Royal Melbourne Golf Club
Coordinates: Royal Melbourne Golf Club is a 36-hole golf club in Australia, located in Black Rock, Victoria, a suburb of Melbourne. Its West and East courses are respectively ranked number 1 and 6 in Australia. The West course is ranked in the top ten courses in the world (or outside the United States). Founded in 1891, it is Australia's oldest extant and continually existing golf club. The Royal Melbourne Golf Club has a capacity for 15,000 fans.
Royal Melbourne has hosted numerous national and international events. Its 16 Australian Opens are surpassed by only the 17 hosted by The Australian Golf Club. It hosted the 1959 Canada Cup (now Mission Hills World Cup), and the 1970 World Cup. Royal Melbourne hosted the 1988 Australian Bicentennial tournament. It was selected by the PGA Tour to hold the Presidents Cup, for the first time outside the United States, in December 1998. The match was convincingly won by the International team, captained by Peter Thomson, who had himself earlier served as the Club professional at Royal Melbourne. The course hosted the Presidents Cup again in November 2011, won by the United States. The course also hosted the Women's Australian Open for the first time in February 2012, now an LPGA Tour event.
Founded in 1891 as the Melbourne Golf Club ('Royal' prefix given in 1895), the founding president was Sir James McBain, and the founding captain was John Munro Bruce (father of the later Australian prime minister, Viscount Stanley Melbourne Bruce). The principal founding members included P.K. (Patrick Kinney) McCaughan, a New Zealand pastoralist, parliamentarian, businessman and developer and proprietor of the Old Rialto Hotel building in Collins Street.
The club had to give up its original site, much nearer the city centre, because of increasing urbanization. It planned a move to its present location in the mid-1920s. Royal Melbourne's two current courses are known as the 'West' and 'East' courses. The West course was designed under the strict standards of famous course architect Alister MacKenzie. He visited the eventual site, located on the renowned Melbourne Sandbelt, south of the city, in 1926. The actual building of the West course was overseen by the famed Australian golfer Alex Russell, as well as the head greenkeeper Mick Morcom; it was completed for play in 1931, and required much clearing of forested land. The East course was designed by Russell, and was completed in 1932.
A combination of 18 holes from the East and West courses contained on the main property is known as the 'Composite' course. There have been 21 holes used in the history of the 'Composite' course, from 1959 to 2011, depending on the event being held.
The East course is the lesser of the courses with fewer noteworthy holes, but is still held in very high regard. The West course has several world-class holes but they are not long compared to current standards for championship par 4s and 5s. The course is strictly landlocked by existing boundaries. During recent restoration of the West course (and East course Composite holes) in preparation for the 2011 Presidents Cup, fairway grasses were changed to restrict the progress of the golf ball, particularly given the lack of length of the par 5 holes.
- "The Age Newspaper". Melbourne. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
- "Golf Australia Magazine 2012".
- "US Golf Digest".
- "Planet Golf".
- "Royal Melbourne named host for 2011". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 September 2007.
- Royal Melbourne Golf Club
- Royal Melbourne Golf Club, History Of The Courses
- The World Atlas of Golf, second, revised edition, by Herbert Warren Wind, Charles Price, and Peter Thomson, London 1988, Mitchell Beazley publishers.