Yarra Bend Golf Course is a short, yet chellenging public access course within 15 minutes of Melbourne’s central business district. Located on the Yarra River, the course offers excellent playing conditions year round on an undulating layout surrounded by gum trees. Over the last year Yarra Bend has gone through a significant transformation with the addition of a 60 bay driving range and golf academy, resulting in a re-routing of the course.
For those that know the course, the two nines have swapped. The backnine is now played first, starting on the old 10th hole, a relatively simple par 4 and routing through the same layout finishing on the old par 5 18th, now the 9th.
The backnine has changed more dramatically, with the old 1st hole now part of the driving range, a new 120m par 3 starts the back nine. As below, the rest of the holes have re-routed to accomodate the changes.
New Yarra Bend Golf Course Layout
The Par 70 Yarra Bend layout isnt long, measuring 5,409 metres but what it misses out in length it makes up for in the need for accuracy. Whilst the river doesnt come into play at all, large gum trees line all of the fairways with a number of drives needing pinpoint accuracy. The clatter of golf balls into trees is a common sound on the course. The layout is fairly undulating with holes heading downhill to the river, then uphill towards the clubhouse. A number of bunkers dot the course, though they have inconsistent lies and are often unraked, but then they are a hazard!
Given the amount of traffic that this public course gets, Yarra Bend is always in very good condition. As at January 2012, the course is in excellent condition. Following considerable rain and warm weather, the course is greener than kermits stomach. The fairways are well grassed and great to hit off, off fairway is penalised by improvising shots through trees. The greens themselves are firm and fairly fast.
Previously the 2nd hole, the thriteenth hole is a dogleg left with a partially blind drive over the hill to a downhill green. The drive needs to be just right of the trees gaurding the left corner of the dogleg. The second shot to the downhill green is tougher than it looks. Anything left is gone. Par here is worth it.
Yarra Bend has three short holes that all point roughly Southwest, following the Yarra river. The 16th is my favourite of the three, 148 metres to an elevated green, anything short will run back down the hill. Almost an Augusta feel to this hole (replace pines with gums!)
The 17th is a short 333 metre par 4 requiring an accurate drive (suggest dropping the driver to a 3 wood or an iron), the fairway is very narrow almost claustrophobic with the second shot needing an equally accurate shot to the green. Rated 8 for good reason
8th hole – Dont go right!
What used to be the 17th, the 8th hole at Yarra Bend has ruined many a good round. The 159 metre par 3 sits on the side of a hill with a steep drop to the right of the green. Anything right will kick down the hill and most likely finish under a large tree! Long or left of the green can take advantage of a friendly kick off down to the green.
Yarra Bend is in a brilliant location for 9 holes before or after work, of for the visitor to Melbourne who doesnt have time to travel to golf courses further afield. The summer twilight green fee deal is a good bargain, nothing better than 18 holes at ‘the bend’ on a balmy summers evening. Yarra Bend will never make the list of Top 100 courses in the country, but its a great public course and well worth the visit. Best value golf in Melbourne. Be sure to book well in advance, and the course can get very busy on weekends.
The new driving range is a welcome addition to the Yarra Bend golf course, over 60 bays with instruction available.
Yarra Bend Golf Course
– Par 70
– 5,538 metres
– Address: Yarra Bend Road, Melbourne
– Proshop: (03) 9481 3729
– Bookings and Green Fees