The second course at 13th Beach Golf Links, the Creek Course, was designed by Tony Cashmore in conjunction with 6-time major championship winner Sir Nick Faldo and is a worthy and wonderful compliment to the Beach Course. It was opened for play in 2004.
The Creek Course has languidly rolling couch fairways and substantial vertically faced bunkers that rarely let you escape without appropriate penalty. Thankfully is has medium sized, firm putting surfaces that add intrigue with hollows, chasms and bumps that stimulate your creativity with short game. There are plenty of examples of greenside bunkering that cuts into, and helps mould, the slopes of the putting surfaces. This mirrors the best traditions of Melbourne’s Sandbelt – much admired by Faldo and a cornerstone of his design philosophy.
The native couch fairways are over sewn with fescue grass. This provides both an excellent, green playing surface year-round, and a quick transition back to couch dominance once the warmth of spring is apparent. Beyond the fairways there is generally a wide zone of maintained short rough prior to either long pasture grasses or the residential areas which thankfully do not encroach adversely. There are some quirky elements too, like the ‘square cut’ tees, the creek itself and the creative use of a few remaining pines in hole strategy.
Despite this course not being as blessed genetically as its colossal coastal dune sibling and therefore being consigned to live in the shadow of The Beach Course, The Creek Course is still a fabulous track. Its main points of difference are established lakes, complemented by strategic ponds and creeks nipping at the heels of the landing areas. The long holes and the average length Par 4s are the standout features of the course. Coupled with nicely contoured greens, this provides enough variation from its more recognizable sibling, but both should be played to savour the full 13th Beach experience.