07 Mar 2024 | Clubs and Facilities |

Commonwealth moves forward with skill-based tee markers

by Martin Blake

Commonwealth image
Commonwealth has reopened its full 18-hole course with new tee markers.

As the Melbourne sandbelt gem Commonwealth Golf Club enjoys its grand course reopening after three years of changes, the club is adopting best practice in the selection of tee markers based on skill rather than gender.

The club announced to its members this week that the old red tee markers had been replaced.

From Thursday’s reopening, the colours for tee markers will be the same as the club’s colours: Oxbord blue (formerly blue), gold (formerly white), white (formerly red) and Cambridge blue (formerly green), and handicapped accordingly.

Black tees will also be used for major events.

Club general manager Peter Paccagnan said the new tee markers were in keeping with the club’s key values of being progressive and inclusive.

Many clubs around Australia have moved away from gender-based tees in recent years in response to a reluctance among men to move forward to red tee markers, traditionally for women.

The new colours remove this hurdle and fit with the way the club wants to be seen.

“We’re trying to live that,” said Paccagnan this week. “We are trying to cater to some of our talented women golfers who can play off tees that are a bit longer, but at the same time encourage a change of mindset among our members.

"We want them to play a set of tees that are appropriate for them rather than being fixed upon colour or certain distances.

“It’s motivated by members having an enjoyable game of golf off the right tees and it helps the pace of play as well.”

The reopening of the full 18 holes of the course comes after several years of change under the guidance of Renaissance Golf Design that has left Commonwealth with new, Pure Distinction greens (replacing poa annua, and also employed at Victoria and Peninsula Kingswood) and significant changes at the likes of holes 1, 7, 10 and 12.

“The members are loving it,” said Paccagnan. “The greens are a lot firmer, and it’s actually changed the way the course plays and the total experience.”

Commonwealth members will be relieved to play the full course having had at least one set of nine holes out of play for much of the past few years.

“It’s been a journey, the last three years since the planning started,’’ said Paccagnan. “It’s nice to get to the end point and the members have been incredibly patient. We’re pleased to gift the course back to the members in full.”

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