Sunday, 26 December 2010

Yarra Yarra

The approach to the 5th green 

Yarra Yarra seems to be a course that gets the most mixed reviews. Some like the course while others clearly don’t. The one constant throughout is that all agree that the collection of par threes is outstanding, and that the 11th makes everyone’s list of best par threes in Australia. That was enough to get me to visit.
The golf course gets out the gate with a strong par three that tests you right from the outset. This is followed by two consecutive par fours playing along the property line. The club struggles with the safety issues on all three of these holes and because of this Yarra Yarra will likely face large changes down the road. This is too bad since the holes are quite good, but I doubt any will survive the new Master Plan.
The incredible 11th

The 4th is a lovely par three that utilizes a great carry angle over a ridge to set up the green. Everyone laments the loss of the old green surface, which will be recreated when Hawtree moves the entire hole, but I fear the loss of that wonderful carry angle will loose the charm. The 5th is by far the best long hole on the course and the island of bunkers short left of the green is one of the more remarkable features I saw on my entire trip. The setting of the green, contour in the landing and playing into the prevailing winds makes this an outstanding two shot hole.
From here the course begins a pattern of parallel holes running back and forth across the property. The holes are fine, but not compelling, and the back and forth nature begins to make the holes seem very similar. This run is suddenly broken by the incredible 11th. The 11th is a long three that is surprisingly devoid of trees, where a massive bunkering complex defends a long green set on a 45 to play. The green rises from the elevated front through to back, with wonderful undulations throughout. The 11th is a stunner and must be seen on a trip to Melbourne.
The short 15th 

The 12th is an interesting two shotter that plays diagonal to the remaining holes, along the property line, to a nicely elevated green. Then we return back into pattern with more back and forth holes all of a similar length. This is only broken up by the incredible 15th which is another stunning par three almost the equal of the 11th. The elevated green has a wicked drop in the middle and is punctuated by a central roll. Hitting extra putts at this green led to some interesting revelations on how to play the hole.
Yarra Yarra is a good solid course with a great collection of par threes. If I had not seem the threes, I would have clearly missed something on my trip to Australia.

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