The 9th hole par 3 and putting green have magnificent views of the coast below and even if you don't play golf, you can come here for the food, the drinks or even the tennis.
Now for the course itself. The first hole is a 480 meter par 5 and you will only need a fairway wood or hybrid from the tee as the hole doglegs around to the right and ownhill for the second shot. Aim at the white post with your 200-220 meter club for the best results. The green is a small plateau that is reasonably flat and will reward well placed shots. The 2nd hole is a par 3 and although only a 7/8 iron accuracy is a must as there are two bunkers short and left and the green slopes from back to front. Birdie here and you have done well.
The 3rd is another par 5 and your shoes will be tested here. They had better be comfortable as this fairway slopes towards the road and out of bounds left. Every drive here will hit this fairway and run left. That is alright because you need to open up to get at this green. Right hand trees will get you a bogey and so will going long. By the time you cross the road to the next tee, you will be feeling some discomfort in your ankles, trust me.
The 4th hole is a awesome little downhill par 4. You need to hit a good drive here as anywhere right will have your ball blocked out on the 6th fairway. Keep the drive to the left side and you should only have wedge to this tight little green. Do not go long as there is wilderness over the back and you will not make up and down easily. The 5th is only 124 meters but a great par 3. Easy 3 for a well struck wedge, but painful if you miss the putting surface as out of bounds is long and left.
The 6th is another tough driving hole. As with many of the holes here at Lorne, the landing areas will all make your ball bounce one way or another. This fairway is actually quite wide in comparisson to others but it's the second shot you need to be careful of. The green is perched high above you and there is a false front to it. Make sure you get the ball all the way back to have a chance at birdie.
7 is a long par 4 with another sloping fairway. It's the hardest hole on the course and the green is tough to hit in 2. You need to really be hitting the driver well for these next 2 holes and if you get a good one away here, you can make birdie. Happy to say I did and I confidently walked to the 8th tee thinking I only needed to finish par, par for a 1 under total. That was short lived as my drive disappeared over the dam and out of sight down the 8th fairway. The course was a little damp but I never found that ball. I swear to this day that I hit the middle of the fairway, but sometimes the golfing gods make you pay for your confident swagger. Taking an Irish drop, I made bogey.
On the way to the 9th green you will see an old fashioned pulley system that can help you ascend the steep hill to the 9th tee. I gave it a miss as it looked like it could do me some damage. The 9th itself is another 124 meter par 3 with a large bunker short right. Try to finish the hole before turning your camera to the views of the coast.
Make sure to go into the clubhouse for a cleansing ale or two and to check out the views just one more time. Oh, make sure you have good shoes. This course does not have a flat lie on it and a walk on the beach after without shoes may make your ankles hurt a little less. But only a little.
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1. Tees 8/15
2. Fairways 11/15
3. Bunkers 6/15
4. Greens 11/15
5. Design 10/15
6. The 19th 12/15
7. Price 8/10
The tees were a little long and sloping and the sand in the bunkers was hard without any depth but overall I was pleasantly surprised by Lorne Country Club. This small quaint course is more than you expect. Not that I would drive hundreds of miles to play it, it's no Bushwood, but when in Rome, just go and play it.
There is a Malaysian Restaurant here too called Don's Kitchen. It's open Tuesday to Sunday and is worth a look.
Green Fees will set you back $25 for 9 holes or $35 to go around twice.