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Golf Australia Express : GA Express 248
N O ONE could have foreseen Dr Alister MacKenzie’s brief visit to Melbourne in 1926 would have such a profound influence on the future of course construction in this country. He passed on his knowledge to his Australian design associate, Alex Russell, as well as Royal Melbourne’s head greenkeeper, Mick Morcom. MacKenzie was so impressed with Morcom’s construction work he told the club “construction (of the West course) be left entirely in the hands of the greenkeeper... Morcom is in many respects better than I have seen on any other golf course in Britain or Australia”. Working alongside Mick was his son, Vernon, who would later spend 40 years as the head greenkeeper at Kingston Heath while also designing and remodelling courses throughout the Sandbelt, across Victoria and beyond. Vernon was a prolific designer and proved to be as talented as his father in crafting wonderful layouts and many believe his bunkering is the equal of anything MacKenzie designed during his stay here. Vern’s style, adopted from what he learned from his father who was guided by MacKenzie, has stood the test of time on dozens of courses he worked on, particularly those in the Sandbelt and across regional Victoria. Leongatha Golf Club is one of those courses. Morcom was in his mid-50s when he first laid eyes on the undulating site in 1956 and went on to create a par-70 that has changed very little from the gem that officially opened for play in 1961. In fact, the only major changes over the years have been to the turf. Long-time Huntingdale course superintendent and designer, the late John Spencer, was in semi- retirement in the early 2000s when he advised the club on improvements that could be made to its fairways.
GA Express 247
GA Express 249