OCM completes redesign of another eight greens at Mount Lawley

  • OCM Golf Mount Lawley
    Mount Lawley Golf Club

    OCM Golf has redesigned eight more greens at Mount Lawley

  • OCM Golf Mount Lawley
    Mount Lawley Golf Club

    OCM’s Mike Cocking says the land is reminiscent of the Melbourne Sandbelt

  • OCM Golf Mount Lawley
    OCM Golf

    Bunker edges are now a combination of couch grass and fescue

  • OCM Golf Mount Lawley
    Mount Lawley Golf Club

    Green complexes now have “fairly classic principles of strategic design”, says Cocking

  • OCM Golf Mount Lawley
    Mount Lawley Golf Club

    Cocking hopes Mount Lawley, to become ranked as one of Australia’s top 40 courses

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Mount Lawley Golf Club near Perth, Australia, has reopened its course following renovation work by OCM Golf, which was completed in September 2023 and included the reconstruction of eight green complexes and some fairway rebunkering.

Four greens were rebuilt in 2022 and a final phase, to be undertaken later this year, will focus on the remaining six greens, rebuilding tees, and creating a new short-game area and practice putting green.

“We have long felt that Perth boasts some of the best land available for golf in the country,” said architect Mike Cocking of OCM Golf. “Had this city been the primary focus of Alister Mackenzie’s trip to Australia in 1926, it more than likely would have resulted in some of the most highly regarded courses in the southern hemisphere.

“Mount Lawley is built on land which is somewhat reminiscent of the sandbelt in Melbourne. The indigenous vegetation retains the feel of the land long before the course was built, the sand base makes for good drainage and easy construction, and the natural undulations help form good looking holes and interesting shots.”

OCM Golf prepared a masterplan in 2015, identifying greens – which had suffered agronomic issues relating to the severe summer heat Perth experiences – as a priority for renovation. “The club didn’t necessarily want to lose the feel of the original course but were mindful that there was an opportunity to significantly improve both the architecture and condition, particularly the green complexes,” said Cocking.

Originally the plan was to complete work on greens and greenside bunkers, but given the success of the first two phases, the club extended the work to include all bunkers, tees and the practice facilities.

“The green complexes have all been redesigned with new contours and bunkering schemes, based on fairly classic principles of strategic design,” said Cocking. “For the most part, greens feature long tilted grades and fairly subtle contours but it’s the bunkering where the real similarities to the Melbourne Sandbelt exist.

“As part of the works, we have come up with a unqiue construction technique which has utilised very thick sods of thatch to help stabilise where bunkers meet the edge of the greens. This has created the sharp edges which one has typically only seen in Melbourne, while on the back side, the bunker edges are a combination of couch grass and fescue and feature slightly more rugged lines.

“Between the bunkers and the greens is a very narrow collar but in time it may be possible to remove this and have the bentgrass right to the edge of the bunkers as you would see in Melbourne.  Having worked in Perth for two decades, the severe temperatures and the nature of the sand has always made for problematic green and bunker edges, but this new technique has been very easy to manage and created a unique look for the Perth golf scene.”

The completion of the work has been accompanied by a significant increase in membership numbers.

“The goal is very simple: to make the course the best it can be,” said Cocking. “We hope that once the work is complete, the potential of the course will start to become realised, and this will be reflected in the annual course rankings. The land is good enough for Mount Lawley to be inside the top 40 in Australia and we hope that once complete, this will be the case.”