Designed by Tony Cashmore, the second course at the Heritage Golf & Country Club in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley is known as the Henley and first opened for play in 2006.
This is a much more open, sparse almost quasi-links experience than the parkland St John’s course, with holes mostly routed within a sunken river floodplain but briefly rising on the back nine to reach an elevated plateau. Here the layout winds around a rather broad hillside, before plunging violently back to the river flat area at the controversial par four 16th.
Cashmore’s design at The Heritage is noted for its rugged bunkering and the use of wetland areas to inject strategy into the holes. This was a difficult project to conceive and build, as environmental restrictions placed on the site prevented continuous construction across the property and led to significant delays. While some of the shaping work is first-rate, in places it does appear things were rushed, especially around the early open wetland holes. The water bodies, some mounding and a number of tee boxes do not quite sit right on the ground. That said this area does include a few nice surprises, especially the flat par threes. Less effective are holes like the long, split fairway par four 9th, where a water hazard across the fairway forces everyone to lay back and try hit the difficult target from distance. After a series of nice upland holes, the steeply descending 16th is also problematic.
Henley is a pleasant place to play, and an attractive alternative to those Heritage members who enjoy variety with their golf. While it seems less popular than the Nicklaus St Johns course, in terms of quality it is certainly no less of a layout.