More Australians are playing golf today than at any other time in the past 20 years. But the economic reality, as we emerge from the darkest months of the COVID-19 pandemic, is many of us now need to make our hard-earned dollars stretch a little further. Here, we reveal the 18-hole layouts – and some standout nine-holers – offering Australian golfers the greatest value for money golfing experiences.
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.
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.
TURA BEACH CC
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 GC
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.
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.
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.
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.
YARRA BEND GC
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.
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.
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.
BAY VIEWS GC
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.
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.
BERWICK MONTUNA GC
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.