In light of yesterday’s distance report let me offer my man’s clubs in the opening round of the Victorian Open on the Beach Course at 13th Beach.
I’m caddying for Blake Collyer, a fellow member at Metropolitan and a rookie pro who’s four months into his nascent career. He’s really good, one of the young players here hoping to win the tournament and open the door to the European Tour.
A 6800-yard course used to be reasonably long, but no longer. It’s the ideal length for the members used to the buffeting from the heavy winds off the coast but in this age, it’s hardly a test of all 13 clubs.
Either way here’s how the course played – (off the 10th tee):
10/302m par 4: 3 wood. 50 metre pitch
11/ 501m par 5: 2 iron, 2 iron, wedge (46 degrees)
12/ 158m par 3: 9 iron
13/ 405m par 4: 2iron, wedge (46 degrees)
14/ 409m par 4: Driver, wedge (54 degrees)
15/ 292m par 4: Driver, putter (2 putt birdie)
16/ 381m par 4: 3 wood, wedge (46)
17/ 180m par 3: 7 iron
18/ 487m par 5: Driver (lost ball) Driver, 9 iron.
1/ 361m par 4: 2 iron, 9 iron
2/ 483m par 5: 2 iron, 4 iron.
3/ 153m par 3: Wedge (46)
4/ 314m par 4: 5 iron, wedge (60)
5/ 534m par 5: Driver, 3 wood, chip (in – eagle)
6/ 350m par 4: 5 iron, 9 iron
7/ 104m par 3: wedge (46)
8/ 407m par 4: 3 wood, 6 iron
9/ 377m par 4: Driver, wedge (60)
As Peter Thomson would have said: “You’d expect him to shoot 68 hitting those clubs.”
Which is exactly what he shot and three more of those might give him a good chance of winning.
This is in no way a knock on the golf course. It’s a terrific design on interesting seaside land and the mix of couch and fescue fairways make it the best conditioned course (with the Moonah course at The National, which employs the same grassing strategy) on the Australian mainland.
The USGA and R&A in their report were at pains to point out they were trying to ensure courses between 6000 and 6500 yards were to be seen as important and relevant and not seen as relics of an era passed by technology.
Of course, 6000 yards is likely the ideal distance for at least 60 percent of men who play golf and 6800 yards should still be capable of offering up the opportunity to hit a few more middle irons into the greens.
It’s a pity such yardages don’t do that anymore but at least we should be encouraged there is a hint of something positive happening.
A danger remains however … an American constituency fearful of more enlightened authorities taking both their guns and their 30 yards.