In the 1930s Alex Russell, often called the grandfather of Sandbelt golf, worked with greenskeeper Mick Morcom to lay out the East Course. Russell had in the 1920s collaborated with Alister MacKenzie on the Royal Melbourne's original West Course, work that helped to establish the bunkering style that is so characteristic of the region. Then, in 1959, when the club was slated to host the Canada (now World) Cup, twelve holes from the West Course were combined with six from the East to form the so-called "Composite Course," which remains in use to this day for the large events that the club continues to attract, from several Australian Opens and Johnnie Walker Classics to the 1998 Presidents Cup in which US players competed with the Internationals. Not surprisingly, the Composite Course often tops many lists of the world's best courses, and it ranks in pretty much everyone's top ten.
There may be no finer eighteen holes of golf in the world than the West at Royal Melbourne. In 1926 Alister MacKenzie, at the special invitation of the citizens of Melbourne, was invited to work his magic on a perfect site. In the words of American Gene Sarazen, "It burns me up that with the billions spent on course construction in the past 50 years, all the architects together haven't been able to build another Royal Melbourne." The course's ample fairways mean that the casual player is sure to have plenty of fun, and accomplished golfers are able to go after the flag from more remote and difficult quarters. The magnificent sand bunkers are situated so as to keep players of every level thinking. For the big venues, it is the West's twelve holes that comprise the composite course for tournament play. This course is a truly unforgettable experience.
Alex Russell, Mick Morcom