Three courses, three architects!
The National Golf Club is a 54 hole private members' golf club, providing three unique golfing experiences: the Old Course, the Moonah course and the Ocean course.
Three different architects has been involved; Robert Trent Jones Jr (Old course), Greg Norman (Moonah course) and Thomson, Wolveridge & Perrett (Ocean course).
The Moonah course:
During my visit I played the Old course and the Moonah course. I was not wowed by the Moonah course. It’s not a bad golf course, but to me it’s lacking character, to generous fairways and it’s not that challenging. The attempt was to create an inland links style course similar to the traditional links course, but I don’t think the result is that impressive. Again, it’s not a bad course, but it’s not a great either.
The Old course on the other hand is a very fun and enjoyable golf course. The holes are totally separated from each other. The variation and character of each hole is appealing. The course is very elevated with tee boxes high above the fairways, greens high above fairways, etc.
Creativity, ball position and trust your distance is crucial.
The par 3’s are spectacular and demands a precise tee shot. You’ll have interesting doglegs and very deep well positioned bunkers. You’ll have plenty of options on the golf course – brilliant.
It’s just a very fun golf course to play and yes. It’s also challenging. Ad some spectacular views to this and you’ll have an experience you’ll not forget.
Plenty of great holes on the Old course, but the following are my favorites:
Hole 7 – 121 meters par 3
Stunning view with the ocean in the background. Short is not an option, since you need to carry all the way over a deep ravine. Club selection is key and the wind will also mess with you. 7-iron on green and 5 meters behind the hole, missed the birdie putt for a par.
Hole 16 – 149 meters par 3
A tricky hole and you need to carry the ball all the way to an elevated green. You’ll have a spine cutting across the green, so putting is difficult. This is the hole to make a draw in to the green – I can’t! A 5-iron to the middle of green, missed an 8-meter birdie putt for a par.
Hole 17 – 491 meters par 5
Long hitters can cut the dogleg left corner. The conventional way is to place the ball between the two large bunkers that protect each side of the corner. There are plenty of large bunkers in the lay up area, so be to the left. Take an extra club to get upon the elevated tee. Great drive cutting the left corner, lay up shot in the bunker, third shot short of the green, short pitch 4 meters from pin, missed par put for a bogey 5.
Hole 18 – 306 meters par 4
Undulating dogleg right fairway, two large bunkers protecting each side of fairway 200 meters out from tee. Five deep large bunkers protecting the undulated green. Great tricky finish. Fairway wood just short of the fairway bunkers, 9-iron 8 meters short of pin, two putts for a solid par.
I played very well both days and I’m not sure I can play much better than this. I scored a 76 on the Moonah course – 38 on the front and 38 on the back. On the Old course I shot 39 on the front and 40 on the back for a total of 79 shots (gross). Just a few recovery shots and in general striking the ball well.
The National is an impressive set up and the clubhouse is magnificent. As I mentioned, I favor the Old course – very enjoyable experience.
The National Golf Club - Old course
The National Golf Club - Moonah course