South Oakleigh, VIC, Australia
Another of the famous Australian layouts in the Melbourne sandbelt. It does not receive the same notoriety and accolades of the others but is a unique, fun experience. The club as it is located today was built in 1920 as a nine-hole facility with the completion of all 18 holes in 1926. The course measures 6,968 yards from the championship tees carrying a par of 73 making it relatively short.
Commonwealth plays differently from many of the sandbelt courses, and by all accounts has a lot of similarities to Huntingdale Golf Club across the street. The course is heavily tree-lined with towering gums, eucalyptus, pine, and wattle lining the majority of the fairways. Many holes crisscross and run alongside one another. The fairways are narrower than courses like Metropolitan, Kingston Heath or Royal Melbourne. Given the course’s length, the narrow fairways and strategic bunkering protects the golf course from being overpowered. Many golfers are drawn into the temptation of a shorter approach by playing aggressively from the tee, this can lead to more high scores than low because of the penalty for a miss. The bunkering is characteristic of all sandbelt courses, deep, penalizing and numerous, so you best be comfortable in the sand when missing a green. The greens are poa annua as opposed to the preferred bent grass in the region which impacts on the firmness of the greens. Poa grows rapidly and densely, creating a spongy consistency making them more receptive than their bent grass counterparts.
Commonwealth has always ranked highly in Australia top courses lists and will continue to do so. I would certainly enjoy an opportunity to play here again on a visit back home in the future!
© Gary Lisbon | https://www.golfphotos.com.au/ | IG: @garylisbongolf