GOLF DIGEST has just released its biennial rankings of Australia’s top golf courses and as usual the list provides plenty to talk about.
Star of the 2019 Presidents Cup (in composite form) Royal Melbourne West continues to rule the roost (just), but three Tasmanian courses loom large in the Top 10, the Packer family’s private masterpiece Ellerston remains among the elite (despite a slight slip), while Clive’s Palmer Resort Coolum has recovered from its dinosaur dramas to return to the fold.
Australian Golf Digest publishes the AGD Top 100 List every two years and editor Steve Keipert says the 2020 edition comes at an important time for the industry.
“On the one hand we’ve had the world watching the top-level excitement of the President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne,” Keipert says.
“And yet not a single new golf course has opened in Australia in the past two years, since our previous rankings. Although, that’s not to say there isn’t plenty of activity going on, with various upgrades and redesigns happening on courses across Australia.”
“Certainly, though, to make the Top 100 you are a seriously good golf course, and there is an enormous amount of work that goes into reaching those standards – so all those on the list should be very proud of their achievements. We have expanded our judging panel in a big way this time, and it has yielded some interesting results throughout the rankings.”
The Australian Golf Digest TOP 100
Royal Melbourne’s esteemed West course has taken top spot. It is the 16th out of 17 times (with the ratings having been conducted across the past 34 years). But the competition is close and Cape Wickham on Tasmania’s Kings Island continues its ascent, to now displace Kingston Heath at number two.
In the 17 editions of the Top 100 rankings (first published in 1986) only 22 courses have appeared on every list. Overall, 221 courses have, at one time or another, made the cut.
Mount Compass Golf Course in South Australia was the biggest improver, leaping 23 places to 73rd. [ASG played Mount Compass during a trip back in 2016 and had a great time with the course, and the local characters – Read:
Conversely, Twin Creeks in western Sydney dropped 18 places to 93rd – although seven courses fell out of the Top 100 altogether.
The ranking period saw the sad closure of Paradise Palms near Cairns (which had never missed a spot on the rankings during its existence), as well as the demise of Brisbane’s North Lakes.
During the past two years not a single new golf course debuted in Australia, but plenty of work has been underway on existing layouts.
Significant ‘upgraded’ returns include Concord in New South Wales at 46 and Peninsula Kingswood in Victoria at 6.
The famed Royal Sydney course slips to 48 on these rankings, but major renovations are about to begin.
STATE BY STATE – LEADING COURSES
1 Royal Melbourne West (1st overall)
2 Kingston Heath (3rd overall)
3 Peninsula Kingswood North (6th overall)
4 Royal Melbourne East (8th overall)
5 Victoria (9th overall)
New South Wales
1 New South Wales (5th overall)
2 Ellerston (10th overall)
3 The Lakes (19th overall)
4 The Australian (21st overall)
5 Newcastle (28th overall)
1 Brookwater (29th overall)
2 Hamilton Island (33rd overall)
3 Royal Queensland (35th overall)
4 The Grand (39th overall)
5 Sanctuary Cove Pines (44th overall)
1 Lake Karrinyup (15th overall)
2 Joondalup Quarry/Dune (18th overall)
3 The Cut (36th overall)
4 Links Kennedy Bay (38th overall)
5 The Western Australian (56th overall)
1 Royal Adelaide (11th overall)
2 Kooyonga (22nd overall)
3 Glenelg (37th overall)
4 Grange West (43rd overall)
5 Grange East (53rd overall)
1 Cape Wickham (2nd overall)
2 Barnbougle Dunes (4th overall)
3 Barnbougle Lost Farm (7th overall)
4 Ocean Dunes (13th overall)