Moonah Links – Legends Course
The Moonah links complex contains 2 of the best public access golf courses on the Mornington Peninsula. The Peter Thompson designed Open course and the Ross Perrett designed Legends course. The Open course is longer and designed for play by the better golfers, the Legends is 468 meters shorter and a little friendlier to the everyday golfer. This does not mean that either course is a push over. This review will deal with the Legends course.
Myself and the good Dr. Buzzer (very good friends with Dr.Beeper) took a Monday off to play the Legends course. Opening with one of the more spectacular holes you will see all day, a par 5, the tee shot gives you an idea of what you will face all day here, photo worthy views. A steep descent into a wide generous fairway will open up the second shot back uphill towards a well protected green. Precision is the key here and most should lay up rather than go for the green. Long is better than short as over the back, it will feed back towards the green. The good doctor started slowly, so I went 1 up.
The second is only short and some will think a driver could get you onto the putting surface. This is NOT the play. The green is small and over the back will result in an extremely difficult chip shot back. The better way to play it is to hit a fairway wood or hybrid from the tee, then a wedge to the green. Short shots will run back towards you as the green is atop a plateau. A 3 putt from me got the match back to square.
The third is one of the best par 3’s on this course or the Open course. The uphill shot goes over a bunch of waste bunkers and anything not up, will make it difficult to make 3. The green itself is quite big so don’t be afraid to take plenty of club from the tee. Par here is a very good score, but only I made it. I up to Carl.
Four is one of the holes on the Legends that will take you a few times to know how to play it the best way. If you are long enough and the wind is friendly, you can take out driver here, draw one around the corner and only have a wedge in. Otherwise, hit the fairway wood right of the fairway bunkers and take the 7/8 iron in. The green is tucked away behind the hill and slopes back to front. The Doctor found the fairway bunker and I found trouble left. This hole put the match back to square.
The fifth is a short par 3 that from the black tees is only a 7 iron. The green sits in a little bowl and shots missing will most of the time, funnel back to the putting surface. The green itself slopes back to front and is tough to putt on from many angles. A short hole that you may play badly if you do not respect it. We both made par so on to the next.
Up the hill to the sixth tee and the course is about to open up. This par 5 requires a very good tee shot. From the tee, there is trouble left and right. Although just scraping the left trees is the best line to take, but only if you can carry 240-250 meters. The second shot opens up towards a double green that is shared with the 8th. The green has a false front so make sure you take plenty of club to get you there. Par to me put me 1 up.
The seventh is an uphill par 4 with a blind tee shot. The best line is over the right hand bunker with a draw. This will also get you the best distance as it will run towards the flat part of the fairway, leaving you with only 100 meters into a large back to front sloping green. Again, do not be short or the ball will be coming back to your feet. Both made par, the match remained 1 up Carl.
Eight is a long par 4 that looks like there is nowhere to land the drive safely. There is plenty of room however as the fairway bunkers will most likely, not be reached. The second shot to the shared green will need to be straight as this green has trouble left, a long chip from the right or a very long putt from the back, on the other green. The good Doctor produced one of the shots of the day and pitched to only inches. Well played Sir! Match square.
The par 5 ninth is one of the better holes at the whole complex. A long drive between fairway bunkers, left and right will get you into position to go at the best green here. Waste bunkers eat into the fairway from the right and the green itself has a huge plateau in it. Going long will leave you with an impossible up n down, as will leaving it short. The easiest way to play this hole is to lay up left and go at the green with a lob wedge for your third. I managed to do just that and went 1 up again.
Ten, the par 3, is the toughest par 3 here. The green sits above the surrounds and run off goes in every direction. A bunker right front is the only respite from running off. The hole is out in the open and is affected by the wind constantly, making this hole very tough. A Poor club choice by me and the match was square again.
Hole eleven presents you with a difficult few decisions from the tee. The hole itself is a long chute looking fairway with nothing but bunkers and little bit of fairway to be seen. The decisions are: 1, Take a long iron or hybrid down the left hand side to give you 100 meters in. 2, Hit the fairway wood close to the fairway bunker left and a short chip onto the green or 3, Bomb a driver at the green over the right fairway side and hope to get there. A great short hole that will challenge every level of golfer. I bombed the driver and went too far right. A lost pill had me reloading, but the Doctor had his troubles too. Hole halved in bogeys.
The match was all square going into the part of the course that I find, how do I say this nicely? Umm, a bit boring. 12 is a 491 meter par 5 with a blind second shot to a strange green that only comes into view at the last little piece of the hole. With no real reference point to hit at, it’s a bit different to the other holes here at the Legends, as it isn’t laid out before you.
The 13th is a bit the same and although the hardest hole, the Doctor and I both made pars to keep the match square. The green on 13 sits in a small amphitheater style depression and the Doc’s shot in clanged against the flag making a huge noise!
The 14th had a strange tinge to the fairway and I think they may be having trouble seeding or growing here as it was a completely different shade and texture to the other fairways. A longish par 4 back into the wind, I kept the ball in the short stuff and made a par for a 1 up lead.
The 15th. How to describe the 15th? Well, it’s a 353 meter par 4 that makes you think a lot off the tee. From where we were on the tee, I cautioned the Doctor to not take the fairway wood, but he would not heed my advice and went through the dogleg left into the trees. It’s only about 165-185 to the dogleg so only take a long iron or hybrid. Make sure to keep your shot away from the waste bunkers down the left side. From there you will have about a 7/8 iron into a raised green with trouble front, left and long. It’s not my favourite stretch of holes here at Moonah Links, but I’m sure others enjoy 12, 13, 14 and 15. Although I never mind playing them, I do look forward to the front nine more.
A 1 up lead for me heading into the downhill par 3, 16th. At 185 meters, this par 3 may look a little simple to most, but it’s only when you get down to the green that you see just how big the putting surface is and how much elevation change is in it. We both hit the green, but I had to putt up a block of flats at the front of the green and left it way too short. The resulting 3 putt put the match back to square going to 17.
The last two holes here are fantastic. 17 is a classic par 4 with a dangerous green. Anywhere short or right and you will be into the waste bunkers. An impossible up n down awaits. That’s just where I went. Not that it mattered as the Doctor hit it to a foot and tapped in for a birdie and a 1 up lead going down 18. The 18th hole is a long par 4 of 405 meters. I needed a birdie or par at worst to square the match. Both myself and Doctor Buzzer were down the middle off the tee, but again it was the Doctor who hit it to about 4 feet and knocked it in for the win 2 up.
We adjourned to the spike bar where the drinks were on me. The clubhouse itself is a magnificent structure and the outside tables from the bar look out on the Open course. On a nice day, you could spend a great deal of time here quite easily. The beers were cold, but the drive home was looming. The kitchen makes some good food here as well and although there was no Chicken Parma(Grr!), there was a burger or loaded potato skins, as well as many other options. The pro shop is well stocked with plenty of Moonah Links merchandise, so you can remember your trip by buying something there.
Damn you Doctor Buzzer! But, there will be another match, soon.
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Some of the fairways were a little worse for wear. The bunkers are such a great feature here and are magnificent to play out of. They also have a few rake stands on the rakes. This keeps the rake from falling into the sand and stopping the ball if it goes in there. A good idea. Yes, I know the design mark is a little low, but those holes I don’t really enjoy playing can’t be marked up as great. The price is seasonal, $95 peak period is ok, $75 during winter. Motorised carts at $45. The Legends course is a great place to play golf and is exactly what you would expect from the Mornington Peninsula area. Go play it!