The Sands Torquay is a residential golf resort set slightly north of the popular Victorian seaside village of Torquay. The golf course itself was a collaboration between Brit Stenson of IMG Golf Course Services and leading Australian tour player Stuart Appleby.
On the back of hosting the innovative Surf Coast Knockout tournament, the Sands shot into the Golf Digest Top 100 ranking list of Australian Golf Courses in 2012. The merit of its position within the list was instantly debated, with some loving the unusual quasi-Sandbelt, quasi-links mix and others feeling that the flaws here greatly outweigh the positives. Certainly this is far from a perfect course, with the bunkering badly overdone in many places and the design of several holes inexcusably poor. What the Sands has in its favour, however, are superior turf conditions and a genuine effort from the designers on many holes to inject some strategy into the layout. Unfortunately, at times the shaping work done around the greens distracts from the merit of an otherwise sound hole.
As with any golf course, ultimately the biggest disappointment with The Sands Torquay is that none of the holes here are individually outstanding. There are some who enjoy the open, windswept feel of this course, and others who like the bold, sprawling Sandbelt style bunkering but few that would defend the actual design here or be able to mount a compelling case that it belongs higher up the list of Australia’s best courses.