Yarra looks to Doak for reshape

Yarra Yarra Golf Club, Bentleigh
The Yarra Yarra Golf Club.

Melbourne’s famous Yarra Yarra Golf Club is about to undergo a Tom Doak-inspired restoration.

The club has been a seven-time host of the Women’s Australian Open and many other large championships, including this year’s Australian Amateur.

But club officials have decided that to “restore its lustre” that Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design company will oversee the course’s rebirth.

“The club’s committee is very keen to see the course returned to its former glory, so that we can ensure the relevance of Yarra Yarra into the future,” club president David Blake said.

“It is imperative that we have a challenging golf course of a standard that will attract and retain members.”

Yarra Yarra moved to its current East Bentleigh location in 1928, with the design and construction performed by Alex Russell, the Australian partner of the legendary Dr Alister MacKenzie, one of Doak’s chief inspirations.

While many original elements remain, the club’s committee said the layout no longer reflected the design, integrity and intent of Russell, with many of his subtleties hidden.

Having started an “exhaustive process” in July last year, the club this week was thrilled to announce Doak as its consulting architect to “restore the lustre and uniqueness of our original design”.

“We are confident that Renaissance Golf Design can return our course back to its unique position in the Melbourne Sandbelt,” captain Alan Easton said.

“(It) is an outstanding appointment for Yarra Yarra which will allow our club to restore the subtleties of Alex Russell’s original design as well as ensuring our course’s relevance today and into the future.”

Doak, revered for his joint role in building Tasmania’s famous Barnbougle and more recently New Zealand’s Tara Iti, as well as an extensive global resume, said it would be a “pleasure” to work with Yarra Yarra.

“It’s one of the finest courses designed by the esteemed Alex Russell and stands up extremely well in a neighbourhood noted worldwide for fine and unique golf courses,” Doak said.

“Mr Russell surely made the most of an elegant piece of property.”

Blake said Yarra Yarra and its members were again “excited for our future”.

“We have appointed one of the world’s most respected golf course architects who has been responsible for the creation and restoration of some of the finest golf links around the globe,” he said.

“The committee believes that the appointment of Renaissance Golf Design allows our club to revive what was once one of Australia’s premier golf courses.”

Those interested in the progress of the works should keep in touch with Yarra Yarra via the club’s social media channels.

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