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Victoria Golf Club reconstruction

Tuesday 08, Oct 2019

 

Course manager Steven Newell looks back on the extensive reconstruction works undertaken at Victoria Golf Club between July 2018 and February 2019 which has seen some of the Melbourne sandbelt’s oldest greens reinstated to their former glory. 

The Victoria Golf Club (VGC) was first established in 1903 at Fisherman’s Bend in Port Melbourne before relocating in 1926 to its present 128-acre site in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Cheltenham.

It has a club steeped in history, designed by the great Alister MacKenzie and the home club of arguably Australia’s greatest ever golfer Peter Thomson.  Over the years it has has hosted many national and international tournaments, including six men’s and women’s Australian Opens and two Australian Masters.

I was appointed VGC course manager in July 2016 following 19 years at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide.  It was a homecoming of sorts as prior to my time at Kooyonga I had spent eight years at Metropolitan Golf Club, including the last four as assistant superintendent. 

At the time of my appointment, VGC had three major projects under consideration;

  • Converting the greens to a bentgrass variety that would help produce more consistently firm and fast putting surfaces, synonymous to ‘sandbelt golf’;
  • An irrigation system upgrade; and 
  • Construction of a new maintenance facility. 
 

 

 

Victoria’s existing native sand greens were constructed back in 1927, with only four being reconstructed in the 90 years since. 

The greens were predominantly Poa annua, with couchgrass infestation a serious problem in summer.

 

They were difficult to manage through the warmer months and were prone to disease. Coupled with that, some of the contours on the greens built back in the day were quite severe. 

This created a number of issues in terms of pin placements and playability, especially when windy. 

 

To read the full story on the reconstruction of Victoria Golf Club, click here