Lonsdale Links has begun an exciting new chapter of the club’s 99-year history with a completely redeveloped 18-hole course and brand-new clubhouse now open to the public. Formerly known as Lonsdale Golf Club, the club has undergone a transformation, launching new branding and a new website in August.
Located in Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula of Victoria, about a 30-minute drive from Geelong, the club has invested over $20 million in the total redevelopment of its complex, a project over two decades in the making.
The course is situated on the coastal dunes abutting Bass Strait and enjoys spectacular views over Lake Victoria. The new clubhouse also champions the lake with panoramic views from the Golfers Lounge and Restaurant, a view many long-time locals have said they had not enjoyed before.
The club engaged highly regarded course architects Ogilvy Cocking Mead (OCM) to design and maintain their course, with Ashley Mead taking the lead on the project. The first 9 holes opened in late 2019 and received rave reviews for its unique design. The second 9 holes and clubhouse opened in December 2020.
OCM have great reverence for the work of trailblazer Charles Blair Macdonald and his colleagues Seth Raynor and later Charles Banks. Macdonald, of course, would build America’s first great golf course – The National Golf Links.
After studying the National Golf Links of America in 2012, OCM likened the site at Lonsdale to the famous course in a number of ways. This included the sandy terrain, closeness to the water, minimal tall vegetation throughout the course and expanses of golden rough, rises and falls in elevation and a mix of land forms.
After learning the game from none other than Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris while studying in Scotland, upon his return to the USA, Macdonald was appointed to design the National Golf Link of America and would return to the United Kingdom to study their best holes. Naturally, he felt that to build the best course he should copy the best holes he had seen. After the National, he went on to build more courses and again would use some of the best holes of the UK. His apprentice Raynor would do the same and then Banks soon after. These holes became known as templates and on practically every one of their courses they would build a handful: The Redan, The Biarritz, Double plateau, The Road.
In Australia growing up, not much was known about templates and it was only as the OCM team travelled that they would learn more, after playing and studying them. On land not unlike that at The National Golf Links in Long Island, OCM felt there was an opportunity to build some templates at Lonsdale Links and create a course as a deliberate throwback to an earlier age and a unique look for an Australian course.
Elements of these templates and the holes that inspired them can be found in the OCM design at Lonsdale Links, including the Alps, Biarritz, Plateau, Eden, Leven, Punchbowl, Thumbprint, Redan and Road.
Another point of difference you’ll find on course is straight lines, with many of the holes featuring squared greens and straight-lined fairways, rarely seen in Australia.
THE PRACTICE FACILITIES
The facility is home to a new practice range and 6-hole Par-3 course named ‘Mulligans’ (yes, you will be able to have one Mulligan a round). The range opened last month and the Grand Opening of Mulligans will be held on the Labour Day long weekend.
OCM felt that practice ranges were a bit one dimensional given the space they occupy, so they have built a six-hole par-three course inside its boundaries. When the range is in play the greens will double as targets as they have been built to accept balls from multiple directions. Each hole measures under 100 metres and the greens are quite undulating – the idea is for players to have fun and it is expected to be very popular during school holidays and daylight savings.
The clubhouse has been designed by renowned architects, Wood Marsh. The company also collaborated with OCM on projects at RACV Cape Schanck and RACV Torquay. Sitting at the highest point on the course overlooking the water, the state-of-the-art facility is welcoming to the public, too, with a separate restaurant, outdoor Kiosk and children’s playground, making it a venue the whole family, and community, can enjoy.
The Golfers Lounge boasts an open fire and sunset views across Lake Victoria. The venue also holds a multi-purpose room available to hire for conferences, presentations and events.
The Kiosk is open for food and drinks during the day and then offers takeaway pizza at night. A new dining experience, Lago Restaurant, will be opening soon.
Lonsdale Links has seen a surge in membership in recent months as excitement built in the lead-up to the opening of the new facilities. The club now holds over 1500 Members, with almost 800 of those being playing members. In October 2019, the club had a total of 701 members with 540 of those being playing members. One thing is clear, the future is bright at Lonsdale.
While welcoming new Members has been fantastic, the club is also very grateful to those members who stuck with the club through the redevelopment, playing on a 9-hole course for two and a half years. It has been rewarding for Club Management and the Executive Committee to see the long-term members finally getting to enjoy the finished product. The vision over 20 years in the making has finally come to fruition.
The finished product at Point Lonsdale promises a magnificent golfing and social experience. Add Lonsdale Links to your golfing bucket list as it is a must-visit venue in 2021.
For more information:
31 Clubhouse Drive
Point Lonsdale VIC 3225
Phone: 03 5258 1955