Australia's best golf course
I just shot the lights out at Pebble Beach. Literally and virtually. Needing a tune-up (or more likely a complete overhaul) of my swing before unleashing my power game at Royal Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula courses, I headed to Golftec in Melbourne's CBD.
At Golftec you can play all the world's great courses by computer simulation and after my instructor, Craig, did the best he could, I teed up and smashed my driver at the virtual first hole at Pebble Beach. It flew straight up in the air and took out an overhead light.
As glass rained down and everyone stared and I looked around for a virtual bunker to hide in, Craig suggested I stick to using irons. Good tip, coach.
With this preparation under my belt, I headed off to play Australia's No 1 ranked course, Royal Melbourne, which is set to host the Talisker Australian Masters and the World Cup of Golf on consecutive weekends in November, when Adam Scott will defend his 2012 Masters title. While Royal Melbourne is a private club, overseas visitors can apply to play at see royalmelbourne.com.
The two marquee events in November offer fans the opportunity to see world No 2 Adam Scott and No 6 American Matt Kuchar (see australian masters.com.au for tickets, from $35 and tour package options.)
And if you're going to the Masters or World Cup or planning a golfing holiday to Victoria at any time, make sure you hire a car and head to the picturesque Mornington Peninsula for a round or two, and to experience the numerous other charms the region has to offer.
Golf is central to the appeal of the peninsula, just 90 minutes from Melbourne.
More than 20 courses benefit From the region's fast-draining sandy, rolling hills, which create perfect contours, and the day spas and wineries make for a weekend of indulgence.
An oft-overlooked gem in the area is the town of Flinders, just 20 minutes off the highway. When the locals changed the name of the town from Black Head, they displayed the sort of forward-thinking marketing that persists to this day.
The Flinders Golf Course is the oldest and one of the most scenic in the area with extensive views over Bass Strait from many holes and the 19th.
I also sample the Mercure Portsea Golf Club and Resort. T
he 24-room hotel is new; the venerable golf course has been around since 1924 and is a fun, hilly and challenging links-style layout adjoining the Point Nepean National Park with views of Port Phillip Bay.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Melbourne, then drive to the Mornington Peninsula, 90 minutes away.
STAYING THERE: Melbourne: The Langham, 1 Southgate Ave, Southbank. Rooms during the 2013 Masters from $410 a night. langhamhotels.com.
Flinders: Quarters, corner Cook and Wood streets, Flinders. Peak season rates from $325 to $700 a night. Flindershotel.com.au.
Portsea: Mercure Portsea Resort and Golf Course, 46 London Bridge Rd, Portsea. Rooms from $189 a night. Mercure.com.
MORE INFORMATION see visitvictoria.com
The writer travelled courtesy of Tourism Victoria and Mercure Portsea Golf Club & Resort.
Sunday Star Times