Royal Melbourne Golf Club


Royal Melbourne Golf Club

Royal Melbourne Golf Club is widely regarded as Australia's most prestigious, exclusive, oldest and celebrated golf club. The golf course is located in Sandringham, a bayside suburb in Melbourne's south and is the centrepiece of the renowned Melbourne Sandbelt, right next to Victoria and Sandringham Golf Club's.

Its two courses are each ranked amongst the best in the world by many international golf course ranking bodies and publications. Royal Melbourne has hosted numerous national and international events, most famously the 1959 Canada Cup (now Mission Hills World Cup), the 1970 World Cup, and was selected by the PGA Tour to hold the Presidents Cup, for the first time outside the United States, in December 1998, convincingly won by the World team. The course has since hosted the Presidents Cup again in 2011 and for the third time in 2019.

Founded in 1891 on the 22nd of May as the Melbourne Golf Club ('Royal' prefix given in 1895), the founding President was Sir James McBain and the founding Captain was John Munro Bruce (father of later Australian Prime Minister Viscount Stanley Melbourne Bruce).

The club had to give up its original site, much nearer the city centre, because of increasing urbanization. It planned a move to its present location in the mid-1920s. Royal Melbourne's two current courses are known as the 'West' and 'East' courses. The West course was designed under the strict standards of famous course architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie. He visited the eventual site, located on the renowned Melbourne Sandbelt, south of the city, in 1926. The actual building of the West course was overseen by the famed Australian golfer Alex Russell, as well as the head greenkeeper Mick Morcom; it was completed for play in 1931, and required much clearing of forested land. The East course was designed by Alex Russell, and was completed in 1932.

A combination of the 18 best holes from each is called the 'Composite' course; it is generally ranked in the top ten courses in the world and widely held as the best course in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2007, Golf Digest magazine ranked Royal Melbourne as the sixth best course in the world outside the United States, behind The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland. Both courses are known for their intricate bunkering, tough but fair challenge, variety of shotmaking, and exceptionally fast and true greens.