Peterborough Golf Club
Peterborough Golf Club is found in one of the most beautiful corners of the world! And our day there couldn’t have come at a more crucial time in our travels through Australia.
Our travels in Victoria were severely hampered by covid. It was late winter of 2021 (July and August in the Southern Hemisphere), and Melbourne was jumping in and out of multiple lockdowns. In fact, Melbourne had endured one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. Luckily, we were not located in Melbourne, as we were staying in the Bellarine Peninsula, and our lockdown ended in September. Nevertheless, the borders between the states remained closed, and the uncertainty of where we could go- or even if we could go- was really weighing down on us.
Once regional Victoria emerged out of lockdown, we were able to resume our travels in our campervan again. However, the borders were still closed to the other states. We were also hearing rumors that the border to South Australia could remain closed until December!
So, we very slowly made our way back to the Great Ocean Road.
The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most iconic drives. The drive takes you from one jaw-dropping view to the next. Actually, we drove the Great Ocean Road a few times. Our first time, we were somewhat in a rush to go to South Australia, so we skipped many things. Including Peterborough.
But this time on the GOR was different. We really were taking our time because we had nowhere to go. There was nowhere that we could go. The weather felt cold. But it didn’t dampen our spirits, because we were the only car on the road, and we had the entire southern coastline to ourselves!
Couldn’t Believe Our Eyes
Finally peeling ourselves away from another unforgettable sunset at the Twelve Apostles, it was quite dark when we arrived in Peterborough. There wasn’t a single soul around anywhere, and we parked our campervan in a lonesome parking lot near the golf course. The silence of the darkness was broken only by the sounds of the waves. The moon rose and created an orange-reddish glow on the ocean. We fell asleep under the Milky Way, unaware of the incredible golf that lies just a half-wedge away.
Living in a campervan, we tend to wake early, and the following morning was no exception. Peeking out of Putu’s window, the sun wasn’t even up yet. As the first colors of the day began to awaken, we made our coffee, put on the warmest clothes we had, and opened the door just before the sun popped its head over the horizon.
As the early morning became lighter, we couldn’t believe where we were! Directly in front of us, the Southern Ocean was beginning to change color with the dawn. And directly behind us was a golf course that looked like it had been ripped right out of Ireland! Here we were, just a couple of wide-eyed golfers who had found their way to heaven!
Excited to Play Golf!
After slowly finishing our coffee and eating breakfast, we slid our modest $20 green fees for all-day play into the honesty box. Peterborough Golf Club (no website found) is a nine-hole course that can be played twice. At least! The golf course measures a friendly 4199-yards from the back tees, and 3959 from the forward tees. Par from both tees is 64.
Now, fill up a bucket with sand and make your way to the first tee, because you are in for the ride of your life!
The opening holes at Peterborough are parallel to one another, as well as parallel to the ocean. With a view like this, it makes it extremely difficult to concentrate on golf. Luckily the two holes share a fairway, so even if you’re distracted by the incredible views like we were, there is still a reasonable chance to hit the wide fairway!
With short protective fences guarding both sides of the tee, the slightly uphill 258-yard par 4 fourth requires you to hit a tee shot out of a chute. Telephone poles and a narrow one-lane road run the full length on the hole right, and a low dune full of scrubby bush, which would be unfindable, is left. We both hit great tee shots out of the chute, mine coming to rest about 3 or 4 steps short of the putting surface. As I approached my ball, Menekse encouraged me to “make a birdie here!” We hadn’t been able to play much golf lately, but I managed to pitch a knock-down straight wedge to within 18 inches. And then sink the putt for birdie!
The views of the Southern Ocean from the tee on the short dogleg left 269-yard par 4 fifth are amazing. The hole is bordered on the left by the ocean and on the right by the eighth hole. A slightly raised one-lane road divides the two holes, which makes the fairway feel like a valley that has been carved between the ocean and the road. With the colors of the ocean on full display, Menekse cracked a tee shot up the right side of the fairway.
One of our Favorite Holes in Australia
The 155-yard par 3 sixth was our favorite golf hole at PGC, and one of our favorites in all our Australia golf journey. The ocean on your left juts inland and creates a fjord-like inlet. The hole tees off on the south side of the inlet, and the green is on the north side, which leaves nothing between you and your target except the crashing waves of the sea. The sixth is a golf hole that needs to be played to be believed!
While there was no wind, it was still early morning. After some consideration, I guessed the distance felt like an easy 8-iron. Striking it clean, I was relieved to see it carry the ocean and land in the center of the green.
Menekse had about 100-yards from the forward tees, almost 100% of it carry! She hit a 6-iron that landed just short but rolled to the back of the green. This left her with a 15-foot birdie putt, that she frustratingly left a roll short!
After putting out on the sixth, walk back towards the inlet to find the 176-yard par 3 seventh tee. Turning away from the ocean, you first need to hit back over the sixth green, then over a narrow road, to a saucer-shaped green that looks tiny in the distance! We checked for cars, but there still wasn’t a soul in sight. With a little bit of a helping wind, I landed my 7-iron on the front, only to watch it roll back down the steep bank.
The same road comes into play on the short 267-yard par 4 eighth. Running parallel to the fifth, the road crosses right in front of the tee. And about 75-yards out, the road then converges with another, which means our tee shots needed to be hit over an intersection! Sure, these may be two of the least traversed lanes in all of Australia, but it was the first time we ever hit over an intersection! Well, with intention anyway!
Our Favorite 9-hole Golf Course in Australia
Some experiences stay with you longer than others. There are moments in our travels that truly give us pause. Watching the sun slowly set at Kakadu National Park. Seeing a female orangutan lovingly caress her child in Sumatra. Or making our dream come true at Barnbougle! Our experience at Peterborough Golf Club was one such moment.
Arriving at Peterborough couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for us. Drifting from one place to the next without a firm plan is a wonderful way to travel. In fact, it is our preferred method of travel. But only when the drifting is done on our terms.
Exhausted from the anxiety of covid, Peterborough Golf Club was a refuge from the uncertainty. We set foot on a new course and allowed ourselves to be taken over by the experience.
Peterborough stirred our golfing souls. It was golf in its purest, rawest form, and reminded us of Waverley Golf Club in New Zealand. Hitting across roads, over intersections, the ocean, and even over other fairways and greens, the routing at Peterborough was something similar to your kitchen junk drawer. And we mean that in the most sincere way.
In fact, Peterborough was our favorite 9-hole golf course in our 2-year travel through Australia!
We stayed the day and soaked in everything that we possibly could. It’s coming across golf courses like Peterborough that remind us of how fortunate we are to travel the world playing golf! Even in uncertain times!