The 5 best golf courses in Australia
Golf Australia’s panellists have spent the last two years playing and ranking the top 100 Golf Courses across the ditch. Here are the top 5 and the catalyst for our latest golf promotion to Australia
5. Peninsula Kingwood (North Course)
While the intention was never to create two distinctly different designs, the nature of the site suggested that the North would always feel a little different to the South. The North, playing over sandier and more undulating ground (with perhaps the best examples of heathland vegetation of any ground), was always intended to be a pure Sandbelt experience. Firm and fast, with tilted greens, expansive bunkers, wide fairways and roughs, the North course features that distinctive combination of sand, native grasses and heathland vegetation that the region is known for.
Course Highlight: Hole 8 285m Par 4:
Many of the world’s great short par fours feature a penal hazard which one must flirt with to gain an advantage, and here we find perhaps the biggest, deepest, angriest hazard on the course. There is an abundance of the fairway to the right, but the angle into the green makes for a more difficult pitch from here. In the right conditions, some will choose to try and carry all the trouble to finish on or around the green and leave a relatively simple up and down for birdie. For those who can’t make that sort of carrying, a small bump just right of the big hazard can help funnel a running ball further around to the left, leaving a fairly straight forward pitch.
4. Barnbougle Lost Farm
Bill Coore has a reputation for minimalist course design and a philosophy that traditional, strategic golf is the most rewarding. The 20 holes Lost Farm is developed to complement the dramatic coastal landscape.
Lost Farm is right next door to Barnbougle Dunes, however, the two courses are very different. The dunes at Lost Farm are steeper and far more dramatic than those at Barnbougle Dunes.
Lost Farm boasts 20 holes, all of which are playable during any given round. The layout of Lost Farm also has a different routing compared to Barnbougle Dunes, the fairways roll both along the coast and inland.
Course Highlight: 5TH, PAR 4, 443 METRES
Tee off on the coastal headland and towards the inland and alongside the Forester River. The 5th hole at Lost Farm is incredible, both visually and in terms of strategy. On the back tee, golfers must bend around a 20ft dune, looming on the right of the fairway. If you choose to take the safe route, drive left of the open rolling fairway to give yourself a shot at the elevated green. Eagle hunters can risk at a wet ball in the river by aiming for the small corner of the green.
3. Barnbougle Dunes
Barnbougle Dunes is a traditional link’s located on the pristine coastline, typical of Tasmania. Recently completed in 2004, this 18 hole golf course is a spectacular amalgamation of Mother Nature’s beauty and the craftsmanship of man.
Golf at Barnbougle is a game of strategy, where each shot requires tactical thought, and a little creativity can be very rewarding. It’s strong enough to test gifted golfers, yet fair enough to be enjoyed by the average player.
A blend of fescue and bent grasses, the course flourishes in the coastal environment. Fairways at Barnbougle Dunes are wide – wider than most golfers will have experienced on traditional courses.
The greens are lively, rolling with the natural undulation of the dunes. And with the 4th hole boasting the largest bunker in the southern hemisphere, this course is designed to challenge.
Course Highlight 7TH, PAR 3, 112 METRES
The quirky 7th, nicknamed ‘Tom’s Little Devil’ is a 112m par 3 that demands a precise shot from a slightly elevated tee onto a tiny upturned green. On a calm day, the short distance means you could literally throw your ball onto the green; a 9-iron would be plenty of stick. However, when the prevailing northwesterly raises its head a middle iron punched low into the wind may be the best way to defend against a bounce into the deep bunker to the left or a slide down the steep bank behind the green.
2. Cape Wickham Golf Links
Positioned on King Island’s rugged north-west coast, lies Cape Wickham Links. A pure links golf course, eight holes play directly along the shoreline with spectacular views of the Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean visible from every spot.
Australian golf at its best, the course at Cape Wickham, designed by Mike DeVries and Darius Oliver, is a masterclass in links golf design. The playing corridors at Cape Wickham are relatively generous in width – and they need to be given the Roaring Forties (strong westerly trade winds) reach 30 kilometres per hour on most days.
The wide fairways bring strategy into play as the holes change in character depending on the line of approach and position of the flagstick. The first three holes play around Cape Farewell, and the rocky outcrops on the foreshore are quite mesmerising. The routing moves inland as holes six to nine take on a different character through coastal dunes.
1. Royal Melbourne Golf Club – West
Royal Melbourne Golf Club’s is one of the globe’s most famous golf courses and in 1891, created the birthplace of the world-famous Melbourne Sandbelt
Everyone has written on the qualities of the West Course but put it’s a combination of the most significant land, most incredible design and most splendid construction ever seen in Australia. The drama of undulation, fertile sandy soil and with a rugged natural appearance, it was a gift from the golfing gods.
Course Highlight: Hole 6, Par 4 391m
Royal Melbourne Golf Club’s 6th is considered Alister MacKenzie’s best work. The high tee box, golfers confront a choice of driving over the bunkers guarding the dogleg corner or playing safe away to the left. The safer drive means a long second.