Presidents Cup shines spotlight on Royal Melbourne, one of many gems in the Sandbelt

The 4th hole at Royal Melbourne (Gary Lisbon)

The 2019 Presidents Cup featured a splendid performance by Tiger Woods, both as player and captain, thrilling competition between the United States and International sides and the emergence of young pros Sungjae Im and Abraham Ancer.

But the real star of the weekend was Royal Melbourne, the exquisite Alister MacKenzie design in the Sandbelt, which rewarded angles over power, demanded accuracy approaching the greens and tested each player’s touch, nerve and mental acumen.

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The 16th hole, a 433-yard par-4, was one of our favorites. The players favored the right side of the fairway, unafraid to miss wide in the wispy rough, to assure the proper angle into a undulating green, allowing them to feed their approach shots in from right-to-left and set up makeable putts. Woods closed out his singles match with Ancer on the 16th, draining a 15-foot birdie to give the United States the first point of the final day and jump start the comeback that produced a 16-14 victory.

Cavernous bunkers surround the 13th green at Royal Melbourne. (Gary Lisbon)

Of course, the glowing reviews Royal Melbourne received from players and spectators alike were no surprise to PerryGolf guests, who have enjoyed the temperate climate and finely manicured courses offered throughout the region and across Australia on many occasions. The friendly people and pleasant conditions make the land Down Under one of the five top international golf destinations each year.

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Not only is Melbourne, second-largest city in Australia, a delightful destination but there are seven world-class courses within 20 miles of downtown. Each is renowned for firm, fast turf and sharp greenside bunkers which can pose a problem to even the most advanced short game.

Royal Adelaide has undergone renovations since Dr. MacKenzie designed the course in the 1920s, however, it retains a true links feel, making it unique in a region that features mostly parkland courses. Commonwealth Golf Club, which has played host to the Australian Open, Women’s Australian Open and Victoria Open, finishes with one of the most demanding stretches anywhere. There’s only one water hazard on the layout, but ample trouble lurks. Victoria Golf Club, which recently underwent a renovation by Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking & Mead (OCCM), is where Peter Thomson, five-time champion of The Open, and U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy learned the game. A three-time host of the Australian Open (and future home of the 2022 Australian Open), the layout also welcomed the Australian Masters in 2010 and 2011 with countryman Stuart Appleby and England’s Ian Poulter hoisting the trophy. Kingston Heath, home to the 2016 World Cup of Golf and 2020 Australian Open, may have the most extreme green complexes of any Sandbelt course and the native grasses bordering the fairways provide sharp definition on rugged land. While all the courses take pride in their excellent condition, using Sutton’s Mix to craft fine putting surfaces, Metropolitan Golf Club (home to the 2018 World Cup of Golf) deserves the accolades it receives for being the best of the best from a conditioning standpoint year round. The marquee courses don’t stop there – also deserving of mention include: Yarra Yarra Golf Club, Woodlands Golf Club, Huntingdale Golf Club and Spring Valley Golf Club. An hour away is the Mornington Peninsula, home to three brilliant courses at The National, plus Sorrento Golf Club and the Tom Doak designed St Andrews Beach Golf Course.

The ideal weather and gently rolling terrain make all of the Sandbelt courses a pleasant walking experience.

Away from the course, take a tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens, an 89-acre park founded din 1846 that features more than 8,500 plant species, peaceful lakes and lush lawns. Tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere, with a capacity of 100,000 spectators has served as host for World Cup Finals, Pope John Paul II and the Rolling Stones. The National Sports Museum, which reopens in February 2020 to unveil a massive renovation, is located adjacent to the stadium.

Guests wanting to view Melbourne from an eagle’s perspective will not want to miss the Eureka Skydeck, the Southern Hemisphere’s highest public vantage point. Feeling brave? Step out to The Edge and peer across the vast cityscape with nothing but air beneath you.

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Top 3 Sightseeing Attractions in Australia – Off the Golf Course

Australia’s beautiful, mystical Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth. It measures more than 1,400 miles in length and is visible from Outer Space. 

The timeless handiwork of Dr. Alister MacKenzie and architects of comparable acumen created incredible golf in the Melbourne Sandbelt.  There are myriad courses dotted across Australia that attract golfers and tourists to the land Down Under each year. It’s a particularly appealing destination to Northern Hemisphere residents eager to escape winter’s chill.

Of course, Australia is also a unspoiled country filled with appealing natural scenery, cosmopolitan cities of Melbourne and Sydney and home to some of the warmest, endearing and fun-loving people on Earth.

The Best of Australia Escorted 2020 is a popular journey with PerryGolf clients, featuring 12 nights and a half-dozen rounds of golf at gems such as Royal Melbourne, New South Wales and Barnbougle Dunes.

PerryGolf can fulfill your Australian dreams. Here are three sights not to be missed.

 

Sydney Opera House

From the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new musical to a John Lennon retrospective, ballets, plays, evenings filled with illusion and much, much more, there’s a diverse lineup of entertainment offered inside the iconic venue which U.S. architect Frank Gehry described as “a building well ahead of its time, far ahead of available technology … that changed the image of an entire country.”

With more than 8.2 million annual visitors to the site, including 350,000 who tour the buildings, the Sydney Opera House is Australia’s top tourist attraction. It comprises multiple performance venues that present more than 2,000 shows to 1.5 million people each year, operating 363 days.

The Opera House enjoys a fascinating backstory. It’s located on Bennelong Point in central Sydney Harbour on what was known as Tubowgule – where the knowledge waters meet – to the native Gadigal people. They gathered here and danced, sang and told stories – a tradition that lives on today.

The Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, was awarded the project in a 1956 competition. He studied nautical maps of Sydney to better understand the landscape and crafted a vision in harmony with the area, capturing the spirit of the nation. With construction costs rising to four times what Utzon had projected, however, his relationship with the Australian government crumbled. And in April 1966, just halfway through construction, he departed the country and never returned again. The rising young Australian architect Peter Hall was appointed to take over and the Sydney Opera House enjoyed its grand opening in October, 1973.

“The human spirit must sometimes take wings or sails, and create something that is not just utilitarian or commonplace,” Queen Elizabeth II said at the ceremony.

 

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Considered the city’s most iconic structure, the Melbourne Cricket Ground was established in 1853, less than 20 years after Melbourne was founded. The nation’s primary stadium during 1956 Olympic Games, the MCG has also provided the stage for concerts by the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The 3 Tenors, Elton John and Billy Joel. Popes and leaders of nations have been welcomed here and the MCG also provided military housing for U.S. Marines and U.S. Air Force during World War II.

Nestled in Yarra Park, a 10-minute walk from the heart of the city, the MCG is open seven days a week, located in Melbourne’s sporting center near Rod Laver Stadium, site of the Australian Open tennis championship. In addition to the epic cricket matches waged here, the stadium also is the home of Australian Rules Football, drawing near capacity crowds for the Melbourne Demons vs. the Geelong Cats and other rivalries.

The adjacent National Sports Museum features 3,500 objects from countless sports and is another must-see for visitors who share a love of sports and desire to learn more about cricket and the massive popularity it enjoys in Australia and around the globe.

(For more information on exhibits, tickets and opening times, visit here).

 

Great Barrier Reef

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and designated as a World Heritage Site, about one-third of the Reef is protected from fishing and other intrusive activities. Estimated at 20,000 years old, the Great Barrier Reef lies off Australia’s East Coast, contains an abundance of marine life and comprises 3,000 individual reefs.

A visitor to the Great Barrier Reef can enjoy many experiences including snorkeling, scuba diving, aircraft or helicopter tours, bare boats (self-sail), glass-bottomed boat viewing, semi-submersibles and educational trips, cruise ship tours, whale watching and swimming with dolphins.

 

Of course, don’t limit yourself to these highlights. Australia offers an array of sightseeing options and PerryGolf is thrilled to guide you Down Under, providing all the assistance necessary to help you enjoy the links and beyond.

 

5 Sights to See in Melbourne, Australia

The Melbourne Star is one of many attractions and sights to enjoy in this wonderful Australian city.

Last weekend, the 24-year-old pro Cameron Smith defeated Jordan Zunic in a two-hole sudden death playoff to claim the Australian PGA Championship. It was the most significant individual win yet for the young Queenslander, who teamed with Jonas Blixt in April to win the Zurich Classic on the PGA Tour.

The Australian PGA was played on the Gold Coast of Queensland, which is about 1,000 miles north of Melbourne, a featured destination for PerryGolf escorted tours.

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Of course, any PerryGolf trip to Melbourne includes amazing golf at world renowned courses such as Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath and Metropolitan in the Sandbelt region. Chasing pars and birdies on these magnificent layouts is certain to capture your imagination, create indelible memories and is likely to make you crave a return visit.

In addition to golf at the highest level, the cruises and tours provide ample time for savoring the scenes, sounds and flavor of a wonderful city such as Melbourne, with its comfortable summer weather and friendly people.

Here are five sights to see on any trip to the Melbourne area. Each of these can easily be enjoyed in half a day or stretched into a full day if you’re having so much fun you can’t leave!

Queen Victoria Market

Also known as the Queen Vic Markets or the Queen Vic, and locally as ‘”Vic Market,” this is a major landmark in Melbourne, Australia, and at around seven hectares (17 acres) is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. The Market is significant to Melbourne’s culture and heritage and has been listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Queen Victoria Market is the only surviving 19th century market in the Melbourne central business district.

Officially opened on March 20, 1878, the market has a long, rich history and remains a vibrant and functional part of the city today, offering hundreds of stalls where local farmers and merchants sell fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood and an array of art, crafts, clothing and jewelry, among other items.

Browse or shop, spend a few hours or make it a day as you absorb an iconic location in Melbourne’s culture.

 

Royal Botanic Gardens

These internationally renowned botanical gardens are located near the centre of Melbourne on the south bank of the Yarra River. Sprawling 94 acres (38 hectares) these well-manicured and landscaped gardens feature a mixture of native and exotic vegetation, numbering more than 10,000 species.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne are adjacent to a larger group of parklands directly south-east of the city, between St. Kilda Road and the Yarra River known as the Domain Parklands, which includes Kings Domain, Alexandra Gardens and Queen Victoria Gardens.

The gardens play a significant role in helping to preserve threatened and endangered plants while studying their habitats.

 

Eureka Skydeck 88

Located inside the 297-meter (975 foot) Eureka Tower in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, the Skydeck is accurately described as “an experience above all else.” The Skydeck is located 12 meters from the top and passengers arrive there in 38 scintillating seconds aboard the Southern Hemisphere’s fastest elevator.

Daring guests can accelerate the experience by stepping out onto “The Edge” – a glass cube that extends from the 88th floor of the Tower and suspends guests more than 900 feet above Melbourne.

Eureka Tower opened in 2006 after a four-year construction process. Any visitors wishing to see Melbourne from a different point of view would be remiss to forego this heightened enlightened vantage point.

 

Melbourne Star

Previously known as the Southern Star, this giant Ferris Wheel is located in the Waterfront City precinct in the Docklands area of Melbourne. The only giant observation wheel in the Southern Hemisphere is 120 meters (394 feet) tall and has seven spokes to reflect the seven-pointed star on the Australian flag.

A ride on the Melbourne Star consists of one complete rotation, which takes 30 minutes and delivers unobstructed views stretching nearly 25 miles (40 kilometers). Sit back and enjoy the breathtaking scenery encompassing the entire Docklands precinct, Melbourne’s central business district, Port Phillip Bay and as far as Mount Macedon, Arthur’s Seat and the Dandenong Ranges.

Melbourne Zoo

Officially called the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, the Melbourne Zoo features 320 animal species from Australia and around the world. Located 2.5 miles north of the city centre, the zoo is easily accessible via a short taxi ride or public transportation (Stop 24 or Stop 25).

You may spot something cuter than this baby Asian Elephant during your trip to Melbourne, but we seriously doubt it!

From the Giant Tortoise to the Baw Baw Frog and the Philippines Crocodile, there’s an animal for everyone at this well-routed zoo. Be sure to enter Lion Gorge, where you’ll come face-to-face with a magnificent African Wild Dog Pack and learn plenty about this agile, active hunter. Walk the elevated boardwalk above the orangutans and watch them swing, climb and feed as they would in the wild.

The Wild Zoo is the largest exhibit at the Melbourne Zoo and showcases the natural beauty of Victoria’s coast and ocean. Be prepared to swoon over a seal or fall for a penguin.

 

 

 

Kingston Heath hosts 2016 World Cup of Golf

Kingston Heath Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia - PerryGolf.com
Photo by Gary Lisbon
 

56 Players. 28 Countries. 1 World Champion.

This week the World Cup of Golf returns to Melbourne, Australia where the world’s best golfers will compete for their respective country at Kingston Heath Golf Club. Read more “Kingston Heath hosts 2016 World Cup of Golf”