The Victoria Golf Club was founded in 1903 by Mr. Bill Meader and was initially located at Fishermans Bend in Port Melbourne. Mr. Meader was instrumental in the Club’s formation and his original chair is still displayed in the foyer as a testament to his contribution. The Club moved to its current location in 1927 and the new course was designed by Oscar Damman and Bill Meader with the assistance from the doyen of course architects, Dr. Alister Mackenzie.
Situated in the heart of Melbourne’s rolling Sandbelt country, in the beachside suburb of Cheltenham, it offers a golfing experience on par with the world’s best. The beautifully landscaped course measures 6,278 metres (6,905 yards) and is designed to challenge both the amateur and professional golfer. The course is one of the Sandbelt’s tougher courses, with lightning-fast greens and some of the best bunkering in Australia.
The course has changed considerably in the last fifteen years, under the guidance of Michael Clayton. It is still unmistakeably a course featuring all of the design characteristics of a traditional Sandbelt course. The courses of the world-renowned Sandbelt area, typically feature wonderful green complexes with strategic bunkering and the effects of the weather determine the most appropriate line of play.
Typically in tournament play, holes eleven to sixteen play a significant role in determining which player will hold the trophy aloft on the final day. Holes eleven, twelve and thirteen are all par fours requiring accuracy and placement off the tee followed by an approach shot to the ‘right spot’ on the green to hopefully allow the player to make a putt! Fourteen is a tricky uphill par three requiring the most accurate of tee shot – missing the green will make par unlikely. The fifteen is perhaps the most interesting – anything from a driver to a six-iron – again reaching the green in regulation is essential for par. Sixteen typically plays as one of the hardest holes of all during tournaments and a long iron with careful placement is required to make three. Two par fives finish the nine – with eighteen often the scene of an heroic birdie or even eagle to snatch a victory.
The Club has an incredible history in world golf and in 1954, perhaps one of the most remarkable feats in world golf occurred. VGC Club Members, Doug Bachli and Peter Thomson set the Club on the world stage when Doug won the British Amateur Championship and Peter Thomson won the first of his five British Open Championships. Both trophies sat side-by-side on the mantelpiece in the Members Bar. In recognition of this feat, and the contribution of these two great members to the game of golf, the Club honoured them by naming a room after them – the Bachli Thomson Room. Club member Geoff Ogilvy also has had recent international success in winning the 2006 U.S. Open.
The Clubhouse is regarded as one of the best in Australia and includes fifteen twin-share accommodation rooms and the contribution of these houseguests to the ‘fabric’ of the Club is significant. The hospitality experiences offered by the Club are exceptional and the awe of first-time guests ensures that they become regular visitors to the Club.
As Peter Thomson said, “some clubs have a special character that sets them apart. It is not necessarily the quality of the course, or the accommodations of the buildings that distinguishes them. It is more essentially the membership, past, and present, and the file of achievements over such a period of decades that creates such a tradition. Victoria Golf Club is such a Club”.