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Australia’s Top 100 Golf Courses 2024

Royal Melbourne west
Royal Melbourne west course

After much golfing, reviewing and considering, the crew at Golf Australia Magazine have come up with their top 100 Australian golf courses list for 2024.

The 2024 top golf courses list comes after their rolling 2 year process begun after the announcement of the 2022 rankings.

There are a number of changes and also a number of courses not considered for various reasons, mostly where major renovations are underway or about to begin.

This category includes Kew GCThe National’s Long Island CourseCommonwealth GC and Huntingdale GC, all in Victoria. Indooroopilly GC (Queensland), Royal Sydney GC (NSW) as well as Links Kennedy Bay and Mt Lawley (WA).

Courses where the owners/management don’t want to play ball and be part of the ranking include the Capital Golf Club in Melbourne and the Packer family-owned Ellerston course in NSW.

Golf Australia Magazine editor Brendan James admits golf course ranking is not an exact science but says they believe the mag’s approach produces a true golfer’s guide you can rely on to plan future visits and inspire you to get out and play what is the cream of Australian golf.”

We’ll go with tradition and provide the Top 100 list from 100th down.

MANLY GC

Manly, NSW

Designers: Peter Thomson & Ross Perrett (2012).

Average points: 31.091. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “Manly is a wonderful member’s course that is beautifully presented from tee to green. It is not a long layout, but it is difficult for long hitters to gain any sort of advantage due to the water hazards and bunkers punctuating your progress on every hole.” – Daniel Robertson.

“A dozen years on from its big redesign by Thomson and Perrett and Manly has rarely looked any better. It has its design faults, but the presentation is superb.” – Alex Lee.

 

SOUTHERN GC

Keysborough, Victoria

Designers: Sam Berriman (1949); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1976); Bob Shearer (1990-2010); Ogilvy, Cocking & Mead – OCM (ongoing).

Average points: 32.727. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “After a 12-year absence, Southern makes a return to the Top-100 ranking. The Sandbelt course has been improving bit-by-bit for several years, which is great to see because it is a layout with enormous potential. The design team of Ogilvy, Cocking & Mead has created a masterplan for the club, which will address some of the disparity between those holes considered Southern’s best and worst.” – Lucas Andrews.

RACV CAPE SCHANCK RESORT

Cape Schanck, Victoria

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1988).

Average points: 34.462. 2022 ranking: 88.

Comments: “Cape Schanck is the ‘poor man’s’ version of the Old Course at The National. You won’t be any poorer for playing it though, as it’s a lot of fun and open to anyone wanting to part with a green fee.” – Kevin Nolan.

“A little bit of a surprise package on the Mornington Peninsula – not talked of with
the regular beasts of Australian golf, but very pleasant, fun and not too long. Don’t
take it lightly … It’ll test every aspect of your game.” – Peter Martin.

THE HERITAGE G&CC – ST. JOHN COURSE

Chirnside Park, Victoria

Designer: Jack Nicklaus (2000).

Average points: 38.500. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “Jack Nicklaus’ course at The Heritage has been in the ranking wilderness for almost a decade. But it rightfully returns to the fold after a significant amount of investment has been made in the course.The high level of conditioning really enhances the Golden Bear’s design work.” – Lucas Andrews.

“A fantastic course trying to climb the mountain back to its glory days of being one of the great golfing experiences in Melbourne. A championship course with a grand feel to it deserves a spot on this list.” – DJ Loypur.

CASTLE HILL CC

Castle Hill, NSW

Designers: Eric Apperly (1951); Jack Newton, Graeme Grant, John Spencer (1992-2006); Bob Harrison (2019).

Average points: 38.667. 2022 ranking: 98.

Comments: “The new home of the Webex Players Series Sydney is vastly different to the course that hosted the Aussie Tour’s Canon Challenge and Australian PGA back in the day. The redesign work carried out here by Bob Harrison created a much better, more strategic layout that is far more challenging for golfers of all standards.” – Chris Gleeson.

“Castle Hill might have the best presented kikuyu fairways in Australia. If it doesn’t it is certainly on the podium.” – Robyn Mitchell.

“Bob Harrison’s redesign at Castle Hill is proof you don’t need to move heaven and earth to create better golf. His simple changes have created a much better course.” – Joe Thomas.

MORNINGTON GC

Mornington, Victoria

Designers: Vern Morcom, Sloan Morpeth and Gus Jackson (1950); Jack Watson (1967); Ben Davey and Darius Oliver (ongoing).

Average points: 39.375. 2022 ranking: 98.

Comments: “Spectacular views across Port Phillip Bay alongside the western side of the course. Each time you play its very different because of the ever-present breeze coming off the water. Yet another satisfying golfing experience within the Mornington Peninsula area.” – Claire Cook.

“The beautiful natural design on some fantastic terrain has create ‘always interesting’ golf. Throw in a bit of wind (more than sometimes) and it gets even better. The ongoing changes, with the 6th and 7th holes being the latest to be tweaked, continue to improve this course which boasts great potential.” – Brendan James.

 

THE BRISBANE GC

Yeerongpilly, Queensland

Designers: Carnegie Clark (1904); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926 advisory); Ross Watson (2007-2020).

Average points: 40.400. 2022 ranking: 97.

Comments: “Ongoing enhancements, including improved irrigation, selective vegetation removal across the course, and tee box renovations, have been key to the improvement of Brisbane Golf Club. The 1st hole, a tricky yet short par-5 named ‘Founders Way’, is one of the few remnants from the original Carnegie Clark layout and is a highlight of a round here.” – Steven Davis.

“Insight with a fresh set of eyes in newly appointed course superintendent Dave Mason (formerly of Metropolitan GC) has Brisbane Golf Club moving in the right direction with tree removal, new fairway definition lines and a basic clean-up of dead areas.” – Peter Martin.

ROYAL FREMANTLE GC

Fremantle, Western Australia

Designers: Arthur Oliphant & Peter Anderson (1906); Michael Coate (2004); Richard Chamberlain (ongoing).

Average points: 41.688. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “Perth’s best course south of the Swan River presents an array of challenges. The undulating terrain has provided the blank canvas for a significant number of interesting holes like the long uphill par-4 7th hole, which can be brutish, and the gentler climb alongside the lake on the 15th hole.” – Alex Murray.

BELMONT GC

Belmont, NSW

Designers: Prosper Ellis (1952); Jack Newton (2000s); James Wilcher (2018).

Average points: 41.833. 2022 ranking: 89.

Comments: “A very good links course that never throws up two rounds of any similarity. The holes that run closest to the beach, particularly through the middle of the back nine, are outstanding and truly memorable highlights of any round.” – David Griffiths.

“A course that many locals regard with great affection and possibly the best of this distinctly NSW beachside/swampy links style of golf course with mostly flat features and warm season grasses.” – Adrian Logue.

 

THE FEDERAL GC

Red Hill, ACT

Designers: Prosper Ellis (1955); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (ongoing).

Average points: 42.455. 2022 ranking: 93.

Comments: “Federal is a beautiful layout which is likely to undergo some redevelopment in the years to come, and time will only tell if this lifts this Prosper Ellis original in the ranking.” – Chris Gleeson.

“Federal’s finest moments come on the back nine, bookended by the uphill par-5 13th and the downhill par-5 17th. You will really enjoy the golf, and the beautiful views, across this section of the course.” – Lucas Andrews.

“Federal is home to some good holes and is always well presented. The layout is covered with too many trees, which affects the playability on some holes.” – Peter Shaw.

PYMBLE GC

St. Ives, NSW

Designers: Carnegie Clark & Dan Soutar (1928); Eric Apperly (1953); Ross Watson (2006); James Wilcher (ongoing)

Average points: 42.714. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “Pymble has only graced this ranking once and that was back in 2012
when it grabbed the last spot on the list at No.100. It’s return comes on the back of some
ongoing redesign work by James Wilcher that has ramped up the interest level with the introduction of several new, more dynamic green complexes as well as the removal of some unneccessary fairway bunkering ” – Brendan James.

“Always well-presented, but representative of the many suburban Sydney courses that sacrifice potentially fun golf to ensure a par in the 70s and a length over 6,000 metres. The superb RACV Healesville course provides an example of what could be possible on sites like Pymble.” – Scott Warren.

MONASH CC

Ingleside, NSW

Designers: James Hird Scott (1951); James Wilcher (2017), Bob Harrison (2014-2018).

Average points: 43.111. 2022 ranking: 94.

Comments: “Monash is high in the hills above Sydney’s northern beaches, so you can imagine the elevation change during a round might be quite dramatic. It is dramatic enough to make the golf very interesting without being a punishing walk. I couldn’t fault the conditioning either, with the greens being an absolute standout.” – Dan Robertson.

“The highs are literally and metaphorically high at Monash with some sweeping vistas and architecturally interesting holes.” – Adrian Logue.

 

THE HERITAGE G&CC – HENLEY COURSE

Chirnside Park, Victoria

Designer: Tony Cashmore (2006).

Average points: 43.250. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “The Henley course is routed much closer to the Yarra River, on a more undulating parcel of land than the neighbouring St. John Course. With water in play on many holes, and a more rural, natural setting than St. John, Henley is an enjoyable and fun layout to play.” – Matt Mollica.

“The Henley has no reliance on length to create a challenge, and playing to the edges of the wide fairways to set up an easier follow up shot is what Tony Cashmore’s design encourages.” – Tony Lachlan.

RIVERSDALE GC

Mt Waverley, Victoria

Designers: Alex Russell (1930); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford – Golf Strategies (2007 & ongoing).

Average points: 43.833. 2022 ranking: 90.

Comments: “There has been some impressive renovating of several greens in recent times by Crafter and Mogford. The green on the par-3 3rd hole is a beauty and looks like it has been in the ground as long as the course has existed. I’m looking forward to seeing what else will be remodelled in recapturing the best of the original creation.” – Lucas Andrews.

SUN CITY CC

Yanchep, Western Australia

Designers: Murray Dawson & Bob Green (1974); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2016).

Average points: 44.250. 2022 ranking: 81.

Comments: “I’m a big fan of the changes made by OCCM but there is still much to be done for Sun City to fulfil the potential we got a glimpse of with the first and second stages of redesigned holes.” – Sam Brooking.

“The changes made by OCCM have lifted a great course out of the ground, with the emphasis on strategy and making it playable for golfers of all abilities. I’m sure I’m not alone in my anticipation of seeing what is to come at Sun City.” – Brendan James.

MURRAY DOWNS G&CC

Murray Downs, NSW

Designers: Ted & Geoff Parslow (1988 & 2009).

Average points: 46.400. 2022 ranking: 86.

Comments: “Murray Downs is incredibly consistent in its presentation. I have played the course many times during the past dozen years or so, and I can’t recall any occasion where I have been disappointed with how the course shaped up. All this just adds to the fact the design is a beauty – wide fairways, but only one correct side to play from depending on the pin position, expansive bunkering and big, subtly sloped greens that really test your nerve.” – Alex Georgiou.

 

JOONDALUP RESORT – QUARRY/LAKE COURSE

Joondalup, Western Australia

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1985).

Average points: 47.000. 2022 ranking: 87.

Comments: “While the Quarry Course is home to Joondalup’s superstar offerings, the Lake Course certainly can’t be dismissed as just an extra. It packs some punch, but you will get a kick out of putting on the massive greens and playing shots over the moon crater bunkers. As usual, Joondalup’s condition can’t be questioned.” – Chris Gleeson.

KILLARA GC

Killara, NSW

Designers: Club members (1906); Commander John Harris (1961-1965); Prosper Ellis (1965); Harley Kruse (2020).

Average points: 48.143. 2022 ranking: 85.

Comments: “With Killara’s exciting renovation all but complete the club now enters a new phase of maintaining and improving its asset against a masterplan. A great example of the potential of Sydney parkland golf.” – Adrian Logue.

“Playing Killara is a much-improved experience. The remodelled holes are superb, but it is the change of turf that has been an inspired choice. The Pure Distinction bentgrass greens are excellent, as are the zoysia surrounds.” – Brendan James.

 

NAROOMA GC

Narooma, NSW

Designers: John Spencer (1980).

Average points: 49.000. 2022 ranking: 77.

Comments: “Narooma’s holes closest to the cliffs are what it is known for with Hogan’s Hole, the par-3 3rd, at the top of the list. But the holes in the hinterland are extremely well done. Narooma is a beautiful layout that provides all players with fun challenges. In my opinion, it gets near top marks for condition … the crew here must work 24-7.” – Ashley Clinch.

 

WARRNAMBOOL GC

Warrnambool, Victoria

Designers: George Lowe Jnr. (1928); Perrett Webb (ongoing).

Average points: 49.250. 2022 ranking: 82.

Comments: “In 2018, I mentioned Warrnambool’s program of clearing vegetation to expose sandy wasteland had significantly improved much of the front nine and progressing further with these subtle changes would see the layout continue to rise in the ranking … and it has. Also, worth noting too that Warrnambool’s presentation is first class and would be the envy of many private metropolitan clubs.” – Brendan James.

“This club continues to make strides in the right direction with improvements to design and aesthetic on the 4th, 5th and 6th holes. Wouldn’t it be great if they could access more dunes land like they have across this stretch of holes?” – Ashley Clinch.

 

STONECUTTERS RIDGE GC

Colebee, NSW

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2012).

Average points: 49.400. 2022 ranking: 72.

Comments: “There is a lot to like about the stretch of holes from the 2nd to the 5th, which covers an open flat section of the property, with some interconnecting fairways. These holes require a well thought out strategy and good execution. Many of the remaining holes require less thought and are advantageous to the longer hitter.” – Justin Dickson.

 

THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN GC

Yokine, Western Australia

Designers: Eustace Cohen & Victor Steffanoni (1927); Alex Russell (1928); Graham Marsh (2001 & ongoing).

Average points: 50.688. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “I love this layout and it has rarely played better or looked better than it has during the past 12 to 18 months. There has been lots of tweaks done, especially with the bunkering, and the course is now looking an absolute treat.” – Chris Gleeson.

“The conversion to Pure Distinction bent greens and the remodelling some greens has really lifted the course.” – Edward Lee.

SORRENTO GC

Sorrento, Victoria

Designers: Club members (1908); J.D Scott (1929); Peter Thomson,
Mike Wolveridge & Ross Perrett (2014); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (2012 & ongoing).

Average points: 51.000. 2022 ranking: 84.

Comments: ”A beautifully maintained Mornington Peninsula course that ticks a lot of boxes for ambience, fun and conditioning. It has a few doglegs that are right angles that feel forced and manufactured, however the standout holes 2, 6, 8, 10 and 16 are excellent.” – Ashley Clinch.

 

BLACK BULL GC

Yarrawonga, Victoria

Designers: Peter Thomson & Ross Perrett (2015).

Average points: 51.100. 2022 ranking: 80.

Comments: “Black Bull has swum against the tide to improve its position by three spots
this year. Well presented playing surfaces coupled with interesting holes make a round here memorable.” – Brendan James.

“The ‘Bull Ring’ is an exciting corner of the course with three holes played around the edge of a lake. But for mine, the closing trio of holes betters the ‘ring’ for sheer quality and great visuals.” – Alex Murray.

MT COMPASS GOLF COURSE

Mt Compass, South Australia

Designers: Brian & Neil Crafter (1995 & 1998); Neil Crafter (2016 & ongoing).

Average points: 51.200. 2022 ranking: 83.

Comments: “Mt Compass has improved in this ranking despite the loss of a very good
par-5 due to a redesign of the 2nd hole to become a less memorable par-4, and shortening of the par-4 3rd hole, to make room for a housing sub-division. It is a shame, especially when you consider Mt Compass has never looked as good.” – Brendan James.

“A forced redesign of a few holes along the boundary wasn’t ideal but the course has made up for it with fabulous conditioning. There is still a good mixture of short and long holes with a few quality short-par-4s making this a great place to spend a morning before hitting the wineries nearby.” – Michael Green.

COTTESLOE GC

Swanbourne,
Western Australia

Designers: David Anderson (1931); Alex Russell (1939); Justin Seward
& Boyd King (1960); Peter Thomson & Michael Wolveridge (1980); Graham Marsh (1998 and ongoing).

Average points: 51.455. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “Redesign has been a part of the Cottesloe story for a few years now but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The final five green rebuilds of Graham Marsh’s masterplan are all but done and it will be the first time in decades that all 18 greens will have the same grass covering.” – Brendan James.

“Cottesloe is a fun course, beautifully conditioned and will become even better when the last stage of green remodelling is completed.” – Lachlan Farmer.

THE GLADES GC

Robina, Queensland

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).

Average points: 52.000. 2022 ranking: 75.

Comments: “Bob Harrison had no right to turn a Gold Coast swamp into such a fun, engaging and strategic golf course. As impressive a feat of engineering as of golf design, too.” – Scott Warren.

“One of the Gold Coast’s must-play courses that is always a treat to play but is at its very best in spring when the bentgrass greens are rolling smooth and fast and are firm under foot.” – Sam Brooking.

“Norman and Harrison literally fashioned a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” – Kevin Nolan.

TASMANIA GC

Barilla Bay, Tasmania

Designer: Al Howard (1972).

Average points: 52.429. 2022 ranking: 79.

Comments: “What an incredible slice of land this course occupies. There are so many highlights but playing the par-5 3rd hole takes the cake. Playing that hole around the edge of the bay is worth whatever it costs you to travel to Hobart and experience this wonderful course and million-dollar views.” – Sue Johnson.

“Tasmania is a strong course, with amazing views, whose standing in Australian golf has risen in recent years on the back of the selected tree removal across the course. If there is one criticism it would that the hilltop location impacts some of the holes with significant side slopes.” – Peter Shaw.

 

PELICAN WATERS GC

Pelican Waters, Queensland

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000); Greg Norman (2023 & ongoing).

Average points: 52.778. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “Pelican Waters returns after not being considered for ranking in 2022 as Greg Norman redesigned part of the course to include four new holes and some remodelled versions of the older holes. Part of the redesign has seen the nines reversed, with all the completely new holes – 10, 11, 17 and 18 – on the inward half.” – Brendan James.

“The reversing of the nines might be the best result of the work that has been carried out at Pelican Waters in the past few years. Norman’s new holes collectively are not quite as good as the originals.” – Lucas Andrews.

MAROOCHY RIVER GC

Bli Bli, Queensland

Designer: Graham Marsh (2015).

Average points: 52.857. 2022 ranking: 78.

Comments: “A Graham Marsh design on the Sunshine Coast that plays firm, in excellent condition and provides challenge and variety for all golfers, which is an achievement given the flat land. There is lots of water running through the course but is rarely in play unless you are very wayward.” – Ashley Clinch.

“Maroochy River is a course where the most significant defence is the prevailing wind that comes in off the ocean. Short holes generally play into the wind and longer holes downwind, making club selection and distance control a constant challenge.” – Steve Davis.

 

SETTLERS RUN G&CC

Botanic Ridge, Victoria

Designers: Greg Norman, Bob Harrison & Harley Kruse (2007).

Average points: 53.300. 2022 ranking: 73.

Comments: “A visually appealing course that rolls through undulating terrain. There’s a good variety of holes with a number of shorter par-4s being the standouts.” – Ashley Clinch.

“Settlers Run is generally very good, in terms of design and conditioning. However, it can sometimes get found out by bad weather, but the club is looking at investing in rectifying its drainage problems sooner rather than later.” – James Walsh.

AVONDALE GC

Pymble, NSW

Designers: Eric Apperly (1927); Ross Watson (2008).

Average points: 53.455. 2022 ranking: 76.

Comments: “Almost unlimited opportunity with resources and land in the heart of Sydney’s exclusive North Shore. Perhaps over bunkered, but often superbly presented and wonderfully removed from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city.” – Adrian Logue.

“Probably Ross Watson’s best design work, with some terrific rolling land that brings the course alive during the back nine.” – Scott Warren.

 

LINKS LADY BAY RESORT

Normanville, South Australia

Designers: Jack Newton, Graeme Grant & John Spencer (2000).

Average points: 55.091. 2022 ranking: 70.

Comments: “Links Lady Bay has reached its highest mark in this ranking for the past decade. It has been a consistent performer in this list and it is starting to lose its reputation for being too rough around the edges. Today, it is undoubtedly in the best condition seen by our judges, which brings the best out in the links design.” – Brendan James.

“A links design that gives you space off the tee and provides risk reward opportunities for the low marker. However, a proliferation of bunkers could make it hard for the high handicapper. The back nine holds the best holes – 11, 12, 13 and 17, however, it also has some of the forgettable holes 14, 15 and 16.” – Ashley Clinch.

ROYAL HOBART GC

Seven Mile Beach, Tasmania

Designers: Vern Morcom (1963); Richard Chamberlain (ongoing).

Average points: 55.250. 2022 ranking: 71.

Comments: “An ongoing program of tree removal has continued to show benefits at Royal Hobart as it has opened up views across the course and done away with some of the narrow corridor aspects it once had. The new short 7th hole is a welcome addition on a course which still has plenty of upside and improvement to come.” – Brian Walshe.

“The flat ground holds Royal Hobart back somewhat, but there’s micro-undulation throughout that sets up the smart, testing holes and the bunkering brings strategy to the fore. Not every course can be Royal Melbourne, but Royal Hobart is on a path to maximising its potential.” – Scott Warren.

 

SANCTUARY LAKES GC

Sanctuary Lakes, Victoria

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).

Average points: 55.888. 2022 ranking: 67.

Comments: “Greg Norman and Bob Harrison really made a name for themselves for creating fun and challenging layouts on land that, in all truths, should never have been considered for a new course construction. The pair turned their hand to swamps (Pelican Waters and The Glades) and at Sanctuary Lakes they had salt flats. Nearly a quarter of a century on and looking at the beautiful layout you wouldn’t know how bad the land was before the course was built.” – Joe Thomas.

KALGOORLIE GC

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Designers: Graham Marsh (2010).

Average points: 56.500. 2022 ranking: 66.

Comments: “Kalgoorlie plays firm and fast as a desert course should. It is consistent in its overall presentation and with its landscapes and surrounds. It’s a challenge with some raised large greens with bunkers that sit off the green.” – Ashley Clinch.

“This is one of Graham Marsh’s finest designs and thankfully, through rankings like this and coverage of the WA PGA it hosts, it is starting to get the recognition it deserves. Apart from the high end golfing experience, it boasts a rich palette of colours from the ochre sandy watselands and bunkers, to the green carpet-like fairways and cloudless blue skies (usually), which certainly makes it worth driving nearly seven hours from Perth to play here.” – Chris Gleeson.

MOONAH LINKS – OPEN COURSE

Fingal, Victoria

Designers: Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge and Ross Perrett (2001).

Average points: 57.562. 2022 ranking: 68.

Comments: “For all its design flaws, and there are a few, I still love the challenge of the Open Course and its presentation in recent times has generally been great.” – Alex Lees.

“A course with some really well-designed holes in character with the surrounds, which offer some interesting challenges. However, the routing within parts of the course becomes confusing, detracting from the flow of the course.” – Carl Murphy.

CRANBOURNE GC

Cranbourne, Victoria

Designers: Sam Berriman (1954); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017).

Average points: 57.667. 2022 ranking: 62.

Comments: “It’s a pity this could be the last time we see Cranbourne inside the Top-100 as we will be losing this beautiful course in the not-too-distant future once the Huntingdale renovation is complete.” – Kevin Nolan.

“My first experience at playing Cranbourne was sadly probably my last as this course will be disappearing once the renovations at Huntingdale are done. The course was in superb condition and fun to play. It will be missed.” – Claire Cook.

“Cranbourne was among the group of underrated but impressive layouts that can be found on the edge of the Melbourne Sandbelt. It was, perhaps, the finest design work of Sam Berriman’s career, which only got better with age.” – Brendan James.

 

RANFURLIE GC

Cranbourne West, Victoria

Designers: Mike Clayton (2002); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017)

Average points: 58.250. 2022 ranking: 64.

Comments: “Ranfurlie seamlessly encapsulates the quintessential elements of Sandbelt golf, with its expansive fairways reminiscent of the generous width Alister MacKenzie originally introduced at Royal Melbourne. The bunkers, too, adhere to the characteristic Sandbelt design ethos – both in their aesthetic and their strategic placement, extending right up to the edges
of the greens.” – Kevin Nolan.

“Ranfurlie might be the most misunderstood course introduced to the Melbourne landscape in the past 50 years. Some have said it is a paddock with flags in it. It may seem so at first glance, but the truth is Mike Clayton’s design is a strategic gem, where the centre of the fairway is not always the best place to be, where the player willing to risk hitting in a bunker for a better line to the target on the next shot is rewarded for good shot-making. Yes, its wide and sparse but there is great golf to be found out in that paddock.” – Brendan James.

RACV HEALESVILLE

Healesville, Victoria

Designer: Mike Clayton (2009).

Average points: 59.357. 2022 ranking: 60.

Comments: “Healesville is proof a course doesn’t need to be a long championship layout to satisfy even high-level golfers.” – DJ Loypur.

“This is a fun golf course … hands down. It’s a wonderful design that can be enjoyed by long hitting pros playing alongside their steady-as-she-goes grandmother or father. It’s a course for all that, unfortunately, can sometimes be let down by less-than-ideal conditioning, usually after significant rainfall.” – Brendan James.

“I found this course a whole lot of fun. The two par-5s are quite reachable but have danger everywhere. It’s a relatively short course but can play ‘long’ as a few of the holes have drives to elevated fairways. It is a super piece of golf architecture really.” – Peter Martin.

THE GRAND GC

Gilston, Queensland

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (1997).

Average points: 59.429. 2022 ranking: 59.

Comments: “While it is very difficult to gain access to The Grand, the reward is a truly exceptional golfing experience. The Grand is consistently one of the best conditioned courses in southeast Queensland, helped in part by the low amount of traffic it experiences. The stretch from the challenging long par-4 7th hole through to the 13th is a fantastic stretch of golf holes.” – Steve Davis.

“Still the best conditioned course in Queensland.” – Peter Martin.

 

SANCTUARY COVE G&CC – PINES COURSE

Sanctuary Cove, Queensland

Designers: Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay (1989).

Average points: 60.000. 2022 ranking: 65.

Comments: “The multi-million-dollar renovation of Arnold Palmer’s only Australian course design has breathed life back into the famed layout and seen it bounce back to its highest ranking in more than a decade. New irrigation, new greens and a standard of presentation that was always evident in its first ten years has The Pines heading for higher honours again.” – Brendan James.

“The recent green upgrades have made a significant improvement to Arnold Palmer design. Standing on the tee of the spectacular and upgraded par-5 17th hole, which is reminiscent of the 6th at Palmer’s Bay Hill in Florida, you can almost feel the presence of The King.” – Steve Davis.

THE CUT GC

Dawesville, Western Australia

Designer: James Wilcher (2004).

Average points: 60.111. 2022 ranking: 63.

Comments: “The Cut, especially its back nine holes, is one of the most dramatic layouts in the country.  Some are critical that its often-narrow fairways are not well suited to its windswept location. But there is no denying The Cut’s beautiful coastal setting and dramatic rises and falls of its holes make for inspiring and fun golf.” – Chris Gleeson.

“I dare anyone to stand on the 12th tee at The Cut and admit they are not entertained.” – Brendan James.

 

THE EASTERN GC – SOUTH COURSE

Yering, Victoria

Designer: Greg Norman (2015).

Average points: 60.167. 2022 ranking: 54.

Comments: “The best routing by far of the 27 holes on the course, this takes in quite a few elevation changes offering a lot of hole variety.” – Carl Murphy.

“The extensive upgrade of its drainage in recent years seemed to work well after the big floods within the region last summer. The layout recovered better than it would have in previous years and, generally, the course is in better shape than it has been for quite some time.” – James Walsh.

“There are some seriously good holes on the South Course and most of them can be found on the inward half. I particularly like the questions the two shorter par-4s – 15 and 16 – ask.” – Lucas Andrews.

THE VINTAGE GC

Pokolbin, NSW

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2004).

Average points: 60.888. 2022 ranking: 52.

Comments: “A round at The Vintage seems to build to show off its best in the final six, with the short par-4s – the 13th and 15th – encouraging risk and reward tee shot strategies to make the best score.” – Edward Lee.

“I have always been a fan of The Vintage. The design has always excited me but my last visit left the impression parts of the course were looking a little tired. Of note were the overgrown reeds in hazards (up to six or seven feet high) and its impact on the great design as your view of the hole – on the par-5 14th for example – is obscured, which is not what Norman and Harrison intended with the design.” – Joe Thomas.

ST MICHAELS GC

Little Bay, NSW

Designers: Michael Moran & C.W Cole (1938); Ben Chambers Centreline Golf (ongoing).

Average points: 61.833. 2022 ranking: 61.

Comments: “A wild and varied layout which never quite seems to have enough funds to do a comprehensive 18-hole renovation with a world-class architect but even so its incremental improvements over the years still add to the charming character of this quirky oceanside favourite.” – Adrian Logue.

“The routing has changed very little since Moran and Cole pegged it out in the late 1930s. But the course has changed a lot in the past dozen years as bunkers have been added, green complexes renovated and vast tracts of non-native scrub removed to expose sandy wasteland areas, which add a new level of strategy. The in-house remodelling work has been a constant for a while and has really transformed the course.” – Brendan James.

MEADOW SPRINGS G&CC

Meadow Springs, Western Australia

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1993).

Average points: 62.000. 2022 ranking: 57.

Comments: “I have been to Meadow Springs dozens of times during the past 20-odd years, and it never ceases to amaze me how good the greens and fairways are presented. The turf quality of Meadow Springs really allows Jones’ design to sing.” – Brendan James.

“This Robert Trent Jones Jnr design is beautifully presented with huge greens, framed by large Tuart trees. Most holes have bunkers left and right on the dogleg which almost act as guideposts.” – Ashley Clinch.

TERREY HILLS G&CC

Terrey Hills, NSW

Designers: Graham Marsh & Ross Watson (1994); Graham Marsh (2017).

Average points: 62.100. 2022 ranking: 50.

Comments: “Terrey Hills is a real driver’s course, which I like. The opening hole of both nines as well as the 13th and back nine par-5s, are terrific, memorable driving holes. I also like the design change to the par-3 12th where the green is now closer to water and really brings the hazard into play.” – James Walsh.

 

THE LINKS HOPE ISLAND

Hope Island, Queensland

Designers: Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge & Ross Perrett (1997); Mike Wolveridge & Ross Perrett (2021).

Average points: 62.250. 2022 ranking: 55.

Comments: “There’s never a boring round at Hope Island. The new par-3 9th semi-island green is a tough one, especially when the wind is powering, while the new short par-4 3rd is a beauty.” – Jacqui Lee.

“Hope Island’s new 3rd hole is a good short par-4 and a wonderful addition to the course.It is quite a narrow hole before opening up as you approach the fairway bunkers, which
have remained from its days as a par-3. The water down the left of the hole is now well in play.” – Lucas Andrews.

THIRTEENTH BEACH LINKS – CREEK COURSE

Barwon Heads, Victoria

Designers: Tony Cashmore & Sir Nick Faldo (2004); Darius Oliver (ongoing).

Average points: 62.375. 2022 ranking: 53.

Comments: “The Creek Course offers some respite from its more challenging sibling especially if there’s a chance of inclement weather during your visit. The large undulating greens present a challenge and getting your ball to the correct portion of the putting surface is a must if you want to score well.” – Kevin Nolan.

“The Creek Course is loads of fun. I’ll be back.” – Rob Williamson.

 

ROSEBUD CC – NORTH COURSE

Rosebud, Victoria

Designers: Jack Watson (1964); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (2019 & ongoing).

Average points: 62.455. 2022 ranking: 69.

Comments: “The OCM masterplan is working wonders on this Mornington Peninsula favourite by opening up of vistas through the course with the selective removal of trees. New waste areas are prevalent and there’s seamless transition from green to tees. The holes through the middle of the back nine are the standouts rolling through wonderful undulating land.” – Ashley Clinch.

“I walked away from the North Course wanting more. There is so much more that could be gained from this good piece of golf terrain.” – Carl Murphy.

“Not too often does such a good golf course sneak under the radar but that what’s happened with the North Course at Rosebud. It has been overshadowed by some of the big-name courses around it but the continual improvements to the architecture, conditioning (which is superb) and vegetation management really makes the North Course a must play.” – Brian Walshe.

ELANORA CC

Elanora Heights, NSW

Designers: Dan Soutar (1929); James Wilcher (2004).

Average points: 63.714. 2022 ranking: 46.

Comments: “Consistently superb presentation and dramatic views from Sydney’s rocky escarpments. Some outstanding holes and a special overall experience.” – Adrian Logue.

“The couch fairways and A1 bentgrass greens are some of Sydney’s finest. Elanora is a beautiful setting for golf but there are holes here that are very narrow, which can lead to one-dimensional golf … keep it in the middle of the fairway at your peril.” – Brendan James.

 

CURLEWIS GC

Curlewis, Victoria

Designers: Vern Morcom (1947); Mike Clayton (2009 & ongoing).

Average points: 64.000. 2022 ranking: 49.

Comments: “Curlewis made its debut in this Top-100 ranking (or any ranking) at No.88 in 2014. There have been lots of changes over the decade – including a new and engaged ownership taking over – which have all proven positive for the layout.” – Brendan James.

“One of the most improved courses in this country across the past decade. The complete redesign of the now 10th and 18th holes, and a host of other exciting changes keeps this fine layout on the rise.” – Anthony Whiteman.

 

THE GRANGE GC – EAST COURSE

Grange, South Australia

Designers: Vern Morcom (1967); Greg Norman (2013).

Average points: 64.333. 2022 ranking: 48.

Comments: “A course that is a favourite of members but feels hemmed in and manipulated at times, particularly on the front nine. The use of waste areas on some holes is odd, unkempt and a bug bear of members. Strange given they do it well on the West Course. Best holes on the back nine come late in the round at 14, 15 and 17.” – Ashley Clinch.

“There’s not much left of Morcom’s original on the East Course after Greg Norman’s makeover a decade ago. The layout now features Norman’s trademark bold, big bunkering as well as some memorable short par-4s and par-3s.” – Alex Lees.

HAMILTON ISLAND GC

Dent Island, Queensland

Designers: Peter Thomson & Ross Perrett (2003).

Average points: 64.462. 2022 ranking: 42.

Comments: “Hamilton Island is one of the most beautiful places in the world to play golf. A view on every hole and challenges to all your golfing skills (or lack of). The only criticism is the distance you have to drive your cart in between holes but it’s easy to see how the landscape dictated this was always going to be a tough course build.” – Sam Brooking.

“Yes, this is a tough course and most of the holes seem detached from one another, but you can’t help having a wonderful time playing here.” – Daniel Robertson.

SPRING VALLEY GC

Clayton South, Victoria

Designers: Vern Morcom (1948); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017).

Average points: 64.500. 2022 ranking: 45.

Comments: “Spring Valley has become a very enjoyable course, that offers challenges to all golfers with great variety, beautiful bunkering, and wonderful green complexes. The par-3s are standouts with a variety of lengths and shots to different parts of the compass.” – Ashley Clinch.

 

MOONAH LINKS – LEGENDS COURSE

Fingal, Victoria

Designer: Ross Perrett (2003).

Average points: 65.900. 2022 ranking: 47.

Comments: “The Legends Course is generous and gettable but still interesting and tactical, which is what a member-friendly course should be all about.” – DJ Loypur.

“I’m always enthusiastic about playing the Legends Course. Where the neighbouring Open Course is often intimidating, the Legends offers plenty of fun and the presentation has improved a lot in the past years.” – Joe Thomas.

 

SANDRINGHAM GOLF LINKS

Cheltenham, Victoria

Designers: Vern Morcom (1932 & 1956); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (2020).

Average points: 70.857. 2022 ranking: 51.

Comments: “Interesting redesign by OCM could be the future of public golf. Plenty of width off the tee, short by modern standards but tricky around the greens for low markers to provide a challenge.” – Ashley Clinch.

“Sandy Links offers as much strategic merit as some of its famous neighbours. Conditions had fallen away on one of my earlier visits, but drastically improved recently.” – Carl Murphy.

PORTSEA GC

Portsea, Victoria

Designers: Jock Young (1926); Alex Russell (1929); Sloan Morpeth & Jack Howard (1965); Mike Clayton (2000); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (2017 & ongoing).

Average points: 71.231. 2022 ranking: 37.

Comments: “One of the Mornington Peninsula’s original gems that is at its strategic best when played firm and fast under foot and with the wind adding some interest. The wide fairways actually play much narrower when you consider the second shots required right across the course. Venture to the wrong side of a fairway off the tee here and getting back into position requires superior shot-making.” – Lucas Andrews.

BROOKWATER GC

Brookwater, Queensland

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2002).

Average points: 71.333. 2022 ranking: 34.

Comments: “There is nowhere to hide on this very penal course. Every shot from 1st tee to 18th green demands your undivided attention.” – Peter Martin.

“A brute of a course scattered throughout the bushland. Not a course for the fainthearted or the high handicapper. The layout has been softened over the years with further bush clearing, green reshaping as continued more housing starts to emerge beside the fairways and greens.” – Peter Robertson.

“Brookwater is a drama charged layout. Dramatic elevation changes, bold bunkering and towering trees … welcome to big town!” – Chris Gleeson.

BOUGLE RUN

Bridport, Tasmania

Designer: Bill Coore (2021).

Average points: 71.357. 2022 ranking: 38.

Comments: “A fun and welcome addition to Barnbougle. Routed across the tops of the dunes at the back of Lost Farm it’s a combination of pitch and putt par-3s together with a couple of longer one-shotters and a pair of short par-4s for good measure. It’s a fun way to end the day.” – Brian Walshe.

“The perfect accompaniment to its full-size neighbours.” – Adrian Logue.

 

JOONDALUP RESORT
– QUARRY/DUNE COURSE

Joondalup, Western Australia.

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1985).

Average points: 71.385. 2022 ranking: 41.

Comments: “Feeling like something dreamed up in a video game the overly dramatic Joondalup perfectly balances the line between silly and fun, making it a great and memorable place to play.” – DJ Loypur.

“The Quarry/Dune nine is as fun and challenging to play as it was when it opened nearly 40 years ago. It has aged extremely well and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th holes on Quarry, and the 3rd and 4th on the Dune, are as breathtaking now as they were in the mid-80s.” – Brendan James.

 

BONVILLE GOLF RESORT

Bonville North, NSW.

Designers: Terry Watson & Ted Stirling (1992).

Average points: 71.933. 2022 ranking: 40.

Comments: “A course of great beauty and wow factor, that demands exacting shots to fairways and greens perched behind bunkers, creeks and lakes.” – Ashley Clinch.

“The cart rides between holes break up the flow to create 18 separate golf experiences rather than a coherent course, but the best holes at Bonville set up thrilling shots you’ll relish playing and the setting – grand, dramatic and ethereal in the late afternoon light – is a legitimate drawcard.” – Scott Warren.

“It may lack some of the strategic decision making of some of Australia’s higher ranked courses, but the presentation and natural setting make Bonville a wonderful place to play golf.” – Michael Green.

 

GLENELG GC

Novar Gardens, South Australia.

Designers: Herbert L. Rymill (1927); Vern Morcom (1955); Neil Crafter & Bob Tuohy (2004); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford with Bob Tuohy (ongoing).

Average points: 73.000. 2022 ranking: 43.

Comments: “Glenelg boasts some quirky features, including collars of rough, sod wall bunkering as well as beautiful water hazards. All this is on offer as well as being in superb condition, means Glenelg deserves to be in the conversation as Adelaide’s best course after Royal Adelaide.” – Ashley Clinch.

“Glenelg’s ongoing four-year renovation of remodelling greens, rebuilding bunkers and replacing irrigation is producing some great results.” – Alex Lees.

ROYAL CANBERRA GC – WESTBOURNE COURSE

Yarralumla, ACT.

Designers: Commander John Harris (1962); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1984); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017).

Average points: 73.111. 2022 ranking: 31.

Comments: “As far as I’m concerned this is Australia’s best inland course.” – Peter Shaw.

“The OCCM redo half a dozen years ago unveiled a great chunk of the potential Royal Canberra always had. The redesign gave us a closing stretch of holes that include strategic gems like the par-4 14th and the superb short par-5 15th.” – Alex Murray.

“There have been some turf problems at different times during the past few years so the club has chosen to convert all its fairways to the hardier Santa Ana couch, which will be a good fit here.” – Lucas Andrews.

THE GRANGE GC – WEST COURSE

Grange, South Australia.

Designers: Vern Morcom (1956); Mike Clayton (2008).

Average points: 73.143. 2022 ranking: 39.

Comments: “Grange’s West Course is beautifully presented all the time, and it really doesn’t have a bad hole. But, in saying that, there isn’t much to get the pulse racing
either.” – Peter Shaw.

“A wonderful Adelaide layout that is 14 years on from a thoughtful redesign by Mike Clayton. It has now matured into a solid layout where the conditioning never disappoints, placing it comfortably in the top half of this Australian ranking.” – Ashley Clinch.

CONCORD GC

Concord, NSW.

Designers: Dan Soutar (1916); Ross Watson (1997); Mark Parker (2009); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf Design (2018).

Average points: 73.267. 2022 ranking: 30.

Comments: “After a few seasons to re-establish itself after the major renovation, Concord continues to maintain the intent of the Renaissance Golf redesign as a study in restraint with minimal bunkering and interesting greens on a good piece of land.” – Adrian Logue.

“Concord was always a solid test, but following its redesign the course asks many more interesting questions, offers memorable recovery shot opportunities and rewards smart approach play to a set of classic Tom Doak greens.” – Scott Warren.

 

BONNIE DOON GC

Pagewood, NSW.

Designers: Lance Giddings & Eric Apperly (1937); Prosper Ellis (1951); Ross Watson (1995-2003); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 73.385. 2022 ranking: 35.

Comments: “A shortish, sporty, quirky, fun course on Sydney’s eastern suburbs sandbelt. It’s so good it really should be better known.” – Adrian Logue.

“Bonnie Doon was nothing like I had imagined with more movement and elevation change over the opening 12 holes before a more subtle finish. The paddock across the road felt like a bit of a shooting gallery on a busy day with golfers everywhere.” – Kevin Nolan.

 

MAGENTA SHORES G&CC

Magenta, NSW.

Designer: Ross Watson (2006 & 2020).

Average points: 74.533. 2022 ranking: 33.

Comments: “Magenta Shores is Ross Watson’s magnum opus.” – Adrian Logue.

“The presentation of Magenta Shores seems to get better and better every time I get a chance to play there. The decision to convert all the fairways to Santa Ana couch was a good one and should be applauded.” – Lucas Andrews.

“Magenta Shores’ conditioning has improved over the past decade. While still a very difficult test for anyone’s golf game there is much to love about the course including some memorable short par-4s including the 5th and 13th holes, as well as a set of four interesting par-3s.” – Michael Green.

“I have looked forward to playing Magenta Shores for a while now and it didn’t disappoint. A great set of par-3s that test all clubs and run in different directions. There’s also an enjoyable group of short fours. Many of the bunkers look intimidating but often are not in play.” – Ashley Clinch.

 

THE AUSTRALIAN GC

Kensington, NSW.

Designer: Jack Nicklaus (1977 & 2013).

Average points: 77.556. 2022 ranking: 36.

Comments: “The Australian is the gold standard in course conditioning. The unique to Australia ‘American style’ of golf always makes for a fun day out.” – DJ Loypur.

“Still a great championship venue and a fun place to play golf with superb presentation, some decent width and surprisingly firm conditions for how lush it is. But there is a lingering question:  How good it could be with a less American influenced design to take advantage of the great sandy land it’s situated on?” – Adrian Logue.

“I love The Australian and I always get excited before a game there. It’s always in superb condition, and who can resist an elevated 1st tee to let one fly?” – Peter Martin.

 

NEWCASTLE GC

Stockton, NSW.

Designers: Eric Apperly (1937); Bob Harrison (ongoing).

Average points: 79.333. 2022 ranking: 29.

Comments: “Newcastle’s plan to remove some lesser holes, create some new ones on better ground and improve the remaining holes seems like it can’t fail. If only it would get underway!” – Adrian Logue.

“A brilliantly understated and subtle course that rolls through some beautiful sandy woodland. The first 13 holes are exceptional, with the last few on flatter land that will soon be exchanged for new holes out the back, closer to the beach, which should make for a better course overall.” – Ashley Clinch.

PORT FAIRY GL

Port Fairy, Victoria.

Designers: Club members (1963); Kevin Hartley (1989); Mike Clayton (2000 & ongoing).

Average points: 79.556. 2022 ranking: 28.

Comments: “What was once a hidden gem is firmly in the spotlight these days and seems to be loving the attention. Port Fairy remains the best value golf in Australia with great holes from beginning to end. Conditions are always top notch and the only people who don’t seem to appreciate the all-world run from the 12th to 16th would appear to be the Victorian Government, who want to reclaim a thin strip of land the club inadvertently strayed onto 60 years ago.” – Brian Walshe.

“The second-tier links gems of Scotland might be the best golf in the world, and nothing in Australia evokes their spirit and charm nearly as closely as Port Fairy does.” – Scott Warren.

“Each time you go down the west coast and play this gem there has been some more improvements to what was already a wonderful links experience. Recent changes to 18 make for a better hole and some sod facing on bunkers is a positive. We played when there had been lots of rain in the previous weeks and heavy rain the day before, but the top holes were dry in a few hours … love sand. The putting surfaces are a treat, and a testament to the handful of ground staff who work on the course.” – Ashley Clinch.

 

THIRTEENTH BEACH GL – BEACH COURSE

Barwon Heads, Victoria.

Designers: Tony Cashmore (2001); Darius Oliver (ongoing).

Average points: 80.333. 2022 ranking: 26.

Comments: “Darius Oliver’s changes have added some balance to several holes that were a bit overwhelming in Tony Cashmore’s original version, lifting the playability in places too. This may not have the aura or history of Barwon Heads or the quirk of Lonsdale Links, but for my money it’s narrowly the best golf course on the Bellarine Peninsula.” – Scott Warren.

“Every year when the VicOpen is contested we’re reminded what a fun place Thirteenth Beach is to play. A genuinely interesting links.” – Adrian Logue.

THE NATIONAL GC – OLD COURSE

Cape Schanck, Victoria.

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1987).

Average points: 80.421. 2022 ranking: 24.

Comments: “The best golf courses evoke emotions in those that play them and The National’s Old Course can take you from ecstasy to misery with one swing of a club. It has stunning views from almost every hole, huge greens with massive steps and movement, fairways – bordered by seemingly impenetrable bush – that look far narrower than they are and bunkering that is both beautiful and intimidating. Leave the pencil and card in the bag and just enjoy the ride, it’s as thrilling as golf gets.” – Brian Walshe.

“The National Old is an amazing golf course that can just belt you in the head for no good reason if you even dare to lapse in concentration.” – Kevin Nolan.

“The crowd pleaser at The National. With views and stunning tree-lined fairways, the average golfer leaves with a smile on their face. Yet, the Old sits on the least golf-friendly land on the property.” – Peter Robertson.

 

KOOYONGA GC

Lockleys, South Australia.

Designers: Herbert L. Rymill (1924); Martin Hawtree (2008); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford – Golf Strategies (ongoing).

Average points: 80.429. 2022 ranking: 21.

Comments: “Rare on a course to play two par-3s in a row but this slips by almost without notice. The quickest golf course from green-to-tee that I have played.” – Rob Williamson.

“Kooyonga isn’t a big course. In fact, it reminds me of Kingston Heath in that it covers a small amount of land, but the routing is so good you don’t ever feel hemmed in. Kooyonga sticks its hand up as Adelaide’s best presented course.” – Lucas Andrews.

THE DUNES LINKS

Rye, Victoria.

Designer: Tony Cashmore (1997 & ongoing).

Average points: 80.563. 2022 ranking: 27.

Comments: “The sheer volume of high-quality golf on the Mornington Peninsula unfortunately results in The Dunes not getting spoken about as much as it should. The Dunes can hold its own with the best of them. It offers amazing value for a public access course, and you would happily play here every week.” – DJ Loypur.

“The Dunes is a great fun course which has that perfect blend of variety and challenge for all golfers. There are some holes here – 12, 13 and 17 – that could challenge for being the best in the state.” – Ashley Clinch.

 

WOODLANDS GC

Mordialloc, Victoria.

Designers: Tony J.D Scott & Rowley Banks (1913); Sam Bennett (1917); Mick Morcom (1928); Jack Newton, Graeme Grant & John Spencer (1987-2001); Graeme Grant (2002-2005); Mike Clayton (2008-2011); Tom Doak– Renaissance Golf Design (2021); Mike Clayton, Mike DeVries, Frank Pont (CDP) and Harley Kruse (ongoing).

Average points: 80.769. 2022 ranking: 25.

Comments: “The smaller greens and more liberal use of doglegs sets Woodlands apart from the rest of the Melbourne Sandbelt, where many of the second-tier courses lack a differentiator from the best of the best or from each other.” – Scott Warren.

“A course with layers of strategy, which reveals itself through repeat play. Improving vegetation management and outstanding conditioning make Woodlands one of the Sandbelt’s elite courses.” – Greg Thomsen.

“World class short par-4s, some underrated par-3s and superb variety all round. Woodlands is a bit scrubby in places but it’s a fantastic piece of land and a challenging layout.” – Adrian Logue.

ROYAL QUEENSLAND GC

Eagle Farm, Queensland.

Designers: Carnegie Clark (1920); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Mike Clayton (2007 & ongoing).

Average points: 81.000. 2022 ranking: 23.

Comments: “Royal Queensland has been polarising for many years with those that love the course and those who don’t understand the intelligence behind the design. With the international spotlight of the Australian PGA Championship for the past two years on the course, RQ’s reputation is certainly gaining more fans than not.” – Peter Robertson.

“A case study in how good architecture can create great golf even on flat sites. Royal Queensland with its linear bunkers and clever greens is not a course for people who think the middle of the fairway should always be rewarded. It asks you to go looking for the best angles off the tee and rewards you for finding them.” – Brian Walshe.

“It was terrific to be reacquainted with Royal Queensland in 2023 after a Covid-enforced separation of several years and to realise it’s not just as good as I recalled, it’s even better. The variety of green sites on flat land is a masterclass, with the drama of those from 15-18 putting a fitting exclamation mark on the round.” – Scott Warren.

 

CATHEDRAL LODGE

Thornton, Victoria.

Designers: Greg Norman (2017).

Average points: 81.133. 2022 ranking: NR.

Comments: “Greg Norman’s design for investment banker David Evans two hours northeast of Melbourne finally makes its debut in this ranking with more of our judges able to experience the course in this voting period. It’s a beautiful setting for golf, which enthused our judges.” – Brendan James.

“In a state known for its great par-3s, Cathedral Lodge might have the best set of threes out of any course on this list. A truly amazing experience unlike anywhere else in Australia.” – DJ Loypur.

“A unique golf experience in the high country of Victoria. Very private and exclusive. The solitude being the only group on the course feels like you’re a golden ticket winner. The course is not without its faults, but dramatic landscape provides some limitations.” – Rob Williamson.

 

LAKE KARRINYUP GC

Karrinyup, Western Australia.

Designers: Alex Russell (1928); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (early 1970s-2000s); Mike Clayton (2008); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2018). Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (ongoing).

Average points: 81.429. 2022 ranking: 22.

Comments: “The fantastic green complexes are the highlight of Lake Karrinyup with great short par-4s to start both nines you always have a fun start to the day.” – DJ Loypur.

“Lake Karrinyup is now showing the rewards of patience and committing to a plan to overhaul their course several years ago. Always a treat to play, Karrinyup is another interesting, well-presented, testing yet manageable course with lots of fun shots to play.” – Matt Mollica.

“The re-profiling of Karrinyup’s greens to address some turf issues back in 2017-2018 has proven to be exceptional and if you’re looking for the most interesting and best putting surfaces in Perth, this is where you will find them.” – Brendan James.

 

BARWON HEADS GC

Barwon Heads, Victoria.

Designers: Victor East (1921); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford – Golf Strategies (2005 & ongoing).

Average points: 81.917. 2022 ranking: 19.

Comments: “The opening six holes at Barwon Heads is as linksy as you’ll see in Australia, playing across one big paddock of rolling dunes with great holes making the most of
the topography. From there you move more into a coastal style that has benefitted from some good vegetation management of late with the short 13th a highlight. The finish lets the team down a bit with the 17th and 18th suffering from some injudicious mounding.” – Brian Walshe.

“Barwon Heads has the Scottish vibe, the brilliant front paddock is backed up by
the far end of the site improving under Crafter & Mogford’s stewardship. One of the premier places to play golf anywhere.” – Greg Thomsen.

“Barwon Heads presents itself like a play with three distinct acts. Fascinating tumbling dunes on the smaller paddock then the wild holes around the turn that give way to a wide open back nine finishing at an iconic clubhouse. A special place.” – Adrian Logue.

 

LONSDALE LINKS

Point Lonsdale, Victoria.

Designers: Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (2020).

Average points: 83.550. 2022 ranking: 20.

Comments: “Such an interesting lesson in what is possible if a club fully commits to letting a world-class architecture firm do their thing. Once an unremarkable course now maybe the most talked about layout on the Bellarine Peninsula.” – Adrian Logue.

“Lonsdale Links is different and in a good way. It’s OCM take on the early U.S architecture of the likes of Seth Raynor and Charles Banks with template holes, rectangular greens and all sorts of interesting and different architecture we just don’t see in Australia. It’s short but the lack of length is more than made up for by the complexity around most of the greens.” – Brian Walshe.

“Lonsdale has gone from just another course to a must-play destination with a unique D.N.A. The redesign has transformed it into something special.” – DJ Loypur.

PENINSULA KINGSWOOD CGC
– SOUTH COURSE

Frankston, Victoria.

Designers: Sloan Morpeth (1967); Mike Clayton (2007); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 83.643. 2022 ranking: 16.

Comments: “A little like the West and East Courses at Royal Melbourne, the North Course at Peninsula Kingswood can overshadow its South Course sibling. As with the East at RM, the South may well be the lesser of the two PK courses in many eyes, but it is a really good course in its own right. It has similar strengths to North in the expansive bunkering, big, clever greens and a routing that takes advantage of what is almost ideal golfing land. Where it is different is that it is less penal around the greens. Where North can at times leave you with greenside recoveries well beyond the capabilities of mere mortals, the South is tough without stretching the friendship.” – Brian Walshe.

OCEAN DUNES

King Island, Tasmania.

Designer: Graeme Grant (2016).

Average points: 84.786. 2022 ranking: 18.

Comments: “Ocean Dunes is a rugged and dramatic course, and a round is played entirely at the mercy of the weather. When the wind is calm, the course poses a brilliant challenge, and when it howls, it can be almost unplayable. Nevertheless, I could play it every day and never grow tired of it.” – Steve Davis.

“Dramatic, bold, overpowering, sometimes penal, sometimes exhilarating. It’s a tough walk with incredible views and a back-breaking finish.  To steal a line from ‘The Kramer’ episode on Seinfeld, Ocean Dunes is a loathsome, offensive brute yet I can’t look away.” – Kevin Nolan.

 

YARRA YARRA GC

Bentleigh East, Victoria.

Designers: Alex Russell (1928); Martin Hawtree (2011); Tom Doak & Brian Slawnik – Renaissance Golf Design (2020 and ongoing).

Average points: 86.250. 2022 ranking: 17.

Comments: “The maturing after such significant changes to this course, have seen one of the most overlooked Sandbelt courses, improve dramatically. The change in how the front nine plays is a masterstroke with a more logical flow. A joy to see one of Alex Russell’s great designs shining again.” – Carl Murphy.

“Tom Doak has cleared away the overgrowth to reveal how great this Alex Russell design is.” – Rob Williamson.

“A program to restore some indigenous heathland in certain areas exposed by tree removal during the Doak/Renaissance restoration will start to take on an interesting texture and colour.” – Adrian Logue.

THE LAKES GC

Eastlakes, NSW.

Designers: Bruce Devlin & Robert Von Hagge (1970); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2009).

Average points: 86.667. 2022 ranking: 14.

Comments: “The back nine at The Lakes is probably the most fun sequence of shots to play in Australian golf.” – Adrian Logue.

“Playing The Lakes is a game of two parts. The front nine is all about thinking your way around. On most holes being in the right spot on the fairway leads to either a better view
of the target or a far superior line in. On the back nine the ever-present water just wants
to know how good and or brave you are. Kikuyu gets a bad rap, particularly from golfers south of the Murray, but the quality and playability of the fairways at The Lakes put plenty of couch courses to shame.” – Brian Walshe.

METROPOLITAN GC

Oakleigh South, Victoria.

Designers: J.B MacKenzie (1906); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Dick Wilson (1959); Mike Clayton (2006); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford – Golf Strategies (ongoing).

Average points: 87.077. 2022 ranking: 15.

Comments: “The perfection of bunkering at Metropolitan is a highlight, and it should be, considering there are nearly 100 bunkers placed throughout the course.” – Steve Davis.

“Even with the other high-profile Sandbelt courses implementing more ambitious masterplans, Metropolitan holds its own for subtle strategy, magnificent greens and sensible bunker placement on a relatively featureless piece of land.” – Adrian Logue.

 

ST ANDREWS BEACH

Fingal, Victoria.

Designer: Tom Doak (2005)

Average points: 88.200. 2022 ranking: 13.

Comments: “The course proves public golf can be every bit as good as private course golf. St Andrews Beach is fun, quirky and a joy to play with its best as good as anything you’ll play. The sublime 2nd is in the handful of best short fours in the country.” – Brian Walshe.

“Tom Doak says St Andrews Beach is the course he’s built that he would most want in his own backyard – sorry Barnbougle, sorry Ballyneal, sorry Bandon – and Aussies can roll up and play it any day for a hundred bucks. Many probably don’t realise how fortunate they are.” – Scott Warren.

THE NATIONAL GC – MOONAH COURSE

Cape Schanck, Victoria.

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).

Average points: 90.300. 2022 ranking: 12.

Comments: “If I were asked to nominate a golf course that best captures the spirit of Australia, it would be this one. Rugged aesthetics, an adventurous routing and some wild holes that less brave architects would never have dared to build.” – Scott Warren.

“The National Moonah is a course laid out on a big canvas. Set amongst the Cups country it has grand sweeping vistas on most holes as the course winds its way between and around massive dunes with wide fairways culminating in some of the best green complexes in the country. Yet it is the little deft touches of Bob Harrison’s work that make the course so good. Little slopes and swales in and around green complexes that can tempt the unwary and punish the greedy yet at other times provide the smarter player with a little more margin for error in the ever-present wind.” – Brian Walshe.

ROYAL ADELAIDE GC

Seaton, South Australia.

Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1979 & 1997); Mike Clayton (2009); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf Design (ongoing).

Average points: 90.450. 2022 ranking: 11.

Comments: “Royal Adelaide isn’t big and bold like some higher ranked courses, but its beauty lives in the subtle challenges it offers on almost every hole. The Alister MacKenzie-designed 3rd, is close to being the best short bunkerless par-4 in the world.” – Kevin Nolan.

“The crown jewel in Adelaide golf and the unsung hero of Australian golf. A favourite amongst pro golfers, and it’s easy to see why as Royal Adelaide requires both skill and brains to be able to score well.” – DJ Loypur.

“I’m a sucker for golf courses with train lines running through them. Royal Adelaide is a great layout that has become even better over the last few years as the Renaissance Golf Design team have slowly and gently removed rough edges that had crept in over previous decades and made little changes that have further improved the course. It might not have the highs of some on this list, but few can match its quality across all 18 holes.” – Brian Walshe.

 

NEW SOUTH WALES GC

La Perouse, NSW.

Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1928); Eric Apperly (1937 & 1951); Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2010); Greg Norman (2018); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf (2019); Mackenzie & Ebert (ongoing).

Average points: 92.300. 2022 ranking: 9.

Comments: “The members have voted almost unanimously to proceed with a renovation by Mackenzie & Ebert next summer that should create a more consistent character to the greens and hazards, elevate the lesser holes in the middle of the course and add some spectacular finishing touches to the oceanside holes that steal the show.” – Scott Warren.

“The flag stick blew out of the hole the first time I played here. Tough course when it’s like that. Thankfully the next time was only a two-club breeze … wonderful place to play golf.” – Rob Williamson.

“The topography and wind conditions at La Perouse pose varied questions of the golfer and require shots not many places can match. The prospect of a marked improvement under Open Championship rota architect’s Mackenzie & Ebert, make for exciting times at La Perouse.” – Greg Thomsen.

THE NATIONAL GC – GUNNAMATTA COURSE

Cape Schanck, Victoria.

Designer: Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf Design (2019)

Average points: 92.400. 2022 ranking: 8.

Comments: “If I had to pick one course to play every day for the rest of my life it would likely be Gunnamatta. It’s a rare combination of sublime green complexes with a great routing over tumbling dunes land that challenges all levels of golfer without ever needing to beat you up. It continually asks you questions and yet never dictates what that answer is, allowing you to work out how best to solve the puzzle. That combination means it’s just a fun place to play, regardless of your ability.” – Brian Walshe.

“The Gunnamatta Course has some similarities to Barnbougle’s Lost Farm in that players of all abilities are challenged to score well without being forced to take on impossible shots. It’s gone from the worst course on the property to the best course on the Mornington Peninsula.” – Kevin Nolan.

“Large open fairways, huge greens with well-placed fairway bunkers. I could play the Gunnamatta course every day and never get bored.” – Claire Cook.

PENINSULA KINGSWOOD CGC – NORTH COURSE

Frankston, Victoria.

Designers: Sloan Morpeth (1969); Mike Clayton (2002); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 93.176. 2022 ranking: 6.

Comments: “Every green site, every routing decision, every gradient, every vista, every mowing line and every bunker feels meticulously planned and executed at Peninsula Kingswood North. Perhaps the only criticism can be that it is too unrelentingly perfect and would actually benefit from some patches of banality to contrast the overall spectacle of the property.” – Adrian Logue.

“Not for the faint-hearted, every hole on Peninsula Kingswood’s North Course feels like an epic adventure. The rolling fairways and brash green complexes are spectacular with the fun only just starting once you’re on the green. The par-3 2nd hole is an instant classic.” – Michael Green.

“The golf at Peninsula Kingswood North now builds on the fantastic rolling sandy site it occupies. A heavy textured aesthetic with outstanding conditioning and strategy that requires proper golf shots to access many pins.” – Greg Thomsen.

 

VICTORIA GC

Cheltenham, Victoria.

Designers: Oscar Damman, William Meader & Dr Alister MacKenzie (1927); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 93.250. 2022 ranking: 10.

Comments: “On one of the best pieces of land on the Sandbelt right next to the Sandbelt’s most famous course and with incredible green complexes it’s no surprise Victoria is getting more consistent and deserving recognition on the world stage.” – Adrian Logue.

“The 2022 Aussie Open was a well-timed promotion for just how much sparkle the recent OCCM facelift added at Victoria. The weakest holes were elevated to belong in the company of the rest, and the best holes at Victoria rival anything on the Sandbelt.”
– Scott Warren.

“Victoria has always been a seriously good course, but the OCCM changes have taken it to another level. There is more consistency in look and feel between holes now with the one or two weaker holes much improved with the bunkering across the course being a real highlight.” – Brian Walshe.

ROYAL MELBOURNE GC – EAST COURSE

Black Rock, Victoria.

Designers: Alex Russell (1932); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf Design (ongoing).

Average points: 94.158. 2022 rankings: 7.

Comments: “With its charismatic holes on the grand main paddock and it’s subtle but effective use of the less dramatic land in adjacent paddocks, Royal Melbourne East might possibly boast more variety than any course on the Sandbelt.” – Adrian Logue.

“More than just the sibling of the West course, Royal Melbourne East is a fine, testing yet manageable layout. It sits comfortably within the upper echelon of Australian golf courses and is still underrated by some due to road crossings and the grandeur of the course next to it.” – Matt Mollica.

“The East Course’s weaker holes being dotted through the round stops you ever getting complete momentum, but there’s world-class holes here of all lengths and the more famous West Course next door might not have a par-5 to rival the 10th on the East
or a one-shotter better than the East’s excellent 16th.” – Scott Warren.

BARNBOUGLE LOST FARM

Bridport, Tasmania.

Designer: Bill Coore (2010).

Average points: 96.826. 2022 ranking: 4.

Comments: “A course where the quality of the green complexes and routing ensures every hole is an adventure. From the tempting short par-4s with greens set into the edge of dunes on the 3rd and 14th to the brilliance of the likes of the 1st, 2nd and 16th where terrific holes have been created over flat ground, Lost Farm is a masterclass in how great architecture can be both challenging and fun.” – Brian Walshe.

“What a stunning collection of flat and undulating holes … 20 holes of heaven.” – Rob Williamson.

“There really is something about Lost Farm that entices the player into thinking they’re a chance of making a good score. Certainly, great shots are rewarded but the punishment for a poor shot at the wrong time is just as able to cruel a whole round.” – Adrian Logue.

“The restraint of Bill Coore’s work at Lost Farm gives a Scottish feel to the golf, where wind is a key part of the game and its courses and where the ground is your best friend.” – Greg Thomsen. 

 

BARNBOUGLE DUNES

Bridport, Tasmania.

Designers: Tom Doak & Mike Clayton (2004).

Average points: 97.217. 2022 ranking: 3.

Comments: “The Tasmanian course that started it all. Still one of the best in the country and some of the best value golf on the planet.” – Peter Robertson.

“It’s so hard to split the two main courses at Barnbougle but the Dunes Course just has so many more memorable shots to play, I absolutely love it!” – Kevin Nolan.

“The rare links where everything is in balance, the dunes are dramatic but just the right size for golf, the greens look crazy but make sense with the ball on the ground, the weather can be wild but always playable, some holes ‘fit your eye’ and others are delightfully quirky.” – Adrian Logue.

“Barnbougle Dunes is such a stunning course, meandering through the dunes sitting along the coast, offering such a joyous experience for all golfers.” – Carl Murphy.

“My ranking of Barnbougle Dunes has wavered a little bit over the years, and the weaknesses are there compared to the other top five candidates, but no other course in Australia gives you as many acute thrills as this one.” – Scott Warren. 

CAPE WICKHAM LINKS

King Island, Tasmania.

Designers: Darius Oliver and Mike DeVries (2015).

Average points: 97.381. 2022 ranking: 2.

Comments: “After a lengthy time between visits, I still find Cape Wickham to be a thoroughly enjoyable course to play. The routing ensures scenic views and various conditions come into play for most of the round. The wide fairways allow for various strategies to come into play.” – Carl Murphy.

“Cape Wickham is one of the most visually perfect courses I’ve ever played. The dramatic views combined with pure surfaces makes it a world-class links course.” – Steve Davis.

“It doesn’t take long into a round to realise the effort and expense to make the trip to
Cape Wickham was worth it. Almost faultless.” – Peter Martin. 

 

KINGSTON HEATH

Heatherton, Victoria.

Designers: Dan Soutar (1925), Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926), Graeme Grant (1983-1995); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2018); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (ongoing).

Average points: 97.688. 2022 ranking: 5.

Comments: “The 2028 Presidents Cup host course has narrowly snatched its highest spot in this ranking for more than a decade. It has swept by three of the Tasmanian wonder courses to finish in the No.2 position where it had a mortgage for several decades. All shouldn’t really surprise though given its impeccable reputation among the world’s elite golf courses.” – Brendan James.

“Aptly for a course on what isn’t on a big piece of land, it’s the small details that sets Kingston Heath. Yes, it has some big sweeping bunkers, and the 15th is all world but it’s the little elements on most holes that contribute to it being so good. Greens that look straightforward turn out to be anything but with just enough movement to make you wonder how you missed. Approaches that up are far more dangerous up close than they looked from 100 metres out with wedge in hand. Just enough rough to make a greedy recovery a hole wrecker. It’s the one course that is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Brian Walshe.

“Kingston Heath’s strategy and variety reveals itself through repeated visits with discoveries as delightful as Melbourne’s laneway restaurant scene.” – Adrian Logue. 

 

ROYAL MELBOURNE GC – WEST COURSE

Black Rock, Victoria.

Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1931); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf Design (ongoing).

Average points: 99.909. 2022 ranking: 1.

Comments: “Royal Melbourne West is still the best course in the land if you look at each hole individually and then as a collection. There are no weaknesses.” – Kevin Nolan.

“The brilliance of the West Course is it demands the highest levels of shot planning and course management. If you choose to play the course with a thoughtful approach, you’ll uncover a surprising number of opportunities to score. However, play without thought, and you’ll realise the tough challenge it can be.” – Steve Davis.

“Strategy that asks simple questions, with complex answers. Slopes that are grand, some that are subtle and some that are quirky. Firm greens with a perfect balance of speed, tilt and subtle internal undulation. Bunkers that make sense. A perfect routing. Sustainable green keeping practices. A vanguard of biodiversity. It all adds up to Australia’s undisputed best course and maybe the world’s best test of golf for the widest spread of golfers from beginner to pro.” – Adrian Logue.

“Royal Melbourne West is the one course in Australia that ticks every box. Superb routing across great land together with brilliant architecture, perfect conditioning, and wonderful vegetation management. It has the rare combination of both a grand scale and attention to detail that elevates the very best above the very good. The West Course is short by modern standards and yet it still keeps the very best honest and enthralled.” – Brian Walshe.

“Royal Melbourne West – best course in the southern hemisphere. Plain and simple.” – Matt Mollica.

 

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