All right, our secret’s out … we’re spoilt for choice.
We’ve been tucked away down in our pristine neck of the golfing woods, blissfully swinging away without much fanfare.
But alas, as all secrets that are too good to be true, our anonymity has been blown. Only kidding, we’re happy to share!
Golf on the Bellarine is just about as good as it gets – anywhere. Our courses have great layouts, are consistently maintained year-round and, arguably most importantly, strike a happy balance between challenge and fun.
And if you don’t believe me, check the 2018 Golf Australia Magazine rankings of the nation’s top courses and you’ll find no fewer than four of our courses in the top 70!
Chief among them is the region’s long-time flagship, Barwon Heads at No.19. The doors of this venerable club have opened a little wider in recent years and exposed a course that sits comfortably among the great coastal links, and I mean anywhere.
The first six holes will transport you to Scotland with the beauty of almost treeless golf as captivating as it is challenging – and all 18 holes are always immaculate.
Right next door as the seagull flies above the dunes of Thirteenth Beach, is the club that bears the same name. The 13th Beach complex has two distinctly different championship layouts, both of which have been made famous by the club’s tenure as the host of the Vic Open. It’s largely the spotlight this time-honoured tournament turns on the region that has been responsible for the increased profile of our golfing playground – and our own pride in it.
The 13th Beach Creek Course, designed by six-time major championship winner Nick Faldo, sits at No.53 in the rankings and is a track that’s as fair to choppers as it is challenging to pros. Wide fairways and strategic bunkering are key features on a course on which the challenges become greater the closer you get to the greens.
The adjacent 13th Beach Beach Course is the primary layout of the state championship and its rugged coastal beauty has already been the backdrop of some extraordinary moments. Moreover, it’s a course that is exacting with penal rough throughout. But don’t let that put you off – it’s the 21st ranked course in the land and for good reason. A stunning walk and great variety in and out of the dunes, particularly the bewitching par-three 16th hole that will have you in fits when the wind gets up and is one of the best short holes in Australia despite being just 100m.
To the northern side of the peninsula, just a 20-minute drive away, lies the enchanting Curlewis, ranked No.68 nationally – a remarkable achievement for a progressive club that puts a premium on fun and inclusivity. The club’s own water treatment plant ensures the course is immaculate year-round and the front nine holes, in particular, remind many of its Sandbelt cousins in Melbourne on courses with far greater reputations.
A few minutes east up the highway lies Portarlington, a club that is among the most pleasantly surprising you’ll find. Portarlington has that warm “country” club feel and a welcome to match. The layout is simple, but always well maintained and an easy walk, even if you’re feeling the pinch.
It’s a group of courses that sits comfortably among any “golf trip” destination around Australia – accessible, well grouped, ample accommodation and nestled among some of the best restaurants and wineries you’ll find anywhere.
But we can’t reveal all our secrets at once, that’s for another day!