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15 Best Golf Courses in Australia

September 2019

From the world famous Melbourne sand belt to the wonderful island of Tasmania, Australia is any golfers dream destination and is filled with some of the world’s finest golf courses. Australia’s top golf courses offer a variety of experience that is tough to be beat anywhere else in the world.

The combination of average google reviews and reviews on the Top 100 golf courses website was used to compile this list of the top 15 golf courses in Australia. All courses were given a score out of a possible 10.

Read Next: Best Golf Courses in New Zealand and South Africa.

Please note: The list of courses in this article are based on 3rd party rankings from sites like Golf Digest, Top 100 Golf Courses, Planet Golf and Golf Advisor; as well as from consumer reviews from platforms like Google and Trip Advisor.

Best Australian Golf Courses

1. Royal Melbourne (West)

royal melbourne west

Photo by Royal Melbourne

  • Location:Black Rock, Victoria
  • Date Established: 1891
  • Course Architect: Alister Mackenzie, Alex Russell
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Ranked in the top 5 courses in the world

Royal Melbourne (West), is Australia’s oldest continually existing golf course and has shifted locations three times since it was originally opened in 1891. The course is a must visit for any golf tourists and provides one of the richest and most rewarding golfing experiences that Australia has to offer.

Steeped in rich tournament history, Royal Melbourne has hosted 16 Australian Open tournaments and was the first golf club to host a Presidents Cup tournament outside of the United States.

The rugged landscape provides a perfect backdrop to a beautifully manicured and contoured golf course. Royal Melbourne West boasts large and pristine greens, which are often considered to be the best putting surfaces in the country.

2. Kingston Heath


Photo by Kingston Heath Golf Club

  • Location: Cheltenham, Victoria
  • Date Established: 1925
  • Course Architect: Dan Soutar
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Hosted 2016 World Cup of Golf

This golf course lies in the famous Melbourne sand belt region and is surrounded by many great courses such as Royal Melbourne (West and East) and Victoria Golf Club. Although this golf course is eclipsed by Royal Melbourne in the official rankings, many people believe it actually exceeds the number one ranked course in many aspects.

Kingston Heath provides a stern challenge to all golfers with a focus on accuracy and course management. Playing a strategic game of golf is integral to performing well at this golf course with deep bunkers lying in wait for those that stray too far from the fairways or greens.

The finishing five holes are believed to be the best collection of holes in Australian Championship Golf with a long and challenging par four to finish off your round.

3. Barnbougle Dunes Links


Photo by Barnbougle https://barnbougle.com.au/

  • Location: Bridport, Tasmania
  • Date Established: 2005
  • Course Architect: Tom Doak and Mike Clayton
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: 11th in world rankings

Players seeking a links golf experience will feel right at home at Barnbougle Dunes. This is a golf course made by golfers for golfers and purists of the game will thoroughly enjoy the golfing experience provided at Barnbougle Dunes.

Described as a golf course “made upstairs”, it features many elevated tees that are often affected by the prevailing westerly wind.  Barnbougle Dunes demands accuracy, brilliant course management skills and lots of extra golf balls.

Although it lacks the brilliant clubhouse or facilities of other top golf courses, the fairways and greens are beautifully manicured. Barnbougle dunes is a purely magical golf course that is challenging and exciting. 

4. New South Wales Golf Club


Photo by New South Wales Golf Club

  • Location: Botany Bay, Le Perouse
  • Date Established: 1928
  • Course Architect: Alister Mackenzie
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Ranked in top 50 courses in the world

NSW is one of the most spectacular but challenging golf courses in Australia. Those that have played this golf course in any type of wind will attest to the difficulty of the course. The bush fires that swept through the area a few years ago removed some of the undergrowth but it has resulted in picturesque views that will leave you speechless.

Although not a true links course, the rugged terrain and lighting fast greens will provide a test for all golfers. Holes five to seven are considered NSW’s best with the world-famous par three sixth hole sitting in the middle of this stretch. This hole sometimes requires a shot over the Pacific Ocean to allow the wind to bring it back to the green.

NSW has one of the finest closing stretches in the world with a tough par five 18th hole that requires an accurate drive, layup and approach shot to a deceptively difficult green.

5. Cape Wickham

Photo by Cape Wickham

  • Location:King Island, Tasmania
  • Date Established: 2015
  • Course Architect: Darius Oliver and Mike DeVries
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Every hole has an ocean view

Situated a 45-minute drive away from the regional airport in Currie, this golf course lies in the northwest corner of the island. Although it can be quite tough to get to, the journey to reach this site is well worth it.

You will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views that can rival the likes of Pebble Beach, and in some cases even exceed it.

The highlight of this golf course is its play-ability, variety and breathtaking panoramic ocean views. Holes 9 through 12 are the best stretch on the course, despite how strong the introductory holes are. Cape Wickham isn’t the toughest or longest golf course by any means, but it is sure to be the most memorable for many golfers.

6. Barnbougle Lost Farm

Photo by Barnbougle Lost Farm

  • Location: Bridport, Tasmania.
  • Date Established: 2010
  • Course Architect: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: 20 hole layout.

Having to compete with its neighbour, Barnbougle Dunes, this golf course is excellent in its own right and is a worthy adversary to its more famous sister course. For those seeking an enjoyable and slightly less challenging golfing experience, this golf course will provide just that.

The wide fairways allows for a more strategic game and adds to the playability and variety of the golf course. The addition of this golf course has made Tasmania into a wonderful golfing destination and is a must visit for any avid golf fan.

The first two holes provide a strong start to a great front nine with the highlight being the short par three fourth hole, which overlooks the beach. From there, the rest of the holes are played more inland with a slightly less links feel.

This is where the course loses a bit of ground to its competitor, which has exceptional holes throughout. Luckily, the course finishes strong and the 18th hole is a fitting end with a brilliant two shot hole.

7. Victoria Golf Club

Photo by Victoria Golf Club

  • Location: Cheltenham, Victoria
  • Date Established: 1903
  • Course Architect: Alister Mackenzie and Mike Clayton
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Hosted the Australian Masters in 2010 and 2011.

Only a single road separates Victoria Golf Club from the public course at Sandringham and Royal Melbourne. These three courses together represent the largest contiguous belt of golfing land in metropolitan Melbourne.

Victoria Golf Club has a dedicated programme of refurbishment and renewal with the latest focus being on restoration of bunkers and the regeneration of trees. For those golfers that are travelling from out of town, the club has 12 double bedrooms on top of the clubhouse and visitors are welcome to stay.

Victoria features firm and fast greens with strategically placed bunkers that will test your short game. The back nine is where the course shines and is the highlight for most people that play this course. Along with Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath, this golf course is a must play if you visit Melbourne.

8. Ellerston

Photo by https://gngcd.com/ellerston/

  • Location: Hunter Valley, New South Wales
  • Date Established: 2001
  • Course Architect: Greg Norman and Bob Harrison
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Built for Australia media Magnate, Kelly Packer

Built on the 70 000-acre private estate of the Packer family, Ellerston Golf Club is one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world.

Access to this course is highly limited, so not very few people have been able to experience this beautiful golf course with many guests being helicoptered in.

Once on the property there is a no picture policy due it to being the Packers own private estate. The golf course is built over undulating land which features many elevation changes that add an extra layer of difficulty to the already challenging golf course.

Ellerston is a tough course that has been specifically built for the lower handicap golfer. An invite to play at this course is an experience to be treasured and it is a shame that more players don’t have access to this wonderful golf course as it would certainly be ranked much higher in the Top 100 rankings.

9. Royal Adelaide

  • Location: Seaton, Adelaide
  • Date Established: 1892
  • Course Architect: Cargie Rymill, Dan Soutar and Alister Mackenzie
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Hosted the Australian Open nine times and host of the 1994, 2017 and 2020 Womens Australian Open

Although the course isn’t bordered by the sea, the course plays more like a links course than an inland course. Royal Adelaide is steeped in rich history having hosted nine Australian Open tournaments.

This golf course features immaculate conditioning with tightly mown fairways and greens that are some of the truest in the country. Due to the golf course playing so fast and firm, it requires imagination and strategy.

Where the golf course lacks in the visual department, it certainly makes up for it in the fun factor and playability of the golf course. The par four 18th hole is a disappointing finish to an otherwise wonderful golf course. Royal Adelaide is a must visit for anyone in the area.

10. National (Moonah)


Photo by Greg Norman Golf Course Design

  • Location: Cape Schanck, Victoria
  • Date Established: 2000
  • Course Architect: Greg Norman and Bob Harrison
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Australia’s largest private golf club

With three courses to choose from, there is no shortage of golf to be played at the National Golf Club’s Mornington site. The Old, the Gunnamatta and the Moonah all rank in Australia’s Top 50 but if you can only play one round, make sure you play it on the Moonah course. An old-fashioned game is required to score well here with many greens being raised and open-fronted.

To get close to the pins, a good mastery of the bump and run shot will be required. Like a traditional links course, when the wind gets up it can turn the course into a challenging experience for the mid to high handicap player.

This course is a must visit for any golfing fan as it is part of the greatest golf complex in the country.

11. Royal Melbourne (East)


Photo by Golf Select

  • Location: Black Rock, Victoria
  • Date Established: 1908
  • Course Architect: Alex Russell and Mike Morcom
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: 71st in World Rankings

Due to the distribution and nature of the available land, the East Course differs substantially from the West Course.

Despite the inferior terrain of the eastern property, the East Course offers greens and bunkers constructed as beautifully as the West Course and features a great variety of holes.

The East Course offers an exceptional closing stretch which incorporates the most dramatic undulation on the course.

Although the East Course is always going to live in the shadow of its neighbour due to the variances in terrain, there aren’t many other courses in Australia that boast its number of world-class moments.

12. St Andrews Beach


Photo by St Andrews Beach Golf Club

  • Location: St Andrews Beach, Victoria
  • Date Established: 2004
  • Course Architect: Tom Doak and Mike Clayton
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Tom Doak first Australian mainland ensemble

One of the most forward-thinking facilities in Australia, St Andrews Beach Golf Club has eyes on the environment with their general ecological awareness and their re-vegetation plan.

They also ran an inspired monthly membership trial scheme that allowed players unlimited access to the course for a reasonable fee before committing to the golf course. The course has a bit of everything with a variety of memorable holes that roll across links-like land.

Tom Doak’s goal was to have as many holes as possible where the contouring of the fairway and rough hasn’t been altered. St Andrews Beach is not the longest course, measuring just over 6,000 metres, but with tricky greens and with a lowly par 70, shooting a low score is easier said than done.

13. Metropolitan


Photo by Visit Melbourne

  • Location: South Oakleigh, Victoria
  • Date Established: 1908
  • Course Architect: J. B. Wilson and Dick Wilson
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Hosted seven Australian Open tournaments

Metropolitan Golf Club lies in the famous Melbourne Sandbelt region. These courses are all praised for the rugged beauty and challenge of their bunkering and Metropolitan rightly receives all the praise it gets with bunkers that are cut into the greens’ edges in the most stunning manner.

Metropolitan is one the best hand finished golf courses in the world with comparisons being made to Augusta National because of the immaculate presentation of bunkers, greens and carpet-like fairways.

This course features excellent all-year-round conditioning that rivals the best courses in the world. A round at Metropolitan is an exceptional experience and is a worthy rival to other top courses in the Sandbelt.

14. Cathedral Lodge


Photo by Cathedral Lodge & Golf Club

  • Location: Thornton, Victoria
  • Date Established: 2017
  • Course Architect: Greg Norman
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Membership capped at 150 families

The course was developed by former Essendon Football Club President David Evans and is a high-end private facility with membership capped at 150 families.

Due to it exclusivity and similar landscapes, comparisons have been made with Ellerston Golf Course in New South Wales. Unlike Ellerston, which is a tough course designed for elite players, Cathedral Lodge caters to golfers of all levels and is a more balanced course.

The course is set in a wide canyon surrounded by mountains with the spectacular backdrop of Cathedral Mountain framing many of the holes. This course is sure to impress those looking for a private experience away from the busier Melbourne clubs.

15. National (Old)


Photo by National Golf

  • Location: Cape Schanck, Victoria
  • Date Established: 1988
  • Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr
  • Highlight / Interesting Fact: Part of Australia’s largest private members’ golf club

The first of three courses to be laid out at the Mornington site, the Old course is nothing if not dramatic. The course is set in an elevated dunescape with sweeping ocean views and is the most visually appealing of the three courses at the site.

The course features many elevation changes with undulating terrain and elevated tees that often allow for an ocean view. The Old course isn’t as punishing as Moonah and as such, will appeal to a wider range of players.

Although not an overly long course, the wind, bunkering and elevation changes make it a challenging but rewarding course for those able to navigate these challenges successfully.

About the author 

Paul Bradshaw

Paul hit his first golf shot at the age of 5, and from that point on was immediately hooked. He went on to become one of the leading amateurs in South Africa, securing a full golf scholarship with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. Turning professional in 2004, Paul played extensively on the Sunshine Tour and co-sanctioned European Tour events. Paul is our lead editor at Golf Assessor.

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