Nomadic_golfer : December 2020
Par 65, 4875m, slope 114, green fee $40
7 par 3s from 130-185m, 11 par 4s from 280-390m, 0 par 5s
The second course on my quick trip to Melbourne was on the remodelled Sandringham Golf Club, renamed Sandy Golf Links. Located across Cheltenham Rd from Royal Melbourne and best known previously as the car park when big events were played at Royal. As part of a major redevelopment, the facility will also house a high performance training and admin facility for Golf Australia, Golf Victoria and the PGA.
Revamped with the same grass and feel as RM on the greens, the works attempt to replicate true sandbelt green complexes, with bunkers cutting into greens resulting in golf balls falling off edges of greens into sand. The greens are large and firm with lots of nuances, the ball getting thrown in all directions. In true sandbelt fashion, you must approach from the right areas and hit your irons crisp to hold the greens.
The layout of a number of the holes hasn’t changed but there are a lot of new holes and green complexes. Layout is not the strength; the green complexes are. The par 3s are excellent and the most memorable piece for me; there are 7 of them!. There is still a fair bit of kikuyu on fairways that isn’t ’sandbeltesque’ but the greens and the surrounds are the focus and the experience for the uninitiated.
The highlights for me are the green complexes at the 14th (160m from the back but much shorter when we played, reminds me of the 10th at Spring Valley, pictured below) and 15th (345m picture above).
The beauty of Sandy Golf Links (once the grasses mature and the bunkers bed in) is that anybody can get a taste of a true sandbelt experience around the greens on a layout that is not too penal, for a standard fee. Sandbelt golf is so much more difficult around the greens than a kikuyu or soft grass surrounds course and this cannot be appreciated without experiencing it.