We have searched the nation to find 100 of the best 18-hole green fee offers you will ever find at courses you will want to play again and again. Here are the best value layouts in South Australia and the Northern Territory.
With its excellent kikuyu fairways and enormous bentgrass greens – averaging 750 square metres – Adelaide Shores offers 33 holes of enjoyable golf.
The Patawalonga layout was redesigned by Neil Crafter and has hosted the last seven SA PGA Seniors Championships. The Executive course is a 15-hole par 50 with links style fairways.
Green fees: $28.50 (weekdays); $35 (weekends). www.adelaideshores.com.au/golf
ALICE SPRINGS GC
Australia’s original desert course –laid out at the foot of the MacDonnell Ranges – has been through some tough times in recent years with the condition of the fairways and greens dropping right off due to disease.
But the club has implemented new maintenance programs and the course is looking better than it has at any time in the past six or seven years. This consistent improvement sees ‘The Alice’ included here as a terrific value for money round of golf.
Green fee: $48. www.alicespringsgolfclub.com.au
LINKS LADY BAY
Links Lady Bay opened for play in 2000 and over the years since it has matured into South Australia’s best public access course.
The Jack Newton/Graeme Grant/John Spencer-designed links layout is challenging to players of all standards and, combined with a high standard of presentation, it is one of the best value courses to be found among the list here.
Of note are the greens at Lady Bay. The design team ensured the size and shape reflect what can be found on the great links courses of Great Britain and are fully complemented by the superb bentgrass surfaces.
Green fee: $48. www.linksladybay.com.au
MILLICENT GOLF CLUB
Vast areas of pine plantations north of the town of Millicent do a very effective job in hiding the Millicent Golf Club from passers-by.
The course was opened for play in 1961 after a local forestry office found the sandy soil was more suited to a golf course than growing pine trees. In the 50 years since, it has evolved into one of South Australia’s finest regional layouts.
Its wide rolling fairways – bounded by bracken ferns, string bark gums, wattle trees and surrounded by pine forests – have been routed to make the most of the undulating terrain and, as a result, Millicent boasts several strong sequences of sweeping dogleg par-4s and par-5s.
Green fee: $30. www.millicentgolfclub.com.au
MT COMPASS GOLF COURSE
For more than 20 years it was known as the Fleurieu Golf Club but a change of ownership last year saw the fine layout re-launched as Mt Compass to better reflect its location.
Designed by father-son pair Brian and Neil Crafter, Mt Compass features some terrific bunkering scattered across the layout. Some have the rough, natural edge associated with some of the great links courses of Scotland and are often copied without success.
Green fees: $33 (weekdays); $45 (weekends). www.mcgc.com.au
MT GAMBIER GOLF CLUB
Mt Gambier GC has evolved into one of South Australia’s best regional courses during recent years.
After having been completely rebuilt to a Brian and Murray Crafter design back in the late-70s, the club has upgraded bunkers and converted all its fairways to Santa Ana couch in recent times.
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. The trio of back nine holes – starting from the tough 380-metre par-4 13th – is arguably the best sequence of holes on the course where all the skills are tested.
Green fee: $30. www.mtgambiergc.com.au
NARACOORTE GOLF CLUB
Naracoorte’s par-72 layout was carved out of wild, thick scrub, wattles and bracken more than 80 years ago and today it is one of the prettiest courses of South Australia’s Limestone Coast area.
The course lies across beautiful rolling terrain and the deep sandy base beneath its fairways ensures the layout is playable year round, while the bunkering is natural and easily maintained.
In fact, there are elements of the design and set-up of the course – like putting surfaces cut right to the lip of bunkers – that have obviously been influenced by the design of the great Melbourne Sandbelt courses.
Green fee: $30. www.naracoortegolf.com.au
RENMARK GOLF CLUB
Renmark’s parkland layout boasts well-manicured couch fairways that are lined by established pine trees and scattered water hazards.
The par-72 course stretches 6,120 metres, but is relatively flat and easily walkable. The 11th hole is rated as one of the best holes in regional South Australia.
Green fees: $30 (weekdays); $40 (weekends). www.renmarkresort.com.au/golf
SANDY CREEK GOLF CLUB
Sandy Creek, formally known as Gawler Golf Club, underwent major upgrades in the 1990s and features smooth bentgrass greens.
With stunning views over the Barossa Valley, an abundance of kangaroos, and four incredibly enjoyable par-3s, Sandy Creek offers a memorable golfing experience.
Green fees: $40 (weekdays); $50 (weekends). www.sandycreekgolf.com.au
THAXTED PARK GOLF CLUB
Thaxted Park is one of South Australia’s most improved courses in recent times.
Part of that improvement has been based around securing its water resources, which has had a dramatic influence on the quality of the Santa Ana couch fairways and bentgrass greens.
The par-72 layout is only going to get better as designers Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford carry out extensive redevelopments, which are well underway.
Green fees: $30 (weekdays); $35 (Sundays). www.thaxtedparkgolfclub.com.au
VICTOR HARBOR GOLF CLUB
Victor Harbor is the most under-rated layout on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.
Many of the greenscapes 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.
An added bonus too is the panoramic view, off to Encounter Bay, that you get standing on the 1st tee, which sits right outside the clubhouse and is perched more than 25 metres above the fairway.
Green fees: $35 (weekdays); $48 (weekends). www.victorharborgolf.com.au
THE VINES GOLF CLUB OF REYNELLA
A perfect place to stop for a round of golf on your way to Adelaide’s southern wine region, The Vines covers undulating terrain that has provided the foundation for some memorable holes.
While the conditioning will impress, you will also enjoy the quality of the challenge.
The Vines’ collection of par-3s is terrific, with the 149-metre par-3 3rd hole being a standout. With towering 100-year-plus red gums surrounding the green, you have to thread your tee shot through the canopy to find the green.
Green fee: $45. www.vinesofreynella.com.au