4. Royal Melbourne (West) Melbourne, Australia. Mackenzie
Royal Melbourne is one of golf greatest collaborative efforts. It begins with Alister Mackenzie’s fantastic routing. His routing challenges the rolling terrain from so many different ways, mostly diagonally, but on occasion even straight up. The impact is tremendous variety of cants and fairway contours in play in landing areas. In fact, it’s one of the best driving courses in golf. The course also features a series of beautiful green sites, some on plateaus others within bowls, but each beautifully blended into the surrounding landscape. Russel and Morcom deserve much credit for getting Alister’s plan and details in the ground, but it’s Claude Crockford’s integration of native plant materials and course presentation that make this course sublime.
What I enjoy most is the epic scale of the site. Mackenzie added multitudes of dramatic bunkers that are very much in play. You are constantly asked whether you should carry a hazard in order to gain position or play safe and take on a longer tougher approach. But you know that if you’re going to get anywhere you must take on some of the trouble. This balance of playability and disaster engages you. Missing fairways or approaches comes with a price, but making the shot comes with a just reward.
I love the freedom to choose and think. I love the notion of taking on as much as I dare. I have all the safe options I would ever want, but just as many dangerous and compelling options that I can’t pass up. It’s all up to me.
|6th Hole West by David Scaletti|