Playing the par: To the hut

Healesville Golf Course's 9th hole, 287m, Par 4

It’s an uphill trek from the amphitheater surrounding the 8th to what was once the 9th by the hut.

These days, a cart path takes you over the hill to the 9th tee block. However most use a more direct route up the theatre slope and over the rise where the back end of the 3rd (The humpback green) comes into view. A few steps further on and the distance flag where it was once backdropped by the hut indicating the closure of the front nine.

From the tee, it’s downhill via a fairway sloping right, where gums line the left and bush land the lower boundary. Some 60 metres from the green on the left you’ll find a dog leg bunker. It’s placement encourages longer hitters into a corridor to an elevated green that appears to be supported by sand.

This entrance can be tricky, especially where the green swells in front. The writer has lost count of the times he has attempted to chip on up that face, only to watch the ball return to his feet.

Back at the tee, RACV Golf Professional Ben Eyton-Jones is leaning on his Club, you’d be excused for thinking he’s a batsman standing at the non strikers end between deliveries, rather than a golfer watching and waiting for the group in front as they move towards the green.

There’s a story being told that he landed his ball on the jumping pillow near the bowling green from this very tee.

“Don’t worry mate,” I said, “I won’t be worrying the group up front from here.”

Ben returned to his bag and said, “You know, I do better here playing for position, rather than trying to hit the green, particularly with the pin placed at the front, like it is. The higher left side of the fairway near that bunker is the best way in I reckon. From there I’ll be able to lob my ball beyond the pin with spin and bring it back to putt for birdie.”

Ben returned to the tee with a two iron, placing his club behind the ball to align himself with the target. Then with hands, arms and shoulders the club is arced as far back as possible to trigger that transfer of energy to the club as it whips through the ball.

The sound of the strike echoed over the course as his ball flew across the landscape backdrop by the RACV club house. The ball did not deviate from the line of the bunker where it plugged, kicked and finely exhausted itself just metres from the fairway trap.

Ben’s second shot was a lob wedge that flew in over the pin, bounced and magically spun backward like a yo yo climbing a string.

Arriving at next week’s Par 3, 10th “The Grotto” the scorecard of Ben Eaton-Jones was marked with a birdie 3.

It is easy to be captivated by the idea of having a plan mapped out to you; that is one thing. But to see someone with the confidence and technical skill to execute it, is another. To achieve this means you’re at another golfing level, this is where you realise there’s so much that needs to be learned, reinforced and practiced.

For those thinking of taking up the game or joining the club, Ben is an easy bloke to like, with a lovely wife (Megan) and young children (Oliver, Eleanor and Henry) living locally; we are very lucky to have such a well respected coach with a terrific knowledge of the game and a wonderful mentor who takes an interest in all of our members.

So by the time this paper reaches the news stand; you’ll be just in time to enter the RACV’s very popular “Beat the Pro” Competition as it gets underway.

News from Administration:

“The RACV Presidents Cup Competition between inter associate clubs remains a major focus, even in these times of uncertainty. “Planning is underway for a celebration luncheon for the occasion.” Said our Golfing Department Manager Con Kalogiannis.

Hole in One:

Greg Urquhart hitting from the 10th Tee Block battling strong wind gusts was able to hone in on the Pin at the Grotto during last Thursday Stableford Competition. On the 11th tee Jan O’Brien was addressing her ball when a thud from the 10th green, caught the attention of those in her playing group (Laurie Tormey, Tony Druit and Rob Johnston). They turned in unison to witness Greg’s ball roll to the pin and drop. Eruptions cheers and applause took place just as Jan started her downswing. Oops!

The Course:

Tim Pierce and his ground crew, have been doing a terrific job of preparing the course as we move into spring. And well done to those members who repair not only their own plugs but two or three others while they’re at it.

Competition Winners:


Bruce Thomas 37 points

Laurie Tormey 36 pts

Ian Callen 35pts

Nearest the Pin:

2nd. Karl Hradsky

4th. Grant Handasyde

11th. Grant Handasyde

13th. Wayne Fenner


Jonathan Heywood 38 points

Chris Handasyde 37 pts

John Baxter 35 pts

Nearest the Pin:

2nd Chris Handasyde

4th Grant Handasyde

11th David Prichard

16th Glenn Newberry