After two years of uncertainty brought by pandemic lockdowns and border closures, here is the most comprehensive ranking of the nation’s finest layouts.
When we released our Top-100 Courses for 2020, we couldn’t have imagined what lay on the horizon.
None of us had heard of coronavirus. We certainly didn’t envision spending months at a time at home, or having friends or relatives get sick or pass away from COVID.
One positive spin off of the pandemic has been the boom in golf participation. Membership numbers are increasing, rounds are up and the game, at the grass roots, has never been healthier in the past 25 years.
Compiling this list of Australia’s Top-100 Courses for 2022 has not been without its significant challenges.
Long periods of lockdown in various states, state border closures at different times and golf courses across the land filling tee time sheets with members and locals has made it more difficult than usual for our judges to view courses. When it became apparent in early 2020 that there would be problems arising from the pandemic, we recruited extra judges to the Top-100 panel from each state to overcome the likelihood of interstate travel being restricted.
This Top-100 list has been compiled by a panel of 56 contributing judges, who eagerly sought out tee times at as many courses as they could when government health orders and travel restrictions allowed. We thank them all wholeheartedly for their dedication in visiting courses, sometimes covertly.
The exercise of ranking golf courses is not an exact science but based on the various points of our criteria I think our judging panel has contributed to a list that won’t let you down if you let it guide you to the layouts where you will have the most fun.
Each judge has their own ideas of what makes a good golf course. It is a subjective exercise so the end result will always raise some debate.
Therefore, you won’t find the word ‘definitive’ used here, as that would be arrogant nonsense. What you will find is a thorough and transparent ranking of the best courses to be found throughout Australia.
Written by readers and golfers themselves, this Top-100 list recommends the best courses for our fellow golfers to play; where you will have the most memorable golfing experiences. That’s what we think is the most important aspect of this ranking – great golf, great memories.
NOTE: There are six courses that you won’t find on this year’s ranking for various reasons.
As has been the case for every ranking this magazine has published, the exclusive Capital Golf Club in Melbourne was not ranked as part of an ongoing request by the course’s management.
There is also a similar ongoing request from the equally exclusive Cathedral Lodge, designed by Greg Norman. The Shark’s other private creation, Ellerston, has also been omitted due to COVID travel restrictions making it not possible for our judges to visit the layout as a group.
Pelican Waters, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, and Western Australia’s, Links Kennedy Bay, were not ranked by judges as construction work continues on new holes. The Bob Harrison-designed Bungool Course at Riverside Oaks was also not ranked as the layout was closed for a lengthy period in 2021 due to flood damage.
100. PACIFIC DUNES
Designer: James Wilcher (2005).
Average points: 37.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 83, 76, 71, 71, 72.
Comments: "An influx of newcomers to the 80-100 percentile of this ranking has seen some courses slip in the list, including Pacific Dunes. The James Wilcher design remains an interesting and enjoyable test.” – Brendan James.
“While areas of undergrowth have been thinned to be less penal for the slightly wayward golfer, the heavily tree-lined front nine needs managing to open up the playing lines that were there when the course opened 16 years ago.” – Joe Thomas.
99. SANCTUARY COVE G&CC – PALMS COURSE
Sanctuary Cove, Queensland
Designers: Fred Bolton (1988); Ross Watson (2011).
Average points: 37.67.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 96, 89, 75, 72, 63.
Comments: “A decade on from the completion of Ross Watson’s rebuild, the Palms Course has matured nicely. The dramatic greens – like chalk and cheese to the relatively flat Fred Bolton originals – are a highlight of a round in terms of challenge and fun.” – Paul Wilson.
“Ross Watson extracted the best possible golf holes from the land working within the confines of the surrounding residential community and the numerous lakes and water hazards that cover the property. The result was a fantastic addition to the already rich Gold Coast golfing landscape.” – Christian Harris.
98. CASTLE HILL CC
Designers: Eric Apperly (1951); Jack Newton, Graeme Grant, John Spencer (1992-2006); Bob Harrison (2019).
Average points: 39.95.
Comments: “The major course works carried out by Bob Harrison, have seen great improvements. Returning to a more natural feel of the land, with unnecessary mounds and water features removed. Most notable was moving the 12th green closer to the water hazard enhancing the risk vs reward characteristics of the hole.” – Carl Murphy.
“I was pleasantly surprised how bloody good Castle Hill has become since the renovations. The 12th hole, with its new green location, is one of many new highlights created by Bob Harrison and his design team. The bunker upgrade program has been a roaring success, while the overall presentation of the layout has taken this significantly improved course to the next level.” – Matthew Greig.
97. THE BRISBANE GC
Designers: Carnegie Clark (1904); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926 advisory); Ross Watson (2007).
Average points: 40.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 97, 92, 95, 99, NR.
Comments: “Brisbane boasts some exceptional holes but, unfortunately, this is offset by several over-treed mediocre holes. If this issue was addressed, I’ve no doubt this historic club will enjoy a higher standing in this list.” – Peter Shaw.
“The quality of the Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda putting surfaces is a big highlight of a round here. The fine leaf grass is smooth, and doesn’t have the same amount of grain as other warm climate putting surfaces. They are simply a joy to putt on.” – Nathan Burgess.
96. KEW GC
East Kew, Victoria
Designers: Jock Robinson & Jock Young (1922); Various (1960s and 1970s); Graeme Grant (2015).
Average points: 40.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 99, NR, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: “The tree-clearing program here has been pivotal in the significant improvement of Kew. You know longer feel boxed in and the quality of the turf throughout the course is excellent, which brings the best out of the design.” – Hamish Walker.
“Kew is more open and inviting than it was before the redesign. There are some views across the course now that some people, like me, love and some don't. The real winner is being able to grow beautiful Santa Ana fairways and bentgrass greens now, with plenty of shaded areas now gone.” – Kevin Nolan.
95. INDOOROOPILLY GC – WEST COURSE
Designer: Ross Watson (1985 & 2008); Ross Perrett & Karrie Webb (ongoing).
Average points: 40.33.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: NR, 97, 98, 93, NR.
Comments: “There’s no wonder why the West course is back in the Top-100 after all the positive changes there have been made to the Red and Gold nines in recent times. It is one of the big improvers in Queensland golf.” – Peter Martin.
“Indooroopilly’s West Course certainly deserves its place back in the Top-100 after missing out in 2020. The greenside turf work that was carried out a few years ago has now bedded in and adds to the playability and enjoyment of the course.” – John Blackwell.
“The Perrett Webb redesign masterplan endorsed by the club’s board at the end of 2020 will see some significant changes to nearly half of the West Course and will include the addition of more water hazards throughout the layout. We wait in anticipation to see the new work.” – Brendan James.
94. MONASH CC
Designers: James Hird Scott (1951); James Wilcher (2017), Bob Harrison (2014-2018).
Average points: 41.9.
Comments: “I used to have nightmares on the eve of a round at Monash, which has been renowned for decades for its slick, and sometimes severe sloping, greens. But the ‘new’ greens created by James Wilcher and Bob Harrison are much fairer and interesting.” – Edward Lee.
“Monash is such a beautiful place to play. I don’t think there is a greater feeling of playing in the bush anywhere else in Sydney. The routing incorporates great elevation change throughout, while also including natural elements of the property. The par-4 13th is one such hole with its terraced fairway cut in two by a rock wall sitting between the two levels of short grass.” – Sam Brooking.
93. THE FEDERAL GC
Red Hill, ACT
Designer: Prosper Ellis (1955).
Average points: 42.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: NR, 100, NR, 93, NR.
Comments: “Since converting its fairways to the hardier Santa Ana couch and addressing some of its water issues, Federal has improved year-in, year-out. Canberra is not an easy place for turf management year-round, but Federal does it really well.” – Graham Brady.
“Federal really leaves its best for the back nine. The doglegging par-4s – the 11th, 14th and 15th – are a highlight for mine. All have uphill approaches of varying slope and length and test your ability to pull the right club from the bag.” – Brendan James.
“You would hardly know Parliament House is just down the road as you hit your drive down the hill off the 1st tee. The bushland surrounds and views to the Brindabella Ranges give you the feeling you are a long way from the city. There is a lot to like about the routing here, which stretches to all points of the compass across the rolling terrain beneath the clubhouse occupying one of the highest points on the property.” – Hamish Walker.
92. RACV ROYAL PINES RESORT – GREEN/GOLD COURSE
Designer: Graham Marsh (2015).
Average points: 42.67.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 89, 74, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: "Graham Marsh's redesign here is far better than what lay here for many years. Although, some aspects of the redesign – namely the bunkering and mounding – are a little overdone and unnatural. That said, you have to remember the original course was flat and pretty boring, so Marsh’s additions have at least injected some variety and interest.” Anthony Brown.
“I really enjoy the Graham Marsh-created green complexes … the slopes and tiers add some interest and challenge to the putting game.” – Julie Stokes.
"This is one of the toughest courses on the Gold Coast. There is plenty of water, sand and some of the greenside mounding will repel mis-hits well away from the greens. It is then you hope to finish in sand rather than one of the deep hollows next a mound.” – Brett Oldham.
91. PACIFIC HARBOUR G&CC
Banksia Beach, Queensland
Designer: Ross Watson (2006).
Average points: 43.75.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 82, 73, 70, 66, 58.
Comments: “Pacific Harbour has enough movement under foot from tee-to-green that place real demands on your ball-striking. Hanging lies, uphill and downhill lies; you will experience them all … perhaps by the time you reach the 5th tee. The expansion of the adjoining residential community has impinged on the aesthetics of a round here but the quality of the golf overcomes this.” – Bernie Smith.
“I’ve always been amazed at Ross Watson’s design here, given it was a pretty flat property before construction began on the course. The terrain – which ebbs and flows between subtle and dramatic, even on the same hole – adds next level challenges to a round here. My only criticism is there are a few greens that are in need of scalping to address couch encroachment.” – Julian Allen.
90. RIVERSDALE GC
Mt Waverley, Victoria
Designers: Alex Russell (1930); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (2007 & ongoing).
Average points: 44.1.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: NR, 91, 91, 89, 84.
Comments: "Recent work overseen by consultant designers Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford (Golf Strategies) has been well received and enough to see Riversdale re-enter the Top-100. Now, it is the anticipated recovery of Alex Russell’s original work – using aerial photography from the 1930s – that promises to push Riversdale even higher in this list as the design team rebuilds further bunkers and green complexes.” – James Walsh.
“Consistently carpet-like fairways are great to hit off on a course renowned for its quick putting surfaces. Riversdale is a course everyone seems to have a love/hate relationship with but I like it.” – DJ Loypur.
89. BELMONT GC
Designers: Prosper Ellis (1952); Jack Newton (2000s); James Wilcher (2018).
Average points: 44.25.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 94, NR, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: “The redesign work overseen by James Wilcher has bedded in well since Belmont made its debut in this ranking in 2020. The quartet of holes starting at the par-3 13th is memorable as you play out to the edge of the beach, before heading south along the back of the low dunes. It is brilliant golfing terrain.” – Lucas Andrews.
“I love playing at Belmont. It boasts wonderful natural holes in a setting that can take your breath away … or beat you into submission when the wind is really blowing. But, in both instances, it is all good golfing fun. My only suggestion would be to widen most, if not all the fairways, to bring the fairway bunkering, and more strategy, back into play. Fairway bunkers surrounded by rough is, for mine, a waste.” – Brendan James.
88. RACV CAPE SCHANCK RESORT
Cape Schanck, Victoria
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1988).
Average points: 45.13.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 88, NR, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: “Cape Schanck has always been exciting to play with its dramatic green complexes and elevation changes. Since RACV took over, the presentation has just kept improving year-on-year.” – James Walsh.
“Cape Schanck was fun! There are some incredible views toward The National Golf Club that are worth making the effort to get there alone.” – Kevin Nolan.
"Cape Schanck is like a junior version of the Old Course at The National, which is high praise. It is one of the best valued for money public access courses on the Mornington Peninsula.” – DJ Loypur.
87. JOONDALUP RESORT – QUARRY/LAKE COURSE
Joondalup, Western Australia
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1985).
Average points: 46.75.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 79, 71, NR, NR, NR.
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.
"The really like the contrast between these two nines. When rolled into one, it makes for a memorable round. It is easy to be seduced by the dramatic Quarry course, but the Lake layout has its highlights, like the short par-4 2nd with its terraced fairway adjoining wasteland and a rock wall to the right and the long par-4 5th with its twin fairway and sea of moon crater bunkers.” – Richard O’Reilly.
86. MURRAY DOWNS G&CC
Murray Downs, NSW
Designers: Ted & Geoff Parslow (1988 & 2009).
Average points: 47.33.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 87, 83, 85, 96, 94.
Comments: "Murray Downs never fails to impress, especially in terms of its presentation. This place is home to the biggest and best-manicured greens along the Murray River.” – Lucas Andrews.
“Laid out on rolling, sandy terrain this former sheep station was a perfect canvas for golf and the Parslow design team did a terrific job in creating a fun and testing layout for all players. The course celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021 and rarely has it looked better than it has in recent times.” – Alex Georgiou.
85. KILLARA GC
Designers: Club members (1906); Commander John Harris (1961-1965); Harley Kruse (2020).
Average points: 47.87.
Comments: "To say that Killara is the best course "of its type" in Sydney's Northern Suburbs might be seen as faint praise but, in fact, architect Harley Kruse has shown nearby courses that restraint and decluttering is the formula to tease out great golf from Sydney's complex topography and clay soils.” – Adrian Logue.
“Killara is reaping the benefits of a redevelopment program that has extracted the best out of the landscape, removed the claustrophobic feel on some holes and raised the bar on its conditioning. The new bunkering also needs to be applauded.” –Hamish Walker.
84. SORRENTO GC
Designers: Club members (1908); J.D Scott (1929); Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge & Ross Perrett (2014); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (2012 & ongoing).
Average points: 49.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 86, 86, 74, 84, 81.
Comments: "Sorrento is an enjoyable picturesque course. It is, however, a little confined for space resulting in a few average holes.” – Rob Williamson.
“Sorrento is somewhere everyone interested in golf should to try to get a game. It may not be the easiest to access but condition of the greens alone makes it worth pursuing.” – Kevin Nolan.
83. MT COMPASS GOLF COURSE
Mt Compass, South Australia
Designers: Brian & Neil Crafter (1995 & 1998); Neil Crafter (2016 & ongoing).
Average points: 49.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 81, NR, NR, NR, NR
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.
“Mt Compass may have dropped three spots from its rank in 2020, but it actually polled more points this time around, which suggests it has continued to impress the judges. And what’s not to like. The presentation of the layout is consistently very good and Neil Crafter’s design is great fun to play.” – Brendan James.
“Fantastic rolling land on a deep sandy base gives rise to some great holes, interspersed with some that are flawed. The surrounding housing estate seems to be expanding which is positive for the developer/owner but not for the golf course aesthetic.” – Ashley Clinch.
82. WARRNAMBOOL GC
Designers: George Lowe Jnr. (1928); Thomson Perrett (ongoing).
Average points: 49.67.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 85, 84, 89, NR, NR.
Comments: "The vegetation removal program undertaken here was the best decision the club ever made. It chipped away the rough edges of what has now become a must-play golfing gem.” – Brendan James.
“This is an incredible natural course with the holes weaving between the dunes on the front nine being an unforgettable highlight.” – Jan Richardson.
“I finally made it to Warrnambool for a game in 2021 and was jaw-droppingly surprised how good this course is. The natural terrain, the elevation changes, and the wind ensure no two rounds here are ever the same. What a joy!” – John Blackwell.
81. SUN CITY CC
Yanchep, Western Australia
Designers: Murray Dawson & Bob Green (1974); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead (2012).
Average points: 51.67.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 79, 75, 84, 100, NR.
Comments: “Tweaks to the design continue at Sun City, north of Perth. The course is blessed with gorgeous topography, sandy soil, a great locale, and lovely vegetation. If it were on the outskirts of an eastern seaboard city, Sun City would be packed seven days a week.” – Matt Mollica.
"The ‘new’ holes remain a step above the originals and a full course of these more open, strategic holes would have Sun City on the verge of cracking a Top-50 spot in this ranking. Holes like the short par-4 2nd, and the back nine par-4s the 10th and 13th are highlights of a round and are evidence of the potential this layout has.” – Tristan Holmes.
80. BLACK BULL GC
Designers: Peter Thomson & Ross Perrett (2015).
Average points: 52.9.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 73, 78, 82, NR, NR.
Comments: “Wide rolling fairways, big manicured bunkers and subtly sloping expansive greens all wrapped up in a beautifully presented package. There is plenty to like about Black Bull.” – Alex Georgiou.
“While the ‘Bull Ring’ – a stretch of three holes played around a lake midway through the front nine – quite rightly grab plenty of attention. But I really enjoyed the challenge of the back nine, which climaxes in the best long hole on the course … a wide par-5 that tempts you to attack in search of a birdie to end the round.” – Lucas Andrews.
79. TASMANIA GC
Designer: Al Howard (1972).
Average points: 53.25.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 78, 80, 80, 83, 86.
Comments: “Some tree removal has opened up vistas and playing lines, but more could be done. Some much-needed greens renovation appears planned, which will be a good investment for the future.” – James Bennett.
“The strategic clearing of unnecessary trees across the property has been welcomed by most judges on our ranking panel. For mine, the only trees left to be removed are those separating the left edge of the iconic 3rd fairway and Barilla Bay. Standing on the tee, it would be brilliant to see the entire length of the par-5 laid out in front and not obscured by trees. This course of action would elevate this gem to a world standing.” – Brendan James.
“Tasmania has some really strong holes and several challenging green complexes to boot. The recent tree removal program has significantly improved the course. It is a shame the road widening of the Tasman Highway on the south eastern boundary of the course will see some good holes affected.” – Peter Shaw.
78. MAROOCHY RIVER GC
Bli Bli, Queensland
Designer: Graham Marsh (2015).
Average points: 54.33.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 76, NR, NR, NR, NR
Comments: “A Graham Marsh design on the Sunshine Coast that plays firm, in excellent condition and provides challenge and variety for all golfers, which is a real achievement given the flat land. There is lots of water running through the course but is rarely in play unless you are really wayward.” – Ashley Clinch.
“Maroochy River is one of the fairest and fun courses I’ve played. The majority of the green frontages are wide and there always seems to be a route to the flag without throwing the ball in the air as there is only one real forced carry in the 18 holes.” – Deborah Hill.
“Cast an eye out from the clubhouse and you can see plenty of water across the property. But once you get out on course you find it rarely comes into play, and is in more of a supporting role than a starring one. The real star is the work of the shaper during construction, with dramatic bumps and hollows mixed with subtle undulations present on every hole. There is no way you could pick this land as a former flood plain.” – Brendan James.
77. NAROOMA GC
Designer: John Spencer (1980).
Average points: 55.25.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 80, 87, 90, 94, 82.
Comments: "Much is made of the oceanside holes, especially the cliffside 2nd and 3rd holes, but the dramatic inland holes created by John Spencer are just as impressive.” – Stephen Jackson.
“Narooma has become one of NSW’s great destination courses. It’s a badge of honour now to say you’ve played this great course.” – Brendan James.
“Here is a course of exceptional conditioning with two contrasting groups of holes either side of the road. The holes closest to the cliffs are Narooma’s drawcard but the holes in the hinterland are extremely well done, very beautiful and provide all players with fun challenges. I’d give top marks for presentation … with only five greens staff they must work 24/7.” – Ashley Clinch.
76. AVONDALE GC
Designers: Eric Apperly (1927); Ross Watson (2008).
Average points: 56.13.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 72, 61, 56, 61, 68.
Comments: “Set on the edge of a national park, Avondale offers more than a great round of golf … it’s a nature walk. The quintet of holes through the middle of the round – the par-5 7th through to the long par-3 11th – are a definite highlight as they cover interesting, natural terrain.” – Brendan James.
“The changes in elevation across the course provide the variety of shots that make a round here memorable. The beauty of the setting and the high quality of its playing surfaces ensure you keep the number of that Avondale member saved on your phone.” – Lucas Andrews.
75. THE GLADES GC
Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).
Average points: 56.5.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 64, 77, 62, 45, 43.
Comments: “Until Greg Norman and Bob Harrison came along, who knew you could turn a swamp into a Top-100 ranked course. Today, some 22 years on, The Glades has endured a few ups and downs over the years but it continues to improve as a Gold Coast favourite.” – Ken Robinson.
“If you’re looking to test yourself on firm, fast and smooth putting greens you will find them at The Glades.” – Toby McCracken.
“The Glades is one of the better public access courses in south east Queensland.” – Peter Robertson.
74. MT LAWLEY GC
Inglewood, Western Australia
Designers: David Anderson & James Tinlin (1928); Michael Coate (2004); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking Ashley Mead – OCM (2018 & ongoing).
Average points: 57.57.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 71, 65, 63, 60, 65.
Comments: “Mt Lawley lies on land that appears was earmarked by Mother Nature for golf to be played on. The terrain gently rolls across sandy ground and gives rise to some memorable holes. My favourite is the diminutive 132-metre downhill par-3 known as Commonwealth because the green complex resembles the shape of Australia. The elevated tee here brings any wind into play adding some challenge to your club selection.” – Tristan Holmes.
“Here you will find a touch of the Melbourne Sandbelt in the northern suburbs of Perth. This is a fantastic course but I eagerly await to see the OCM masterplan rolled out and Mt Lawley fulfilling its enormous potential.” – Craig Smart.
73. SETTLERS RUN G&CC
Botanic Ridge, Victoria
Designers: Greg Norman, Bob Harrison & Harley Kruse (2007).
Average points: 57.67.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 62, 63, 61, 63, 56.
Comments: “The layout stretches out over varying topography with the most interesting holes to be found rising and falling across the terrain. The variety of shots this produces fits in well with the Greg Norman, Bob Harrison and Harley Kruse design philosophy.” – Paul Wilson.
“The conditioning of the course at Settler’s Run is coming along nicely under the new course superintendent.” – Kevin Nolan.
72. STONECUTTERS RIDGE
Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2012).
Average points: 58.1.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 63, 49, 40, 35, NR.
Comments: “There’s nothing outside the regulation Greg Norman and Bob Harrison playbook, but the fundamentals are all there for a golf course that asks interesting questions and never feels like a slog despite its difficulty.” – Scott Warren.
“I really like Stonecutters Ridge because of the playability of the design for golfers of all standards. Standing on each tee, you feel there is enough width not to get into trouble if you play conservatively, but if you want to be aggressive and skirt the trouble, you really need to be on your game. It is a course where you need to play to the edges, read the angles of approach, to make the best possible score.” – Joe Thomas.
71. ROYAL HOBART GC
Seven Mile Beach, Tasmania
Designers: Vern Morcom (1963); Richard Chamberlain (2018 & ongoing).
Average points: 58.8.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 90, 98, NR, NR, 91.
Comments: “I was pleasantly surprised at how good Royal Hobart is becoming. There are still issues with bits of the routing but it was in great condition and there is lots interesting movement in the fairways. Best of all, they are addressing tree encroachment and have started to open the course up and get a bit of width back in the fairways.” – Brian Walshe.
“For a flat course there is plenty of movement in the fairways. The removal of hundreds of trees that tightly hugged the fairways has improved the angles to the greens. With a new masterplan and plenty more changes coming, the course should continue climbing its way up the rankings.” – Kevin Nolan.
“The vegetation management undertaken over the past five years has paid dividends, with better turf, improved playing lines and a return of strategy and width to the course. The greens have returned to a high-quality surface. The recent work on the 7th hole has removed some of the adjacent congestion on the 6th and 8th holes. Royal Hobart has returned to that list of courses you wish to re-play next time you are in Tasmania.”
– James Bennett.
“It comes as no surprise that the tree removal in recent times has not only improved the playability of the layout but the turf quality is significantly better as well.” – Peter Shaw.
“The recent changes with a new 7th hole designed by Richard Chamberlain, has been a positive move. More strategic options now become a factor. Hopefully this change continues across the rest of the course.” – Carl Murphy.
70. LINKS LADY BAY RESORT
Normanville, South Australia
Designers: Jack Newton, Graeme Grant & John Spencer (2000).
Average points: 59.65.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 70, 70, 81, 77, 66.
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 is an exceptional layout and makes me pity we don’t have more courses in Australia from this talented design trio.” – Craig Read.
“This links course gives you space off the tee and provides risk-reward opportunities for the low marker, but a proliferation of bunkers could make it harder for the high handicapper.” – Ashley Clinch.
“Links Lady Bay always plays firm under foot and the greens are the equal of those famed courses in Adelaide.” – Tara Vincent.
69. ROSEBUD CC – NORTH COURSE
Designers: Jack Watson (1964); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking Ashley Mead – OCM (2019 & ongoing).
Average points: 59.83.
Comments: “After watching the TPS Victoria tournament in January (2021) I had to visit Rosebud and see the course for myself. Wow! It exceeded all my expectations in terms of design and conditioning. It left me feeling the $75 weekday green fee was outstanding value for the round.” – James Walsh.
“Rosebud’s North Course has always been highly regarded but has sometimes been lost in the conversation about the Mornington Peninsula’s best courses simply because there are just so many good layouts in the area. But the appointment of course superintendent Ian Todd (formerly of Victoria Golf Club) has seen significant improvements across the layout and is an absolute joy to play.” – Paul Wilson.
68. MOONAH LINKS – OPEN COURSE
Designers: Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge and Ross Perrett (2001).
Average points: 59.87.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 65, 56, 66, 64, 41.
Comments: “I always enjoy the challenge the Open Course presents, especially around the greens. Don’t expect to play here and shoot well under your handicap. It is one of the longest and most challenging courses in the land and that is only magnified when the wind blows. That said, you will have fun trying to conquer what designer Peter Thomson called his ‘Leviathan’.” – Paul Wilson.
“I’ve been a regular visitor to Moonah Links over the years and rarely have I seen it in such a consistently good condition than it has been during the past two years.” – John Blackwell.
67. SANCTUARY LAKES GC
Point Cook, Victoria
Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).
Average points: 60.75.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 60, 62, 67, 67, 52.
Comments: “Without knowing the back story of this course, you could swear this layout has been in the ground for 100 years and was crafted by Mother Nature with a little bit of human intervention. The fact is this land was a flood-prone salt plain, as flat as a tack and lifeless in the late 1990s and Norman and Harrison crafted it into a wonderful golf course. It has been 22 years since the first tee shots were struck here and, in my opinion, it just keeps getting better with age.” – Paul Wilson.
“Sanctuary Lakes is a testament to the design partnership of Greg Norman and Bob Harrison that they were able to turn a flat parcel of land that was just 'nothing' into an interesting and sometimes stern test of golf for players of all levels.” – Kevin Nolan.
66. KALGOORLIE GC
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia
Designer: Graham Marsh (2010).
Average points: 61.33.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 67, 66, 68, 73, 79.
Comments: “A wonderful, exciting and unique layout to add to your wish list.” – Craig Read.
“Kalgoorlie is one of the best courses Graham Marsh has ever created.” – Tristan Holmes.
“An Australian take on ’Desert Golf’. Kalgoorlie is a very unique golfing experience and a genuinely good layout that has utilised the terrain beautifully.” – DJ Loypur.
“I thoroughly enjoyed playing Kalgoorlie. It plays firm and fast as a desert course should. It’s a challenge with some raised large greens with bunkers that hug most greens. Conditioning is consistently first class across the entire course.” – Ashley Clinch.
65. SANCTUARY COVE G&CC – PINES COURSE
Sanctuary Cove, Queensland
Designers: Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay (1989).
Average points: 62.56.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 77, 72, 72, 68, 59.
Comments: "A multi-million-dollar renovation of Arnold Palmer’s only Australian course design has breathed life back into the famed layout. The condition of the course had been in a steady decline for several years, which was played out in its ranking position during the past ten years. All 18 greens were rebuilt and the surfaces changed to TifEagle ultradwarf (as used on the adjoining Palms layout) and the results have been outstanding.” – Joseph Baker.
“What a transformation. I played the Pines in early 2020 and it was Ok but the greens, and their surrounds, looked tired. Fast forward to October 2021 and the layout was mint. New irrigation, new greens and an overall high standard of presentation now showcase the best elements of the design.” – Sunny Chan.
64. RANFURLIE GC
Cranbourne West, Victoria
Designers: Mike Clayton (2002); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017)
Average points: 62.95.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 66, 69, 60, 65, 60.
Comments: “How they got so much width on such a small site is great golf course architecture. The downside is you're almost always hitting driver off each tee. While there are good and bad sides of the fairway there is little club choice to made on all the longer holes. The four of the five longest par-4s run in different directions meaning you will get relief from the wind on the strongest of blowy days. The par-3s offer something different on each hole, with the 15th probably the pick of the bunch. The new 9th hole is a tough par-3 now, replacing the wacky drive between the trees on the old par-4 due to the new water storage.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Ranfurlie is a masterclass in routing, with every last drop of excellence wrung from what may otherwise have been a pretty uninspiring property.” – Steve Beach.
63. THE CUT GC
Port Bouvard, Western Australia
Designer: James Wilcher (2004).
Average points: 63.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 59, 46, 37, 33, 34.
Comments: “The Cut weaves its way through some big dunes next to the Indian Ocean. The first four holes on the front nine next to the ocean are good fun and the back nine from start to finish is all fun. I found the course in excellent condition given how much golf is played here.” – Ashley Clinch.
“For a seaside course that is easily affected by wind, I think many of the fairways are a little too narrow to handle. My last game there, we played in a strong easterly that played as a crosswind on the beachside holes – like the 2nd, 12th, 16th and 17th – and you had to aim well away from the fairway to get your ball on the fairway. It made scoring tough going. That said, I enjoyed the challenge and will be back.” – Tristan Holmes.
62. CRANBOURNE GC
Designers: Sam Berriman (1954); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (ongoing).
Average points: 63.5.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 68, 64, 62, 69, 69.
Comments: “Cranbourne might lie on the outskirts of the Melbourne Sandbelt but it has all the hallmarks of a layout within the famed golfing region. Here you will find rolling couch fairways, large bunkers cut into the edges of the large, subtly sloping greens and playing surfaces that are first class.” – Chris Davidson.
“One word springs to mind to describe Cranbourne. Underrated. Immaculate conditioning combines with fair and challenging design in a beautiful setting. What more could you want?” – James Walsh.
“Cranbourne's three-shotters can be a bit of a snack for the longer hitters but woe betide any golfer who ventures offline. The redesign of the par-3 14th makes the walk around the course seem more fluent. There’s lots of risk and reward on some shorter par-4s, while the presentation is generally excellent.” – Kevin Nolan.
61. ST MICHAELS GC
Little Bay, NSW
Designers: Michael Moran & C.W Cole (1938).
Average points: 63.9.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 69, 81, 69, 75, 78.
Comments: “A terrific oceanside course with stunning views and equally stunning holes throughout. There has been a lot of course work carried out here during the past few years and all of it has been good. The clearing of areas of vegetation has made the playing corridors wider but this has not made St Michaels any less challenging … especially in the wind.” – Lucas Andrews.
“I can honestly say I’ve never scored well at St Michaels. But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every round I have played there simply because each round has been completely different to the one before. The only experience that remains exactly the same with each visit is the view.” – Felicity Chapman.
“Eradicating vast tracts of non-native bush scrub has opened up the layout, improving it visually and strategically. The routing has changed very little since the days of Moran and Cole, but a dozen holes now feature bunkers and/or sandy wasteland areas that did not exist nearly a decade ago. This has transformed the course from simply being a testing layout to one that also oozes the visual appeal few courses in any Australian metropolitan area can boast.” – Brendan James.
60. RACV HEALESVILLE CC
Designer: Mike Clayton (2009).
Average points: 64.37.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 61, 57, 50, 46, 53.
Comments: “RACV Healesville is not your average course; par 68 measuring just under 5,000 metres. The course possesses many holes of wonderful design. It is a layout focussing primarily upon fun and playability. It is a unique, intelligent design. Despite its modest length, it demands a place in the upper echelon of the nation’s courses. It boasts many fine holes, which would be the envy of countless courses through the country.” – Matt Mollica.
“Here’s proof that a good course doesn’t need to be long or a par-72, and deserving of a spot on the Top-100 list.” – DJ Loypur.
59. THE GRAND GC
Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (1997).
Average points: 65.13.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 58, 59, 57, 52, 51.
Comments: “In my opinion, this could be the best conditioned course in Queensland.” – Peter Martin.
“The Grand drifts seamlessly between flat easy-walking holes to more undulating terrain, with both areas of the course offering their own challenges. I really like the collection of par-3s at The Grand, especially the thickly tree-lined downhill 8th that features a longish green surrounded by bunkers and asks you to choose your club wisely.” – Graham Brady.
58. HUNTINGDALE GC
Oakleigh South, Victoria
Designers: Charles Alison (1941); Jack Newton, Graeme Grant & John Spencer (1998-2010); Martin Hawtree (2016); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (ongoing)
Average points: 65.25.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 53, 52, 46, 51, 40.
Comments: "Huntingdale is good, not great. I still think a lot of the praise for Huntingdale comes from the defunct Masters. It is beautifully presented but the various renovations over the years have left a dysfunctional course that deserves better. It’s still good, but it should be great.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Iconic Sandbelt bunkering is plentiful across the course, particularly around the challenging putting surfaces. But the greens, in my opinion, have struggled for consistent first-class conditioning with the change to Poa Annua.” – Peter Shaw.
57. MEADOW SPRINGS G&CC
Meadow Springs, Western Australia
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1993).
Average points: 65.98.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 52, 51, 59, 59, 62.
Comments: "Meadow Springs’ front nine fairways ebb and flow beautifully, while the inward nine covers more remarkable topography with greater elevation changes between tee and green.” – Richard O’Reilly.
“The fairways of the inward nine are lined with hundreds of Tuart trees and Jones’ routing to include these ancient trees as an integral part of his design adds to the excitement and beauty of the finishing holes.” – Brendan James.
“I have played Meadow Springs perhaps a dozen times in the past five-six years and I’m yet to encounter fairways, tees and greens there that are not superbly presented.” – Nikki Scott.
56. ROYAL SYDNEY GC
Rose Bay, NSW
Designers: Carnegie Clark (1921); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1987); Ross Watson (2003); Gil Hanse (ongoing).
Average points: 66.05.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 49, 41, 29, 27, 21.
Comments: “To look at Royal Sydney today it is difficult to imagine it was once a classic links course looked on favourably by a visiting Alister MacKenzie in 1926. He even compiled a five-page report of improvements, mainly to the bunkering, but these changes were either not taken up by the club or simply disappeared under trees and scrub over the decades. A Gil Hanse rebuild will hopefully go some way to recapturing the glory of the original links that impressed MacKenzie.” – Brendan James.
"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. But when?” – Adrian Logue.
“Gil Hanse will transform this venerable old club … if he’s allowed to.” – Peter Shaw.
55. LINKS HOPE ISLAND
Hope Island, Queensland
Designers: Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge & Ross Perrett (1997)
Average points: 67.13.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 56, 58, 55, 48, 48.
Comments: “There have been several up-and-downs over the journey but Hope Island reaches its 25th year in career best shape and remains a must-play for any golfer heading to the Gold Coast.” – Brendan James.
“I was sceptical when I heard the 9th hole, a high-quality par-4, was being decommissioned and replaced by a par-3 played over the lake that used to be peppered by practice balls. But I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the new addition to the layout.” – Joseph Baker.
“Hope Island has rarely looked better in the past two decades. What I like most is the firmness of the ground, which allows you to play a range of different shots into the greens.” – Ally Peters.
54. THE EASTERN GC – SOUTH COURSE
Designer: Greg Norman (2015).
Average points: 68.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 55, 67, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: "With all the major drainage work done and bedded in, the South Course is starting to shine. It is a big, bold layout which might expect from the Greg Norman stable but it is the strategic lines of play and creative green complexes that get the golfing juices flowing.” – Brendan James.
“There’s plenty of width, good green complexes and no doubt the condition will continue to improve as the course beds in.” – Kevin Nolan.
53. THIRTEENTH BEACH LINKS – CREEK COURSE
Barwon Heads, Victoria
Designers: Tony Cashmore & Sir Nick Faldo (2004).
Average points: 68.33.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 50, 53, 52, 56, 49.
Comments: “The Creek Course is also part of Darius Oliver’s bunker rationalisation and improvement plan. There are a few bunkers that perhaps don’t need to be there and hopefully he will address the elephant in the room, the run of holes from 12 to 15 that just aren’t up to the standard of the other 14.” – Brian Walshe.
“Excellent presentation with big wide fairways, large interesting greens. Many visiting golfers head to 13th Beach’s Beach Course, but more attention should be paid to the Creek Course, which, in my opinion, is far more enjoyable to play than it's higher ranked neighbour.” – Kevin Nolan.
52. THE VINTAGE GC
Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2004).
Average points: 69.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 47, 40, 41, 43, 46.
Comments: "Even bad scoring days here are really enjoyable and you can put that down to the quality of the course. There are plenty of standouts – the 3rd, 7th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 15th and 18th – are all a lot of fun, simply because they all offer something different.” – Susan Johnson.
“The Vintage is an interesting, enjoyable design complemented by well-presented playing surfaces. Can’t ask for much more than that.” – Joe Thomas.
“A round at The Vintage seems to build to a climax with the run back to the clubhouse starting at the short par-4 13th, encourages a range of interesting tee shot strategies.” – Brendan James.
51. SANDRINGHAM GOLF LINKS
Designers: Vern Morcom (1932 & 1956); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking, Ashley Mead – OCM (2020).
Average points: 69.33.
Comments: “This is a really interesting redesign by OCM that could be the future of public golf. It has plenty of width off the tee, is short by modern standards but tricky around the greens for low handicappers to provide a challenge. The public are eating it up with the course solidly booked.” – Ashley Clinch.
“Sandy Links is an exciting new addition to the Top-100, which is destined to climb higher in this list as the playing surfaces mature and more judges get to sample its pure golfing delights post-COVID.” – Brendan James.
“This OCM redesigned course has a lot more strategic merit, and gives the general public a taste of what its more famous Sandbelt neighbours are offering.” – Carl Murphy.
50. TERREY HILLS G&CC
Terrey Hills, NSW
Designers: Graham Marsh & Ross Watson (1994); Graham Marsh (2017).
Average points: 69.5.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 51, 48, 45, 47, 50.
Comments: “There have been lots of changes made at Terrey Hills in recent years with the biggest being the resurfacing of all 18 greens with a new blended bentgrass, while the surrounds were converted to Santa Ana couch. As you might expect with a private club like Terrey Hills, the conditioning is first class.” – Brendan James.
"This is a beautiful setting for golf, right alongside a national park, with nicely manicured fairways and greens. What a like most though is it is a challenging, but fair, course.” – Susan Johnson.
49. CURLEWIS GC
Designers: Vern Morcom (1947); Mike Clayton (2009 & ongoing).
Average points: 69.75.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 54, 68, 78, 88, NR.
Comments: "For the fifth consecutive Top-100 Courses ranking, Curlewis has once again crept higher in the list on the back of well-considered design changes and a continued devotion to simply just keep improving the course.” – Brendan James.
“One of the most improved courses in this country during the past decade. Recent changes – like the complete redesign of the 1st and 9th holes, opening up of several holes by clearing of trees, the renovation of key bunkers, the creation of sandy wasteland areas and the overall increased width of many holes – have all added to Curlewis being a better course than it was just a handful of years ago.” – Hamish Walker.
“Curlewis is a pleasant surprise. There are some well-designed holes offering a variety of decisions during the round, however the church pew designed bunkers did feel a little out of place.” – Carl Murphy.
48. THE GRANGE GC – EAST COURSE
Grange, South Australia
Designers: Vern Morcom (1967); Greg Norman (2013).
Average points: 69.86.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 43, 35, 35, 39, NR.
Comments: “The East Course is a wonderful golfing contrast to the adjoining West Course. Norman’s design has more dramatic lines and visuals, dominated by his trademark bold bunkering. Then there are surprising holes – like the long par-4 10th, which boasts only one bunker to the right of the long green – that are more challenging than first appearances suggest.” – Brendan James.
“Greg Norman’s redesign is a favourite of members but it does feel hemmed in and manipulated at times, particularly on the front nine. It’s strange, given they do it well on the West Course. The best holes on the back nine come late in the round at the 14th, 15th and 17th holes.” – Ashley Clinch.
47. MOONAH LINKS – LEGENDS COURSE
Designer: Ross Perrett (2003).
Average points: 70.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 45, 33, 33, 30, 24.
Comments: “The Legends Course is just a really fun course, that doesn’t beat you up, yet is still very interesting and tactical. You are always guaranteed a great day when playing the Legends Course.” – DJ Loypur.
“Like most 36-hole complexes, it is always beneficial to have two contrasting layouts. The Legends Course plays that role perfectly alongside the Open Course. While the Open can be a stern challenge, the Legends, which covers a landscape of greater variety, is a lot of fun to play. The mix of short and long holes, different elevation changes and doglegs left and right ensure every club in the bag gets a work out during a round.” – James Walsh.
“The Legends is the better of the two courses at Moonah Links because it is enjoyable and interesting for players of all abilities.” – Paul Wilson.
46. ELANORA CC
Designers: Dan Soutar (1929); James Wilcher (2004).
Average points: 70.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 48, 38, 42, 40, 39.
Comments: “More than any other course in Sydney, Elanora is the course that gives its members what they want. Fast greens, consistent sand, meticulous presentation and impressive visuals.” – Adrian Logue.
“On land not overly suitable for golf, Elanora is a charming, yet challenging experience that incorporates some wonderful golf holes. Always in pristine condition, the routing takes you across rocky outcrops and playing spectacular golf shots such as the 9th tee shot and the eye-catching par-3 17th.” – Michael Green.
45. SPRING VALLEY GC
Clayton South, Victoria
Designers: Vern Morcom (1948); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017).
Average points: 70.27.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 41, 42, 43, 50, 44.
Comments: "Arguably the most underrated course on the Melbourne Sandbelt. It’s standing among its more famous neighbours has risen in recent years on the back of some smart tweaks to the design.” – Brendan James.
“Spring Valley boasts some really interesting holes but the standouts for me are the superb one-shotters, which all demand different shots with different clubs. The short downhill 10th is the pick of the bunch, but the equally well-bunkered 5th is not far behind.” – James Walsh.
“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.
44. THE NATIONAL GC – LONG ISLAND COURSE
Designers: Gordon Oliver (1938); Vern Morcom (1945); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (ongoing).
Average points: 71.3.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 46, 50, 51, 62, 57.
Comments: "The often-underrated Long Island course continues to rise in this list and has achieved its highest ever position. The layout boasts some wonderful, natural holes and it will be interesting to see what the acclaimed OCM design team are able to massage out of this already wonderful layout.” – Brendan James.
“I’m excited to see what Ogilvy, Cocking and Mead will do the fourth course at The National GC. It is already a great track but if their work next door at Peninsula Kingswood is anything to go by, then we are in for a new entrant in the top 10.” – Rob Williamson.
“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.
“Great condition … tick. Location … tick. Interesting and challenging holes … tick. Long Island is on the rise and anticipating great things from the work OCM will do to improve this gem that sits on the outer edge of the Sandbelt greats.” – Kevin Nolan.
“This could be the most underrated course in the Top-100. It is like the Sandbelt without the price tag and The National continue to improve its conditioning. Holes 5 to 9 are classics through rolling terrain.” – Ashley Clinch.
43. GLENELG GC
Novar Gardens, South Australia
Designers: Herbert L. Rymill (1927); Vern Morcom (1955); Neil Crafter & Bob Tuohy (2004); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (ongoing).
Average points: 72.56.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 39, 30, 25, 28, 29.
Comments: “Glenelg is not only fun to play, but challenging and strategic. It boasts some quirky features as well as collars of rough, sod wall bunkering and beautiful water hazards. In superb condition, it deserves to be in the conversation as Adelaide’s best course after Royal Adelaide.” – Ashley Clinch.
“Glenelg's beautiful clubhouse stands tall over a wonderful course, which is the equal of almost everything in South Australia. A great mix of short and long heavily bunkered par-4s, which are made an even challenge no matter no matter where the wind blows from.” – Kevin Nolan.
42. HAMILTON ISLAND GC
Dent Island, Queensland
Designers: Peter Thomson & Ross Perrett (2003).
Average points: 72.85.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 44, 44, 44, 44, 38.
Comments: “Everything about Hamilton Island is dramatic – the scenery, the holes and, sometimes, the wind. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to build this course but the result is spectacular. The stretch of holes from the par-3 14th through to the clubhouse offer unforgettable golf and views.” – Brendan James.
“The beauty of this course and its surrounds makes the worst scoring rounds completely insignificant.” – Debbie Walker.
“This is an unforgettable piece of architecture in a world class destination. The blue water views form every hole gives this course so much.” – Troy Scott.
41. JOONDALUP RESORT – QUARRY/DUNES COURSE
Joondalup, Western Australia
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1985).
Average points: 73.53.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 37, 31, 30, 34, 33.
Comments: "The Quarry/Dunes nine is as fun and challenging to play as it was when it opened more than 36 years ago. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th holes on Quarry are an exciting stretch of holes you could never tire of playing.” – Tristan Holmes.
“Joondalup’s Quarry/Dunes layout is a buffet of dramatic and fun golf holes. The fact that the playing surfaces, right across the property, are first class is the cherry on top.” – Julie Stokes.
“No two holes throughout the course of a round here are even remotely the same. Jones Jnr’s imagination ran wild at Joondalup and the result is plenty of memorable holes that are thrilling to play.” – Brendan James.
40. BONVILLE GOLF RESORT
North Bonville, NSW
Designers: Terry Watson & Ted Stirling (1992).
Average points: 75.05.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 42, 45, 53, 55, 64.
Comments: "Bonville lays across a stunning landscape that undoubtedly leaves first-time visitors in awe of the stunning visuals. While every hole is lined by beautiful flooded gums, they don’t encroach on the playing lines. The fairways are generously wide on most holes, giving all golfers a fair crack at hitting a green approach from the short grass.” – Steven Jeffrey.
“A challenging layout, with perhaps the most beautiful flora on an Australian course. If Costa Georgiadis played golf this is where he’d be a member. One of Australia’s most aesthetically pleasing courses.” – Craig Read.
“I can see why they call it the Aussie Augusta. It’s challenging, fun and seriously well maintained.” – Troy Scott.
“Bonville is a course of great beauty and wow factor, that demands exacting shots to fairways and greens perched behind bunkers, creeks and lakes. I imagine it would be a very tough course for the high handicapper, as sometimes you just have to hit over water. Carts are a must with many long treks between green and next tee, but often these drives are through beautiful rainforest and gardens.” – Ashley Clinch.
39. THE GRANGE GC – WEST COURSE
Grange, South Australia
Designers: Vern Morcom (1956); Mike Clayton (2008).
Average points: 75.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 38, 28, 28, 31, 30.
Comments: “A wonderful Adelaide layout that is a thoughtful redesign by Mike Clayton that has, 13 years on, matured into a solid layout. Conditioning here never disappoints.” – Ashley Clinch.
“A strategically superb layout that offers high rewards for quality shot-making and good course management.” – Julian Allan.
“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.
38. BOUGLE RUN
Designer: Bill Coore (2021).
Average points: 76.
Comments: “Bougle Run boasts absolutely fascinating greens. It is the best fun with four clubs in Australian golf.” – Peter Shaw.
“The 14-hole Bougle Run has the distinction of being the first course of less than 18 holes to crack a spot in any Top-100 Courses ranking in this country. Bill Coore set out to design the best short course in the world, and only time will tell if he has succeeded, as more people sample its delights. It makes its debut at No.38 but is sure to climb higher as the playing surfaces settle through two growing seasons. The dramatic dunescape, which is home to the 12 par-3s and two par-4s, is a golfer’s theme park with fun at every turn.” – Brendan James.
“We talk about golf being fun and accessible – Bougle Run is all of that and more. I haven’t had a more fun day on course than the day I played Bougle Run.” – Troy Scott.
37. PORTSEA GC
Designers: Jock Young (1926); Sloan Morpeth & Jack Howard (1965); Mike Clayton (2000).
Average points: 76.11.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 34, 39, 36, 32, 32.
Comments: “Portsea has a great variety of holes on the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula. The par-5s give you a chance to score well but require careful strategy as do the short par-4s.” – Ashley Clinch.
“This is one of the Mornington Peninsula’s classic links style courses, which never fails to excite. Wide fairways offer the forgiveness required for a windswept layout, while the greens are receptive to a diverse range of short game shots.” – James Walsh.
“Portsea boasts spectacular views from the high points on the rolling fairways that complement the undulating greens. Although Portsea is shorter than most courses on the Mornington Peninsula, don’t let that fool you into thinking it won’t test every aspect of your game.” – Kevin Nolan.
36. THE AUSTRALIAN GC
Designer: Jack Nicklaus (1977 & 2013).
Average points: 76.61.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 40, 36, 31, 29, 31.
Comments: “The Australian feels like Florida in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, which is the opposite of natural golf. It does, however, boast immaculately manicured playing surfaces.” – Peter Shaw.
“An exciting experience and tough examination but still a style of golf that looks an unnatural fit for what is an outstanding sandy, dunes land that should have more in common with Muirfield, East Lothian, than Muirfield Village, Columbus, Ohio.” – Adrian Logue.
35. BONNIE DOON GC
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: 76.88.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 30, 34, 38, 38, NR.
Comments: “Finally, now with its last stage of redesign complete, Bonnie Doon is fulfilling the potential of the interesting sandy, hilly terrain on which it sits.” – Adrian Logue.
“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-3 holes always fun, and the short par-4s a standout. The Doon is perhaps the most architecturally notable course in Sydney, and a must-see for visitors to the city.” – Matt Mollica.
“Bonnie Doon continues to be hamstrung by a decision to accentuate difficulty in the set-up at the expense of fun for all standards of player. The width was where the variety lived.” – Scott Warren.
“Renovations have turned the worst house on the street into a palace.” – Craig Read.
34. BROOKWATER G&CC
Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2002).
Average points: 77.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 35, 29, 32, 36, 36.
Comments: “The renovation work carried out on the greens here in recent years has significantly improved the putting experience, while surfaces are now larger and more in tune with the original design.” – Joe Thomas.
“Brookwater is a thrill ride from the opening drive to the final uphill approach to the 18th green.” – Terry Anderson.
“The overwhelming feeling you get during a round at Brookwater is the majesty of the place. Dramatic elevation changes from tee to green on many holes, tall stands of gum trees, bold bunkering and dynamic green complexes. You can’t help but love playing here.” – Brendan James.
33. MAGENTA SHORES G&CC
Designer: Ross Watson (2006).
Average points: 77.16.
2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 36, 37, 39, 42, 27.
Comments: “I looked forward to playing Magenta Shores for some time and when. I got the chance it didn’t disappoint. It boasts a great set of par-3s that test all clubs and play in different directions. Magenta also has an enjoyable group of short fours. Many bunkers look intimidating but often are not in play.” – Ashley Clinch.
“Magenta’s course staff have worked hard to convert all the fairways from Legends couch to Santa Ana couch. The Santa Ana has been extended right up to the edge of the putting surfaces and provide a firm and consistent approach, which enhances Watson’s design.” – Brendan James.
“Brutal when the coastal wind howls, just plain tough when it doesn’t. A very fine Ross Watson-designed layout.” – Craig Read.
“Probably the best site Ross Watson had to work with in his long career and maybe his best work.” – Adrian Logue.
32. COMMONWEALTH GC
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). Tom Doak & Brian Slawnik – Renaissance Golf (ongoing).
Average points: 77.55.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 28, 22, 19, 16, 19.
Comments: “The recent in-house changes to the course don’t fill me with hope that Tom Doak will be allowed to do what is needed to make Commonwealth what it should be.” – Scott Warren.
“Some of Melbourne’s best par-4 holes are choked by trees that need to be managed better. If Commonwealth took a leaf out of Kew’s book, they might find themselves back in the upper echelon of Sandbelt courses.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Commonwealth’s original greens are works of art, while the layout has four truly great holes. There might be more if tree management was better.” – Peter Shaw.
“After 20 years of false starts with master plans, Commonwealth has recently appointed Renaissance Golf to give their opinion of what they need to do to improve the course. Along with New South Wales GC, Commonwealth has the most upside with the bones of a great course in there waiting for someone to be allowed to bring it back to life.” – Brian Walshe.
“Commonwealth is one of my favourite courses but it is very much in need of a clean out of poorly managed tree planting over the years. The majestic clubhouse should be in view from every corner of the course.” – Rob Williamson.
31. ROYAL CANBERRA – WESTBOURNE COURSE
Designers: Commander John Harris (1962); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1984); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2017).
Average points: 78.7.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 25, 20, 23, 70, 42.
Comments: “The extreme cold and hot temperatures can also be very harsh on turfgrass and Royal Canberra has had some challenges since the 2017 redesign by OCCM. However, turf changes have been made and the layout is looking terrific and brings out the best in the ‘new’ layout. The renovation opened up the views through the trees and across the layout, and made each hole more interesting with extra width … not just on the ground but through the air.” – Brendan James.
“After some presentation hiccups Royal Canberra is now in magnificent condition, perhaps the best it’s ever been.” – Craig Read.
30. CONCORD GC
Designers: Dan Soutar (1916); Ross Watson (1997); Mark Parker (2009); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf Design (2018).
Average points: 79.13.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 32, NR, 49, 49, 45.
Comments: “The site constraints limit the greatness possible at Concord, but the place continues to go from strength-to-strength after its 2018 redesign.” – Scott Warren.
“I'd never been a fan of Concord. Having played it for the first time about 10 years ago, a storm came in and I left after 12 holes, never feeling the need to return. However, since the Tom Doak redesign, I feel the course is far more interesting and would be an enjoyable course to play regularly. For what it is worth, it's the least ‘Doak’ course I have ever seen.” – Peter Robertson.
“Big tournament golf recently returned to Concord with the NSW Open and the new Tom Doak renovation showed its versatility with well-placed bunkers and firm, contoured green surrounds proving a decent challenge for the pros while still remaining great fun for the members.” – Adrian Logue.
29. NEWCASTLE GC
Designers: Eric Apperly (1937); Bob Harrison (ongoing).
Average points: 79.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 27, 26, 18, 17, 16.
Comments: “This is a classic, tough championship layout that fits into that rare collection of quality courses that are also great fun to play.” – Craig Read.
“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. Newcastle is always a joy to play, and is superbly presented.” – Matt Mollica.
“Newcastle will be undergoing some changes in the coming years, which will further consolidate its deserving place as one of Ran Morrisett's ‘Custodians of the Game’. It embodies the ideals of Ran's list as a course that holds up to repeated play throughout all stages of a golfer's life and provides features that are fun and engaging for the thinking golfer.” – Adrian Logue.
“Newcastle is no longer the hidden gem it once was. It’s wonderful contours and small greens that reward quality shot-making, have seen its popularity and esteem rise markedly in recent years. I would suggest getting your round in before dusk as the mosquitoes are the size of Messerschmitts.” – Peter Shaw.
“A brilliantly understated and subtle course that rolls through some beautiful sandy woodland. The first 13 holes are exceptional, with the last few on flatter land, which will soon be exchanged for new holes out closer to the back beach dunes and should make for a better course overall. The par-3s are tough and are standout holes here.” – Ashley Clinch.
28. PORT FAIRY LINKS
Port Fairy, Victoria
Designers: Club members (1963); Kevin Hartley (1989); Mike Clayton (2000 & ongoing).
Average points: 79.42.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 31, 43, 48, 53, 54.
Comments: “The changing face of the course in winds of different strength and direction is a source of attraction shared by Port Fairy and many Scottish links. Port Fairy remains one of Australia’s most under-appreciated golfing gems.”– Matt Mollica.
“Maybe my deep Scottish roots make me biased to any course where your senses are exposed to the sights, sounds and smell of the sea and the undulations that dunes land provide the golf course designer. When you are enjoying the scenery and golf of Port Fairy close your eyes and think of links golf in Scotland and Ireland because this is how it feels. Like much of the links golf of Scotland, Port Fairy is without pretence. It is quality golf on a quality piece of land and this is why it is such a special place to enjoy a day on the links.” – Ross Flannigan.
“If this was the ‘Bang for Your Golfing Buck’ rankings then Port Fairy would be the clear No.1. Regardless of the green fee, Port Fairy is ridiculously good for a member’s course in a small town and puts many big-name city courses to shame. The run from 12 through 16 is sublime, the conditions are always first class and all of this for the cost of a burger at some clubs.” – Brian Walshe.
27. THE DUNES GOLF LINKS
Designer: Tony Cashmore (1995).
Average points: 79.73.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 29, 27, 27, 24, 25.
Comments: “An absolute gem that doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves due to the high quality of golf available on the Mornington Peninsula. For mine, it is the best public access course in Victoria.” – DJ Loypur.
“Pay for play doesn't get much better than what’s on offer on the Mornington Peninsula and The Dunes is right at the pointy end of that list.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Three words sum up a round at The Dunes … pure golfing pleasure.” – Craig Read.
“The Dunes is an incredibly enjoyable golf course, great variety, strategy and fun. The par-3s are standouts with the 13th and 17th being world class.” – Ashley Clinch.
26. THIRTEENTH BEACH LINKS – BEACH COURSE
Barwon Heads, Victoria
Designer: Tony Cashmore (2001).
Average points: 80.46.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 24, 21, 24, 23, 22.
Comments: "The Beach Course has always been a good course and it’s probably Tony Cashmore’s best work but there were niggles that detracted from it being better. Under the supervision of Darius Oliver, the club is undertaking a bunker rationalisation program and making a few changes to the course. The most important of those is a new tee on the par-5 6th and changes to the landing zone that significantly improve what was the worst tee shot on the course.” – Brian Walshe.
25. WOODLANDS GC
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: 81.62.
Comments: “Woodlands demonstrates that a solid yet enjoyable test of golf can still be conducted over a course measuring less than 6,400 metres. The quality short fours and set of small greens, demand precise approaches, and a nerveless short game … two of Woodlands’ most outstanding features.” – Matt Mollica.
“Calling all short game experts! If you think you're a wizard with a wedge, then Woodlands is close to the best place on the planet to test your skills. Small upturned greens that require deft touch to turn in a score is just one of the challenges Woodlands offers but is by far its most important.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Woodlands is home to some of the best short par-4s in the Sandbelt. These holes entice you into aggressive plays that you must execute with precision to score well.” – James Walsh.
24. THE NATIONAL GC – OLD COURSE
Cape Schanck, Victoria
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jnr (1987).
Average points: 82.15.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 23, 21, 24, 23, 22.
Comments: “This is a layout like no other in Australia with a routing that is very good given the challenges of the land. Some great fun golf can be had here but can be a tough day for a high handicapper if they choose the wrong tees.” – Ashley Clinch.
“The National’s Old Course polarises people. With wild fairways and even wilder greens there are some who think it’s ‘unfair’. If you don’t care about fair then it’s a thrill a minute course that rewards creativity and provides stunning views of Bass Strait and the Bay from almost every hole. On a nice day, and if you have your game together, it is one of the most memorable experiences in Australian golf.” – Brian Walshe.
“The Old Course is a rollercoaster of excitement, challenge and terrifying hazards. It can destroy a player on a bad day.” – Peter Shaw.
“How much fun is it to play the Old Course? I'm constantly blown away by the fact this course has had very few changes yet it is different every time I play it. This is just an awesome golf course.” – Kevin Nolan.
23. ROYAL QUEENSLAND GC
Eagle Farm, Queensland
Designers: Carnegie Clark (1920); Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Mike Clayton (2007 & ongoing).
Average points: 82.9.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 26, 23, 23, 22, 26.
Comments: “There are more elevation changes on the runway of nearby Brisbane Airport than there are at Royal Queensland, so how Michael Clayton turned this layout into such a strategical challenge says a lot about the brilliance of its design.” – Craig Read.
“Almost every course in this country that ranks higher than Royal Queensland starts off with a great site and builds from there. With most of those sites there were golf holes just waiting to be found. RQ is on a flat piece of floodplain where each and every hole had to be made. The brilliance of RQ is that the course maximises what little movement there is but is a master class in providing interest from tee-to-green. You are constantly trying for the best angles into pins almost never is the middle of the fairway the best place to be.” – Brain Walshe.
“An incredible use of width and angles makes Royal Queensland challenging, yet playable, for players of all standards.” – Peter Shaw.
“So much width! It will take many rounds to work out where to hit it and, more importantly, where not to hit it at RQ. Royal Queensland might be a little misunderstood by most golfers, which is a pity as its brilliance takes a while to find and usually you won’t get it until you really take the time to work it out.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Royal Queensland is a course offering thoughtful challenges and loads of fun, rewarding considered shot placement and a developed short game. The wide playing corridors and abundance of short grass about the greens are a welcome plus for many players.” – Matt Mollica.
22. LAKE KARRINYUP CC
Karrinyup, Western Australia
Designers: Alex Russell (1928); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (Early 1970s-2000s); Mike Clayton (2008).
Average points: 84.93.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 21, 18, 14, 21, 14.
Comments: "Easily the best prepared course, week-in-week-out in Western Australia.” – Gavin Hill.
“A big course that is the undisputed best in the west. It is also home to my favourite drop shot par-3 in the country – the little 12th hole.” – Peter Shaw.
“Sweeping over the sloping hills of this Alex Russell design, you are presented with a variety of shots over the course, along with a few that are blind from the tee.” – Carl Murphy.
“Lake Karrinyup has some of the best green complexes you will find. The three great drivable par-4s – the 1st, 10th and 14th holes – are a shining highlight of Karrinyup.” – DJ Loypur.
“Lake Karrinyup is now showing the rewards of patience, and committing to a plan to overhaul their course several years ago. Always a treat to play, Karrinyup is another interesting, well-presented, testing yet manageable course with lots of fun shots to play.” – Matt Mollica.
“In a class of its own in Perth.” – Craig Read.
21. KOOYONGA GC
Lockleys, South Australia
Designers: Herbert L. Rymill (1924); Martin Hawtree (2008); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (ongoing).
Average points: 85.24.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 22, 25, 26, 26, 23.
Comments: "Great terrain and superbly conditioned rolling fairways combine to provide a wonderful golfing experience. My only criticism would be the seemingly overused false front feature of Kooyonga’s greens.” – Peter Shaw.
“The unsung star of Adelaide golf that has only improved after the recent changes to the 17th hole. It is 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 players of all standards.” – DJ Loypur.
“Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford’s work at Kooyonga has added lustre to what has always been a jewel of Adelaide golf. The quartet of holes from the 4th to the 7th are memorable, while the new 17th green is an absolute ripper.” – Brendan James.
20. LONSDALE LINKS
Point Lonsdale, Victoria
Designers: Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCM (2020).
Average points: 86.
Comments: "Lonsdale Links is a breath of fresh air in Australian golf. A totally unique golf experience, there is no golf course like it in Australia.
“It is in exceptional condition for a new course. The green designs are a highlight, run true and are kept at a perfect speed, which allows for plenty of pin positions on the many internal contours and for the local winds.
“It is a short course that is playable for all standards and ages, but there are multiple ways to play just about every hole on the course depending on your skills and bravery. The options for short game approaches and recoveries are endless and require the whole bag.
“The short par 4’s will make or break your card and the five par-3s are all memorable holes. It is a course that will reward multiple rounds, as there is a lot of quirk and local knowledge. You will play holes a lot differently in your fifth round than you will in your first, and it makes for a great match play course.
“Lonsdale Links may well be the most fun course to play in the country” – Rich Macafee.
“This exciting new renovation has introduced template holes to Australian golfers and will prove increasingly popular to the masses. My one criticism is that the design doesn’t favour the ground game, which makes it tough for higher handicappers in a wind.” – Peter Shaw.
“Lonsdale is a short, playable coastal course full of imaginative takes on classical holes. The greens and bunkers possess a wonderfully natural aesthetic, and the re-working of the old course has revealed a new layout of great quality. It wows the first-time visitor and must also stimulate the members who play it weekly.” – Matt Mollica.
“I suspect that when this ranking is published again in 2024, Lonsdale Links will nestle into a position higher in the list as more judges get to sample its delights.” – Brendan James.
“Kudos to both Lonsdale Links and OCM for doing something different with their homage to Golden Age designers Seth Raynor and Charles Banks. It would have been easy to build yet another Sandbelt clone but instead they have gone full early 20th century American for their inspiration and it’s a blast. At between 4,500 metres and 5,500 metres, it’s short but don’t mistake that for easy with the templates holes sure to test even the best players.” – Brian Walshe.
“Lonsdale Links could be the closest thing to golf marketing genius I have seen. Take a course in a great location and give golfers a destination where they can experience a wonderful course designed around some of golf architectures hallmark templates. Ashley Mead from OCM has left a great mark for golfers who may have never experienced a square Scottish links green, or a Biarritz green, or a thumbprint, Redan, road hole and more. Well, it is right here in its own re-interpretated golf form for all of us to enjoy, and enjoy you will.” – Ross Flannigan.
“Lonsdale is a wonderfully fun, strategic and visually engaging course by OCM, which will be great to watch its development over the next decade. It’s link to golf history with the template holes is terrific.” – Ashley Clinch.
19. BARWON HEADS GC
Barwon Heads, Victoria
Designers: Victor East (1921); Neil Crafter & Paul Mogford (2005 & ongoing).
Average points: 86.54.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 20, 19, 21, 21, 20.
Comments: “Barwon Heads seems to improve incrementally each year. The first six holes are links classics, and you can’t help but have a smile on your face after playing. It’s Australia’s version of a Scottish gem that not many people have heard of.” – Ashley Clinch.
“Sitting on the first floor balcony of my guest room at Barwon Heads Golf Club, overlooking the circular drive way I feel an urge to extract my copy of P.G.Wodehouse’s Omnibus of Golf and read a chapter or two. Such is the ambiance of antiquity that permeates this magnificent course and clubhouse. May it continue to, always be thus.” – Craig Read.
“Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford continue to make subtle tweaks here and there that, over the past few years, have made this gem of a links a much more complete layout.” – Steve Beach.
“Barwon Heads is consistently good. It is a great example of how a course doesn’t need to be complicated to be good. Sometimes less is more as is the case with Barwon Heads.” – DJ Loypur.
“Barwon heads possesses an all too rare Old-World charm, containing sufficient challenge in a compact package. The course possesses many fun holes, and a number of drives and approaches requiring exacting shot-making. Changes to Barwon Heads have altered the aesthetic of the course to a degree, but the allure of those first six holes, however, has any genuine golfer salivating.” – Matt Mollica.
18. OCEAN DUNES
King Island, Tasmania
Designer: Graeme Grant (2016).
Average points: 86.93.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 15, 8, NR, NR, NR.
Comments: " There are many words to describe Ocean Dunes. Narcissistic, hedonistic and sadistic readily come to mind. Some surfers prefer to ride giant waves, some motorists prefer to drive in Formula 1 and some rugby players preferred to tackle Jonah Lomu. Then there are the golfers who prefer to play Ocean Dunes when the wind shrieks from all directions at once. It affects one’s golfing sense of worth when hole after hole the fairway can’t be reached from the tee. The heavy moisture ladened wind grabs the ball by its dimples and squeezes. Its soul destroying, swing destroying, financially crippling. I’m booked to play there again in January.” – Craig Read.
“Ocean Dunes is one of the most beautiful and difficult tracks I’ve encountered … weather pending. The views across Bass Strait are amazing and need to be seen by all golfers at least once in their life. A must-play and bucket-list course with incredible wildlife on the course.” – Cameron Howell.
“Hard not to think you are playing a combination of some of the great west coast Irish links when you walk the fairways of Ocean Dunes.” – Ross Flannigan.
17. YARRA YARRA GC
Bentleigh East, Victoria
Designers: Alex Russell (1928); Martin Hawtree (2011); Tom Doak & Brian Slawnik – Renaissance Golf (2020 and ongoing).
Average points: 87.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: NR, 32, 34, 34, 37.
Comments: "After its Tom Doak and Brian Slawnik restoration, Yarra Yarra might now be the best course in the world with a repeating name.” – Adrian Logue.
“Tom Doak has cleared away the over growth to reveal how great this original Alex Russell design is. A few minor adjustments of course, but there are some wonderful views through the course now.” – Rob Williamson.
“Yet another course in what could be the finest collection of golf courses in one city anywhere in the world.” – Craig Read.
“Welcome back, my old friend. Yarra Yarra has awakened from a long slumber. The recent work that has simplified the vegetation has revealed what was always there – good architecture with a good routing on undulating land. The old poa greens are still as good as they have ever been. This was a renovation, not an enhancement. Anybody who remembers fondly the Yarra Yarra from 35 years ago will love returning to this course.” – James Bennett.
“Sometimes less is a lot more and changing the sequence of the opening holes and subtle changes to bunkering and fairway lines has made a significant improvement to Yarra Yarra. It has always had some fantastic golf holes (11 being in the handful of Melbourne’s best par-3s) but the difference between the best four holes and the worst four holes was massive. Renaissance Golf has shown that you don’t have to blow a course up and start again to make it better.” – Brian Walshe.
“The fine bones of this elegant Golden Age gem have been restored, with the full swoop and glide of the property's movement now a joy to behold.” – Rob Williamson.
“Yarra Yarra is another Club that has benefitted mightily from the appointment of Tom Doak as consultant architect, with the course back to its former glory. The resequencing of the opening holes was a simple yet highly effective tweak, while the playability and course aesthetics have improved greatly.” – Matt Mollica.
16. PENINSULA KINGSWOOD CC – SOUTH COURSE
Designers: Sloan Morpeth (1967); Mike Clayton (2007); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).
Average points: 88.5.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 18, NR, NR, 25, 28.
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.” – Matt Mollica.
“Peninsula South is a more member friendly companion to the championship inspired North. It shares the same strengths in a great routing and superb green complexes but doesn’t punish wayward approaches in the way that North can humble you. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, far from it, but it would be more manageable for most.” – Brian Walshe.
“The South Course has a rugged, natural character, accented by native grasses framing each hole. The bunkering is bold with large, beautifully contoured putting surfaces. Most holes are dogleg, meaning distance adds nothing and angle into the pin is everything.” – Cameron Howell.
“The back nine on the South may well be the best nine on the entire Peninsula Kingswood property. It is a hugely impressive redesign, and you will be hard pressed to find a better finishing stretch than 16, 17 and 18.” – DJ Loypur.
“This course is a true test and it truly plays and feels like a different course to the sibling North course. The stretch of holes from 8 through to 18 all showcase the rise and fall of the topography, which allowed OCM to build a great variety of challenging holes over a very aesthetically stunning part of the property.” – Ross Flannigan.
15. METROPOLITAN GC
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: 88.86.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 17, 15, 12, 13, 9.
Comments: “Year after year, Metro becomes more Sandbelt and less parkland, through intelligent tree and vegetation management and the increase of short grass areas between greens and tees. Now, about those trees in the 17th fairway!” – Scott Warren.
“Metropolitan is looking better and better with vegetation management improving, and wonderful swathes of native flora being reintroduced. It is a venerable Sandbelt layout, long-revered for exceptional conditioning and history as a storied tournament venue. With more changes ahead, courtesy of Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford, the course may yet climb back into the highest echelon of Australia’s golf courses.” – Matt Mollica.
“Metro opens with six of the best holes you could want – long par-4, tricky par-3, into a dogleg par-4 then a gettable par-5 with a green that can leave you scarred if you try 'too hard'. This is followed by two more holes that meander through the flowering gums. The rest of the course is laid out on much flatter land that still forces you to use your brains rather than your brawn to post a good score.” – Kevin Nolan.
14. THE LAKES GC
Designers: Bruce Devlin & Robert Von Hagge (1970); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2009).
Average points: 89.1.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 16, 14, 15, 15, 13.
Comments: “It’s a testament to The Lakes that it poses such a thorough test of your abilities while remaining such fun, even when you fail that examination spectacularly.” – Scott Warren.
“This is a polemic design. Players either love it, or they really love it.” – Craig Read.
“There may be more picturesque courses in Sydney and a couple with proud tournament records but The Lakes tops them all when it comes to the course. The front nine constantly has you playing to the fairway edges to get the best lines into greens and there are a couple where the pin moving 20 paces can have you looking at the opposite side of the fairway. The back nine just wants to know how good you are and constantly offers you shorter and superior approaches if you are brave enough to risk the seemingly ever-present water.” – Brian Walshe.
“The Lakes is great fun and what higher compliment could there be for a golf course?” – Adrian Logue.
13. ST. ANDREWS BEACH
Designer: Tom Doak (2005).
Average points: 89.13.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 12, 13, 13, 10, 11.
Comments: “It is great to see St. Andrews Beach thriving, vying for the position of best course on the Mornington Peninsula. With a strong set of short fours, diverse and testing par-3s, and a collection of excellent, understated greens, Doak’s minimalist layout is wonderful, and easily one of the premier courses in Australia.” – Matt Mollica.
“Just your average Tom Doak designed course … brilliant!” – Craig Read.
“St. Andrews Beach offers something for every level of golfer and it's available every day of the year to everyone. Despite a lot of movement, it's a pretty easy walk, usually in excellent condition and just an unbelievable place to play golf.” – Kevin Nolan.
“I am yet to find a golfer who has not enjoyed the golf experience of Mr Doak’s St. Andrews Beach. This course is a Mornington Peninsula gem that single-handedly has introduced many a new golfer to the game to true golf architecture and a real links style golf experience. The layout is fair and generous from the tee, while it also asks questions of your iron play on every holes. This is one course you want to go back and conquer as you always feel like you have left some scoring opportunities out there, usually due to poor decision making.” – Ross Flannigan.
“If St. Andrew’s Beach was in the United States they’d be charging $250 a round and there would be a queue out the front most mornings. Along with Barnbougle Dunes, Tom Doak and Mike Clayton changed the whole concept of what a public course was in Australia. This is not a course that dumbs golf down to a bland boring formula but one that can take anyone paying the green fee on a thrill ride through some of the best and most quirky architecture you’ll find.” – Brian Walshe.
“This is a wonderful course in great golf country. I have spent a lot of time playing here and pondering the hole sequences, particularly the par-5 1st with the next par-5 being the 17th.” – Ashley Clinch.
12. THE NATIONAL GC – MOONAH COURSE
Cape Schanck, Victoria
Designers: Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2000).
Average points: 89.64.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 13, 11, 9, 8, 7.
Comments: “The Moonah Course is a fun, testing layout of great merit. Subject to the winds of the Mornington Peninsula, the challenge is never too far away. The playing surfaces are great despite high traffic, with the couch fescue fairways are among Australia’s best. The course rewards long straight driving, and a little ingenuity around the greens.” – Matt Mollica.
“With a reputation of being The National’s sternest test, the Moonah Course offers plenty to those who take their time and find the right places to land your ball. hat said, it can gobble you up pretty quickly of you lapse in concentration.” – Kevin Nolan.
“The first 11 holes of the Moonah course are faultless. However, there are a few weak holes coming back to the clubhouse but this is one of Greg Norman and Bob Harrison’s best.” – Rob Williamson.
“The poa/fescue fairways are consistently presented to perfection so it’s easy to have a great time on the Moonah course. This is a course you would never tire of playing, where tactics and angles into greens are paramount in being able to shoot a good score.” – DJ Loypur.
“The National Moonah Course continues to tick all the right boxes. A fantastic piece of The Cups country with holes weaving between massive dunes, a wonderful set of greens and fescue oversown fairways that are probably the best year-round surfaces on the mainland. It has some of the best par-5s in the country and a run home from the 12th tee that can humble the best into a southerly.” – Brian Walshe.
“It’s hard to separate the position of this Greg Norman and Bob Harrison beauty in and amongst the quality of golf that the Moonah sits alongside. A real test of golf in any of the prevailing conditions fronting golfers on The National property. The closing stretch of 15 through 18 will make you or break you.” – Ross Flannigan.
“A layout to test all parts of your game. The opening stretch of seven holes is highly underrated in my opinion. Incredibly consistent high-quality conditioning is a standard. The last five holes are brutal, especially if a southerly is blowing.” – Ashley Clinch.
11. ROYAL ADELAIDE GC
Seaton, South Australia
Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1926); Peter Thomson & Mike Wolveridge (1979 & 1997); Mike Clayton (2009); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf (ongoing).
Average points: 91.26.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 9, 10, 10, 11, 10.
Comments: “Subtle changes to the vegetation outside the playing lines have enhanced this classic golf course that lies at the heart of Adelaide’s red sandbelt. Short walks between holes, classic bunkering and undulating fairways that test the breadth of one’s golf game. Throw in the world-famous short par-4 3rd hole and the iconic crater hole 11th and there is proof positive great golf architecture will never go out of fashion.” – Michael Green.
“Royal Adelaide is slowly finding its way back to its best self. Ongoing renovations and restoring the original bunkering and complementing some of the world class holes already in the ground.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Royal Adelaide has a brilliant collection of par-4s, but the par-5s are less than memorable.” – Peter Shaw.
“Undulating ground, good architecture, a passion for golf and year-round playability makes Royal Adelaide a memorable course. The train running through is a bonus.” – James Bennett.
“Royal Adelaide has always been amongst the best courses in the country with a routing that gets the most out of the site. Renaissance Golf have made subtle and important changes to the course over a number of years that have steadily improved it. It has always been a great place to play golf but there is now consistency in style across the property which has made it even better. – Brian Walshe.
“Like Kingston Heath, Royal Adelaide is relatively flat, apart from the few dunes in the middle of the course. It has the same feel to it too. The 16th and 17th are disappointing holes though.” – Rob Williamson.
“In my opinion, here is the benchmark in turf agronomy in Australia, with possibly the best course superintendent in the country.” – Cameron Howell.
“I have gladly visited this wonderful course a few times over the past 2 1/2 years and found a course that is wonderfully quirky, fun and a great test of golf. It’s no wonder it sits in the Top 10 of courses in the country.” – Ashley Clinch.
10. VICTORIA GC
Designers: Oscar Damman, William Meader & Dr Alister MacKenzie (1927); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).
Average points: 92.16.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 8, 12, 11, 9, 8.
Comments: “Victoria has matured with the irrigation and green works of several years ago settling in nicely, so as to see the course regain its lustre. Continued work on vegetation management compliments the greens renovation program.” – Matt Mollica.
“Victoria’s new green complexes are impressive.” – Peter Robertson.
“OCCM’s changes have reinvigorated Victoria. What was always a very good course has been made an even better layout with the new green surfaces a standout. Some of the lesser holes, such as 17 that previously didn’t quite match the standard of the rest of the course, have been significantly improved.” – Brian Walshe.
“It’s always a joy to play at Victoria GC. The works beside the 1st and 11th holes are now complete. Vast improvement on 11 with the tree removal exposing more of the natural sandy base, widening the playing line. It’s difficult not to be extremely impressed by the green resurfacing with Pure Distinction grass.” – Carl Murphy.
9. NEW SOUTH WALES GC
La Perouse, NSW
Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1928); Eric Apperly (1937 & 1951); Greg Norman & Bob Harrison (2010); Greg Norman (2018); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf (2019 and ongoing).
Average points: 92.7.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 11, 9, 7, 5, 5.
Comments: “New course superintendent Mark Parker has made genuine improvement to playability since taking the reins, but there is only so much that can be done to realise the course’s potential without delivery of Tom Doak’s renovation master plan.” – Scott Warren.
“One feels NSW GC is nearing the end of a generation-spanning cycle of modest changes and sober maintenance of its status quo as Sydney's best course. But as Royal Sydney ruminates on its Gil Hanse redesign and the rest of the Sydney golf scene evolves, NSW may yet be forced to re-invent itself as it did once before at the end of World War II. Hopefully this time, with more exposed sand and firm, sloping fairways snaking through great patches of wild Eastern Suburbs Banksia scrub along the rugged rocky cliffs at La Perouse. More than just Sydney's best course it should truly be Sydney's unique contribution to world golf.” – Adrian Logue.
“New South Wales is always a great experience, especially given its dramatic setting, and exciting tee shots and approaches on so many holes. Mowing lines and vegetation management have improved following the arrival of Mark Parker (course superintendent) and Tom Doak’s appointment as consultant architect.” – Matt Mollica.
“The flagstick blew out of a hole the first time I played here. It is a tough course when it’s like that. Thankfully, the next time it was only a two- club breeze. That said, NSW is a wonderful place to play.” – Rob Williamson.
“NSW is bold, stunning, wild and an exciting place to play golf but sadly the architecture hasn’t always matched the scenery. That doesn’t mean that it’s a poor course, just one that has more upside than just about any other. It will be interesting to see what Renaissance Golf do with their opportunity on such an iconic site. If they are true to form, I’d expect NSW to be back near the top of the table in the future.” – Brian Walshe.
8. THE NATIONAL GC – GUNNAMATTA COURSE
Cape Schanck, Victoria
Designer: Tom Doak (2019).
Average points: 93.68.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 10, NR, NR, NR, NR
Comments: “Across three days, with varying winds and three sets of hole locations, I felt like I played three different golf courses, such is the variety of the holes. Gunnamatta may also possess the most artful bunkering in Australia.” – Scott Warren.
“Tom Doak's re birth of the Peter Thomson, Mike Wolveridge and Ross Perrett Ocean course is magnificent. The large undulating greens and their surrounds mean you better have your short game in order.” – Rob Williamson.
“Gunnamatta is a perfect foil for a club that already has solid golf courses in Old, Moonah and Long Island. Gunnamatta provides a balance for those enjoying a regular game of golf at the facility. It is a lighter version of Barnbougle on different terrain, but with the same emphasis on fun and enjoyable golf. Whilst you may have the occasional good game at Gunnamatta, I expect many will still enjoy their average game more so than at other 'championship' courses.” – James Bennett.
“The National (Gunnamatta) has no doubt been a highlight for all who have visited in the last two years. The club’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. The bunkering is sympathetic with the landscape, more sparingly used and ideal in location. Legend couch remains on the fairways while the fescue collars improve ground game options closer to the pins.” – Matt Mollica.
“What at one time was something of a pig's ear has been transformed into a silk purse – a stunning transformation so much more fun and intriguing than its predecessor.” – Steve Beach.
“An extremely enjoyable golf course where you will find design features referenced from some of the great golf courses of the world, all delivered in a super high quality golf package. Fescue apron approaches are a standout.” – Ross Flannigan.
“This is an incredibly fun course for golfers of all abilities. A playing partner told me it’s a great social course because you don’t spend all your time looking for balls. Tom Doak and Brian Schneider have designed the great thinking person’s course.” – Ashley Clinch.
“In an era where too many golfers equate hard with good, The National’s Gunnamatta shows that good can also be amazing fun. A combination of width, angles and amazing green complexes that can start up to 30 metres from the putting surface proper, Gunnamatta provides options galore with slopes and banks to feed the ball to pins that might reject a lofted shot. Like all the very best courses, it’s not just the broad brush that stands out, but the intricate detail in the greens that have you learning new things each time you play it.” – Brian Walshe.
7. ROYAL MELBOURNE GC – EAST COURSE
Black Rock, Victoria
Designers: Alex Russell (1932); Tom Doak – Renaissance Golf (ongoing).
Average points: 94.05.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 7, 6, 6, 7, 6.
Comments: “Almost too good to be anyone’s ‘second’ course, Royal Melbourne East winds its way across three different parcels of land. Renaissance Golf’s deft touch has removed a few rough edges from earlier work and better melded the original and later work together. Its best is as good as its neighbour which is high praise.” – Brian Walshe.
“The combination of shorter and longer two-shot holes plus one of the best range of four par-3s makes Royal Melbourne East the third best course on the Sandbelt in my opinion.” – James Bennett.
“Imagine being Tiger Woods’ little brother … regardless of how good you are you're probably never going to get the recognition you deserve. Royal Melbourne East is that little brother – a sensational golf course with some standout holes that complement the West Course in the Composite routing, which is still not high enough praise for 'The East'. The 135-metre 13th holes always seems to transport me to a peaceful patch of heaven along the Murray River, far away from the hustle and bustle of Cheltenham.” – Kevin Nolan.
“More than just the sibling of the West course, Royal Melbourne East is a fine, testing yet manageable layout. It sits comfortably within the upper echelon of Australian golf courses, and is still under-rated by some due to the grandeur of the course next to it. East has benefitted from further subtle tweaking from consultant architect Tom Doak and bunker work during the COVID-induced layoff. Its best holes are brilliant, and a joy to play.” – Matt Mollica.
6. PENINSULA KINGSWOOD – NORTH COURSE
Designers: Sloan Morpeth (1969); Mike Clayton (2002); Geoff Ogilvy, Mike Clayton, Mike Cocking & Ashley Mead – OCCM (2019).
Average points: 94.11.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 5, NR, 20, 18, 17.
Comments: “The major renovations have been nothing short of spectacular. Exceptional green complexes, and gorgeous bunkering are complimented by pure putting surfaces, which are now even better a few years after the completion of the rebuild.” – Matt Mollica.
“The OCM redesign of this course was quite amazing. Opening up of the playing corridors along with greater strategic bunkering was quite a transformation from the original layout. The course can only continue to improve over time as it beds in even further.” – Carl Murphy.
“There wouldn't be anywhere in the World that has seen a better make over at a golfing facility.” – Cameron Howell.
“OCCM’s 21st century Sandbelt tribute is a big course with massive greens designed for big occasions. The bunkering is both plentiful and beautiful but the greens are the highlight. They are big with plenty of interesting movement and lots of little lobes and plateaus that can turn a hole from friendly into tough by moving the pin 15 paces.” – Brian Walshe.
“Peninsula North is quickly becoming a modern classic that is only improving with a few growing seasons under its belt. It possesses an exceptional set of par-3s with the 2nd hole being, not only the highlight, but one of the best on a world scale.” – DJ Loypur.
“This is a very impressive layout, with incredible playing surfaces. I found it more difficult than many others suggested. It's much tighter than the South Course and when the wind got up, playing the ball lower to the ground almost became mandatory. As a golfer, the North Course really excites me, however as a business owner, it frightens me to think what it must take to maintain the course(s) and surrounds.” – Peter Robertson.
“This is a great redesign of a quality golf site that has enhanced many of the vistas and now has quality playing surfaces. The number of hazards and waste areas look great but could be a concern for the high handicapper and could make for a miserable day.” – Ashley Clinch.
“This is a stunningly beautiful piece of undulating sandy land for golf.” – Rob Williamson.
5. KINGSTON HEATH GC
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: 96.85.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 6, 4, 3, 4, 2.
Comments: “A routing that twists and weaves yet never feels cramped, Kingston Heath doesn’t bludgeon you but gently and subtlety lets you know that it’s a very good course. From the likes of the brilliant short par-3 10th to the sweeping downhill par-4 16th, it doesn’t try to overwhelm you but instead keeps asking questions for the golfer to answer.” – Brian Walshe.
“Kingston Heath’s bunkering consistently wins acclaim from all who play there, and the green complexes are among the best in Australia.” – Matt Mollica.
“There isn’t a weak hole at Kingston Heath … only debates about which hole is the best (11th for me). An unbelievable feat of golf architecture on such a small and relatively flat piece of land makes Kingston Heath truly remarkable.
The mastery of the design of Kingston Heath only grows as time goes on as it has remained largely unaffected against advancing technology. The aura of timelessness you get at Kingston Heath is a testament to the club’s constant monitoring of vegetation, and high presentation standards.” – DJ Loypur.
“It would be a wonderful exercise to take an overseas visitor to Kingston heath, play 18 (or 19) holes and then tell them there are two higher ranked golf courses across the road and potentially three or four more a short plane ride away. I assume they would think you were insane. It's always a great day when you wake up knowing you're going to Kingston Heath.” – Kevin Nolan.
“It’s not possible to get bored playing the Heath. It tests every part of your game, especially your brain.” – Rob Williamson.
4. BARNBOUGLE LOST FARM
Designer: Bill Coore (2010).
Average points: 97.31.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 4, 5, 4, 3, 4.
Comments: “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.
“The exquisite design incorporating the natural large dunes make for a thrilling round of golf. It’s hard to forget the spectacular 5th and 14th holes, but even those occupying the flatter terrain such as the 2nd and 13th holes offer fun decision making that’ll leave you itching to play them again.” – Michael Green.
“The Bill Coore-designed course plays quite differently to the Dunes course. Playing to more expansive fairways, the continual change in direction allows some relief on blustery days.” – Carl Murphy.
“The course in Australia that tempts you the most. When people talk about risk and reward course design, Lost Farm should be their poster child with a collection of both tee shots and approaches that beautifully balance the lure of a great advantage with the risk of a round destroying triple bogey. Add in some of the cleverest greens you’ll find and it’s a course that will continually entice you back.” – Brian Walshe.
“Lost Farm never disappoints. Beautifully designed where low markers need to find the right part of the fairway to score well, while high handicappers can get around just as easily and enjoy it. A fantastic golf course.” – Kevin Nolan.
“Here, links golf is embodied in true form. A coastal location with sandy earth, fescue grasses, and wide fairways. Just the way to spend a day.” – Cameron Howell.
“One of the best attributes of Lost Farm is the level of enjoyment you can have in all conditions. It is challenging and versatile. Here is a style of design you won’t find anywhere else in Australia executed to perfection.” – DJ Loypur.
“Angles, width, coastal, inland, elevation undulation and flat, this course has got it all. Of all the courses I’ve played this one stays in my head the most.” – Rob Williamson.
“This is Australian golfs answer to modern destination links golf with a slight resort feel. Less rugged than its Dunes sibling but no less beautiful. Make sure you play all 20 holes and save a nearest to pin wager for the short par-3 20th. The crowd at the sports bar will usually be there to give you a warm golfing welcome.” – Ross Flannigan.
“It's Barnbougle tradition to play both courses, sit in the Lost Farm clubhouse, eat pizza and debate which course is Simon and which is Garfunkel. It shouldn't be surprising how often Lost Farm comes out on top.” – Adrian Logue.
3. BARNBOUGLE DUNES
Designers: Tom Doak & Mike Clayton (2004).
Average points: 97.5
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 3, 2, 2, 2, 3.
Comments: “Barnbougle Dunes, and adjoining Lost Farm, is the best value golf experience in the land. As the courses gained their national and international reputations, owner Richard Sattler, has resisted the temptation to disproportionally increase the green fees, the accommodation rates, and the cost of food and fine wine. He could probably double it all over night and it would remain inexpensive by world standards. And we would all still keep coming back.” – Craig Read.
“The older I get, the more I find myself identifying the greatest courses by their life-affirming best holes than the weaker holes that may have been necessary to connect them. Only Royal Melbourne’s West Course has more great holes in Australia.” – Scott Warren.
“A golf experience to feed your soul like the excellent seafood chowder that feeds your belly.” – Adrian Logue.
“Australian golf’s Field of Dreams. Build it and they will come has proven to be the case for the course that changed the game for both golf course architecture and public golf in Australia. Tom Doak and Mike Clayton built a raft of holes that are not only some of the best in the country but are the equal to anything overseas. The 7th shows that you don’t need to have a 450-metre par-4 to scare golfers, in fact a par-3 that is often no more than a flick with a wedge can be absolutely terrifying.” – Brian Walshe.
“Every time I go to Barnbougle Dunes I get excited and I'm never let down. There are so many great shots to play, so many wonderful chips and putts to stimulate your brain while the rest of your senses get an overload from the surroundings. It's just a wonderful place to play golf.” – Kevin Nolan.
“I am not sure this place can get any better – the variety, playability and fun that it provides is world class. You can score as quickly as the course can bring you to your knees – the right spots to hit it are there on every hole. I could play this course every day.” – Troy Scott.
“Barnbougle Dunes has amazing natural green complexes, while great strategic qualities are the course’s hallmarks.”– Matt Mollica.
2. CAPE WICKHAM LINKS
King Island, Tasmania
Designers: Darius Oliver and Mike DeVries (2015).
Average points: 98.07
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 2, 2, 2, 2, 3.
Comments: “Dramatic, remote, true links destination golf of the highest global standard.” – Ross Flannigan.
“This is an absolute masterpiece on the north coast of King Island – playability in just about any weather (we got the best and worse during our visit) is evidence of how good the design is.” – Troy Scott.
“There’s not a soft hole to be seen at Cape Wickham, not a blade of grass out of place. This is a paradise with a cool breeze.” – Peter Martin.
“Every shot you hit at Cape Wickham is like playing into a postcard. There is no better golfing experience in the country.” – DJ Loypur.
“I’ve never come across a piece of land so ideally suited for the building of a golf course. This serene links is perched on the rugged King Island coast, and represents a true paradise for those willing to take on the challenge.” – Cameron Howell.
“Cape Wickham continues to rightly receive critical acclaim around the world. The sensible and sophisticated design accommodates the diverse and sometimes strong winds. Shot after shot is thrilling and the course is visually spectacular.” – Matt Mollica.
“Cape Wickham is the only course in Australia capable of knocking Royal Melbourne’s West Course of its perch as the premier layout in the country. The firmly presented fescue surfaces are brilliant to play off, especially around the greens where every club in the bag comes into play. This is such a fun course to play.” – Rich Macafee.
1. ROYAL MELBOURNE GC – WEST COURSE
Black Rock, Victoria
Designers: Dr Alister MacKenzie (1931); Tom Doak (ongoing).
Average points: 99.86.
2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012 rankings: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1.
Comments: “Royal Melbourne West is 18 holes of pure golf delight testing every club in the bag and every shot in your arsenal. The joy of finding solutions to all the questions the course asks never gets old. Indeed, some of these questions are rarely asked on other courses around the world, let alone Australia.” – Michael Green.
“Simply as good as golf gets in Australia. Sublime architecture matched by great conditioning and wonderful vegetation management … it has width, amazing green complexes and some of the best bunkering on the planet. One of the few courses anywhere that still asks questions of the world’s best but is playable by all.” – Brian Walshe.
“The golfer who doesn’t feel emotionally stirred when they golf at Royal Melbourne beneath these clear blue skies and with the ti tree fragrance in his nostrils is one who should be ruled out of golf for life.” – Cameron Howell.
“The architecture at Royal Melbourne West is without peer, as is the leadership shown by Australia's premier golf course – sustainable maintenance practices, native heath regeneration, a duty of care for its public golf neighbour Sandy Links, preservation and restoration of its own historic layout. A course and club that all Australian golf courses can take their lead from.” – Adrian Logue.
“The scale, grasses, vegetation, architecture and buzz of Royal Melbourne is always there. So many fun shots to try and play, if you are good enough. The recent vegetation management with some ti tree removal has improved playing lines and encouraged wildflowers to grow.” – James Bennett.
“Royal Melbourne’s ongoing attention to detail on the West course provides a valuable lesson to clubs that dream of challenging it for plaudits: the job is never over when absolute excellence is the goal.” – Scott Warren.
“A true masterpiece.” – DJ Loypur.
“Royal Melbourne West has gone from strength-to-strength in the past decade. It is one of the world’s best courses, and the premier layout in the Southern Hemisphere. The stretch from the 2nd to 7th is perhaps the best string of half a dozen holes on Earth.” – Matt Mollica.
“Will always be No.1. The end.” – Rob Williamson.
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