Monday, May 17, 2010

Commonwealth Golf Club

Its just after 7am on a sunny morning in Melbourne. Kyle, Joe and I slide into the leather seats of our cab and head for Commonwealth Golf Club. Groggy but all happy to be driven to another sanctuary of golf. We arrive to the club around 7:40am and walk to the pro shop to meet our gracious host Robert Messina. He hands us each a brand new sleeve of Titleist Pro-V-1's and directs us to the locker room.
Not a bad way to start the day. When you walk into the locker rooms at Commonwealth you feel the great sense of pride and history of one of the Sandbelts oldest clubs. Trophies, pictures, and plaques surround you as you sit on old wooden benches among rows of wooden lockers. It is one of the great locker rooms of the Sandbelt.

After soaking in some history we're all ready to hit the tee, first off for the day. In glistening sunshine, the four of us tee off on an immaculatlely prepared golf course which just played host to an Australian Womens professional event. The whole course played fast and firm especially the greens which were approaching the "lightning" vector on your stipmeters at home.

Commenwealth has an excellent opening stretch of holes and some very challenging short holes. The ninth is a potentential wrecker. Not only are there gaping bunkers protecting the front edge of the green but the hole plays almost imperceptively uphill and through a shoot of trees, making club selection difficult.
On the way in the 17th hole is a difficult short par 4 seemingly birdieable but emanently harder than it appears. A long iron off the tee must be accurate to the right side of a narrow fairway or choose the other option and rip driver as close to the green as possible. I tried option 2 and was left with 65 yards to a green pitched heavily from front to back. I landed my ball on the front edge of the green and still could not stop it until it reached the back. Four is a good score here.
Of the courses we saw in the Sandbelt, Commonwealth probably has the least elevation change, but it had the most total yardage from the back tees. All of the holes here were of top quality asking us to execute precisely. One of the most important strategies to execute was missing on the right side of the hole, short-siding yourself in a bunker at Commonwealth is the quickest way to get double bogey dust all over your golf ball (it sure is hard to wipe that dust off of your score card).
Commonwealth is a fun course to play with some buddies, but I would probably not be inclined to come back and play it by myself. It just doesn't have that extra appeal. Unfortunately for the sake of this club it gets overshadowed by the stable of over qualified tracks just minutes away. The bottom line is that Commonwealth Golf Club is an excellent members course, which I would be more than satisfied to play on a weekly basis. It was an honor to be a guest for a day at a club so rich in history and atmosphere.

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