Belmont, NSW
Green fees: $40 (Sunday to Friday); $45 (Saturday).

The club has invested wisely on the layout in recent years, raising the level of presentation and adding interest to the layout with the redesign of several holes. The loss of what was the par-3 12th hole has since given rise to a new short beachside one-shotter that is a lot of fun. The course made its debut appearance at No.94 in Golf Australia magazine’s Top-100 Courses ranking in January this year.

Murray Downs, NSW
Green fee: $50.

The Ted and Geoff Parslow-designed layout has each fairway bordered by mature native trees, while several man-made lakes come into play on 10 holes. The impressive design is complemented by carpet-like Wintergreen couch fairways, while the Penncross bentgrass greens are widely regarded as the best to be found along the length of the Murray River.

It’s little wonder Murray Downs is entrenched in the Top-100 Courses ranking (No.87 in 2020).

Port Fairy, Victoria
Green fee: $49.

Playing 18 holes at Port Fairy is the best value golf you can play in Australia.

Ranked No.31 in Australia’s Top-100 Courses ranking by Golf Australia magazine, Port Fairy sets the heart aflutter for purists of links golf as it has many of the attributes of the great Scottish courses. Set among rolling sand dunes, the Southern Ocean can be seen as you walk many of its holes while the sound of crashing waves on windy days rarely leaves you.

Renowned American course architect Tom Doak, having visited Port Fairy in recent times, agrees with us: “I can’t think of a better golf course for $49 in this day and age.”

Port Fairy Golf Links. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Warrnambool, Victoria
Green fee: $49.

Ranked No.85 in Golf Australia magazine’s Top-100 Courses in the nation in 2020, Warrnambool (pictured top) is set in and around the sand dune land so common on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast.

The course, where PGA Tour player Marc Leishman learned the game, has been redesigned in recent times with some tea-tree cleared to expose sandy wasteland on some of its best holes, which can be found midway through the front nine. The holes near the clubhouse are good rather than great, but the stretch of par-4s from the 3rd to 6th – known as Shipwreck Bend – is worth the green fee alone.


Albany, Western Australia
Green fee: $35.

Albany covers beautiful undulating dunes on the shores of King George Sound and dates back to 1898 and remains the oldest layout in Western Australia still on its original site.

Thick woolly-bush and peppermint trees line most of the fairways, which run predominantly in a north-south direction parallel to Middleton Beach. It is not a hard course in sublime weather conditions, but it bares its teeth when the wind whips in across the Sound.

Albany GC. PHOTO: Supplied.

Ballarat, Victoria
Green fees: $30 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

It took nearly 110 years for Ballarat to establish itself as one of the country’s best public access courses. Within 18 months of an extensive redesign by Peter Thomson and Ross Perrett, the course debuted in Golf Australia’s Top-100 Public Access Courses ranking and has been there ever since. In 2019, the course was ranked at No.70, which is a far cry from the basic course first played in 1895.

Ballarat GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Woorim, Queensland
Green fee: $50.

Bribie Island is regarded as one of the best draining courses in Queensland because of its deep sand base, which has also doubled as the ideal canvas for the creation of sandbelt-like bunkering and challenging sandy lies wide of each fairway.

Lidcombe, NSW
Green fee: $30.

Lying in the heart of Sydney’s suburban sprawl, Carnarvon might seem like a surprise entry among the list of courses here.

There are some courses here that boast million dollar views and a few world class holes. Carnarvon cannot offer either, but what it does offer is an enjoyable round on a course that has hosted major amateur events as well as qualifying for the Australian Open.

Barooga, NSW
Green fee: $39 (off-peak season); $45 (peak).

The 36-hole complex at Cobram-Barooga has been offering some of Australia’s best value golf for decades. There is plenty of variety and fun to be had, no matter whether you choose to play the club’s Old or West Course.

The Old Course has been redesigned recently to accommodate a new driving range. The changes, overseen by the Contour Design Group, has seen the creation of a new 18th hole and the altering of several others.

Coffs Harbour, NSW
Green fee: $50.

A round of golf at Coffs Harbour is not only a lot of fun but it is literally following in the footsteps of great players from our past.

The club hosted the North Coast Open when it was predominantly a professional event and the likes of centenary British Open winner, Kel Nagle, the legendary major winner Gary Player, of South Africa, Bruce Crampton and the great Norman Von Nida were all winners of the event during the 1950s and 60s.

Today, Coffs Harbour has flourished to become a quality 27-hole layout and an enjoyable experience for those players not in the elite class.

Orange, NSW
Green fee: $50.

Established in 1936, there is an old world vibe about Duntryleague. At its heart are the botanical gardens and mansion, built in 1876, which now serves as a boutique guesthouse.

The course setting is glorious with manicured bentgrass greens and South African couch fairways, along with a wide variety of trees and shrubs lining the holes. A round here in autumn offers a kaleidoscope of colour as well as enjoyable golf.

Duntryleague GC. PHOTO: Brendan James

Tuncurry, NSW
Green fee: $45.

The Kel Nagle and Mike Cooper-designed layout covers rolling sand dune terrain just a short pitch from Nine-Mile Beach.

Each hole is seemingly isolated and has been carved from thick tea tree, gums, banksias
and melaleucas.