Why you should plan your 2019 Presidents Cup trip now
November 20, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Cut it out. I can hear you.
Those of you that have followed my work are already snickering. The eye rolls have begun. I know. I get it. I hold some level of bias toward the magnificent island continent known as Australia, my native land.
But this pride of country is there for a reason.
And I am about to legitimately show you why the 2019 Presidents Cup, to be held Dec. 12-15 next year, represents a chance for you to get away on an unforgettable experience.
The city of Melbourne awaits you. With open arms. And you will not be disappointed.
As we approach the one-year-to-go mark, I am giving you a head start on your planning. You will have no excuses.
Both the U.S. and International teams need support and if you were ever thinking of exploring the land down under, then why not have your trip coincide with an epic sporting event in the middle of a beautiful southern hemisphere summer.
Here’s the thing. Whether you are looking for the ultimate golf trip away with friends, or a life-changing family vacation, or a romantic trip with your significant other … you’re covered.
Whether you’re sports mad, a foodie, a wine connoisseur, a history buff, a coffee snob, an animal lover, an art aficionado, a nature worshipper … you’re covered.
Whether you’re an Instagramer, Snapchatter, Facebooker or Scrapbooker … you’re covered.
Here’s just a snippet of what awaits you in Melbourne, a handful of reasons you should take the plunge.
Of course every category is interchangeable for all.
If you want the ultimate golfing getaway, Melbourne rivals anywhere in the world. That’s right … anywhere.
Royal Melbourne Golf Club previously hosted the Presidents Cup in 1998 and 2011. (Visit Victoria photo)
The Competition: The Presidents Cup brings together the best golfers from the USA to do battle with the best from the rest of the world (excluding Europe). Seeing two teams stacked with superstars in match play is as up-close and personal as it gets in the world of golf. The passion of representing one’s country is on display and while the U.S. Team has dominated in winning nine of the 11 biennial competitions, the lone International win came in Melbourne in 1998. With just 12 players on each team, the action is hyper-focused and intense, creating an incredible crowd atmosphere.
“Our game is growing, it's becoming more global, and I think this event is only going to get bigger and better.” -- U.S. Captain Tiger Woods
The Motivating Factors: Both the U.S. and International teams are coming into the contest off a loss and revenge can be a serious motivating factor. For the Internationals, they have been on the end of losses for a while but they haven’t forgotten the 2017 event in New Jersey, where it was almost over at Liberty National before the final day. Images of the U.S. team in rapture are burned in their brains and have them well and truly fired up. For the Americans, their loss came at the hands of the European Team in the 2018 Ryder Cup outside Paris. A humbling result for what was being billed as perhaps one of the greatest U.S. Teams ever assembled. They are intent of regaining the winning feeling once more.
“It would be nice to have our pictures up on the wall in player dining at TPC Sawgrass. Every year I have been there you look up and it’s an American team up on the wall. I’m sick of looking at that and would love to have our photos up there for them to stare at.” – Three-time International Team member Marc Leishman
The Captains: One of the great rivalries in their prime was that of Ernie Els and Tiger Woods and now the pair take the helm of each side. The history of the Presidents Cup will forever be headlined by their head-to-head battle in 2003 when they couldn’t be separated and continued to trade blows as darkness descended. With no one taking a backward step it was decided the Cup would be shared. Tiger is in the conversation of the best golfer of all time and even hopes to be a playing captain. Els has won multiple times at Royal Melbourne and once shot 60 there.
“Tiger and I have had some great duels in the past, and I look forward to the challenge of going against my longtime friend yet again in 2019. I’m not afraid to blood new talent. I want guys who are hungry to win.” – International Team captain Ernie Els
The Golf Course: Royal Melbourne has stood the test of time and is an Alister MacKenzie gem that has held numerous world-class tournaments. While there are two courses, the West and East, the Presidents Cup uses a composite of both. The West Course is ranked by Golf Digest as the third-best course in the world and the East is 19th best. The championship routing utilizes the best from both and has often been voted the best 18 holes in the world, making it a stellar place to witness the greatest in the world go at it.
“The chief object of every golf architect or greenkeeper worth his salt is to imitate the beauties of nature so closely as to make his work indistinguishable from nature itself.” – Alister MacKenzie (1870-1934)
The Other Golf Courses: While Royal Melbourne is highly regarded as one of the globe’s preeminent tracks, the beauty of the Melbourne sandbelt region offers a plethora of similar places. Greens built expertly into the topography. Bunkers with crisp vertical edges that fit snugly into the fairways and greens. Clever thoughtful designs that call for more than just bomb and gouge. There are five other world top 100 courses in the area and another handful that could just as easily be included. Get yourself on places like Kingston Heath, Victoria, The National, Metropolitan, St Andrews Beach, Moonah Links … the greatness is virtually endless.
“I have played a decent amount of golf down there in the sandbelt area and it is one of my favorite places in the world.” – Rickie Fowler
“It’s one of the best golfing destinations in the world. You hear of Bandon Dunes, or trips around Scotland, or Pinehurst and places like that but Melbourne rivals them all. In terms of a golfing holiday, you couldn’t get much better, particularly at that time of year if you’re an American fan. Get out of the American winter and get into the Aussie summer and enjoy yourself.” – Marc Leishman
Looking to enhance or rekindle a flame or share an adventure with the one you love? Or perhaps you just need to reconnect with nature? Or just unwind? Then consider some of these experiences.
The Great Ocean Road is one of the world's most amazing drives. (Visit Victoria photo)
The Great Ocean Road: As the name suggests, this is one of the world’s most amazing coastal drives. Find your way along the twists and turns of Victoria’s coastline and witness the rugged splendor of the famous 12 apostles – huge rock stacks that rise up from the Southern Ocean. Meet koalas, emus and kangaroos in Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve or get amongst the rainforest in the Otway Ranges. If you are into surfing, check out Bells Beach where the Rip Curl Pro is held each year – or perhaps you remember it from the original Point Break film. Oh, and pay a visit to the Australian National Surfing Museum and Hall of Fame.
Peninsula Hot Springs Spa: An award-winning natural hot springs and day spa destination on the Mornington Peninsula just outside Melbourne. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into the pools and private baths at this coastal oasis, providing an idyllic setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Roam all over this vast property that includes over 30 globally inspired bathing experiences including the cave pool, reflexology walk, Turkish steam bath (Hamam), sauna, cold plunge pools, family bathing area, massaging thermal mineral showers and the hilltop pool, with stunning 360-degree views of the region. There is also an adults-only area with tranquil spaces, private and communal pools and an array of pampering spa treatments to revitalize body, mind and spirit including Australian Aboriginal-inspired kodo full body massages plus facials, mud and salt wraps and ancient healing stone experiences.
Yarra River Dinner Cruise: Enjoy a relaxing cruise down the Yarra River in the heart of Melbourne. With a tantalizing four-course menu (inclusive of beverages) and a vibrant atmosphere, you’ll enjoy delectable food while enjoying the night time views of the city.
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel: Experience unparalleled panoramic views of Melbourne in absolute comfort in this giant Ferris wheel in the Docklands area of the city. See not only the CBD and Port Phillip Bay but as far as Mount Macedon, Arthur’s Seat and the Dandenong Ranges!
Royal Botanical Gardens: Attracting more than 1.8 million visitors annually, Melbourne Gardens is a treasured part of cultural life and a valuable asset to the heritage rich city. With its stunning vistas, tranquil lakes and diverse plant collections, the Gardens are a place of continual discovery and delight. Enjoy the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, Garden Discovery Tour, a ride on the Garden Explorer or punting on the tranquil Ornamental Lake, all set against a beautiful backdrop and just moments from the city.
Australia’s wildlife is as unique as you will find anywhere on the planet. Get up-close and personal with these marvels of nature. While you’ll most likely come across some local fauna in the wild, there are ways to ensure you have a true Aussie animal experience.
Check out hundreds of fairy penguins on the Phillip Island Penguin Parade. (Visit Victoria photo)
Phillip Island Penguin Parade: As their tagline says … Take a waddle on the wild side! Just 90 minutes from Melbourne is the world-famous penguin parade at Phillip Island. Hundreds and hundreds of fairy penguins return home from the ocean to the colony every sunset in one of nature’s great sights. Watch from the beach or the specially made viewing platforms both above and underground.
Melbourne Zoo: Just minutes from the city center, the Zoo has more than 300 different species from around the world, such as Asian Elephants, Sumatran Tigers and Orangutans swinging through the trees. There’s also a Gorilla Rainforest, and koalas and kangaroos are in an Australian bush setting. If you really want to get to know the locals, take the Australian Wildlife Tour and even feed the Roos their brekkie (breakfast).
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium: Situated right on the banks of the Yarra river in downtown Melbourne is this Southern Ocean and Antarctic aquarium. Explore the crocodile lair, the bay of rays or the penguin playground and if you’re really brave perhaps you’ll take up the option to dive with the sharks.
Werribee Open Range Zoo: If seeing animals in a more natural habitat is your cup of tea, then look no further. See multiple species get to roam the plains in an African-style adventure where your entry fee helps toward fighting wildlife extinction.
Whether it is some of the best gourmet dining in the world or if it is a vibrant street food scene, Melbourne runs the gambit.
The Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. (Visit Victoria photo)
Walk Melbourne Tours: “The Melbourne Experience” tour is a great orientation to Melbourne as you take a progressive walk throughout the center of the city. But more importantly you do so whilst sampling some phenomenal Chinese dumplings and decadent French style sweet treats. Then you relax with a coffee at one Melbourne’s great cafes and finish with a drink at one of Melbourne’s unique bars.
Queen Victoria Market: Melbourne's iconic marketplace is 140 years old and is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. Home to over 600 small businesses, you’ll discover a variety of clothing, jewelry and souvenirs and revel in the atmosphere of the heritage listed meat, fish and dairy halls. Be sure to participate in the two-hour Ultimate Foodie Tour, designed specifically for food lovers. Indulge in some of the best food the Market has to offer, learn about the rich history and meet some of the colorful characters who call the Market home.
Gourmet Restaurant Scene: Melbourne is home to some of the best gourmet restaurants in the world. Try Fine Dining at venues like Attica (Australian with Mediterranean influence), Vue du Monde (French), Dinner by Heston, Cutler and Co or Press Club, where you can treat yourself to inventive and experimental molecular gastronomy. Or perhaps go Upscale at Coda (Asian), Tonka (Indian) or MoVida (Spanish).
Looking for something fun and vibrant? Chin Chin (Thai) does not take reservations but often has a 3-hour wait, such is its popularity. Supernormal is anything but average as its Asian flavors astound. And Tipo 00 is an Italian gem with handmade pasta. Try the house-made squid ink taglioni, stinging nettle and saltbush risotto, and parpadelle with braised rabbit. Also try your best to leave room for the signature dolce, the “tipomisu.”
“There is an incredible variety of food with some great influences from all over the world. It has a bit of everything. Every trip I’ve had there has been amazing.” – Jordan Spieth
Want some of the best wines in Australia at your fingertips? Or itching for some classic Australian beer? Or perhaps some of the best coffee on the world stage … it is all within reach.
Rooftop bars are a great place to unwind in Melbourne. (Visit Victoria photo)
Mornington Peninsula Wineries: Just a short drive from the city is the Mornington Peninsula, which is home to a vibrant wine scene. Ranging from larger vineyards to small boutique spots, a tour of the area is full of award-winning vino but it is far more than that. Add craft breweries, cider makers and distilleries. Take high tea, book a cooking class or savor a fine dining experience. The area has a strong reputation for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Oh and you’ll almost certainly run into some kangaroos around the place.
Carlton Brewhouse: Located just 5 kilometers from the Melbourne CBD at Australia’s largest brewery, Carlton is home of some of Australia’s favorite beers including Carlton Draught and Victoria Bitter. Here you can go on a beer expedition, following the River of Beer through which 150,000 liters of fresh beer flows each day. The Tour & Tasting includes a guided tour of the brewery followed by a tasting of your choice of six great brews from an extensive range.
“Australian beer is delicious.” – Marc Leishman
Coffee Tours: Those in the caffeine business tell me you haven’t had coffee until you’ve had Melbourne coffee. In fact on my last visit, I relented and became a coffee drinker for the first time. Now I can’t get enough. Hundreds of cafes throughout the city claim they do it best, which has created a serious scene for those who can’t go without their cup of joe each day. Melbourne Coffee Tours offer a journey through Melbourne's cafe history and culture. Learn the art of extraction and why Melbourne is the “Cafe Capital of Australia.” The tour includes a sensory immersion hosted by a professional coffee judge, who will lead you on a coffee trail of single origins and third wave brewing methods. Discover hidden laneway cafes and sample local specialty coffee blends.
Bar Scene: Like most cities in Australia, Melbourne is full of great pubs where you can either relax in the beer garden for an afternoon or cozy up to the bar and have a chat, or a chinwag, with the locals. Perhaps you’d prefer a purist’s approach to cocktails at a place like The Everleigh, one of the top 50 bars on Earth. Or try 1806, which claims to have the Best Cocktail List in the World. If the focus is wine, options like Marion Wine Bar and Embla might take your fancy. Want to be on the rooftop? Try Siglo or Good Heavens.
Holey Moley: Think TopGolf – but in mini-golf form! Have a drink, a 27-hole mini-golf tournament, and then hit one of the karaoke rooms! With the right crowd, it can be an epic night out.
Looking to hit a traditional gallery? Sure they are here … but so are some of the most modern displays in the southern hemisphere. Certain to be an Insta hit.
Street art is quite popular in Melbourne. (Visit Victoria photo)
Artvo Immersive Gallery: When they say immersive, they mean immersive. Unlike normal art museums, visitors are encouraged to touch and interact with the artworks, photographing themselves and becoming part of the art. With more than 10 themed zones to explore, each featuring their own incredible, hand painted artworks which cascade directly from the walls to the floors, the possibilities for your imagination are endless. Immerse yourself into different scenes, locations and famous paintings.
Graffiti Lanes and Street Art: Walk down the famous bluestone Hosier laneway and admire the street art that has made the Melbourne urban art scene known across the globe. Take in the dizzying array of colors, characters and shapes created by local and international artists alike. Take a detour round into Rutledge Lane and explore the work lining the walls, windows and wheelie bins of this sister gallery. Also check out Blender Lane – known as the spiritual home of Melbourne's famous street art scene.
Federation Square: A home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism experiences and an exceptional array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores, this modern piazza has become the city's meeting place. Since opening in 2002, Federation Square has become one of the most visited attractions in Melbourne with more than 10 million visits a year. It is host to more than 2,000 events a year and home to the National Gallery of Victoria's Australian collection, The Ian Potter Centre as well as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).
National Gallery of Victoria: Visit major international touring exhibitions and wander collections of European, Asian, Oceanic and American art at NGV International, the iconic St Kilda Road gallery with its famous waterfall and Great Hall.
City Architecture: Looking for great historic buildings? Melbourne is full of exciting vintage architecture. Check out Southern Cross Railway Station, or the State Library, City Baths or Flinders Street Station.
Once the little ones have had the ultimate excitement of nabbing a Tiger Woods autograph, there is plenty more on offer to broaden their ever-expanding minds.
You can see Melbourne and the surrounding area at the Eureka Skydeck. (Visit Victoria photo)
Luna Park: For some old-school fun, this historic amusement park located on the Port Phillip Bay in St Kilda could be for you. Flush with rides, including the Scenic Railway which is the world’s oldest continually operating roller coaster. One of just three coasters in the world where a brakeman stands in the middle of the train.
Eureka Skydeck: If heights don’t bother, you rocket yourself 285 meters (312 yards) above ground in just 38 seconds on the fastest elevator ride in the southern hemisphere. From there you can see Melbourne and all of the surrounding area in a floor-to-ceiling 360-degree view. If you are feeling extra brave try The Edge – a glass cube that projects from the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower and suspends you over the city in the world’s only moving glass structure.
Fun Fields: It will be summer in Australia during the Presidents Cup, meaning you might need to cool off. Fun Fields Theme Park, and its intense water rides, is a place to behold. Three separate water slides have World Records for their length and height.
St Kilda Adventure Playground: Hidden amongst the neighborhood in St Kilda is one of the more eclectic and fun playgrounds your kids may have ever seen. Among other things, they can tackle a big plane, a big wooden horse with saddle, trampolines, a climbing tree, a go-kart path, a big metal slide, a ride on dinosaur, climbing frames, a pirate ship, a little basketball court, a big tepee and wooden castle with lots of nooks and crannies and a great tunnel slide.
A Maze’N Things: Send your imagination into overdrive at this Philip Island attraction. A magic manor full of illusions and interactive magic displays. There is also a puzzle Island. Or try to escape the massive maze. Maybe you want to soar above it all on a Skytrail. And of course there is Maxi mini golf – a 19-hole course for you all to enjoy.
We’ve barely scratched the surface here. Honestly Melbourne is brilliant and if you get me started on the rest of the country … well we would be here all night. Imagine tacking on some time after Melbourne to the picturesque city of Sydney or heading up to the tropics and the Great Barrier Reef. Or perhaps heading into the outback towards Uluru and other sacred indigenous areas from one of the oldest known civilizations in the world.
Head to https://www.visitvictoria.com/ to get cracking on your trip of a lifetime.