Curlewis Golf Club

Curlewis-Golf-Club

First impressions of Curlewis Golf Club have visitors believing they are strolling around a Scottish Links, with the obvious exception being its proximity to Melbourne and adjacency to Geelong on the road to Portarlington.

Blessed with a brilliant sand base and a sparsity of trees, this is a somewhat unknown links that continues to grow in reputation with its subtly rolling couch fairways. Easily one of the premier courses on the delightful Bellarine Peninsula, it first opened in 1970. Vern Morcom was the original designer, however in 1976 a master plan was undertaken by Kevin Hartley that tweaked the original layout in a positive fashion.

Fast forward to 2001 and Mike Clayton is engaged for the first time by the Club to develop and oversee a second master plan. This positive step continues Curlewis in an upward trajectory with substantial gains achieved. The often-breezy layout is complimented by fast solid greens and creative bunkering.

By 2015, the club had fallen on hard times financially and thankfully was purchased by local winery owners David and Lyndsay Sharp, whose injection of capital and wisdom resulted in a second engagement with Mike Clayton (his team now known as Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking and Mead). This collaboration resulted in a further enhanced and revised layout that measures 6,150 metres from the tips, is a par 71 and a comprehensive test to players of any ability. Thankfully, across the influence of different designers, the course has maintained a links-type character with a minimum of trees, undulating fairways, challenging bunkers and large contoured greens. To play Curlewis is to fall in love with a truly fabulous golf course.

In terms of feature holes, it is hard to ignore the challenge and beauty of the 174-metre 3rd hole. Often played into prevailing winds, it can require a piercing blow with as much as a No 3 wood. Clearly deserving of its No 2 index on the card, the green is complex in its slopes that project the slightly mishit shot a good 10 to 15 metres off the green if you collect the front right quadrant. Should you find the left-hand bunkers, the explosion to the green will need to be laced with backspin as the green is sliding away from you.

With the Clubhouse in sight, No 18 is a formidable test, usually it plays longer than the 354 metres due to prevailing wind and the tee shot must be confidently struck to avoid water on the left and penal bunkering to the right. The green is again protected to the left by water coupled with bunkering left and right. If you need par to secure a decent card it will be well earnt here!

Peregian Golf Course

Peregian-Golf-Course-10th-Hole

Peregian Golf Course came into existence in 2003 as a member only Club and course, beautifully presented and was the impressive first full design of Phil Scott, father to Masters Champion, Adam. Conceived to be the centrepiece of the Peregian Springs residential development, the course immediately gained a reputation as one of the most challenging on the Sunshine Coast. As is often the case sadly with residential golf developments, revenues did not match necessary expenditure and it disappointingly closed in 2015. Fortunately, under new ownership and management it re-opened in 2016.

Peregian has some quality short par 4s and its 312-metre par 4 5th is one such example. At the tee, all that is apparent is a gradually rising fairway, looking innocent enough except for a protruding bunker lip at the top of the hill to the left side. Concealed near this bunker, however, is another to its right which isn’t visible but is devilishly located closer to the fairway centre. In terms of risk and reward values, this is a terrific hole. Those with a long tee ball can smash away beyond the bunkering and nearly access the green, but an out-of-bounds boundary is menacingly close to the left of this line, so it is a gambling tee shot that has considerable risk.

Each nine on a course should contain a quality short par 4 and Peregian does not disappoint at the 297 metre 15th – a hole that continues to improve with age like a fine wine. Trees along the perimeter of fairway on both sides have grown in stature now gloriously framing this cheeky short hole. Best not to be too aggressive from the tee as a cluster of fairway bunkers loom to the left.

Stretching 6,169 metres from the back tees, Peregian can’t be considered particularly long but it is actually a blessing in the case of Phil Scott’s design as his focus has been on the strategic values of holes as opposed to just relying on length. That said, the par 5s, No’s 7 and 9 are all but unreachable in two shots unless you have firepower to burn.

Two of Peregians par 3s are fine examples and neither is particularly long. On the front nine the 145-metre 8th with some reasonable vegetation growth now filling the edges of the hole gives a feeling of isolation from the outside world as you ponder the tee shot. Similarly, at the 140 metre 14th, seclusion is the theme, encapsulated by ever narrowing tree growth as you get closer to the green, a slightly raised target that is somewhat small. With four bunkers providing ample protection, these traps might be the best miss, as anything long or left is projected down a steep slope into unplayable scrub.

A highlight of the enhanced course condition can be found in the immaculately kept Bermuda grass greens.  A course lives and dies as a result of green quality and these at Peregian are close to perfect (no mean feat in this climate). This coupled with fabulous couch fairways make Peregian a quality golf experience and ensure the course should be well considered in any Sunshine Coast golfing itinerary.