Royal Melbourne

Harley Kruse, the Australian architect, whose work includes the spectacular Dunes Course at Danang Golf Club and the Norman at Mission Hills, describes the brilliance of Royal Melbourne, which will host the 2011 Presidents Cup

Growing up in Melbourne, I distinctly recall my very first visit to Royal Melbourne Golf Club. I was in absolute awe of the place, its grand scale, majesty, and sense of stepping into a timeless golfing landscape filled with history. It was the place that inspired me into the profession of golf course architecture and continues to inspire me to this day.

Acknowledged as the best course in Australia, the West Course is also one of the finest layouts in the world and sits comfortably with Cypress Point in California and the legendary Augusta National amongst the grandest designs of renowned Scottish architect Dr Alister MacKenzie. Interestingly, he never saw the West Course finished, although of all of Mackenzie’s layouts, this is probably the one that remains the most true to its original form. It is of great credit to the club which holds its valued masterpiece in such high regard that it has largely resisted the temptation to make changes since it was opened for play in 1931. As with many great courses, it is important to point out that the design of the West Course was not solely due to MacKenzie. Much credit must also go to Alex Russell, a champion amateur player of the day, who as the club’s man on the ground, interpreted MacKenzie's ideas and along with his construction man Mick Morcom, then implemented them.