Victoria was a last minute selection for our trip to the Sandbelt. Had I really known about this gem my group and I would have planned our arrival a bit better. The first lesson we learned on this golf trip was never to count on your budget airline carrier to ensure a speedy arrival of your marginally overweight golf bags. Over an hour after landing in Melbourne we hopped into a cab and headed straight to the golf course. The one smart thing we did was dress in our golf clothes prior to boarding our 8am flight from Sydney. This gave us just enough time to tie our shoe laces and take our ceremonial first tee photograph.
The first hole at Victoria is a precursor for what lays ahead of you. The fairway and green are both heavily bunkered begging for a smart decision from the tee. There are a few tricks to learn at Victoria, but clear strategies are presented from tee to green demanding the golfer to make smart choices. The penalties are great for missing the green on the wrong side. The bunkering at Victoria is the epitome of the Sandbelt courses. Deep and dug straight from the sandy earth beneath, the bunkers are seamlessly tied in to the edges of the playing surfaces. They also present a real hazard as it is up to the player to figure out just how deep the sand is under the ball.
In concert with the seemingly random surface of the bunkers Victoria exhibited the sandy nature of its site the best of any of the Sandbelt courses we played. There was a wild and untamed look to margins of the well maintained playing surfaces that stood out against a more country club feel at Commonwealth and Metropolitan. Most of the par 3 holes (arguably the best holes) required a carry over these sandy waste areas, combined with formal bunkers the targets were somewhat obscured by a sea of sand. Very cool!
As soon as you step on to the first tee at Victoria you get the sense that you are in for a special day. The golf course never lets you down, leading you from green to tee while gently meandering through 18 solid holes. On this day the Victoria Golf Club played fast and firm providing us with the quintisential golf experience of Melbourne.