With plenty of great golf around Melbourne, a golf trip to the Thirteenth Beach on the Bellarine Peninsula is not to be missed.
Thirteenth Beach is just an hour drive west of Melbourne at Barwon Heads on the Bellarine Peninsula, and as we found out, a fantastic (and maybe under-appreciated) place for a golf trip away. We stayed in a fabulous house just off the golf course, there was plenty of places to eat around Barwon Heads and as we quickly found out, Thirteenth Beach has two very good golf courses.
The Tony Cashmore designed Beach Course was recently ranked by Golf Australia Magazine as Australia’s 6th best public access golf course and we would argue it features the best set of par-3’s in the country. They’re complemented with some great rick/reward short par-4’s along with some fantastically interesting (and highly controversial) par-5’s.
If you’ve played the course you’ll know what we mean. We’ve previously reviewed the Beach Course at Thirteenth Beach, but in brief:
The par-3 165-metre 7th hole is a gem and requires a great shot from a raised tee to a wonderfully shaped green. The view from the tee is superb and the hole is presented very differently depending the pin position for the day. The signature par-3 on the Beach Course is the tiny, but extremely dangerous 16th hole. At just under 100 metres, the 16th doesn’t allow much room for error. And if the wind is blowing (which is almost always is), expect your knees to start trembling.
There aren’t too many par-5’s around like the Cashmore-designed ones at on the Beach course at Thirteenth Beach, particularly on the front nine.
The 462-metre 4th hole needs to be played a number of times to understand how it should be played and, (like pineapple on pizza,)opinions are mixed when it comes to the 531-metre par-5 6th hole. You may need to keep your ego in check off the tee.
Other highlights for us were the exquisitely designed bowl-shaped greens; such as the 8th and 18th greens. Both offer a decent opportunity for all golfers to find the green with a solid approach shot, but if you want to get close to the hole, you may have to think how to play it a little more carefully.
Perhaps not as striking as the Beach Course, the Creek Course at Thirteenth Beach sits on flatter land away from the dunes but still features some great golf holes with some intriguing (and often magnetic) bunker designs.
The long par-4 4th hole features another interesting bowl-shaped green that requires a good approach shot between a couple of guarding pine trees and the 9th on the Creek Course s a superb example of a risk/reward short, par-4 that requires a nifty drive between a sea of bunkers to drive or finish near the green.
You’re ability to avoid trees will be tested through the 13th and 14th holes. Both par-4’s aren’t overly long but you’ll have to think carefully about your drive – each hole has a couple of trees that may hinder you’re ability to find the green, even if you’ve found the fairway.
Our 4-day golf trip was topped off with some great hospitality by the pro shop and clubhouse staff, and we stayed in a superb house that backs on to the fourth fairway on the Beach Course.
We stayed in the 13th Beach Bunker while we were down there. Four bedrooms, a spa, pool, huge kitchen, theatre room and polished concrete floor hallways – check it out if you’re needing accommodation, it’s a fabulous spot to retire to at the end of the day to kick back and talk about your round until the wee hours.