Last November, all eyes were focused on Melbourne, Australia as many of the top stars in men’s professional golf gathered to compete at Royal Melbourne in the 2011 Presidents Cup.
Now, it’s the women’s turn to take on the storied links.
For the first time in the course’s 120-year history, Royal Melbourne will be hosting a women’s professional golf event. And having the best women golfers tee it up on one of the world’s most stunning courses is certainly a perfect way to showcase women’s golf, as the LPGA returns to Australia following a 12-year absence.
The test that the players will face during next week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open will be virtually the same that the men had back in November, as they’ll also be playing the Composite layout at Royal Melbourne.
The Composite course is made up of 12 holes from the West Course and six from the East, contained within the more compact clubhouse precinct of the property. Both of these courses are, in their own right, ranked in the top 100 courses globally while their child, the Composite, is considered one of the world’s ten best courses.
The Composite has hosted many important events, including the Presidents Cups of 1998 and 2011, but never a women’s event, either professional or amateur.
The course used for the Women’s Australian Open will differ from the Presidents Cup by only one hole – the 16th (4th East) – as it resumes its regular place in the Composite. The order of the front nine order is the same but the back nine has been altered to enable the famous 18th hole to revert to its classic finishing position.
Golf Australia’s Director – Championships, Trevor Herden, believes the course will be an exciting test for the girls. In setting it up, Herden assessed each hole based on the shot in to the greens, while a mix of men’s and women’s tees will bring Alister Mackenzie’s bunkering into play. The greens will be firm and fast but true.
Women have roamed the fairways of Royal Melbourne since Associates were admitted to the then Melbourne Golf Club in 1892, one year after the formation of what is Australia’s oldest continuous golf club. But now the time has come for the best women golfers to showcase their skills on this great test of golf and this time, all eyes will be on the women as they get their chance to make history at Royal Melbourne.