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.
10 GREAT VALUE NINE-HOLERS
KING ISLAND G&BC
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.”
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.
AUSSIE GOLF RANCH
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.
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.
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.
BARWON HEADS GC – PAR-3 COURSE
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 DUNES GOLF LINKS – CUPS COURSE
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.
SEA VIEW GC
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 GC
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.