Hidden Valley Golf and Country Club is a semi-private resort style course, located near Wallan, about an hours drive north of Melbourne. Having played the course not long after it had opened a number of years ago, returned to play Hidden Valley again recently. Hidden Valley is set amongst a housing development through undulating hills, the course is a fairly long trek, with some long walks between holes so a cart is recommended.
The first thing most golfers will tell you about Hidden Valley is the final hole. The 18th features an island green and is an iconic finishing hole. However this will not be the only forced water carry that the golfer will face, particularly on the back nine. The front nine is definitely the easier of the two nines, with the opening holes providing the opportunity for some good scores early in the round. From the sixth hole, water comes into play on a more regular basis. The course features Santa Anna fairways and Bent grass greens. The fairways are good without being great condition, and the greens are quick and true, but do provide some hold and ability to stop the ball.
After a relatively easy start, the sixth hole provides a tough drive avoiding water left and significant trouble on the right. A relatively unprotected green still requires a strong second shot.
After a short par 4, the 8th hole is a solid long par 5. The drive from the elevated tee needs to be left of centre to open up the fairway for the second shot. Water on the right is definitely in play. The risk/reward second shot could tempt the long hitter to attack the green but the fairway narrows on approach, and the green is protected by rough and a couple of bunkers.
Whilst the 18th gets most of the hype, the 13th is the impressive hole on the course. A mid length par 4, the golfers subconscious is forced to work overtime as you stand on the tee with a daunting water carry to the fairway ahead. A classic risk/reward shot, the further left of fairway the further from the water but significantly increases the approach to the green. A strong fade from left to centre would be the ideal drive. Once safely on the fairway, the second shot needs to carry the water again, and a large bunker gaurding the green. The bunker is set slightly ahead of the green, so looks can be deceiving and be sure to take enough club.
Whilst its an island green, the final hole at Hidden Valley isnt in the same category as the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. The Island is bigger than a postage stamp with a relatively generous landing area, and even a number of trees and bushes. However it is still a water carry, and if the swing is a little tired or struggling coming down the final stretch, the final hole can still create havoc. Pick the right club and swing easy!
Hidden Valley Golf & Country Club is definitely worth a trip, we played on a Sunday and had some of the course to ourselves with few holdups. The course is enjoyable, and will challenge if the game isnt on song, there are some good scoring opportunities on the front and back nines. The condition is good, we played in early spring and with rain leading into Summer the greens will speed up and the course should be very good. Seek out and find Hidden Valley if you are after a relaxed, enjoyable round on a fun course, with a bit of water to keep it interesting