Jules is wanting to reduce his handicap in golf … actually he really wants to take his first lesson and show up Davo on the course.
We decided Jules should learn to play golf, so he doesn't feel left out when the other Getaway presenters play. To give him a good start, we sent him to the Melbourne Golf Academy, a top-of-the-range facility conceptualised by well-known Melbourne businessman Lloyd Williams. His plan was to have a place where young golfers could enhance their skills and train with the best.
There is one big championship putting green. It is contoured like the real thing and you can practice shots from different angles.
The short game area is where you practice your bunker and pitching shots. This is an important area to master, as it makes up around 80 percent of the game. There are bunkers of various heights and widths and several pin placements for trying different distances to the greens.
Next to that is a chipping area. There you practice your short game chip and run onto the green. It has longer grass and no bunkers, designed to be like playing on a real fairway with variances and hazards.
There are 40 undercover bays with driving mats, seats, club rack, drink holder and 10 target greens, varying from 50 to 250 metres.
The club fit-out room is an indoor facility with an enclosed golf hitting net. A mat with inbuilt laser targets shows how far the ball was hit, its accuracy, speed and whether it veered left or right. The information is displayed on a laptop and plasma screen. The system is used by international tour golfers when they try new golf equipment.
The MGA has a retail golf shop selling fine clothing, clubs, balls and accessories at very competitive prices.
For those wannabe golfers, there is coaching from six of Australia's best, including Steve Bann, who coaches Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby and Nick Flanagan, Dale Lynch, who coaches Steve Allen, Geoff Ogilvy, Greg Chalmers and Matthew Goggin.
Dale spends around 16 weeks in the USA coaching his stable of professionals and the rest of the time their training is done via the internet. Players send their swings through on e-mail and Dale coaches them from Australia. They hope to be able to do is by webcam soon.
When you are ready to sit back and relax, you can retreat to the licensed café which overlooks the short game greens. There you can enjoy a snack, a substantial meal, coffee, wine or a cold beer. The atmosphere is friendly and large televisions broadcast sporting programs.