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By Rhonda Norman
Hot springs, cool wine and ocean beaches might be what comes to mind when you think of activities on the Mornington Peninsula, right? If you are golfer, then perhaps, The Dunes, Moonah Links and Cape Schanck roll off your tongue a little easier.
There are plenty of reasons to come down to the Mornington Peninsula, which is an easy 90 min drive from Melbourne Airport or just over an hour from Melbourne’s CBD. Why is the golf so good, well it’s part of the sand belt extension of Melbourne’s SE Suburbs and the majority of courses back onto or are designed in, the sand dunes of the Peninsula’s back beaches.
Natural undulating greens, sweeping views and fairways lined with ancient indigenous trees, make for an amazing environment to play golf – or a leisurely stroll, depending on how your game is going! The benefit to all of this, the majority of courses are sand based, so drainage is not a problem, and allows for excellent golf, year-round – providing you can battle the winds on a winter’s day.
Ladies Golf is alive and thriving on the Peninsula. With all courses offering access for women and girls to play in a friendly, inclusive environment. The Dunes particularly, have a very strong ladies programme and there is no waiting period, should wish to join and become a member.
I had a coffee with Rhonda Harrison, the Club’s 1st female President (there have been many) and we talked about the strong presence of women at the club. Lifelong friendships have been made and nurtured at the club and some ladies in their 80’s & 90’s are still actively playing each week. What I loved was the Junior Schools Programme, where they encourage grade 5 & 6 students to come down to the club and learn the game. Having both a 9 hole and 18-hole Championship course, allows golfers of all abilities to play, have fun and enjoy the company of others, in a natural coastal bushland setting.
With accommodation available onsite at most of the courses, they all offer stay and play packages, and in some cases the golf is discounted, as they want you to play a couple of rounds while you are there for a mid-week break or a weekend getaway.
So, grab a group of ladies, head down to the Peninsula and enjoy the friendly hospitality on offer. Don’t worry that you might not be playing at a ‘Championship’ level, all the courses offer lessons, hire clubs and have great practice greens and fairways, for you to chip away at. Once you have strolled the fairway’s, then you can relax at the neighbouring Hot Springs, which will help ease the muscles for some well-deserved pamper time.
The Dunes on Browns Road, Rye opened their brand-new accommodation apartments in
November 2021. With 11 x one bedroom apartments and 6 x two bedroom/two bathrooms apartments, this will be a welcome addition to their
existing facilities. They have a 9 hole and 18 hole Championship course with driving range, putting greens and bunkers for chipping
The Clubhouse at the Dunes by Johnny Derham
Moonah Links located on Trueman’s Road offers accommodation with the Peppers Moonah Links Resort onsite (Managed by Accor Hotels – so you might be able to use some points for your stay!). With a Restaurant and Bar located in the main club house and some of their rooms designed for self-catering, there are plenty of options in Suites, one and two bedroom apartments for you to choose from. With two, 18-hole Championship courses, it offers a very different style of play – the Open Course is a links course, and The Legends Course is a resort style course, so you will have plenty of variation for your weekend stay.
Peppers Moonah Links Resort
Rosebud Country Club at the end of the Mornington Peninsula freeway, is tucked away off Boneo Road. Perhaps the most established resort course on the peninsula with manicured fairways lined with towering pine and gum trees, an afternoon stroll here, won’t disappoint. With motel style accommodation rooms available, you will be able to walk straight out your front door and onto the 1st tee in no time. The club has a wonderful bistro, so you won’t be short on food choices. Great practice amenities are available and they have a Bowls club onsite too. What we love about this 36 hole course, is they play each nine holes separately, so you never know which 9 holes you will be playing, as they change it up each day.
Rosebud Country Club
RACV Cape Schanck Resort with its newly completed architectural designed clubhouse has certainly made a statement on the Peninsula in recent times (a good statement, we think). This course is not only one of the Peninsula’s favourite 18 hole Championship course, it is consistently good, never disappoints, and always has great access for anyone to play and we never tire of playing this course. With over 300 accommodations rooms in the new clubhouse and many fairway villas around the course, there are plenty of options. If you are a roadside assistance member, there are discounts available and with reciprocal rights for interstate roadside members, which makes this property especially attractive for interstate guests. Three restaurants are onsite, a multi room day spa and one of the most impressive indoor lap pools you have seen, it will have you doing morning laps before you hit the greens.
Cape Schanck Aerial pic by Tom Putt
Interstate golfers can hire a car from the airport or contact one of the Peninsula’s many shuttle services to come and get you, so your time to relax and unwind starts from the moment you land. Having a local shuttle service also allows you to explore the regions wineries or visit the local Brewers and Distillers, not to mention grabbing your own fresh produce from the many farm gates. Then sit back, enjoy a platter of cheese, some local cured meats or olives, all while sipping on a cool climate wine or local beer, while you reminisce about the day’s antics on the course. Before you know it, you will have found another date in the diary to return and try another wonderful course and become a true Peninsula Golf Ambassador!
Rhonda Norman is a Peninsula local of 18 years and has been playing golf for over 20 years. She is the Co-Founder of Regional Experiences, has a background in Hotels, Resorts and the travel industry which spans 35 years. Her love of the game has seen her play a lot of golf around the world, and she has stayed at some extraordinary resorts during her travels. Now a freelance travel writer and photographer, Rhonda is sharing her stories from her travels, to inspire others to explore and connect with locals, wherever they go.