1st. Par 4, 324 metres
New dam on the right could get some off to a wet start. Second shot all important, with green sloping front to back and left to right. Watch for dirty pin placement on the left or the front.
2nd. Par 5, 490 metres
Classic Royal Melbourne. Second shot crucial. High risk/reward for second shot. Missing left or right can leave you dead.
3rd. Par 3, 161 metres
Picture book par 3. Don’t want downhill putt for birdie. Watch for some Royal Melbourne novices to putt off the green. Always makes us hacks feel better about life.
4th. Par 4, 401 metres
One of Peter Thomson’s favourite holes. Pin position will dictate whether the pros attack this hole. Pins cut left are virtually impossible to get close to.
5th. Par 3, 135 metres
Tiny green from back to front. Club selection, club selection, club selection.
6th. Par 4, 285 metres
Length isn’t everything. Should be plenty of birdies here.
7th. Par 4, 416 metres
Length is everything. Well, just about. Beautiful driving hole.
8th. Par 4, 435 metres
Another long one. Will be a beast if the north wind gets up. A big right-hand hook will leave you dead and possibly among snakes.
9th. Par 4, 401 metres
Don’t be greedy off the tee and go for too much. Be under the hole with your second.
10th. Par 4, 396 metres
Classic driving hole back to the clubhouse. Watch for balls skipping through if the pin is at the back of this new, hard green.
11th. Par 4, 304 metres
Watch the big hitters go for the green, although trouble awaits if they go left.
12th. Par 4, 402 metres
Downhill drive, uphill second. Watch out for the pins cut left, because there is a dirty, steep slope off the green to the left. Bored professionals can amuse themselves by watching the skateboarders on the nearby road.
13th. Par 4, 350 metres
A sleeper. Looks easy, plays hard. The green is undulating, putts are very hard to read. Bogie danger. The green is near an intersection and is the most likely place to be heckled by hoons.
14th. Par 3, 150 metres
Pretty hole. Birdie chances. Nice place to watch the flag get peppered.
15th. Par 5, 520 metres
Longest hole on the composite course. Slightly reconfigured this year. Temptation for the big hitters.
16th. Par 4, 449 metres
Par 5 for members, par 4 for pros. Will be very tough hitting into the prevailing sou’wester. Par a good score.
17th. Par 4, 392 metres
The old first hole. Not much trouble for the pros. Should be a birdie chance.
18th. Par 4, 410 metres
Traditional Royal Melbourne finishing hole. Beautiful second shot into a two-tiered green with classic MacKenzie bunkering. My favourite to play – and watch.
Total: Par 71, 7024 metres
Ed Smithers plays off a handicap of seven when he can squeeze in a game.