Much of Melbourne’s eastern suburbs are covered by heavy clay subsoil. Around 20 million years ago, lower lying areas were flooded, which deposited sandstone material, known as the Red Bluff Sands. The Sandbelt suburbs are built on remnant sand dunes from this time. The sand can reach a depth of 80 metres in some places. Further east and north, the clay remains, and this region is sometimes referred to as the Clay Belt by contrast to the Sandbelt.
Sandy soil is particularly suitable for golf courses. It is easy to place bunkers wherever a course designer chooses, without the need to carry in sand from another location, and it is easy to ensure appropriate drainage. A feature of several Melbourne Sandbelt courses is that bunkers are cut right on the edge of a green, which is not possible in other courses with different soil types.
There are several major championship courses in the Melbourne Sandbelt which are regularly listed among the world's best. Notable courses include Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Victoria Golf Club, Kingston Heath Golf Club, Huntingdale Golf Club, and Metropolitan Golf Club. For example, Royal Melbourne is in the top 10 on the Top 100 Gold Courses of the World web site, and Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath both feature in the Golf Digest top 20 courses in the world.
List of Sandbelt courses
Major championship courses
- Commonwealth Golf Club, Oakleigh South
- Huntingdale Golf Club, Oakleigh South
- Kingston Heath, Cheltenham
- Metropolitan Golf Club, Oakleigh South
- Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Black Rock
- Victoria Golf Club, Cheltenham
- Yarra Yarra Golf Club, Bentleigh East
- Capital Golf Club, Heatherton
- Cheltenham Golf Club, Cheltenham
- Eastern Sward Golf Club, Bangholme
- Keysborough Golf Club, Keysborough
- Long Island Country Club, Frankston North
- Patterson River Golf Club, Bonbeach
- Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club, Dingley Village (scheduled closure September 2017) and Frankston
- Ranfurlie, Cranbourne
- Rossdale Golf Club, Aspendale
- Sandhurst Club, Skye
- Southern Golf Club, Keysborough
- Spring Valley Golf Club, Clayton South
- Woodlands Golf Club, Mordialloc
- Amstel Park, Cranbourne
- Centenary Park, Frankston
- Sandringham Golf Course, Cheltenham
- Spring Park Golf Course, Dingley Village
- http://www.beaumarisconservation.net/sandenv8.pdf, figure 1
- Bouazza, A., Kodikara, J., and Parker, R., "On the Use of Sand Washing Slimes for Waste Containment" Geotechnics of High Water Content Materials ASTM STP 1374, T.B. Edil and P.J. Fox, Eds., American Society For Testing and Materials, West Conshohocken, PA, USA, 2000 http://books.google.com.au/books?id=iQhDe5OdyXkC&pg=PA293&lpg=PA293&dq=clayton+sand+mining+landfill&source=bl&ots=M-h4Rkqlom&sig=vHr43_r-aTciZMEkhx_paZjLK0w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=873XUuGUE86fkgWY44GoAg&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=clayton%20sand%20mining%20landfill&f=false
- "Geotechnics of Land Disposal of Waste" in Geoenvironmental Engineering Contaminated Ground: Fate of Pollutants and Remediation, ed. R. Yong and H.R. Thomas, 1997 p.301 http://books.google.com.au/books?id=WaU0igJ5a0wC&lpg=PA301&ots=pUgeEB_NXb&dq=clayton%20sand%20mining%20landfill&pg=PA301#v=onepage&q=clayton%20sand%20mining%20landfill&f=false
- Melbourne Sandbelt Golf Map
- The Melbourne Sandbelt - Classic Golf - an association of major courses
- Interview with Paul Daley and David Scaletti, authors of The Sandbelt – Melbourne’s Golfing Heaven ISBN 095802250X.
- Musician Lloyd Cole's account of playing the Sandbelt courses, which won the Australian Golf Writer's Best Feature of the Year Award in 2009.