Hidden gems uncovered
Scattered across less-travelled regional areas of Victoria are several golf courses well worth playing. One of the finest country courses is Horsham, rated in the national Top 100. While on the other side of the state is Lakes Entrance is a beautiful layout featuring ocean views, numerous waterways and expansive bunkering. Stopping off for a round at Lang Lang en route to Phillip Island and Forest Resort at Creswick in the spa territory is also recommended.
Lakes Entrance Golf Club
Golf Links Road, Lakes Entrance
Ph 03 5155 1431
Course length: 6104 metres, par: 72
Put on the map after the Herald Sun ran a story about a duck-diving dog retrieving golf balls from pristine lakes dotting the course. Many holes on the front nine parallel either the shore of Ninety Mile Beach or the magnificent inland lakes system. Look forward to the 'Kyber Pass' hole, one of the most demanding par fours around. Players tee off high in the sand dunes with visual intimidation staring them directly in the face. Water lapping the left side of the green adds to the difficulty.
Horsham Golf Club
Golf Course Road, Horsham
Ph 03 5382 3312
Course length: 5879 metres, par: 71
Generally regarded as one of the finest courses in regional Victoria, Horsham hosts an annual amateur tournament attracting a talented entry list. Designer Sam Berriman can be proud of his work, especially bunker positioning and green orientation. Fairways are gently rolling but now less tree-lined since bushfires swept through the property in early 2009 – regeneration is underway.
Lang Lang Golf Club
90 Golf Club Road, Lang Lang
Ph 03 5659 6284
Course length: 5710 metres, par: 70
Just off the highway heading to Phillip Island this course is set among native bushland with a deep sand profile delivering incredible natural drainage. A fun track to play with lots of really good holes spread throughout the round it was designed free of charge in the '60s by Australian Open champion George Naismith. There is potential for even further improvement if tree canopies now impacting playing lines were removed and replaced with tactical bunkering.
The Forest Resort @ Creswick
1500 Midland Highway, Creswick
Ph 03 5345 9628
Course length: 6230 metres, Par: 72
Just north of the regional centre of Ballarat and right in the heart of spa country this rolling golf course features many elevated tees and greens abutting the state forest. Course designer Tony Cashmore utilised lagoons on the property to good effect. The 15th is a case in point, with players needing to lay-up short of a water barrier before deciding whether an aggressive or prudent approach is advisable.