Oakleigh South, VIC, Australia
I played ‘Metro’ as it is known to most golfers in Australia, once in the early 2000’s. Prior to playing I had heard rumors regarding the fairways, many who had visited compared them to Augusta National Golf Club. Having been to The Masters Tournament on two separate occasions, I don’t know if I’d quite go as far as comparing them to Augusta. I’d say Augusta is in a league all on its own. I will say however, I’ve never played a course with better fairways. What makes Metro unique from other sandbelt courses is its clean-cut design and aesthetics when compared to a Royal Melbourne or Kingston Heath. Although rugged in spots like Kingston Heath or the odd sandy expanse like Royal Melbourne, Metro is week in, week out the best manicured course in Australia. There is a definable first cut of rough and the bunkers are perfectly cut with sharp edges with greenside bunkers typically cutting into the green surface itself, as opposed to the fringe or fairway grass. Like most of the courses in the sandbelt of Melbourne, Metro requires thought and precision from tee to green throughout all 18 holes. Extremely firm and fast putting surfaces puts a premium on keeping the ball below the hole to optimize your scoring opportunities.
The course was originally laid out and opened in 1908 as the Caulfield Golf Club with Dr. Alister MacKenzie making a number of suggestions which were implemented after his famous visit to Australia in 1926. The majority of the original back nine was reconstructed in 1959 by American architect Dick Wilson. The course has hosted many major tournaments in Australia. My fondest memory of such events was the 1997 Australian Open. Greg Norman, the world number one at the time was bested by Lee Westwood in an epic four-hole playoff. Westwood made par to secure victory, surprising everyone and announcing his presence to the golfing world.
As with most of the sandbelt courses there are available tee times on a weekly basis for overseas visitors. The round is worth the money if you’re only visiting once but does come with a steep tag, approximately US$275. I will be sure to play this great course again someday and I hope it is not too far down the road!
© Gary Lisbon | https://www.golfphotos.com.au/ | IG: @garylisbongolf