Top 10 Courses: Australia

From the Melbourne Sandbelt to the islands of Tasmania, the Land Down Under has an overabundance of stunning golf settings to choose from

Australia courses
Royal Melbourne (West) (photo by Gary Lisbon)

1. ROYAL MELBOURNE (WEST), Black Rock Alister MacKenzie’s masterpiece of strategic design, set on rugged natural terrain, marries bold fairway contours with spectacular bunkering and ingeniously contoured, silky smooth greens.

2. KINGSTON HEATH, Cheltenham Royal Melbourne’s Sandbelt neighbor, also designed by MacKenzie, is very nearly its equal. Once again, brilliantly constructed bunkers and greens mark a layout that blends seamlessly with its environment.

3. CAPE WICKHAM, King Island In 2015, Mike DeVries and Darius Oliver were presented a spectacular site on an island between Tasmania and the mainland, and they delivered an equally spectacular links, routed ingeniously to maximize both challenge and charm.

4. BARNBOUGLE (DUNES), Tasmania Designed in 2004 by Tom Doak, this was Tasmania’s second course, the first built in 1842. It unfurls in a pair of loops on two miles of sand dunes beside Bass Strait, where ever-present wind adds to the assignment.

5. NEW SOUTH WALES, La Perouse Few courses have a more dramatic setting than this, perched on craggy cliffs above Sydney’s Botany Bay. The par-three 6th, played across the Pacific, gets most of the attention, but there are no weak holes.

6. BARNBOUGLE (LOST FARM), Tasmania Coore & Crenshaw’s only Australian design, sister to Doak’s course, numbers 20 holes (two “spare” par threes). A bit more removed from the sea than its sibling, its broad, rolling fairways wind through both linksland and parkland.

7. ROYAL MELBOURNE (EAST), Black Rock Although set on less favorable terrain than the West, the East boasts the same superb bunker and green construction, this time by MacKenzie’s partner, Australian Open Champion Alex Russell.

8. ROYAL ADELAIDE, Seaton With sand-based seaside turf, pine-lined fairways, and a railway running through it, this may be the most British-feeling of Australia’s great courses, and its superb collection of cozy, occasionally quirky, holes is further testimony.

9. VICTORIA, Cheltenham Another Sandbelt standout via MacKenzie, with an odd twist: Each of its nines finishes with back-to-back par fives. Geoff Ogilvy cut his teeth on this taut test—but never won the club championship.

10. NATIONAL (MOONAH), Cape Schank One of four courses comprising Australia’s largest private club, this Greg Norman design on the Mornington Peninsula, while not a pure links, plays much that way, with dune-lined fairways, jagged-edge bunkers, and greens that welcome a running approach.

What are your favorite golf courses in Australia?



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