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.

Yan Yean, Victoria
Green fees: $49; $44 (online).

Consistently ranked by Golf Australia magazine in the nation’s Top-100 Public Access Courses, Growling Frog is a terrific Graham Marsh design with multiple tees and large undulating greens set across former grazing land.

The quality of the design, its conditioning and the serenity of the setting – including several 300-year-old River Red Gums dotted across the layout– make for a memorable golf experience.

Horsham, Victoria
Green fee: $50.

Situated between the Grampians and Little Desert National Park, Horsham is the standout golf offering in Victoria’s Wimmera region.

Despite being wiped out by the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, the resilient club has managed to maintain a place inside Australia’s Top-100 Public Access Courses, as ranked by Golf Australia magazine, based on the fun, well-designed holes.

Leongatha GC. PHOTO: Brendan James

Leongatha South, Victoria
Green fee: $45.

According to Golf Australia magazine’s ranking judge’s panel, Leongatha is the ‘must-play’ course in the Gippsland region.

Ranked No.61 in Australia’s Top-100 Public Access Courses for 2019, the Vern Morcom-designed layout winds its way across gently rolling, to sometimes hilly, terrain with ancient gums lining most of the wide Santa Ana fairways. Perhaps the biggest surprise
for first time visitors is the quality of the subtle-breaking greens.


Mt Gambier, South Australia
Green fee: $30.

Mt Gambier has evolved into one of South Australia’s best regional courses, since being completely remodelled in the late 70s.

Mt Gambier boasts plenty of challenging holes where the elevation change from tee-to-green combined with a dogleg to make for a memorable golfing experience. But it is the downhill par-3 8th hole, listed among the Top-100 Par-3s in Australia by this magazine, which you will recall long after your round.

Murwillumbah, NSW
Green fees: $30 (weekdays); $37 (weekends).

One of the best views you will get of Mt Warning and the surrounding national park is from Murwillumbah Golf Club and, in particular, from the 10th green.

The 10th comes at the end of a wonderful sequence of undulating holes that cover the most dramatic terrain of the layout. It is a gorgeous course with so many different species of trees – with gums, camphor laurels, pines, African tulips, silky oaks and hardwoods among them – and superb playing surfaces.

Naracoorte GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Naracoorte, South Australia
Green fee: $30.

Carved out of wild, thick scrub, wattles and bracken using horse and dray in 1927, it is only in recent times that Naracoorte has grabbed some national attention as an interesting and challenging layout.

Voted South Australia’s No.8 ranked course in January this year, Naracoorte covers beautiful rolling terrain on a deep sandy base, which ensures the layout is playable all year round and the bunkering is natural and easily maintained.

Elements of the design and set-up of the layout have obviously been influenced by the great courses of the Melbourne Sandbelt, adding to the value of a round here.

Ocean Shores CC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Ocean Shores, NSW
Green fee: $45.

Located just 15 minutes’ drive north of Byron Bay, visitors are greeted by panoramic ocean views from the clubhouse and some of the biggest greens in NSW.

Laid out in an area of natural flora with tidal lakes, creeks and mountain ranges as a backdrop, the beauty of the setting speaks for itself. The layout designed by Bruce Devlin and Robert Von Hagge unusually comprises six par-3s, par-4s and par-5s, presenting good scoring opportunities for all players.


Pambula, New South Wales
Green fees: $50 (unlimited golf).

The challenging Pambula-Merimbula 27-hole layout offers a good mix of tight driving holes, interesting dogleg fairways and huge true rolling greens. And for just $50 you can play as many holes as you like. Each nine has its own character but all cover a gently rolling landscape that is dominated by massive gum trees lining most holes.

Pambula Merimbula GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Bothwell, Tasmania
Green fees: $40.

A round here is a memorable one because it is as if time has stopped in the 1800s. This is where golf in Australia began back in the 1820s, when Scottish emigrant Alexander Reid knocked featheries around the property.

Over the past two decades, devoted owner Greg Ramsey has invested in the restoration of the course to its true origins. And like the originals, hole maintenance is carried out by sheep and feature fenced square greens.

Cheltenham, Victoria
Green fees: $41.50 (weekdays); $43.50 (weekends).

Sandringham has undergone an extensive redevelopment by design team Ogilvy, Cocking and Mead (OCM) and recently opened all 18 new holes. On first glance, the layout - now known as Sandy Links - will be pushing for inclusion in the nation's Top-100 Courses ranking in the future. 

The course is set to be the new home for Golf Australia, PGA of Australia and Golf Victoria, with the Australian Golf Centre currently under construction.


West Ulverstone, Tasmania
Green fees: $30 (local players); $50 (interstate visitors).

Ulverstone is a superb Al Howard design cut from a tall eucalypt forest. The most beautiful hole is the 158-metre par-4 5th hole where the entire hole is framed by tall gums and the tee shot must be played over a lake to a green tucked in close to the botanical towers.


Ballina, NSW
Green fees: $45.

Ballina is a beautiful layout less than an hour’s drive south of the Gold Coast on the east bank of North Creek, a tributary of the nearby picturesque Richmond River. The easy-walking, tree-lined layout has gained a reputation in recent years for its superb presentation and interesting mix of holes.

The short par-4 11th hole, offering views across North Creek, is a definite highlight with numerous bunkers coming into play and accuracy being a premium to get close to the flag on the angled green.

Bermagui, NSW
Green fees: $45.

Bermagui is famous worldwide as the port gateway to some of the best game fishing in the South Pacific. Upgrades to the course in recent times have significantly improved the layout, which now rates among the best kept courses on the NSW South Coast.

One of the outstanding features of the layout is the variety, in length and appearance, of the holes. For example, the four par-3s range in distance between 141 and 178 metres and each requires a different approach from the tee.

Bermagui CC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Cherry Gardens, South Australia
Green fee: $50.

Nestled in the heart of the Adelaide Hills, the picturesque Blackwood course was created by Vern Morcom and opened for play in 1961.

Mature gums and towering pines dominate the landscape and line most of the holes. There is a good change of elevation and an equal mix of left and right doglegging holes. This variety adds to the appeal of playing here.

In the early 1990s, designer Tony Cashmore changed six holes on the back nine and these are some of Blackwood’s finest, with the final four holes offering an exciting climax to the round.

Blackwood GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Carramar, Western Australia
Green fees: $30 (weekdays); $35 (weekends).

Designed by Bob Stanton, Carramar was built and opened in 1994 by the City of Wanneroo council. Off the championship tees it is renowned as one of the toughest tests of golf in Perth.

There are few straight holes covering the terrain, with densely tree-lined doglegs –  left and right – being a feature of a round here. The toughest examination comes at the 423-metre par-4 5th hole, which doglegs left and climbs a hill to the green. It’s long and tight and pars can be rare.

Carramar GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Batemans Bay, NSW
Green fee: $48.

The 27-hole Club Catalina is an impressive layout that has played host to many big events including several NSW PGA Championships.

The fairways are lush year round while the greens have a great cover of bentgrass.

The club has undertaken some recent redesign work by acclaimed architect Harley Kruse, which will further enhance the course’s already good reputation.


Dareton, NSW
Green fee: $35.

Known as “Coomee” to the locals, the layout measures 6,250 metres and winds through Black Box and River gum trees just a pitching wedge (at its nearest point) from the waters of the Murray River.

The bentgrass greens and couch fairways are always in very good condition and complement the design, which is regarded as the most testing in the Sunraysia area and a real hidden gem to those living outside the region.

Spreyton, Tasmania
Green fee: $30.

The merger of three Devonport-based clubs, including the golf club, has given rise to great change here in the past 18 months.

The $10.5 million redevelopment saw the opening of a new clubhouse earlier this year and work is continuing to upgrade the Vern Morcom-designed layout.

Wacol, Queensland
Green fees: $40.

Nearly 65 years on from being a one-time host of the Australian Open, one could argue Gailes is definitely a much sterner test than it was back then.

Since South African legend Bobby Locke won that championship, dozens of bunkers have been added to the landscape and its many trees have matured into towering timbers lining each fairway.

Gailes’ rolling landscape gives rise to some very good holes, where strategy and shot placement are the keys to good scoring.


Hawks Nest, NSW
Green fees: $39.

Designed by Kel Nagle and Mike Cooper in the mid-1980s, the current Hawks Nest course had a certain degree of anonymity during its first few decades.

Rolling fairways over sand dunes, attractive bunkering and beautifully crafted greens stand alongside vast areas of native Australian bushland and the sound of waves crashing can be heard with an onshore breeze. It is a wonderful setting for golf.

Keperra, Queensland
Green fees: $40 (weekdays); $45 (Sundays).

Keperra has a rich golfing tradition and has produced talented Australian professionals John Senden, Peter Senior and Jeff Woodland.

Keperra is widely regarded as one of the prettiest courses in Brisbane.

Set among sub-tropical flora and alongside creeks, lakes and billabongs, it is easy to see why the layout is so popular. Thankfully it also has 27 holes, so getting a game on this picturesque layout should be relatively easy.

Lakes Entrance, Victoria
Green fee: $35.

Lakes Entrance covers beautiful links terrain created by banksia and tea tree-covered dunes, lying adjacent to Ninety Mile Beach.

The layout is nicely maintained, while the design garners much of its defence from the coastal winds and some water hazards throughout. For golfing bird-lovers, there’s the chance of spotting some of the 150 different species of birds that call the layout home.

Lakes Entrance GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Lang Lang, Victoria
Green fee: $30 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

Lang Lang’s strength is the wide variety of shots you need to score well here.

The layout boasts a terrific set of par-3s, with each playing to different points of the compass, ensuring no two clubs or shot types will be the same into these greens during a round.

It’s a wonderful setting to play golf. Surrounded by scenic forest landscapes, the layout – designed by former Australian Open champion George Naismith – is built on pure sand, which makes it playable year-round.

Leura, NSW
Green fees: $40 (weekdays), $50 (weekends).

The Blue Mountains course has changed significantly during its 100 years, but what hasn’t changed is the wonderful setting, which climaxes greenside of the par-4 14th hole.

Having played across the crest of a hill and down to the green, it’s not hard to be distracted by the view down the length of the Jamison Valley. Members will tell you can see for nearly 50km down the valley to the edge of the Southern Highlands. It is simply breathtaking.

Loxton North, South Australia
Green fee: $40.

From a dusty start in the 1950s, Loxton has bloomed into a lush layout dominated by eucalypts, casuarinas, melaleucas, bottlebrushes, wattles and Aleppo pines alongside its fairways and surrounding its bentgrass greens.

Adelaide-based course designer Brian Crafter oversaw the construction and shaping of the putting surfaces, which are renowned for their year-round quality. From tee to green, Loxton’s fairways are predominantly couch, but they have also been sown with Kentucky Bluegrass, which provides a terrific playing surface year round.

Loxton GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Pitt Town, NSW
Green fees: $40 (weekdays); $50 (weekends).

The par-72 links-style layout offers plenty of fun and interesting holes, which are enhanced by the setting – 230 undulating acres featuring vast areas of natural, wild rough as well as wetlands rich with birdlife. The majestic Blue Mountains on the western horizon also form a picturesque backdrop to every hole.

Maleny, Queensland
Green fees: $38.

Maleny was, until recently, one of the hidden golfing gems of Queensland golf.

The final six holes of the layout, designed by Graham Papworth, only opened for play in February this year. Then, in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, the golfing world discovered this picturesque course primarily built by volunteers, under the direction of course superintendent Mick McCombe.

When 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott played a live match on Instagram against his mate and former touring pro Wayne Perske (the club’s pro and manager), it thrust Maleny onto the world stage.

Moruya GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Moruya, NSW
Green fee: $45.

Variety is Moruya’s greatest asset. No two holes can be mistaken for another, with a very good mix of long, short, straight and doglegging holes.

Water plays its role in the design with a meandering creek through the property coming into play eight times during a round.

But it is Moruya’s unique close to both nines that you will remember. The 370-metre par-4 9th shares a huge green with the 338-metre par 18th. The enormous putting surface, easily the largest on the NSW South Coast, is a fitting end to two tough holes. The 18th is the harder of the two holes where a solidly hit approach must avoid the biggest lake on the course, right of the green.

In recent years, Moruya has earned a good reputation for the quality of the course – its enjoyable design and well-presented greens and fairways – while its modern clubhouse has added to its appeal to golfers visiting the NSW South Coast.


Nudgee, Queensland
Green fees: Bay Course – $40 (weekdays); $45 (weekends). Brook and Gateway Course – $30 (weekdays); $35 (weekends).

Nudgee is the home club of European Tour winner Scott Hend and is one of Queensland’s emerging layouts.

The club offers 27 holes but will return to a 36 hole facility by late 2021 once renowned course architect James Wilcher completes his redesign work as part of the club’s masterplan.

Penrith, NSW
Green fee: $25 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

Penrith has a long-held reputation for presenting high quality pure couch fairways and bentgrass greens, which is probably why it has hosted major events in past years including the NSW Open, NSW PGA and Australian Seniors PGA Championships.

Richmond, NSW
Green fee: $29 (weekdays); $39 (weekends).

Richmond is the home of the Australian PGA Seniors Championship, which was won by Peter Senior in 2019.

The parkland layout is beautifully presented year round and an epic trilogy of holes on the back nine will excite. Holes 13 to 15 comprise Richmond’s version of ‘Amen Corner’ and include two robust par-4s – the latter with twin water hazards to negotiate on opposite sides of the fairway – before a strong, 164-metre par-3 across water to a wide but shallow green.

Rich River GC East Course. PHOTO: Brendan James

Moama, NSW
Green fee: $50.

With two courses – the highly-rated East and West layouts – to choose from, Rich River offers a golfing smorgasbord and great value for money.

The Peter Thomson and Mike Wolveridge designed East course has become the club’s flagship and recent renovation work has raised the level of the golfing experience even more. The West Course has also recently undergone some changes, with the emphasis on making the layout fun, so it can be enjoyed by all standards of golfers.


Woodcroft, South Australia
Green fees: $35 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

Thaxted Park is one of South Australia’s most improved courses in recent years.

The quality of the Santa Ana couch fairways and bentgrass greens are very good, while designers Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford (Golf Course Strategies) have also been carrying out extensive redevelopments on the front nine.

Barden Ridge, NSW
Green fees: $39 (weekdays); $46 (weekends).

The Ridge is a popular layout because of the interesting and fun design, combined with good playing surfaces. The back nine of James Wilcher’s design is outstanding and there are no more memorable holes than the long par-5 10th where the final approach must avoid water and sand to reach the huge angled green.

Tocumwal, NSW
Green fee: $48.

Another of the big Murray River courses boasting 36 holes in a beautiful, idyllic regional Australia setting.

The Presidents and Captains courses both offer different experiences but are equally great value for your golfing dollar. The clever routing of both layouts, with each nine starting and finishing near the clubhouse, means there are six course combinations to keep you entertained.

Toowoomba GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Toowoomba, Queensland
Green fees: $35 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

Toowoomba is carved out of beautiful natural parkland with tall gums and pines lining most of the lush kikuyu fairways.

The Penncross bentgrass greens are widely regarded as some of the best to be found in the Sunshine State and are a pleasure to putt on.

Toowoomba’s signature hole, the downhill 123-metre par-3 7th, is one you’re sure to remember. The front and left edges of the green sit just above the water line of a large dam, while a bunker can be easily found to the right of the subtly sloped putting surface.

Townsville, Queensland
Green fees: $45; $25 (Unlimited golf, Monday to Wednesday).

The oldest course in Queensland has undergone a major facelift in recent years after reducing its 27 holes to 18 holes to make way for a residential estate.

Seven-time major winner Karrie Webb team with acclaimed designer Bob Harrison to redesign the remaining 18 holes, which now feature large undulating greens, wide fairways and strategic bunkering. Seasonal blooming and old rain trees line many of the fairways. Harrison and Webb’s work has dramatically improved the golfing experience, adding to the fun and challenge the course offers.

Townsville Golf Club. PHOTO: Supplied.

Trentham, Victoria
Green fee: $30.

Trentham is one of the most popular courses in the Victorian Goldfields region.

The lush playing surfaces are watered from a creek-fed dam, fairways are lined by mature stands of trees and the undulating terrain presents a wide array of shots, including a few blind ones. Flowering garden beds around the tees and abundant birdlife add to the serenity of the setting, and the enjoyment of the round.

And with $50 in hand, you can pay for a round here and have plenty of change to cover a meal from one of the best clubhouse kitchens in Victoria.

Trentham GC. PHOTO: Supplied.

Tura Beach, NSW
Green fee: $42.

Peter Thomson and Mike Wolveridge’s design here provides a combination of dramatically undulating parkland holes with scrub-lined links style holes nearer the ocean.

This contrasting landscape gives rise to a wide variety of quality holes, which make
Tura Beach a ‘must play’ course in a magnificent setting.

Victor Harbor, South Australia
Green fees: $35 (Sunday to Friday); $48 (Saturday).

Many of the green complexes at Victor Harbor feature large bunkers, swales and steep slope drop-offs. The manicuring of the putting surfaces, right up to the edges of bunkers, is typically like the Melbourne Sandbelt and adds to the quality of golf here.

Victor Harbor GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Knoxfield, Victoria
Green fee: $50.

Created by Pacific Coast Design’s Phil Ryan, Waterford Valley provides an enjoyable test for players of all abilities.

The rolling Santa Ana couch fairways are strategically wide, leaving the best line into greens from alongside a bunker or water hazard. There are 63 bunkers and 11 lakes and wetlands scattered across the layout, which sets up to accommodate a wide range of playing standards.

Wollongong, NSW
Green fee: $27 (Mondays); $35 (Tuesday to Sunday).

This Ross Watson redesigned layout runs along a beautiful stretch of beach and is also walking distance from the Wollongong CBD.

Its natural wetlands combine with links terrain to create a wonderful golfing experience, which has been evolving for more than 120 years.

Yamba G&CC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Yamba, NSW
Green fee: $40.

The course features two loops of nine holes stretching out from the clubhouse and several holes lie within earshot of the breaking waves on nearby Pippi Beach.

While Yamba is an easy-walking journey there are few flat lies to be experienced with most of the fairways featuring a natural ripple above the sand base below. A lot of work has been carried out in recent years with more than half the greens re-built to create large, undulating putting surfaces surrounded by quality bunkering.

Fairfield, Victoria
Green fee: $40 (weekdays); $44 (weekends, 10am-2pm); $47 (weekends, before 10am).

With views over the Yarra River, Yarra Bend is Melbourne’s best inner-city golf course.

The course, originally built in 1936 and designed by Vern Morcom, has been remodelled in recent years by the design team of Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead, which markedly improved the quality of the holes and the overall experience.

Yarram, Victoria
Green fee: $30 (all day golf).

The more you play at Yarram, in the heart of South Gippsland, the harder it is to believe this course is volunteer managed and maintained. It is that good.

The bentgrass greens roll true and speedy, while the Santa Ana couch fairways are firm and fast. Venture too far from the clipped grasses and the rough gets, well, pretty rough. Laid out on sand, sandy lies in the rough – just like you were playing in the famous Melbourne Sandbelt – are common.


Bairnsdale, Victoria
Green fee: $39.

Bairnsdale is, without question, one of country Victoria’s best courses and can be found adjacent to the tranquil Gippsland Lakes. High quality playing surfaces and an abundance of wildlife combine with thought-provoking holes, which require sharp shot-making skills. It was named Golf Victoria Club of the Year in 2017.

Bairnsdale GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Rosebud, Victoria
Green fee: $45 (Thursday to Tuesday); $28 (Wednesday).

Bay Views offers serious value on the golf-rich Mornington Peninsula. Vern Morcom was the original designer and his routing extracted the best out of the side hill landscape.

The course boasts stunning views over Port Phillip Bay, Santa Ana couch fairways and speedy greens. Its excellent year-round conditioning is also worth noting.

Bathurst, NSW
Green fees: $37.

The third oldest course in NSW is widely regarded as one of the best inland layouts in the state.

The bentgrass greens and couch fairways are superbly presented and, as a result, has hosted several big events including the NSW Open and Amateur.

Guys Hill, Victoria
Green fee: $35 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

The highlight of any round here is trying to conquer the opening hole of the back nine.

The 354-metre par-4 10th is regarded as one of the hardest holes in Melbourne. The dogleg left features a lake cutting into the fairway that prompts some thought from the tee – either lay up short of the water and leave a long approach into the green, or play aggressively and aim for the sliver of fairway leading to the green.

Bunbury, Western Australia
Green fees: $49.

Laid out on gently undulating land between the Collie River and Leschenault Estuary, Bunbury boasts plenty of interesting holes but there is one that excites every time.

The tee of the 124-metre 10th sits about 40 metres above the level of the green and affords players, heading into the back nine, a spectacular view. Judging the wind here is crucial as the green lies diagonally away from right-to-left with bunkers short and long.

Busselton, Western Australia
Green fees: $50.

Designed by Murray Dawson, Busselton is widely regarded as one of the finest West Australian courses to be found outside Perth.

Its well-manicured wide fairways wind through beautiful woodlands featuring magnificent redgums and peppermint trees.

Cairns GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Cairns, Queensland
Green fees: $40.

It is almost 20 years since course designer Ross Watson redesigned the Cairns layout and raised the level of the golfing experience there.

Watson’s changes dramatically improved the variety of holes of the layout, which is laid out amidst tropical and native landscaping against an ever-present Great Dividing Range backdrop.

Stratham, Western Australia
Green fees: $30 (Mondays); $45 (Tuesday to Sunday).

Laid out on relatively flat terrain, Capel features fairways lined with mature tuart, jarrah, banksia and peppermint trees.

There are a few holes, however, that offer elevated views of the fairway in front, with the 154-metre par-3 12th being one of the standouts. The downhill one-shotter has bunkers left and right and is surrounded by trees, which makes judging the wind tough.

Toowoomba, Queensland
Green fees: $40.

The home of the Queensland PGA Championship is thickly tree-lined with kikuyu fairways and bentgrass grass.

The trees are mature and do encroach into the fairways, ready to catch just the slightest mis-hit, as will the creek that meanders through the layout.

Corowa GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Corowa, NSW
Green fee: $42 (weekdays); $45 (weekends).

Corowa is set among some of the biggest river gums on the Murray River.

The golfing home of Tour player and Olympian Marcus Fraser boasts 27 holes, which are a  mix of 18 older-fashioned holes created in the 50s and 60s, with nine modern creations that include huge greens, rolling swales and enormous bunkering.

Prospect Vale, Tasmania
Green fees: $45.

This Peter Thomson and Mike Wolveridge-designed layout has gums and pines lining relatively wide fairways, which are punctuated by water hazards and strategically placed bunkers that will challenge even the best players. That said, the forward tees here present a more enjoyable experience for the golfer more skilled on the roulette wheel inside the resort’s casino.

Country Club Tasmania. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Dunsborough, Western Australia
Green fees: $49.

Golfers of all abilities can really enjoy Dunsborough Lakes, which has big wide avenues, large rolling greens and expansive bunkering.

The best hole, arguably, is left until last. A lake flanks the entire right side of the 422-metre (from the tips) par-4. Fairway bunkers – one left and two right – line the driving zone. A tee shot skirting the edge of the right bunkers leaves a direct line, over the water and a hazard-defining stone wall, to the angled green.

Gerringong, NSW
Green fee: $40.

There are few places on the Australian eastern seaboard where you play golf as close to the beach as you do at Gerringong.

The layout covers undulating, natural terrain between two headlands and, at its lowest point, it runs alongside the back of beautiful Walkers Beach and the views well and truly cover the cost of the green fee alone.

Gerringong GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Gisborne, Victoria
Green fee: $37 (weekdays); $42 (weekends).

With the spectacular Macedon Ranges as a backdrop, this scenic par-72 course lies amongst 150 acres of wildlife reserve, which is also home to a large kangaroo population.

Acclaimed designers Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford submitted a masterplan for the course in 2014 and a number of the recommendations from their report have led to improvements to the course, which is a fun and challenging test.

Mulgoa, NSW
Green fees: $35 (Links course, weekdays), $27 (Valley course), $22 (Original course); $43 (Links course, weekends), $33 (Valley course), $24 (Original course).

Glenmore Heritage Valley offers one of Sydney’s few 27-hole golf courses.

The wide variety of holes caters for golfers of all abilities, which adds to the appeal of a round here. The Links layout (holes 1-18) is the most challenging of the combinations and includes the slightly uphill 589-metre 6th hole being one of the toughest par-5s in Sydney.

Howlong, NSW
Green fees: $34 (weekdays); $38 (weekends).

First-time visitors to this Murray River course will be struck with the high quality of the couch fairways and bentgrass greens.

Howlong has some fun holes but the best of them are left until late in the round with the closing trio – particularly the long par-3 17th – ramping up the excitement.

Marangaroo, Western Australia
Green fees: $30 (weekdays); $35 (weekends).

Marangaroo opened in 1988 and the Murray Dawson-designed layout has since evolved into one of the busiest courses in Perth.

Its popularity can be attributed to Dawson’s interesting design – incorporating many doglegs and some blind tee shots – superb conditioning and the beautiful Aussie bushland setting complete with hordes of kangaroos.

Maryborough, Queensland
Green fees: $40.

An excellent Dan Souter-designed course on the Fraser Coast featuring a number of memorable holes, with few more exciting than the 120-metre par-3 9th hole.

The tee shot here must be played over the edge of Ululah Lagoon to a green that is perched just above the water line and cut into the side of a hill. It is a long, narrow putting surface where the front pin position is close to being three-clubs shorter than a shot to a back flag.

Moss Vale, NSW
Green fee: $45.

Located in the picturesque Southern Highlands, Moss Vale Golf Club showcases the region’s best natural assets in a fluid layout that winds up and down hills, traverses an omnipresent creek and on fairways flanked by stunning flora, including pines, elms, eucalypts and claret ash trees.

Carindale, Queensland
Green fees: $25 (Tuesday to Friday); $30 (Monday); $45 (Sunday).

Panoramic views and challenging holes are the order of the day at Pacific, considered one of Brisbane’s premier clubs.

It is a well-manicured layout that has been a venue for the Queensland Open three times, when the likes of Greg Norman, Ian Baker Finch and Peter Senior walked its fairways.

Cowes, Victoria
Green fee: $45.

Covering easy-walking sand-based terrain, Phillip Island is a much underrated course.

It’s not a long course and, as a result, it features some terrific short holes like the 320-metre par-4 8th and the almost-driveable 292-metre par-4 13th hole, which add to the fun of playing a round here.

Primbee, NSW
Green fee: $38 (weekdays); $43 (weekends).

Port Kembla’s lush, easy walking fairways are bordered by a combination of gums and melaleucas and punctuated by dozens of fairway bunkers, making this layout a ball-striker’s paradise. One of the finest swingers Australia has ever produced – 1995 US PGA Champion Steve Elkington – fine-tuned his game here as a teenager and he remains a patron of the club.


Clontarf, Queensland
Green fees: $37 (weekdays); $42 (weekends).

Redcliffe boasts the characteristics of a sand belt coastal strip with the river estuary outlook across Hayes Inlet.

The high standard of presentation is complemented by interesting holes, many of which have been redesigned in the past decade as part of a club masterplan. A round here is interesting and fun in a beautiful setting.

Redland Bay, Queensland
Green fees: $35 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

Located on the Moreton Bay foreshore, Redland Bay is an easy-walking layout that offers fresh sea breezes and superb ocean views. A round here can feel like you’re a thousand miles away.

Well-manicured Bermuda 328 greens and gently undulating fairways are a highlight, as is the native bushland lining the fairways that is home to a colony of koalas and native birdlife.

Bunbury, Western Australia
Green fees: $45.

Designed by Michael Coate and opened for play in 1994, the fairways at Sanctuary Resort are home to more than 60 bunkers as they wind around seven large man-made lakes.

The most enjoyable holes are on the back nine where you seem to face a water carry or have water intruding into the playing line on most holes but they can easily be avoided, which is a credit to Coates’ design.

Sandy Creek GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Sandy Creek, South Australia
Green fees: $40 (weekdays); $45 (Sunday); $50 (Saturday).

Sandy Creek is laid out across terrain that varies from dramatic to relatively flat, right on the doorstep of the world-famous Barossa Valley wine region.

Some of the steep slopes have been creatively used to form some memorable holes, with the downhill par-3 13th being a fine example. The huge green sits well below the tee and is guarded by four bunkers – three right and another to the left – while a steep drop-off at the back of the putting surface feeds balls into the nearby rough. If distracted by the Barossa Valley view, this diminutive hole can cause some scorecard pain.

Shepparton, Victoria
Green fee: $33.

Built on the sand hills near the banks of the Goulburn River, Shepparton’s fairways pitch and roll between tall stands of gums and other native trees.

The green complexes are well bunkered and the varying shapes and angles of them demand accuracy for good scoring. This might explain the ball-striking quality of Shepparton’s finest golfing product, the late and much-loved Jarrod Lyle.

South West Rocks CC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

South West Rocks, NSW
Green fee: $30.

South West Rocks boasts a picturesque layout worthy of any player. Whether you’re off 4 or 24 you will enjoy the well designed and interesting layout.

Most of the holes are straightforward, however accuracy off the tee is rewarded as the tree-lines can make an escape to the green difficult. The course offers a good variety of holes, for example, the 15th (Fred’s Hole) is a 383-metre par-4 with a water carry for your second (or third) shot. The bentgrass greens are in fantastic shape all year round, as are the fairways. It truly is a beautiful course to play.

Hallidays Point, NSW
Green fee: $35.

A short drive from the beaches of Forster on the NSW mid-north coast, Tallwoods is the only layout designed in Australia by award-winning American course architect Dr Michael Hurdzan.

Dr Hurdzan cleverly utilised the undulating topography to create a course that traverses rugged terrain with severe elevation changes. Several green complexes sit in amphitheatres, buried in the hillside beneath residential sites.

It is a beautiful setting for golf, which features a mix of high canopy majestic eucalypts including tallowoods, blackbutt, ironbark, yellow gums and red gums.

Thurgoona CC Resort. PHOTO: Brendan James

Thurgoona, NSW
Green fee: $32 (weekdays); $36 (weekends).

Thurgoona is one of the most improved courses along the entire length of the Murray River, which has led to the course becoming home to the NSW Senior Open.

Thurgoona was designed by Peter Thomson and Mike Wolveridge long before they created more famous courses throughout Australia, which, from the design alone, puts Thurgoona in a very good stable.

Sunlands, South Australia
Green fees: $40.

Located in rolling citrus grove-covered sand hills about 10km west of the township, Waikerie is a fabulous course that punches well above its weight division in terms of enjoyment and conditioning.

It is laid out on gently undulating land between thousands of box trees and some mallee scrub. And you can leave your sand wedge at home because this layout does not have any bunkers.

The interesting and well-groomed green complexes and their surrounds more than make-up for the absence of bunkers at Waikerie.

Obviously, the money saved on ongoing bunker maintenance has been spent wisely on irrigation and producing immaculate playing surfaces.

Waikerie GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Wembley Downs, Western Australia
Green fees: $35 (weekdays, online); $42 (weekends, online). $38 (weekdays); $45 (weekends).

Wembley is the biggest and busiest public golf complex in Perth.

The Tuart, and the neighbouring Old course, are laid out over 300 acres of undulating land and both layouts feature heavily tree-lined fairways, very good bentgrass greens and a minimal number of bunkers.

Lyneham, ACT
Green fee: $45 (Monday to Thursday); $49 (Friday to Sunday).

Canberra’s Yowani course has, during the past six decades, developed into one of the best courses in the region.

Originally designed by James Herd Scott – who also consulted on the design of Royal Canberra in its early years – Yowani was opened for play in 1954 and is characterised by beautifully framed fairways, receptive greens and well-placed bunkering.


Blackheath, NSW
Green fees: $35 (weekdays); $44 (weekends).

One of the prettiest courses you will find as you cross the Blue Mountains. Blackheath is the Blue Mountains’ rhododendron village and that kind of colour extends to the course, which is lined with colourful flowering trees along with maples, blossoms and azaleas.

Como, Western Australia
Green fees: $32 (weekdays); $41 (weekends).

Collier Park is one of Perth’s best inner-city complexes with 27-holes available for play.

Carved out of an old pine plantation, Collier Park not only offers a high standard of presentation but the variety of holes on each nine will encourage you to visit the course more than once.

Goulburn, NSW
Green fees: $25 (weekdays); $30 (weekends).

The original home club two Australian Open champions – Lou Kelly (1933) and Bruce Devlin (1960) – as well as PGA Tour winner, Brett Ogle, is a first class country layout with some interesting holes.

The 495-metre par-5 3rd is one such hole as it winds up Rocky Hill, beneath the town’s iconic War Memorial, and features a bunkerless but treacherous shallow green terraced into the hillside that affords a panoramic view of the town.

Mirboo North GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Mirboo North, Victoria
Green fee: $30.

Lying in the heart of Gippsland’s magnificent Strzelecki Ranges, Mirboo North boasts very good playing surfaces, while the design has some unforgettable natural holes.

The 160-metre downhill par-3 16th known as ‘Plum Pudding’ is one of the best of them, because the green sits in the middle of what looks like an upturned plum pudding bowl.

Wirrina Cove, South Australia
Green fees: $35 (weekdays); $45 (weekends).

With an abundance of kangaroos and spectacular views over St Vincent’s Gulf and the countryside of the Fleurieu Peninsula, New Terry Hotel & Golf Resort offers a nice setting for a round.

New owners took over the course in 2018 and immediately invested in improving the course. Irrigation and drainage were extensively upgraded.

Shoalhaven Heads, NSW
Green fee: $35.

Shoalhaven Heads has evolved into a very good links layout.

All but five holes of this hidden golfing gem run in a north-south direction, across and along the dunes behind the adjoining beach. This rolling landscape meant there was very little earthmoving required to create some terrific links holes, while the fine sandy base underneath has allowed for some creative and strategically-placed bunkering.

Trafalgar, Victoria
Green fee: $30.

Course designer Mike Clayton has made recent modifications to the Vern Morcom original layout, which meanders across the foothills of the Baw Baw Ranges.

This is not a long course but, as a result, it boasts some interesting short holes, including the shortest of them all – the 112-metre par-3 5th hole. The tee shot is nothing more than a short iron for most, but the choice of club is important as to avoid the deep bunkers, front and back, of the shallow green.

Traralgon, Victoria
Green fee: $30.

A course of similar standard in a capital city would easily charge more than double the meagre green fee that is asked here.

Nice undulating terrain and well-manicured Santa Ana couch fairways and bentgrass greens are of a much higher standard than its $30 green fee would have you believe.

Tropics GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Townsville, Queensland
Green fees: $35 (Sunday to Friday); $39 (Saturday).

Tropics has been under new ownership for the past few years and plenty of work is being carried out on constantly improving the presentation and the difference is clearly noticeable.

The abundance of wildlife on the course and the chance to follow in the footsteps of the professionals ensure a round here is a memorable golf experience.

West Beach, South Australia
Green fees: $30 (weekdays); $40 (weekends).

The Patawalonga course covers easy-walking, sandy terrain, which is ideal for growing grass. So, it’s no wonder the kikuyu fairways and bentgrass greens are well-presented.

The greens are massive too, and are well bunkered, which you would expect from a links course.


King Island, Tasmania
Green fee: $30 (nine holes).

Recently named by an American magazine as one of world’s 50 greatest nine-hole courses, King Island’s reputation has blossomed since the arrival of golfing neighbours Ocean Dunes and Cape Wickham.

It is a wonderful naturally rolling layout in a drop-dead gorgeous setting.

US golf writer, Steve DiMeglio, who visited the layout last year summed up the course beautifully: “It’s a bit rough on the edges, a tad scruffy here and there. Sort of like a 5 o’clock shadow. But it’s a 5 o’clock shadow on Brad Pitt.”

King Island G&BC. PHOTO: Brendan James.

Scone, NSW
Green fees: $15 (nine holes).

Pacific Coast Design architect Phil Ryan created a superb nine-holer, which opened for play last year, and features manicured kikuyu fairways and bentgrass greens.

Phillip Island, Victoria
Green fees: $20 (nine holes).

This is home to the superb Saltwater Creek Links, which was designed by Ross Watson and lays across wonderful rolling sandy terrain.

The layout provides a true test for advanced players, while providing the beginner with a less daunting task of playing long holes.

Cheltenham, Victoria
Green fees: $26 (nine holes).

Offers an enjoyable and scenic challenge in the heart of the Melbourne Sandbelt.

The nine-hole layout features Santa Ana couch fairways and poa annua greens, many of which are guarded by large Sandbelt-style bunkering.

Geelong, Victoria
Green fees: $20 (nine holes).

Created by acclaimed course designer Graham Papworth, Geelong features nine-enjoyable holes all with well-groomed Santa Ana couch fairways and bentgrass greens.

One of the real highlights comes at the drivable 7th hole.

The 256-metre par-4 is reachable for some players, but if you take aim you will need to fly your tee shot all the way to the green. The target is small and is guarded by a rocky burn, isolating it from the fairway, and cuts between wetlands to the left and a pond to the right. A large bunker long and right of the angled green is best avoided.

Geelong GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Barwon Heads, Victoria
Green fees: $10 (nine holes).

In addition to its highly-ranked 18-hole layout, Barwon Heads has a nine-hole, par-3 course where players will enjoy the dramatic greens of the course, which has been redesigned by Crafter and Mogford Golf Strategies in recent times.

The Cups, Victoria
Green fees: $25 (nine holes).

The Dunes is one of the best public access courses in Australia. And the adjoining nine-hole, par-33 Cups course covers the same links terrain and offers as much enjoyment but on a smaller scale.

The layout features natural bunkering and expansive areas of native grasses and is a course that challenges players of all abilities and is perfect for families.

Cottesloe, Western Australia
Green fees: $25 (nine holes, weekdays); $30 (weekends).

Sea View dates back to 1908 when former British Amateur Champion, Scotsman Peter C. Anderson, laid out nine holes on coastal dunes opposite the beach. Not surprisingly, the Indian Ocean can be seen from all parts of the course.

Tamborine Mountain, Queensland
Green fee: $20 (nine holes).

The views over the Gold Coast are stunning, as is the undulating course. The cooler, less humid, climate on the mountain is ideal for growing kikuyu fairways and bentgrass greens, both of which are beautifully presented.

Regency Park, South Australia
Green fees: $18 (nine holes, weekdays); $20 (weekends).

Regency Park is an easy-to-walk course that will appeal to everyone from beginners to more established players.

It presents generous fairways, interesting green complexes, large bunkers, native wildlife and tall gum trees – all within a Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford design.