Royal Melbourne gets Presidents makeover

The Composite Course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club has undergone several changes for the 2011 Presidents Cup this November.

The sequence and collection of holes will be different to the course used during the 1998 Presidents Cup and Heineken Classic from 2002 to 2005.

Royal Melbourne get Presidents makeover Royal Melbourne Golf Club

The fifth hole of the Composite Course, previously the first hole of Royal Melbourne’s East Course (1E), is now the par-three 7W, which will force a change to the order of the finishing holes.

18E has historically been the Composite Course’s final hole but will be played as the 16th hole during the Presidents Cup.

The 18th hole on the Composite Course will be 2W – a par-five for members that was played as a par four during the 2005 Heineken Classic and will again be played as a long par-four in November.

The change of biggest consequence will be the inclusion of the par-three 16E at the expense of the par-three 4E.

In the past spectators have had to watch players putting on 3E from a great distance because of play coming from 4E tee.

The inclusion of 16E as the 14th hole on the Composite Course will allow spectators to walk on the inactive 4E and get as close to 3E as possible.

16E will be lengthened approximately 20 metres – pushing the hole’s length to more than 170 metres.

Consideration was also given to include the previously unused 8W in the Presidents Cup layout at the expense of the adjacent 1E but the proposal was dropped.

Organisers hoped the use of 8W would provide greater vantage points for spectators because of the close proximity between 1E green and 2E tee.

Internationals team Captain Greg Norman and US team Captain Fred Couples spoke with organisers and came to the defence of 1E, which most would argue is a far superior hole strategically.

Several other holes of the Composite Course have been lengthened to account for the long hitters that will be on show in November.

The tee on the par-five 4W (second hole of Composite Course) has been pushed back 15 metres to make the hole almost 480 metres long.

The right-hand side of the fairway on 4W now slopes away into the rough and will force players to drive further left on the dogleg right par-five.

The tee on 17E (15th hole of Composite Course) has been pushed back 10 metres and the fairway has been angled to the left for safety reasons.

Consequently the hole has a minor dogleg to the right.

The back tee on 18E has been pushed back five metres and lowered by one metre which, depending on conditions, could prevent players from cutting the corner of the dogleg left hole.

The tee on 10W (sixth hole of Composite Course) has been pushed back 7 metres but will still play as an easily reachable par-four at 285 metres.

Royal Melbourne’s fairways and fringes have also been changed.

The fairways are now Legend Couch grass, which is a fraction slower than the previous type of Couch grass and will cause the Composite Course to play slightly longer than normal.

Royal Melbourne has also laid fescue on the fringes of the greens, which should be well developed by Presidents Cup week.

Organisers are expecting up to 35,000 spectators for each day of the event, which will be held from November 14-20 2011.