This year marks 31 years since Golf Australia magazine first published a ranking of the country’s best golf courses.

Back in 1988, a meagre judging panel of six cast their eye over more than 40 courses to eventually come up with a final list representing the top 20 courses in Australia.

Much has changed in 31 years ... and not just to the golfing landscape. Today, we have 35 men and women looking at courses across the country for nearly two years before casting their votes. That number will increase again for our next ranking in January 2022

Back in the bicentennial year, the list clearly dominated at the pointy end by the world-famous quality courses of the Melbourne Sandbelt. The No.1 course back then was Royal Melbourne’s West Course, a title it has never lost and still holds today.

That inaugural list didn’t have a single course from Tasmania, whereas today there are three challenging the great Dr Alister MacKenzie’s West Course for the crown.

In fact, there has been significant change since our last ranking was published in January 2018, with several courses undergoing major renovations by big name course designers. How did they fare? What courses are rising? Which ones have slipped from the Top-100? And which layouts should we be watching for 2022? You will find all the answers here as well as comments from our judges and an explanation to the how we arrived at our final list. Enjoy!

Brendan James


Golf Australia magazine



Mulwala, NSW

Designers: Peter Thomson & Michael Wolveridge (1991).

Average points: 35.85.              

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings:  95, 92, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “There are few more Australian settings to play a round of golf. The stretch of holes from the par-3 2nd to the par-4 6th is among the best to be found anywhere along the Murray.” – Lucas Andrews.

“The 100th ranked course in 2018 was The Federal GC with a points average of 36.89. The Murray Course has polled five points higher than Federal and received more votes than it did two years ago, yet it has moved out five positions in the list. So the course has improved and yet has still dropped some spots, which suggests it is getting harder and harder to grab a spot in the Top-100.” – Brendan James.

Yarrawonga & Mulwala - Murray Course. PHOTO: Brendan James


East Kew, Victoria

Designers: Jock Robinson & Jock Young (1922); Various (1960s and 1970s); Graeme Grant (2015).

Average points: 36.

Debut ranking.

Judge's comments: “Kew has been working hard over the past 10 years to get the course into the Top- 100 where it belongs. Firstly, an extensive drainage and couch fairway program has improved the playing conditions, especially in the wet months. Following that there has been significant clearing and opening up of not only the holes, but the views across the course. On a riverside, parkland course the trees are hugely important to the layout, but they no longer crowd the golfer and hurt the turf maintenance. A few design tweaks have also been made and the course is fun to play and would gain a lot more attention if it was in any other state.” – Rich Macafee.

“The commissioning of designer Graeme Grant to come up with a masterplan has worked a treat. Grant redesigned and built eight new holes – the 1st, 3rd, 8th, 12th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th holes – while overseeing the conversion of all the fairways and greens surrounds to Santa Ana couch grass, and the greens to bentgrass. The result … a spot in the Top-100 Courses in Australia.” – Brendan James.

Kew Golf Club. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Eynesbury, Victoria

Designer: Graham Marsh (2008).

Average points: 36.15.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings:  88, 77, 82, 77.

Judge's comments: “This is a beast from the tips. I learned my lesson from the first time playing there and moved forward to the next tee on the second trip., which was much more fun and brought the strategy of the design more into
play.” – Joe Thomas.


Yeerongpilly, Queensland

Designers: Carnegie Clark (1904); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926 advisory); Ross Watson (2007).

Average points: 36.33.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings:  92, 95, 99, NR.

Judge's comments: “After hosting the Queensland Open for the past three years, members and guests are now enjoying the fruits of an experienced course set up. The Champion putting surfaces are a real highlight.” – Peter Martin.

“The conversion of the greens to Champion strain a decade ago has been the making of the modern version of one of Queensland’s oldest clubs.” – Brendan James.


Sanctuary Cove, Queensland

Designer: Fred Bolton (1988); Ross Watson (2011).

Average points: 36.6.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings:  89, 75, 72, 63.

Judge's comments: “Ross Watson’s redesign dials up the strategy with some fine risk and reward challenges –  the kinds of greens that take some learning and fun use of water around the middle of both nines.” – Scott Warren.

“Watson’s incarnation is streets ahead of the original creation in terms of strategy and fun. Having regularly played the course during the past decade, I feel like it’s started to look a little tired recently, especially around the greens.” – Lucas Andrews.


Luddenham, NSW

Designer: Graham Marsh (2006).

Average points: 39.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings:  93, 97, 97, 75.

Judge's comments: “I always look forward to the back nine run that combines scoreable short holes with some stout tests in a beautiful woodland setting.” – Scott Warren.

“Under new owners, and since becoming home to the NSW Open, Twin Creeks has recaptured the polish it had when it first opened for play in the mid-2000s. Graham Marsh’s design extracts the best from a predominantly plain landscape.” – Lachlan Farmer.

Twin Creeks Country Club. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Belmont, NSW

Designer: Prosper Ellis (1952); Jack Newton (2000s); James Wilcher (2018).

Average points: 39.18.

Debut ranking.

Judge's comments: “The club has invested wisely on the layout in recent times, raising the level of presentation and tweaking the layout with several holes redesigned by James Wilcher. The loss of what was the par-3 12th hole – to give way for some bowling greens after the club amalgamated with the local bowlo – has since given rise to a new beachside one-shotter that is world-class. In fact, the quartet of holes from the 13th to the 16th is worth playing for double the green fee.”– Brendan James.

“A true links course that I could never tire playing. Belmont has a great variety of interesting holes and the beachside offerings are fantastic.” – Lucas Andrews.


Ellenbrook, WA

Designers: Graham Marsh & Ross Watson (1989).

Average points: 39.69.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 79, 63, 58, 47.

Judge's comments: “I first played the Lakes Course in the mid-90s, when 12 of its holes were part of the tournament course used annually. Back then it was one of the best resort courses in the country. Today, the bones of that terrific layout remain but it is looking a little tired in terms of the level of conditioning compared with what has been offered in the past.” – Lachlan Farmer.


Swanbourne, WA

Designers: David Anderson (1931); Alex Russell (1939); Justin Seward & Boyd King (1960); Peter Thomson & Michael Wolveridge (1980); Graham Marsh (1994 and ongoing).

Average points: 39.75.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 85, 72, 76, 71.

Judge's comments: “A really fun course where a good score can be had. Always well-presented and a place that requires precise shot-making.” – DJ Loypur.

“As you read this, Cottesloe is implementing widespread changes. Five front nine holes have been redesigned as part of a plan mapped out by Graham Marsh, while a multi-million dollar irrigation project is due for completion. One can only imagine a higher ranking is just around the corner.” – Lachlan Farmer.


Merrimac, Queensland

Designer: Jack Nicklaus (1997).

Average points: 39.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 82, 73, 80, 83.

Judge's comments: “Five-star presentation has always been the trump card of this Jack Nicklaus design. And that continues.” – Lucas Andrews.

“The design offers some interesting and challenging holes but I can’t understand why some bunkers that adorned the course for many years after opening have been filled in. The loss of most of the sand right of the 15th fairway, to me for example, seems odd. As does the decision to introduce wood chips around the base of trees and gradually narrow the fairway cutting lines so every fairway bunker, with the exception of
two (8th and 16th holes), are surrounded by rough.” – Brendan James.

Lakelands Golf Club. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Seven Mile Beach, Tasmania

Designers: Vern Morcom (1963); Richard Chamberlain (2018).

Average points: 40.6.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 98, NR, NR, 91.

Judge's comments: “An extensive removal of trees and shrubs has opened the playing corridors, but the upcoming changes under the course masterplan by Richard Chamberlain should see even more significant improvements.” – Carl Murphy.

“Royal Hobart has a lot going for it. A great location close to the ocean, with sandy slightly undulating terrain, the perfect weather for growing fine grasses and an abundance of land. The course today is good but with the changes they are looking at, it should be much better in years to come.” – Brian Walshe.


Ashmore, Queensland

Designer: Graham Marsh (2015).

Average points: 41.75.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 74, NR, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “Marsh’s Royal Pines incarnation is far better than the original course but I do wonder some of the bunkering is a little overdone (the bunker through the back of the 18th green is a good example). The greenscapes, too, are far more fun to play than the formerly flat putting surfaces.” – Alex Murray.

“While I can appreciate what Graham Marsh tried to do with the redesign, it just doesn’t work. The “bones” of the course are weak at best and the new green complexes and surrounds look artificial and unnatural.” – Peter Robertson.

RACV Royal Pines - Green/Gold Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Cape Schanck, Victoria

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1988).

Average points: 43.1.

Debut ranking.

Judge's comments: “Cape Schanck is like a miniature, less-polished version of the Old Course at The National, which is a great compliment. It is one of the best value for money public access courses on the Mornington Peninsula.” – DJ Loypur.

“Cape Schanck’s steady but consistent improvement during the past seven years sees it finally make its debut in the Top-100 Courses in the country. The design has always offered excitement and these days this goes hand-in-hand with very good playing surfaces.” – Joe Thomas.

“I could never tire of playing this course. There is enough funky stuff on the back nine to put a smile on your face.” – Jacqui Lee.


Murray Downs, NSW

Designers: Ted & Geoff Parslow (1988 & 2009).

Average points: 43.95.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 83, 85, 96, 94.

Judge's comments: “Murray Downs never fails to impress. The land is relatively flat, with the exception of the gentle rise back to the clubhouse, but the fairways still have enough subtle movement to offer a variety of different lies during the round. And if you’re looking for the biggest, best-manicured greens along the Murray River … you’ve come to the right place.” – Brendan James.


Sorrento, Victoria

Designers: Members (1908); J.D Scott (1929); Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge & Ross Perrett (2014); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (ongoing).

Average points: 44.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 86, 74, 84, 81.

Judge's comments: “Sorrento’s high level of conditioning continues to impress. You might have to travel all the way up the freeway to the Melbourne Sandbelt to find better putting surfaces.” – Lachlan Farmer.

“Sorrento could be the sleeping giant of all the Mornington Peninsula courses. With minimal changes to the design it could push much higher in this list.” – Brendan James.


Warrnambool, Victoria

Designers: George Lowe Jnr. (1928); Thomson Perrett (ongoing).

Average points: 46.1.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 84, 89, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “The Warrnambool club is to be congratulated for implementing a vegetation removal program that has exposed some of the best aspects of a seaside course – the sand underneath and the width that can be achieved through the dunes. This is particularly true on the front nine through the sequence of holes, known as Shipwreck Bend, as well as midway through the back nine.” – Brendan James.

“Wonderful course that is not overly long but a lot of fun to play every time because no two rounds are ever the same … even those played on the same day.” – Robyn Madden.

Warrnambool GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Yering, Victoria

Designer: Greg Norman Golf Course Design (2015).

Average points: 46.76.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 67, NR, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “The North Course (holes 10 to 27) incorporates the low-lying and flattest holes on the back nine. But there are some gems among them, including the 137-metre 21st hole that skirts a lake and features two cavernous bunkers through the back. This is not only the most memorable hole on this part of the course, it is also one of its most challenging.” – Brendan James.

The Eastern GC - North Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Medowie, NSW

Designer: James Wilcher (2005).

Average points: 46.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 76, 71, 71, 72.

Judge's comments: “There is always a difficulty in making a course interesting when the terrain offers no real elevation change for a designer to weave his magic. That said, James Wilcher was able to create an interesting, enjoyable and challenging course that suits players of all abilities. My favourite stretch of holes remains the opening quintet where you need to hit a real mixed bag of shots and clubs in the first hour of the round.” – Brendan James.


Banksia Beach, Queensland

Designer: Ross Watson (2006).

Average points: 48.65.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 73, 70, 66, 58.

Judge's comments: “When the wind blows, Pacific Harbour could be among the hardest three or four courses to play in Australia … and that’s not even from the tips. That said, I love it.” – Lucas Andrews.

“Considering the flat topography that greeted designer Ross Watson before any earth was moved, Pacific Harbour has enough movement under foot from tee-to-green that place real demands on your ball-striking. There’s nothing more frightening to this writer than a ball sitting just below your feet, the wind moving from left-to-right and a scheme of cavernous bunkers laying right of the target. These kinds of challenges present regularly through the course of a round.” – Brendan James.

Pacific Harbour CC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Mt Compass, South Australia

Designer: Brian & Neil Crafter (1995 & 1998); Neil Crafter (2016 & ongoing).

Average points: 48.9.

Debut ranking.

Judge's comments: “The quality of presentation continues to improve under the new ownership, allowing the architecture and the benefits of naturally sandy soil to show through.  Some critical clearing of vegetation ingress has started to occur enhancing the playing lines.” – James Bennett.

“Just five years ago, Mt Compass was in a sad state. So much so the course didn’t register a single vote for the 2016 Top-100 Courses ranking in this magazine. The new owners have invested wisely and the results of plenty of hard work from the greens staff has Mt Compass realising its potential.” – Brendan James.


Narooma, NSW

Designer: John Spencer (1980).

Average points: 50.85.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 87, 90, 94, 82.

Judge's comments: “There are few Australian courses that boast an opening six holes that cover more natural terrain. The fairways feature quirky bumps and hollows as they rise and fall across the land closest to the ocean. John Spencer’s routing of the course inland to cover a combination of gentle and dramatic topography – before returning to the cliff-tops on the 18th hole – is brilliant and takes a round here to another level of enjoyment and challenge.” – Brendan James.

“If Narooma is not on your list of ‘must-play’ Australian courses, add it now … in permanent marker.” – Alex Murray.

Narooma GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Joondalup, Western Australia

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1985).

Average points: 52.66.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 71, NR, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “The second-best routing at Joondalup offers two contrasting nines, although there are similar signs of Jones’ creativity spread across both. His use of the land around the old limestone quarry provides drama-charged golf, while his gently flowing holes on the Lake Course, some adorned with massive crater bunkers, are testing but a lot of fun.” – Brendan James.


Cambridge, Tasmania

Designer: Al Howard (1972).

Average points: 53.13.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 80, 80, 83, 86.

Judge's comments: “There is enormous potential to improve on a course that already has some exciting holes.” – Craig Read.

“The strategic clearing of unnecessary trees across the property has not only opened up the playing lines on several holes, but the views toward Barilla Bay are now not just restricted to just a few holes, which adds to the experience.” – Brendan James.

“Tasmania occupies fantastic land, which is now being shown off more with the removal of trees that just weren’t needed. Playing the par-5 3rd hole around the edge of the bay is worth whatever it costs you to travel to Hobart and play this wonderful course.” – Sue Johnson. 


Sanctuary Cove, Queensland

Designers: Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay (1989).

Average points: 55.5.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 72, 72, 68, 59.

Judge's comments: “Arnold Palmer’s only Australian course design has just celebrated 30 years of play and its age has started to show in recent times. The playing surfaces are not as pristine and consistently first class as they once were. This has been recognised by the club and as you read this work has begun on transforming the layout through a $1.8 million irrigation project. This can only improve the turf quality of what is widely regarded as one of Queensland’s finest courses.” – Brendan James.

“I would love to see how The Pines would play if the fairways were cut wider, incorporating the hazards placed by Palmer and adding to the strategy of the design.” – Joe Thomas.


Bli Bli, Queensland

Designer: Graham Marsh (2015).

Average points: 56.

Debut ranking

Judge's comments: “The rise of Maroochy River continues with its debut in this ranking, coming on the back of its first appearance in the Top-100 Public Access Courses in January 2019. There is plenty to like about Marsh’s Sunshine Coast creation – from the firmness of the playing surfaces to the generous width of the playing corridors and the subtle movement in the terrain. There is plenty of water also, but it rarely comes into play and there’s only one forced carry during the round … and that comes as you approach the final green.” – Brendan James.

Maroochy River GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Yanchep, Western Australia

Designers: Murray Dawson & Bob Green (1974); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead (2012).

Average points: 57.89.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 75, 84, 100, NR.

Judge's comments: “There is a noticeable difference between the holes which have undergone renovation, compared to the untouched areas. The changed holes have good strategic lines plus some challenges around the green complexes. I’m really looking forward to its completion.” – Carl Murphy.

“The OCCM redevelopment turned this course on its head and for the better.” – Lucas Andrews.


Pelican Waters, Queensland

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).

Average points: 58.95.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 60, 58, 54, 55.

Judge's comments: “A remarkable design achievement in difficult terrain for golf, Pelican Waters is visually quite striking and makes good use of its abundant lakes and wetlands.” – Adrian Logue.

“Pelican Waters will reach two decades of play in 2020. The course, and an adjoining 20ha site, was sold in December 2018 to a retirement village developer and it will be interesting to see what effect plans for new holes will have on the course and how it plays.” – Brendan James.


Yarrawonga, Victoria

Designers: Peter Thomson & Ross Perrett (2015).

Average points: 59.4.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 78, 82, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “Wide undulating fairways, manicured bunkers, elevated greens, superbly presented. The last course Thommo designed and it’s up there with his best.” – Craig Read.

“The ‘Bull Ring’ is an exciting corner of the golf course with three holes played around the edge of a lake. But for mine, the closing trio of holes gazumps the ‘ring’ for sheer quality and great visuals.” – Alex Murray.

“The continued climb of the Murray River’s newest course should not be of any surprise.
Black Bull possesses some of the best playing surfaces along the big river and this just adds to the very good Thomson and Perrett design.” – Brendan James.

Black Bull GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Pymble, NSW

Designers: Eric Apperly (1927); Ross Watson (2008).

Average points: 59.66.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 61, 56, 61, 68.

Judge's comments: “Avondale is set in a peaceful native setting where you feel like you are a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle, despite being in the heart of Sydney’s north shore. The beautifully manicured playing surfaces add further to the seduction.” – Felicity Chapman.

“The changes in elevation across the course give rise to a smorgasbord of holes offering fun and challenging golf.” – Brendan James.


Inglewood, Western Australia

Designers: David Anderson & James Tinlin (1928); Michael Coate (2004).

Average points: 60.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 65, 63, 60, 65.

Judge's comments: “The Mt Lawley course lies on ideal undulating and sandy land, which
has given rise to a very good course but the redesign masterplan promises to make it even better.” – Joe Thomas.

“For mine, Mt Lawley features too many holes where the fairways are too narrow for the green complexes waiting at the end of the hole. Widen the playing lines and questions will be raised on how best to play those holes.” – Alex Murray.


Normanville, South Australia

Designers: Jack Newton, Graeme Grant & John Spencer (2000).

Average points: 61.15.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 70, 81, 77, 66.

Judge's comments: “Links Lady Bay has maintained its position at No.70 in a ranking with volatile movements up and down for many courses. It has been a consistent performer in this list and is undoubtedly in the best condition ever seen by our judges.” – Brendan James.

“This can be a brutal test in southerly winds. None are tougher than the long par-3 17th and the sinuous, uphill par-5 finishing hole, which can quickly add a bitter taste to the first drink at the 19th hole.” – Michael Green.

Links Lady Bay Resort. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Little Bay, NSW

Designers: Michael Moran & C.W Cole (1938).

Average points: 62.5.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 81, 69, 75, 78.

Judge's comments: “The holes abutting the ocean are jaw-dropping. The progressive upgrading of surrounds from a ring of kikuyu to couch is improving the playability of the existing greens complexes.” – James Bennett.

“The club has chipped away at the rough edges of its diamond and making it an even more memorable golfing experience, returning the course to more of the links-style it was 80 years ago. The exposing of sandy waste areas by eradicating vast tracts of bush scrub has opened up the layout, improving it visually and strategically.” – Brendan James.


Cranbourne, Victoria

Designers: Sam Berriman (1954); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2018).

Average points: 62.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 64, 62, 69, 69.

Judge's comments: “Often overlooked by the visiting golfer to the fringes of the Melbourne Sandbelt. It is clearly underrated by the golfing populous and it shouldn’t be. The design changes, like the new par-3 14th, made in recent times are all terrific, while the presentation is first class.” – Alex Murray.

“Fun golf course in a beautiful setting. Love it.”  – Felicity Chapman.


Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

Designers: Graham Marsh (2010).

Average points: 63.8.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 66, 68, 73, 79.

Judge's comments: “Genuine ‘Australian desert golf’ … a unique golfing experience and a genuinely good layout designed by Graham Marsh that has utilised the terrain really well.” – DJ Loypur.

“Hugely underrated due primarily to its isolation. I reckon this is one of the best courses
Graham Marsh and his design company has
ever created.” – Brendan James.

Kalgoorlie Golf Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Cranbourne West, Victoria

Designers: Mike Clayton (2002).

Average points: 64.85.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 69, 60, 65, 60.

Judge's comments: “Ranfurlie is one of those courses where your appreciation for the design and the strategy grows with every round. The wide fairways and angled greens combine to ask questions on most shots.” – Brendan James.

“Presentation is an issue of the past and its conditioning now stands right alongside the quality of Clayton’s design.” – Lucas Andrews.


Fingal, Victoria

Designers: Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge and Ross Perrett (2001).

Average points: 65.15.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 56, 66, 64, 41.

Judge's comments: “Can’t help but enjoy the challenge the Open Course presents, especially around the greens.” – Joe Thomas.

“The impact of the new ownership in recent years has been nothing but positive. The Open Course’s dip in this ranking can really only be attributed to the volatile nature of this list with plenty of movement north and south by a significant number of courses. The Open Course actually polled with more points than in 2018 but has dropped nine spots.” – Brendan James.

Moonah Links - Open Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Robina, Queensland

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).

Average points: 65.25.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 77, 62, 45, 43.

Judge's comments: “Greg Norman and Bob Harrison turned a Gold Coast swamp into one of the most thrilling courses in Queensland.” – Scott Warren.

“For too long, less than ideal presentation sucked all the excitement out of the outstanding design. The course staff have turned the course around in the past two years and it has recaptured most of its past glory boasting great turf and firm, smooth rolling greens.” – Brendan James.

The Glades GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Colebee, NSW

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2012).

Average points: 65.6.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 49, 40, 35, NR.

Judge's comments: “Best value game of golf in Sydney. That said, maintenance is an issue with some of the bunkering. The course boasts the Greg Norman and Bob Harrison design signature look, while offering great width and strategy.” – Adrian Logue.

“The most interesting holes come early in the round on the flattest area of the course. The width of the fairways and the angle of the exposed greens demand different shots with different clubs, which I love. My main criticism would be some of the bunkering, like those to the right of the approach on the par-4 7th hole where a ball just dropping into the sand can leave you without a backswing, such is their shape and depth.” – Lucas Andrews.


Botanic Ridge, Victoria

Designers: Greg Norman, Bob Harrison & Harley Kruse (2007).

Average points: 65.95.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 63, 61, 63, 56.

Judge's comments: “The layout stretches out over varying topography, with the best offerings, in my opinion, coming midway through the front nine. The trademark bunkering created by the design team, especially during the 2000s, is evident and is a real feature of a round.” – Joe Thomas.

“There is a lot to like about Settlers Run. For me, I was really impressed with the one-shot holes, with the 11th being the pick of a fine crop.” – Jacqui Lee.


Healesville, Victoria

Designers: Mike Clayton (2009).

Average points: 66.1.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 57, 50, 46, 53.

Judge's comments: “Not the longest of courses, but one which ensures thought on each hole. Some of the best green complexes north of Melbourne, which could challenge the best of players.” – Carl Murphy.

“One of the most fun courses to play in Victoria and deserves its place among the elite of Australian golf.” – DJ Loypur.


Point Cook, Victoria

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).

Average points: 67.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 62, 67, 67, 52.

Judge's comments: “As predicted in our 2018 ranking, Sanctuary Lakes has risen in this list again … if only a few spots. The course has come along in leaps and bounds since the members took control of the club a few years back, so its ascent is not surprising. The terrific flowing movement in the firm ground under foot always elevates Sanctuary Lakes in my personal list of favourites.” – Brendan James.

“I really enjoy Norman and Harrison designed courses because of the number of very good driving holes you get during a round. Sanctuary Lakes, I believe, is one of the best to come from this design team.” – Lucas Andrews.

Sanctuary Lakes. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Port Bouvard, Western Australia

Designer: James Wilcher (2004).

Average points: 67.33.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 46, 37, 33, 34.

Judge's comments: “The Cut is one of the most dramatic in Australia. It has been criticised by many owing to its difficulty, and narrow fairways, especially with strong local winds often acting over the course. However, its coastal setting and dramatic terrain as well as the shot-swinging final five holes ensure its place in the 100.” – Matt Mollica.


Gilston, Queensland

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (1997).

Average points: 67.5.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 59, 57, 52, 51.

Judge's comments: “The Grand flows seamlessly from relatively flat to undulating terrain, with both areas of the course offering their own challenges. The same can be said for the mix of greens from subtle to dramatic slopes.” – Alex Murray.


Cattai, NSW

Designer: Bob Harrison (2015).

Average points: 67.6.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 54, 54, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “The newer of the two courses at Riverside Oaks offers plenty of challenges, particularly on the opening nine, across a wonderful piece of golfing land.” – Michael Green.

“Bob Harrison has extracted the very best from this property with such an extensive variety of holes. No two holes are remotely the same, while you never seem to be reaching for the same clubs time after time.” – Brendan James.


Hope Island, Queensland

Designers: Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge & Ross Perrett (1997)

Average points: 67.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 58, 55, 48, 48.

Judge's comments: “Another solid Gold Coast course. It’s a little bit of a weird design given its location, but all in all it does work. Has struggled over the years with conditioning but the last few years, after a change in ownership, it has improved.” – Peter Robertson.

“Hope Island, for mine, has rarely looked better in the past two decades and is always a delight to play.” – Jacqui Lee.

Links Hope Island. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Yering, Victoria

Designer: Greg Norman Golf Course Design (2015).

Average points: 68.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 67, NR, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “The South Course has some great strategic lines and the greens are excellent. Regular drainage work throughout the course in 2019 made it almost feel like a construction zone at times.” – Carl Murphy.

“I still find it astounding such a young course had to go through extensive drainage work so quickly after opening. That said, the ground under foot now is much firmer, and is pleasing to hit off. Everything is big at Eastern – wide fairways, big bunkers, big greens – but when you look more closely the strategy requires more precision than just blazing away at the vast expanses. ” – Joe Thomas.

The Eastern GC - South Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Curlewis, Victoria

Designers: Vern Morcom (1947); Mike Clayton (2009 & ongoing).

Average points: 70.3.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 68, 78, 88, NR.

Judge's comments: “Easily one of the most improved courses in this country during the past decade. It’s no coincidence that Curlewis’ fortunes turned with the sale of the club a few years ago and the subsequent investment made by the new owners. Recent changes – the complete redesign of the 1st and 9th holes, opening up of several holes by clearing of trees and the renovation of key bunkers – have further elevated the layout.” – Brendan James.

“I first played Curlewis back in 2008 and went away thinking what a course of great potential. My next round there was in 2017 and loved all the changes that had been made to the course. I’ve now travelled back three times since because Curlewis has become one of my favourite courses to play. It’s fun and challenging and unpretentious.” – Lucas Andrews.

Curlewis GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Oakleigh South, Victoria

Designers: Charles Alison (1941); Jack Newton, Graeme Grant & John Spencer (1998-2010); Martin Hawtree (2016).

Average points: 70.75.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 52, 46, 51, 40.

Judge's comments: “Changes made under Martin Hawtree’s consultancy have opened up the course and made it far more playable without lessening the challenge. Vast tracts of dense ti-tree and other scrub were cleared and exposed the sandy ground beneath, while some key bunkers were removed. Huntingdale is less claustrophobic than it was, and the conditioning is, not surprisingly, first class.” – Lachlan Farmer.

Huntingdale GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Meadow Springs, Western Australia

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1993).

Average points: 70.8.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 51, 59, 59, 62.

Judge's comments: “When you compare Meadow Springs to Jones’ other Australian designs, it is much less dramatic in the land it covers but no less enjoyable to play. Meadow Springs does boast his bold bunkering along with wonderful rolling fairways, predominantly lined by ancient Tuart trees. It is a beautiful place to play.” – Brendan James.

“Meadow Springs is one of the most beautifully presented courses I have played in WA.” – Robyn Mitchell.


Terrey Hills, NSW

Designers: Graham Marsh & Ross Watson (1994); Graham Marsh (2017).

Average points: 71.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 48, 45, 47, 50.

Judge's comments: “A beautiful course that always impresses.” – Felicity Chapman.

“In recent times, there have been some changes – like the redesign of the green complex on the par-3 12th to bring the lake into play – which have added to the visual and playing appeal of the course.” – Brendan James.


Barwon Heads, Victoria

Designers: Tony Cashmore & Sir Nick Faldo (2004).

Average points: 71.15.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 53, 52, 56, 49.

Judge's comments: “The Creek Course has wide open spaces and interesting green complexes, which all amounts to a lot of fun.” – Adrian Logue.

“The Creek Course is the perfect foil for the adjoining and more dramatic Beach Course. The fairways ebb and flow like ripples on a pond, rather than crashing waves on a shore, while the greens are large and not without their challenges.” – Brendan James.


Rose Bay, NSW

Designers: Carnegie Clark (1921); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1987); Ross Watson (2003).

Average points: 71.6.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 41, 29, 27, 21.

Judge's comments: “ The course continues to fall behind as others improve around it. The Gil Hanse renovation will see fundamental changes to the design, which will elevate the layout in this list.” – Carl Murphy.

“Royal Sydney’s pushed up greens, lightning fast slopes, oversize bunkers and relentlessly narrow fairways make for a genuinely tough test but the wait goes on to truly unlock the marvellous potential of what is incredibly good ground for golf. The Gil Hanse renovation will secure an exciting future for this grand and historic club.” – Adrian Logue.

“I’m excited to see that Gil Hanse’s new routing will share the best land between the front and back nines. Currently, the best land is behind you by the 8th tee.” – Scott Warren.


Elanora, NSW

Designers: Dan Soutar (1929); James Wilcher (2004).

Average points: 71.98.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 38, 42, 40, 39.

Judge's comments: “It’s a shame that all three of the short par-4s play, to varying degrees, uphill. The relief they could provide to an otherwise relentless test is missing as a result.” – Scott Warren.

“Elanora has plenty of space on just about every hole, which is a credit to the designers on what could easily have been a very tricky, hilly site. The bunkering hasn’t been overdone, which is really important on well treed courses, and the conditioning is consistently excellent. The green complexes are the real strength of the course, interesting without being over the top. The stunning clubhouse and rocky outcrops and views around the course are added bonuses.” – Rich Macafee.


Rothbury, NSW

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2004).

Average points: 72.1.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 40, 41, 43, 46.

Judge's comments: “Given the extremes of climate to be experienced in the Hunter Valley, it is rare to find The Vintage presenting anything other than nicely manicured playing surfaces year round.” – Sue Johnson.

“A round at The Vintage seems to build to a climax with the final six holes being the layout’s finest offerings, with the short par-4s – the 13th and 15th – encouraging a range of interesting tee shot strategies.” – Brendan James.

“After an awkward opening stretch, the course finds a nice balance between ‘resorty’ ease and genuine interest for better players. The par-3s are a bit bland, which does punctuate the round a bit.” – Scott Warren.

The Vintage GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Frankston, Victoria

Designers: Gordon Oliver (1938); Vern Morcom (1945).

Average points: 72.45.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 50, 51, 62, 57.

Judge's comments: “The hugely underrated Long Island course rises to its highest ever position in this ranking. It’s no coincidence that its rise has come since it became part of The National Golf Club and all its resources. The layout has some wonderful, natural holes and there are few better than the closing trio on the front nine.” – Brendan James.

“Long Island has benefitted from some polish, following its inclusion into The National Golf Club stable. Its condition has improved and more golfers are now familiar with the course’s appeal.” – Matt Mollica.



Fingal, Victoria

Designer: Ross Perrett (2003).

Average points: 72.55.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 33, 33, 30, 24.

Judge's comments: “What was intended to be the secondary course has, in my opinion, ended up being the better of the two courses at Moonah Links. A course you will never tire of playing because it is simply just a fun course, that doesn’t beat you up, but remains interesting and tactical.” – DJ Loypur.

“In my opinion, the Legends Course covers the best ground at Moonah Links and Perrett took full advantage with his design. The changing elevation throughout the round is not punishing on the legs but it ensures every shot is different to the next.” – Brendan James.

Moonah Links - Legends Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Dent Island, Queensland

Designers: Peter Thomson & Ross Perrett (2003).

Average points: 72.87.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 44, 44, 44, 38.

Judge's comments: “For the fourth consecutive ranking, Hamilton Island occupies the No.44 spot in the list. Easily occupying one of the toughest tracts of land on which to build a golf course, Hamilton Island offers interesting holes and million-dollar views rolled into one.” – Joe Thomas. 

“Hamilton Island is a beautiful place to play but the course plays more like a collection of holes due to the distances you have to drive your cart between holes, like the one kilometre drive from the 17th green to the 18th tee, which was obviously influenced by the topography. That said, if you can’t enjoy your time playing this course, you’re hard to please.” – Lucas Andrews.


Grange, South Australia

Designers: Vern Morcom (1967); Greg Norman (2013).

Average points: 72.95.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 35, 35, 39, NR.

Judge's comments: “The Greg Norman-designed East Course sets up wide, but strategic placement of hazards narrows the shot points for the player trying to score. The course has great flexibility in length with member, medal and black tees available.” – James Bennett.


North Bonville, NSW

Designers: Terry Watson & Ted Stirling (1992).

Average points: 73.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 45, 53, 55, 64.

Judge's comments: “Bonville employs four full-time gardeners ancillary to their green staff and it is reflected in the stunning array of flora that is on show here. Right up there with the most aesthetically pleasing courses in the country.” – Craig Read.

“When you get into the heart of the golf course it is easy to feel you are playing through the middle of a national park. A beautiful place to play.” – Sue Johnson.

“For women, it is quite a difficult course because you are forced to play longer clubs off the sloping fairways and the rough near the greens can make chipping tough. That said, what a beautiful course.” – Jacqui Lee.


Clayton South, Victoria

Designers: Vern Morcom (1948); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017).

Average points: 74.2.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 42, 43, 50, 44.

Judge's comments: “One of the unsung heroes of the Melbourne Sandbelt.” – Brendan James.

“Spring Valley emulates most of its famous neighbours with a wonderful collection of par-3s with the little, downhill 10th being the pick of the lot.” – Joe Thomas.

“There’s never a dull moment during a round at Spring Valley. You can start making a good score and feel on top of the world but the moment you try and attack the course and disrespect it, it will bite back.” – Lucas Andrews.

Spring Valley GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Kensington, NSW

Designer: Jack Nicklaus (1977 & 2013).

Average points: 74.33.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 36, 31, 29, 31.

Judge's comments: “A good take on American-style golf that we don’t get to see much of, so it is unique for Australia. A place that was made to host big events.” – DJ Loypur.

“There’s no question the recent renovation made it a better version of what it was before, but that just means it’s a nicer forgettable resort-style golf course than it was before.”– Scott Warren.

“Has rarely been in better condition than it is now. But please, get rid of the bark chip beds beneath the trees. .” – Joe Thomas.


Novar Gardens, South Australia

Designers: Herbert L. Rymill (1927); Vern Morcom (1955); Neil Crafter & Bob Tuohy (2004).

Average points: 75.85.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 30, 25, 28, 29.

Judge's comments: “Glenelg is maintained just as well as it’s more famous neighbouring courses and has a wonderful set of short par-4s.” – Michael Green.

“Wonderful Adelaide Sandbelt course that is consistently well-presented. Its slight dip in this ranking can perhaps be attributed to other courses forcing their way forward and as well as the small margins of points separating those courses ranked between 30 and 45.” – Brendan James.


Grange, South Australia

Designers: Vern Morcom (1956); Mike Clayton (2008).

Average points: 75.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 28, 28, 31, 30.

Judge's comments: “Mike Clayton’s work on the West more than a decade ago enhanced a classic, strategic course, with width available off the tee, asking questions of the golfer every step of the way.” – Matt Mollica.

“The West Course doesn’t possess any great elevation change but it asks question of your game from the 1st tee to the approach into the 18th green. You can actually score well here without pure ball-striking if you miss into the right spots.” – Brendan James.


Joondalup, Western Australia

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1985).

Average points: 76.25.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 31, 30, 34, 33.

Judge's comments: “Not the typical land you would think suitable for a golf course, but the layout of holes throughout a disused quarry are quite unique, both visually and for play.” – Carl Murphy.

“This layout is always fun and challenging. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th holes on the Quarry nine are visually breathtaking and simply great fun to play. Moving to the Dune nine, the stretch from the 3rd to the 7th holes are a real highlight.” – Lucas Andrews.


Magenta, NSW

Designer: Ross Watson (2006).

Average points: 76.33.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 37, 39, 42, 27.

Judge's comments: “Improvements to make the course more playable during the past decade means a day out at Magenta Shores is a far more enjoyable experience these days, despite patches of difficult rough and undulating greens.” – Michael Green.

“Ross Watson’s magnum opus and perhaps an indication of the sort of fun and visually interesting golf he can do given good land. Recent re-grassing has retained its great playing surfaces but with more economical maintenance. A challenging test.” – Adrian Logue.

Magenta Shores. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Brookwater, Queensland

Designer: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2002).

Average points: 77.25.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 29, 32, 36, 36.

Judge's comments: “Recent work has seen a reduction and softening of bunkers, greens resurfaced and trees cleared. It can feel quite claustrophobic at times, but there is more room than first appears.” – Carl Murphy.

“The dramatic elevation changes from tee to green on many holes, tall stands of gum trees,
bold bunkering and dynamic greenscapes make Brookwater a ‘must play’ course when in the Sunshine State.” – Brendan James.

Brookwater G&CC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Portsea, Victoria

Designers: Jock Young (1926); Sloan Morpeth & Jack Howard (1965); Mike Clayton (2000).

Average points: 77.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 39, 36, 32, 32.

Judge's comments: “Portsea has been an integral part of any visiting golfer’s itinerary for decades. It’s fun, challenging and beautifully presented. Its rise in the ranking this year is well-deserved.” – Brendan James.

“The wide fairways offer some forgiveness, especially when conditions turn windy, but playing into the greens from the wrong side of the fairway can be tough. The greens are surrounded by an abundance of short grass, which gives scope for a variety of chip shots.” – Carl Murphy.


Port Kennedy, Western Australia

Designers: Michael Coate, Roger Mackay & Ian Baker-Finch (1998).

Average points: 78.3.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 24, 22, 20, 15.

Judge's comments: “Gently rolling, fast-running fairways are routed through sand dunes covered with western coastal wattle, grevillea, sedges and lilies. This is a special tract of sandy links land you can never tire of playing.” – Joe Thomas.

“Kennedy Bay offers a great variety of holes demanding a wide range of shots, which makes any round here a lot of fun. The constants are the bunkering and the wind, while the beautifully manicured greens’ surrounds allow you to play a variety of short game shots from a low chip-and-run with a 4-iron to a high, spinning lob wedge.” – Brendan James.


Concord, NSW

Designers: Dan Soutar (1916); Ross Watson (1997); Mark Parker (2009); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf Design (2018).

Average points: 78.5.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: NR, 49, 49, 45.

Judge's comments: “Tom Doak and Brian Slawnik’s redesign has elevated Concord back into Sydney’s top tier. Bigger, more interesting greens with less sand and more short grass around them is a recipe for a lot more fun. Opening up some long views across the course has made a tight parcel of land feel a lot more spacious.” – Scott Warren.

“Fun has returned to Concord. Excellent!” – Brendan James.

“The Tom Doak-led renovation of Concord is an interesting experiment in bringing the ground game to a quintessential parkland course. The new greens and bunkers are expertly tied into the land, while the tree removal has improved the golf, and the views, and also showcases some of the best specimens that remain.”– Adrian Logue.

Concord GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Port Fairy, Victoria

Designers: Club members (1963); Kevin Hartley (1989); Mike Clayton (2000 & ongoing).

Average points: 78.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 43, 48, 53, 54.

Judge's comments: “In a world where, sadly, golf is increasingly seen as a business rather than a sport, Port Fairy is a shining light of what it should be for most of us. Fun, raw and simple with no pretensions, it is the essence of what drew most of us to the game. The course itself is stupidly good for a small town on the coast, while the run of holes from 12 to 16 would put to shame most of the courses above it. A must play.” – Brian Walshe.

“Port Fairy has all the core elements that make golf great: firm turf, wide corridors, greens with some tilt and a reliable wind. The simple 278-metre par-4 13th hole is the perfect example of a course that doesn’t try to do too much, and is all the better for it. The million-dollar views on the back nine don’t hurt, either.” – Scott Warren.

“This course reminds me of an Irish links. One of the handful of proper links courses on mainland Australia. The stretch of holes along the coast are sensational.” – Ross Flannigan.

Port Fairy Links. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Pagewood, NSW

Designers: Lance Giddings & Eric Apperly (1937); Prosper Ellis (1951); Ross Watson (1995-2003); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 79.6.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 34, 38, 38, NR.

Judge's comments: “The final stage of the course redesign, including the much-needed overhaul of the 17th green, means Bonnie Doon is now one of the most interesting, enjoyable places in Sydney to play.” – Michael Green.

“Bonnie Doon’s staged course works have finally completed, revealing a layout of great interest, variety and architectural merit. The new holes are wonderful and unlock the potential of the terrain. The short par-5s are exciting, the par-3s always fun and the short par4s are a standout. The ‘Doon’ is a must-see for visitors to the city.” – Matt Mollica.

“The club and its design firm, OCCM, should be applauded for such a consistent redesign over four stages spanning eight years. With the work now complete, the challenge is to ensure presentation that showcases the brilliance of the architecture, especially around the greens.” – Scott Warren.



Rye, Victoria

Designer: Tony Cashmore (1995).

Average points: 79.98.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 27, 27, 24, 25.

Judge's comments: “The Dunes is a very good quality links course that doesn’t get spoken about much due to the high number of quality courses close by. The Dunes can hold its own with the best of them.” – DJ Loypur.

“Quirky, beautiful and always challenging. It is a course you could never get sick of regardless of the many times you need to play it to work it out.” – Ross Flannigan.

“The Dunes has not lost any of its lustre in its quarter century of play. If anything, it just keeps getting better.” – Brendan James.


Oakleigh South, Victoria

Designers: Sam Bennett (1921); Charles Lane (1926); Sloan Morpeth (1962); Kevin Hartley (1992); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2006-2019); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (ongoing).

Average points: 80.15.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 22, 19, 16, 19.

Judge's comments: “Commonwealth’s efforts at subtle course improvement and tree clearing seem to have stalled. Despite good previous work with indigenous vegetation, non-native tree planting was still occurring at the time of ranking, essentially burying a once grand Sandbelt course beneath improper foliage.” – Matt Mollica.

“The work to open up the course by removing overgrown areas had a positive impact, by opening up the playing lines. It is a shame the rest of the scheduled work appears to have all but stopped, as this would have further improved the course.” – Carl Murphy.

Commonwealth GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Stockton, NSW

Designers: Eric Apperly (1937); Bob Harrison (ongoing).

Average points: 80.67.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 26, 18, 17, 16.

Judge's comments: “Newcastle never gets the accolades it deserves. Superb design!” – Matt Laverty.

“The stretch of holes from the 2nd to the 9th at Newcastle is among the best sequence of holes in the country, with such wonderful green settings, thrilling shots and great variety. With Bob Harrison engaged to create some new holes in times ahead, let’s hope the course retains its high ranking.” – Matt Mollica.

“Some layouts are described as great ‘second-shot’ courses, the beauty of Newcastle is that it’s a great ‘first-shot’ course. With the greatest collection of natural rolling fairways in Australia, quality tee shots are rewarded while poor play off the tee incurs a delayed penalty with less favourable angles into the small, slightly raised greens. An unpretentious club with a modest clubhouse and unadorned course, yet it has undeniable class like a kindly old gent wearing a neatly pressed suit in a timelessly fashionable cut.” – Adrian Logue.

“Newcastle is a timeless design of the highest quality.” – Craig Read.


Eagle Farm, Queensland

Designers: Carnegie Clark (1920); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Mike Clayton (2007 & ongoing).

Average points: 80.89.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 23, 23, 22, 26.

Judge's comments: “Royal Queensland is the best course I have seen on a flat piece of land. It is a stunning achievement to build a set of greens that have you constantly searching for the preferred lines to approach them from. Without doubt the best course in Queensland.” – Brian Walshe.

“Subtly strategic and really fun to play.” – Craig Read.

“Not many sites flatter than Royal Queensland in the country, which only exemplifies how extraordinary the design is. It provides a great balance of risk and reward on most holes and, in turn, inspires some thought provoking golf.” – Andrew Anderson.

“A disgruntled golfer told me of Royal Queensland: “You can drive it anywhere without penalty, and the greens are too hard to stop the ball on.” He was actually describing why it’s so brilliant, he just hasn’t worked it out yet.” – Scott Warren.

“Royal Queensland is one of the most underrated courses in the country. While many may feel the course is flat and uninteresting, the course is quite the opposite – delivering very few flat lies and reminding the player that being out of position is not without its consequences.” – Peter Robertson.


Yarralumla, ACT

Designers: Commander John Harris (1962); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1984); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017).

Average points: 82.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 20, 23, 70, 42.

Judge's comments: “Royal Canberra’s rolling hills, pine forest and distinct seasons lend it a character something like the inland courses of Scandinavia. The extreme cold and hot temperatures can also be very harsh on turfgrass and Royal Canberra has had some challenges with presentation in recent times. That doesn’t alter the fact that the OCCM renovation opened up some marvellous vistas and created some great strategic options.” – Adrian Logue.


Barwon Heads, Victoria

Designers: Tony Cashmore (2001).

Average points: 82.2.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 21, 24, 23, 22.

Judge's comments: “Any mainland course in Australia that features fescue fairways will always remind me of playing on a Scottish links and therefore always draw me back to it.” – Ross Finnigan.

“The Beach Course, for mine, is among the top-five most fun courses in the country. Cashmore’s dramatic green complexes demand you get a little creative with your short game and your putting, while some greens – like the punchbowl-shaped 18th – really test your ability to hit the right shot with the right club in hand. He has a combination of greens
where some are receptive, and others are designed to repel mis-hits. It all leads to a lot of fun.” – Brendan James.

Thirteenth Beach Links - Beach Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Cape Schanck, Victoria

Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1987).

Average points: 82.33.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 21, 24, 23, 22.

Judge's comments: “Robert Trent Jones Jr at his best. Very little change to the original design is a testament to RTJ’s fine work.” – Matt Laverty.

“The most picturesque course on the Mornington Peninsula with the short par-3 7th being one of the standouts. The Old is not everyone’s cup of tea the first time playing, but it becomes more enjoyable once you start to understand the contours on the severely sloping greens. An enjoyable, fun and gettable track off the front tees. However, playing from the Black tees, with any sort of wind, is not for the faint of heart.” – DJ Loypur.

“Built on a severe site, The National’s Old Course is spectacular, amazing, challenging and, above all else, fun. No course can wreck a scorecard more quickly, yet, few courses can make you smile as much as Old can. Breathtaking views and thrilling golf are a heady mix.” – Brian Walshe.

The National GC - Old Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Lockleys, South Australia

Designers: Herbert L. Rymill (1924); Martin Hawtree (2008); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (ongoing).

Average points: 82.67.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 25, 26, 26, 23.

Judge's comments: “The unsung star of Adelaide golf. A great example of what can be accomplished on a small piece of land, and how a course can be short, fun and challenging to all levels of player. – DJ Loypur.

“The redesign work overseen by Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford has enhanced an already great course. I love the quartet of holes from the 4th to the 7th, while the new 17th green is a beauty.” – Brendan James.


Karrinyup, Western Australia

Designers: Alex Russell (1928); Mike Clayton (2008).

Average points: 83.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 18, 14, 21, 14.

Judge's comments: “The new 007 bentgrass putting surfaces, coupled with a tweak to the irrigation water quality, has returned the greens and overall course presentation to near perfection. The routing is unique, producing a relatively flat course despite the hills. Tee shots on several holes are designed to play over hills or climbs resulting in less uphill/downhill approaches than would be expected.” – James Bennett.

“Lake Karrinyup features very well-designed green complexes, while it also boasts three great drivable par-4s, the 1st, 10th and 14th, which are the biggest highlight of Karrinyup.” – DJ Loypur.


Barwon Heads, Victoria

Designers: Victor East (1921); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (2005 & ongoing).

Average points: 84.6.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 19, 21, 21, 20.

Judge's comments: “Starting on some of the best links land in Australia, the course does not disappoint on the first block. Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford’s work on the course masterplan continues to see improvements right across the course.” – Carl Murphy.

“A great example of how a course doesn’t need to be complicated to be good, sometimes less is more as is with Barwon Heads.” – DJ Loypur.

“The Hermitage Grange of Australian golf courses … it has always been good, and just keeps getting better.” – Craig Read.

“Barwon Heads presents itself in three distinct acts with great tumbling dunes on the smaller paddock then the wild holes around the turn that open out into some beautiful wide spaces on the back nine, finishing at one of the best clubhouses in Australia. The sort of course that compels you to gaze dreamily in the window of the real estate agents on your way out of town.” – Adrian Logue.

Barwon Heads GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Mordialloc, Victoria

Designers: J.D Scott & Rowley Banks (1913); Sam Bennett (1917); Mick Morcom (1928); Jack Newton, Graeme Grant & John Spencer (1987-2001); Graeme Grant (2002-2005); Mike Clayton (2008-2011); Tom Doak (ongoing).

Average points: 84.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 16, 16, 23, 22.

Judge's comments: “For so long a poor relation on Melbourne’s Sandbelt, Woodlands is today recognised for its great routing, fine collection of short par-4s, and overall quality.  It demonstrates that a solid yet enjoyable test of golf can still be conducted over a course measuring less than 6,400 metres.” – Matt Mollica.

“With its small greens and use of doglegs, Woodlands should be added to more golfers’ Sandbelt visitors’ itineraries for the variety it offers compared to the more similar fare offered by the courses closer to the city." – Scott Warren.

“Woodlands offers some of the best short par-4s in Melbourne. Paired with quite small green complexes and fescue collars, it puts a premium on position off the tee.” – Andrew Anderson.

“Significantly tidied up in recent years, it puts more notable Sandbelt courses to shame.” – Adrian Logue.


Frankston, Victoria

Designers: Sloan Morpeth (1967); Mike Clayton (2007); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 85.25.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: NR, NR, 25, 28.

Judge's comments: “Built on a slightly bigger scale than its neighbour, the South course is equally compelling. Broad fairways, larger rises and falls, as well as bigger hazards and greens provide enjoyable and high quality golf on a big canvas.  This course rewards sound strategy and accurate shot placement.  The par-3s are a standout, as are the short par-4s. OCCM did a mighty job with wonderful bunkering and construction.” – Matt Mollica.

“The recent renovations have dramatically improved the South course – exposing some of the sand underneath, better bunker positioning and waterway definition have improved not only the scenery but the course’s strategy.” – Carl Murphy.

“A more member-friendly version of the neighbouring North course. Big, clever greens and thoughtful fairway bunkering make South a fun test of golf. Whilst you can get the feeling that North has tournaments in mind, South is less stern and doesn’t have as much in the way of trouble when you miss.” – Brian Walshe.

“Maybe a more impressive redesign than the North Course, in my opinion. The South has been turned into a really, really good course that you would have no problem playing if the time sheet is full on the North.” – DJ Loypur.

“Different but no less spectacular then its sister course. A great mix of holes using much the same routing, but the changes have improved the aesthetics and challenges. There is enough space here now to host a big tournament.” – Ross Flannigan.

Peninsula Kingswood CC - South Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Oakleigh South, Victoria

Designers: J.B MacKenzie (1906); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Dick Wilson (1959);
Mike Clayton (2006); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (ongoing).

Average points: 85.66.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 15, 12, 13, 9.

Judge's comments: “Metro has gone through a remarkable journey in recent years reclaiming its heathland identity. The open vistas allow the masterful bunkering and intricate green shapes to dominate the eye. Land this bland has no right being home to a course this good.” – Scott Warren.

“Highly regarded for its presentation, Metropolitan is surprisingly flat and wildly scrubby away from the playing surfaces, but it’s also a layout that has more interesting strategy than people give it credit for. The index 1 par-4 15th is one of the more underrated strategic holes on the Sandbelt.” – Adrian Logue.

“For the life of me I can’t understand as to why the trees on the 17th fairway have not been cut down. For a course which employs strategy so well over the majority of the course, the 17th is so counterintuitive to the rest of the course.” – Peter Robertson.


Eastlakes, NSW

Designers: Bruce Devlin & Robert Von Hagge (1970); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2009).

Average points: 85.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 14, 15, 15, 13.

Judge's comments: “In my opinion, no other course in Sydney comes close to The Lakes from an architecture perspective. This is simply not an “aim at the middle of the fairway” course but one that asks you to find the best angles.” – Brian Walshe.

“Maturing into what it looked like as an infant.” – Craig Read.

“The incredible presentation of the kikuyu by superintendent Anthony Mills and his team lets Mike Clayton’s design sing. Nowhere else in Australia is water as well-used as a hazard, and there’s not a better bold set of greens.” – Scott Warren.

“It took Clayton’s renovation of The Lakes to peel back decades of over-grassing and tree planting to remind everyone that Sydney has its own tremendous sand-based precinct for championship golf. The back nine featuring the titular lakes provides possibly the most fun sequence of shots in Australian golf.” – Adrian Logue.



King Island, Tasmania

Designer: Graeme Grant (2016).

Average points: 86.75.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 8, NR, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “Starting along the coastline there are some great strategic holes, which do continue inland at various times. Some complain about the number of blind shots required, but routing would be my biggest criticism, with some very long walks between several greens and tees.” – Carl Murphy.

“Dramatic terrain will always give rise to dramatic golf. Grant’s work at Ocean Dunes might just be the finest of his long career.” – Alex Murray.

“I’ve heard all the whingeing about blind shots at Ocean Dunes. To those people, I say Lahinch ‘Dell’ hole and Prestwick’s ‘Alps’ and ‘Himalayas’ – all great holes requiring blind approach and tee shots. Blind shots were all part of the ‘old’ game and thankfully a designer has been brave enough to incorporate them into a modern design.” – Joe Thomas.

Ocean Dunes. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Ellerston, NSW

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2001).

Average points: 87.5.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 7, 8, 6, NR.

Judge's comments: “Kerry Packer’s brief to designers Greg Norman and Bob Harrison was to create a tough golf course. Mission accomplished on their part. There are a significant number of forced water carries during the round, which are best tackled by longer hitters. I would argue the par-3s, as a set, at Ellerston are as good as you will find anywhere in the country. As you can imagine with so few people playing the course during a year, the playing surfaces are incredible.” – Brendan James.

“Ellerston is a real thrill to play. It is unashamedly challenging, and presents an abundance of demanding drives, and exciting approaches.” – Matt Mollica.


Cape Schanck, Victoria

Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).

Average points: 88.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 11, 9, 8, 7.

Judge's comments: “Moonah marries the best combination of fun, quality design and test of golf.” – Ross Flannigan.

“Moonah’s combination of massive dunes and superb green complexes combine to make a course that is playable and enjoyable to golfers of all standards. One thing that sets Moonah apart from a lot of its peers are it’s fairways, with the fescue over sow of Greg Norman’s GN1 couch providing some of the best playing surfaces in the country year round.” – Brain Walshe.

“A real ‘golfer’s course’ that requires a lot of smart shot placement. Coming in from the right angle with the right shape and trajectory is crucial. You would also be hard pressed to find a more consistently well-presented course.” – DJ Loypur.

“I don’t hesitate to nominate this as Bob Harrison’s finest Australian course. Nowhere else are his serpentine par-5s more engaging, his dramatic greensites as tantalising or the interplay with the natural environment as engaging.” – Scott Warren.

The National GC - Moonah Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Fingal, Victoria

Designer: Tom Doak (2005).

Average points: 89.67.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 13, 13, 10, 11.

Judge's comments: “It is great to see St Andrews Beach thriving and vying for the position of best course on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. With a strong set of short fours, diverse and testing par-3s as well as a collection of excellent, understated greens, Doak’s minimalist layout is wonderful.” – Matt Mollica.

“Alluring from beginning to end, St Andrews Beach offers some of the best value golf in the country.” – Andrew Anderson.

“Cups country golf at its finest. Tom Doak gives you room from the tees and then asks questions of every approach shot.” – Ross Flannigan.


La Perouse, NSW

Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1928); Eric Apperly (1937 & 1951); Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2010); Greg Norman (2018); Tom Doak (2019).

Average points: 91.33.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 9, 7, 5, 5.

Judge's comments: “Tom Doak and Brian Schneider’s revamped 6th green has finally lifted that hole to a quality worthy of its setting. What they can achieve in improving the playability of the 2nd and 17th, as well as the crowded parcel that houses the 9th, 10th and 18th, will ultimately determine whether New South Wales has a future as a top five Australian course.” – Scott Warren.

“Iconic coastal holes, scrubby dunes, tight grass, repelling slopes, revetted pot bunkers and blowout waste areas – there’s a mix of eclectic features at NSW that are all spectacular and beautifully presented but it somehow lacks its own theme to tie it all together. Perhaps over-grassed in areas – it would be wonderful to see more exposed sand. With consulting architect Tom Doak there may be an opportunity to find more strategy in some weaker holes and create a more consistent identity for Sydney’s standout world-class course.” – Adrian Logue.


Cape Schanck, Victoria

Designer: Tom Doak (2019).

Average points: 92.9.

Debut ranking.

Judge's comments: “The Tom Doak re-working of the old Ocean course, and transition into the new Gunnamatta has been a revelation. Arguably The National’s best land for golf is now home to its best course. The routing is more sophisticated, while the greens are more organic and individual. Bunkering is sympathetic with the landscape, more sparingly used and ideal in location. Legend couch remains on the fairways while the fescue collars have improved ground game options closer to the pins. A raving success and another new inclusion into the country’s Top 10.” – Matt Mollica.

“The National asked Tom Doak to build a course the members would find both playable and fun and he and his associate, Brian Schneider, have delivered a modern take on ‘Golden Age’ architecture. Gunnamatta is about width and angles into brilliant greens surrounded by fescue that emphasises the ground game. From the gorgeous drivable 2nd, with the green tucked a couple of metres from the out-of-bounds fence, to the stunning skyline green on 16 with Bass Strait as the backdrop, Gunnamatta is about as much fun as you can have on a golf course.” – Brian Walshe.

“The new Gunnamatta is head and shoulders above the course that used to be in its location and will continue to get better with age as the surrounds and fairways have another few growing seasons. A great members course with the 16th and 17th being, not just the highlight of the course, but maybe of all four National courses.” – DJ Loypur.

“Tom Doak has made this course ultimately playable for a wide range of golfers. The fescue approaches are exquisite. The re-routing now delivers a course with such a high degree of variety and fun factor. The 2nd hole and 17th holes are great examples of shorter par-4s where par is earned not a given.” – Ross Flannigan.

“Pure, unadulterated fun. Hats off to you Mr Doak.” – Brendan James.

The National GC - Gunnamatta Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Seaton, South Australia

Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1979 & 1997); Mike Clayton (2009); Tom Doak (ongoing).

Average points: 93.15.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 10, 10, 11, 10.

Judge's comments: “One of Australia’s oldest golf courses is a true treasure that continues to surprise with each round. The subtle undulations, unique greens and playability for all skill levels proves great golf architecture is timeless.” – Michael Green.

“Royal Adelaide is slowly but steadily progressing through a course improvement program that is going along very nicely. Each modification so far has improved the course and there is also good work being done in the roughs and vegetation. This classic course with a unique character is slowly working its way back up to where it belongs in Australian golf.” – Rich Macafee.


Cheltenham, Victoria

Designers: Oscar Damman, William Meader & Dr Alister MacKenzie (1927); Mike Clayton (2005); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 94.5.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 12, 11, 9, 8.

Judge's comments: “The remodelling of Victoria has seen it regain some of its lustre, which had faded in recent years. The new Pure Distinction bentgrass greens are magnificent, and the subtle re-working of small parts of the course have improved several holes.” – Matt Mollica.

“Victoria is the epitome of Melbourne Sandbelt golf. An old-world charm, which only enriches the experience. Recent work has seen slight design changes throughout and a complete resurface of the greens allowing enhancements to the contouring.” – Andrew Anderson.

“A piece of land that blends some of the movement of Kingston Heath with the slopes and elevation changes of Royal Melbourne, while being narrower than both, but brilliantly routed on a relatively small property.” – Adrian Logue.

Victoria GC. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Black Rock, Victoria

Designers: Alex Russell (1932); Tom Doak (ongoing).

Average points: 94.9.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 6, 6, 7, 6.

Judge's comments: “Is it possible to call Royal Melbourne East a “hidden gem”? Whilst Royal Melbourne West gets most of the attention, the quality of the best holes on East is just as good as its sibling, which means very good indeed. The 2nd and 18th are as good a par-4s as you will play. The 16th would be the best par-3 in many cities and the 17th, and those diagonal cross bunkers, are world class. Doak’s work on the outside paddocks has created more continuity across the entire  18 holes.” – Brian Walshe.


Heatherton, Victoria

Designers: Dan Soutar (1925), Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926), Graeme Grant (1983-1995); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2018); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (ongoing).

Average points: 95.75.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 4, 3, 4, 2.

Judge's comments: “Kingston Heath has an enviable reputation as one of the best courses and clubs in the world. It continues to be a great place to play golf and the drop in this ranking has more to do with the bar being raised, particularly with regard to conditioning by some of the newer courses.” – Brian Walshe.

“A course that asks a golfer to reflect on its subtleties and secrets long after you leave the
car park. Its greatness just seems to creep up on you.” – Adrian Logue.

“Kingston Heath continues to enjoy a very high ranking. The Heath is a magnificent place to play golf, and features so many wonderful shots. The course’s bunkering consistently wins acclaim from all who play there, and the green complexes are among the best in the nation.” – Matt Mollica.

“You will struggle to find a course that has aged as well as Kingston Heath … it is simply timeless. As enjoyable and interesting to play the 50th time as it was the first time.” – DJ Loypur.

“Kingston Heath is the benchmark for golf architecture on flat land and small properties. The routing is excellent and is deserving of its reputation as one of the best courses in the world.” – Peter Robertson.



Frankston, Victoria

Designers: Sloan Morpeth (1969); Mike Clayton (2002); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).

Average points: 96.33.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: NR, 20, 18, 17.

Judge's comments: “One of the best parcels of land for golf on the Sandbelt is now home to a course of rare quality. Exceptional green complexes, and gorgeous bunkering are complimented by pure putting surfaces. Hole after hole of engaging design, fun and challenge. The course catapults into the Top 10 in the country, sitting comfortably alongside our most revered classic layouts.” – Matt Mollica.

“Peninsula North is OCCM’s take on the modern Sandbelt and they deliver a course full of great green complexes and clever fairway bunkering. The greens are big and full of interesting lobes and shelfs with greenside bunkers that can punish those who confuse ambition and talent. Moving the pins around could see the course easily transit from member-friendly to pro-level test.” – Brian Walshe.

“One of the best redesigns I have seen. The new 2nd hole is one of the best par-3s in Australia. I love the variety of tee shots required around the North Course, which also offers a great blend and balance of strong holes alongside shorter tactical holes.” – DJ Loypur.

“The North Course is a true test of golf and in the tradition of the Sandbelt, the designers delivered a course with some of the best combination of holes in Australia. The par-3 2nd hole deserves to be remembered almost as much as the seamless transition to the multi-platform 3rd hole teeing ground.” – Ross Flannigan.

Peninsula Kingswood CC - North Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Bridport, Tasmania

Designer: Bill Coore (2010).

Average points: 97.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 5, 4, 3, 4.

Judge's comments: “It’s a shame this is the only Bill Coore-designed course in Australia as it is a standout. Superb routing takes you through
some fantastic dune land, whilst constant changes in direction ensures a variety in
play.” – Carl Murphy.

“I’ve yet to have more fun on a golf course with golfers from all walks of life that I have at Lost Farm, which, for mine, edges out its neighbour by a blade of fescue. The downhill par-4 14th hole may be my favourite hole in Australia.” – Michael Green.

“Lost Farm is a course equal in quality to its older sibling next door. Expertly routed by Bill Coore, the course is wide and manageable in any wind. It presents dramatic tee shots, and asks for thoughtful golf, and many thrilling approaches. The variety and quality of the par-4 holes is really something.” – Matt Mollica.

“There are a lot of courses in Australia that have fantastic second shots. Lost Farm is one of the few where the tee shots are thrilling as well. The oblique drives on 1 and 13, the dare of the ‘Tiger’ line right on 8, the temptation on 3 and 14 and the daunting dune on 5. Lost  Farm uses its width and superb greens to challenge everyone.” – Brian Walshe.

“Every time I play Bill Coore’s masterpiece on Bass Strait, I find some ground feature or pin position I had never previously noticed. It’s a close-run thing for the title of “Best Course at Bridport”, but for the fine details of Lost Farm raise it slightly above its rugged, dramatic sister next door.” – Scott Warren. 

Barnbougle Lost Farm. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Bridport, Tasmania

Designers: Tom Doak & Mike Clayton (2004).

Average points: 98.15

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 2, 2, 2, 3.

Judge's comments: “In my opinion, Barnbougle Dunes is the nearest challenger to Royal Melbourne West’s crown. The course features so many fun shots, and so many all-world holes. Amazingly natural green complexes, and great strategic quality are the course’s hallmarks. A tremendous setting for golf constantly skirting and traversing the dunes. The fescue surfaces are the southern hemisphere’s nearest thing to Scotland’s finest ancient fairways.” – Matt Mollica.

“Barnbougle is an outstanding combination of great routing and terrific greens. There are all world holes such as 3, 4, 6, 7, 12, 13, 15 and 18 that, after a morning’s golf, drag you back out in the afternoon for a second attempt at deciphering some of the riddles.” – Brian Walshe.

“Still has the WOW factor. The opening nine is one of the best front nines in the world in my opinion.” – Matt Laverty. 

Barnbougle Dunes. PHOTO: Brendan James.


King Island, Tasmania

Designers: Mike DeVries & Darius Oliver (2015).

Average points: 98.89

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 3, 5, NR, NR.

Judge's comments: “Now fully grown in, Cape Wickham is putting a great case forward to be included in the argument as the best course in Australia. The firm fully fescue surfaces make it the best conditioned course in the country, especially around the green sites where every club in your bag is an option to play short game shots with. It has Australia’s best opening and closing holes now, and everything else in between is subtle, fun and rewarding to play – all in a spectacular setting.” – Rich Macafee.

“A very well-designed course that unfortunately doesn’t get as much recognition for its architecture as it deserves due to its spectacular setting, which is all you can talk about after a round at Cape Wickham.” – DJ Loypur.

“Cape Wickham is a bit of an enigma. On a good day it is close to the best course in the country with some of the most spectacular holes and scenery you will find anywhere in the world. The routing maximises what is a stunning backdrop. On other days when the wind really blows it is unplayable. Everyone should play Wickham at least once, hopefully when the weather contributes to the experience.” – Brian Walshe.

“Absolutely sensational course. Routing ensures scenic views and conditions come into play for most of the round. Wide fairways with a great deal of strategy throughout most of the course. Best finishing hole in Australia, although not a big fan of 9 & 10.” – Carl Murphy.

“Cape Wickham is wide, elastic, and understated in most parts. The sensible and sophisticated design accommodates the diverse and sometimes strong winds. Shot after shot is thrilling and the course is visually spectacular. The fescue surfaces are a joy to play off and have improved with age.” – Matt Mollica. 

Cape Wickham Links. PHOTO: Brendan James.


Black Rock, Victoria

Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie and Alex Russell (1931); Tom Doak (ongoing).

Average points: 99.5.

2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 1, 1, 1, 1.

Judge's comments: “Still the standout course in Australia with its classic routing on superb land. This may not have the views of some of the other top courses, but the design more than makes up for that. One of the great legacies left by Dr Alister MacKenzie for Australian golf.” – Carl Murphy.

“Despite the emergence of several challengers for the No.1 title, Royal Melbourne West continues to stand above all others. It boasts a vast number of world-class holes, brilliant green complexes and bunkering, is routed exceptionally well and sits on brilliant golfing land. Superintendent Richard Forsyth and his staff consistently present the course perfectly, and the vegetation management is world class. Royal Melbourne West is one of the world’s best courses, and the premier layout in Australia. The stretch of holes from 2-7 is perhaps the best sequence of half a dozen holes on Earth.” – Matt Mollica.

“When you finish a round on Royal Melbourne West, you’re immediately scheming to work out how you can get back on.” – Adrian Logue.

“Golf course architecture on a grand scale, with width, huge greens, beautiful bunkering and swooping fairways. Yet it is the intricate details, particularly around the greens, that sets Royal Melbourne West apart. The swale in front and the reverse slope on the 3rd green, the beautiful transition from sandy waste to bunker right of the 17th green. Royal Melbourne West remains the benchmark.” – Brian Walshe.

“There’s no greater experience in Australian golf. The brilliance of the green complexes continue to prove to be some of the world’s best, despite the seemingly never ending advancements in golf technology.” – Andrew Anderson.

“Australia’s greatest golf course may actually have benefited from the out-of-control golf technology arms race. The qualities of the reachable par-5s, short par-4s and the legendary 200-metre par-3 16th have become relevant for more and more regular golfers in the past decade.” – Scott Warren.

A high-quality global golf experience. The presence of Dr Alister MacKenzie is evident at every turn. It is built on the best parcel of land in the Sandbelt and deserves its position of global golfing respect.” – Ross Flannigan.

Royal Melbourne GC - West Course. PHOTO: Brendan James.
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