Golf Down Under: Australia's Best Courses

By Ryan Watson

Australia is one of the most popular travel spots in the world. Though many visitors come to play on the thousands of beaches or to venture into the outback to see animals not found anywhere else in the world, Australia also has some world class golf courses. Golf remains very popular in the country, with about 10% of the population playing by some estimates. Golfing hot beds are in Tasmania and Melbourne’s “Sand Belt,” but a good round of golf can be had nearly anywhere in coastal Australia. The following is a list of Australia’s 5 best courses.

New South Wales Golf Club

1528 Anzac Parade
La Perouse, NSW 2036

Any course designed by Alister MacKenzie, British architect of many notable courses such as Cypress Point Club and the famed Augusta National, is likely to make the list. And rest assured, this is the first MacKenzie entrance, but not the last, on this list. This course combines both links style and parkland style holes, providing variety for golfers. The course is known for its amazing views of Botany Bay, and those sea breezes come into play often. In fact, expect holes to play in all four cardinal directions just to make the wind challenge more acute, as the course seeks to punish errant shots. However, despite its difficulty, New South Wales Golf Club provides a fair game to all challengers.

Kingston Heath Golf Club

Kingston Road
Cheltenham, VIC 3192

The suburban Melbourne Kingston Heath Golf Club was founded in 1909, and moved to their present location in 1925. Their new course was designed by Dan Soutar, with bunkering advice given by none other than Alister MacKenzie in 1926. This highly exclusive club is routinely considered one of the world’s best, and has hosted numerous high profile tournaments throughout its long history. The course is noted for its use of natural bunkering and is the epitome of strategic golf. If you are lucky enough to play the course be ready for firm and fast greens and fairways that often lead into deep sand bunkers and natural rough. Truly a world class challenge to any golfer visiting Australia.

Barnbougle Dunes

425 Waterhouse Road
Bridport, TAS 7262

Moving off the mainland and South to the island of Tasmania, Barnbougle Dunes is the premier course at Barnbougle Golf (though the Old Farm course is certainly no slouch either). The course is relatively new, only opening in 2005 after its design by Tom Doak and Mike Clayton. The course is surrounded by large natural sand dunes and utilizes a links style layout to provide a stern test for golfers. The real genius of this design is how well the layout hugs the natural landscape, shaped by the natural rolling topography and sandy terrain. It is the kind of course that a purist will absolutely love as it relies purely on skill, not gimmicks, to create an Australian masterpiece.

Cape Wickham Links

Cape Wickham Road
Wickham, TAS 7256

Cape Wickham Links is an even newer course, opening in 2015, and is part of growing group of courses rapidly turning Tasmania into a premier golfing destination. The course was designed by Mike DeVries and features 8 holes played along the rocky coast. Views here are spectacular, with the ocean in view on every single hole. Players must contend with the “Roaring Forties,” the local name for the westerly blowing trade winds, not to mention the knee-high grass and forced carries. The course is definitely challenging, but it is playable as long as golfers use bump and run tactics and play strategically.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club

Cheltenham Rd
Black Rock, VIC 3193, Australia

Australia’s oldest golf club, The Royal Melbourne, is home to the world famous West course. The course, like the New South Wales Golf Club’s, was designed by Alister MacKenzie. The course is widely seen as a “second shot” course as the relatively wide fairways provide some comfort in tee shots. However, approach shots must be accurate or golfers will be punished by difficult greens and strategic bunkering and scrambling for par. The variety of holes is what keeps golfers coming back as no two holes employ the same challenge. Beautifully maintained and designed, it’s no surprise that Royal Melbourne’s West course is routinely listed as Australia’s best course.

About the Author

Ryan Watson is a freelance sportswriter and history professor. He has been an avid fan of golf since his father signed him up for golf camp as a young child. Ryan enjoys following the professional game and learning about new equipment and gadgets.