Australia’s most successful male professional golfer, Peter Thomson won 5 Open Championships as a player before turning his hand to course design with Michael Wolveridge in the 1960s. The pair started a firm that became globally renowned for their links-like style, and was prolific with more than 180 projects completed in all corners of the globe. Ross Perrett joined as a partner before the departure of Michael Wolveridge when the company reverted to the name Thomson Perrett Golf Course Architects.
There was a period in the 1980s and 90s when this company seemed to win every major design contract in Australia, be it new courses or renovation/redesign work at some of the country’s celebrated older clubs. With little genuine competition and a marketable ‘signature’ the firm prospered, and it wasn’t really until the arrival of Greg Norman Golf Course Design and Michael Clayton's team that Australian business started to slow for Thomson and Perrett.
Initially the company was best known for building linksy courses in tropical or sub-tropical climates where neither the terrain nor the grass growing conditions were suited to that style of golf. Then came the big break, the opportunity to design on the pure dune country of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. The National Golf Club’s Ocean course was the first to open, principally designed by Michael Wolveridge it was a disappointing creation when compared directly to the Norman/Harrison Course next door or the nature of the virgin terrain. Shortly after Peter Thomson designed the Open Course at nearby Moonah Links, which is a juiced up championship links designed to torment professional players yet, being a resort, it was somehow to bring pleasure to the average golfer. Opinions are divided, but few believe this to be an elite Australian course despite the perfectly pitched undulation of the property. Ross Perrett’s Legends Course next door is the clear standout of the three dune courses in Victoria. As with Moonah Links Open, the Legends course has the odd issue with green designs and a slightly squeezed routing but it is a fine course that most golfers will thoroughly enjoy tackling. It is generally ranked among the top 30-35 courses in Australia.
Peter Thomson retired from the golf course design business in 2016 and sadly passed away in 2018, after battling Parkinson's disease for several years. He is fondly remembered as an Australian golf legend, and one of its most prolific course designers.
For an independent assessment of the Thomson Perrett design portfolio please contact Global Golf Group.