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A country with a rich array of outstanding golf courses, we take a look at some of the best in Australia.
The Best Golf Courses In Australia
Australia has become a must-visit for all true golf fans because of the sheer quality of golf course on offer. Many of its layouts feature in world ranking lists and some iconic designers have produced some of their finest work down under.
What adds to the allure even further is the fact that many of the best courses are situated close to one another - Royal Melbourne, Victoria, Metropolitan, Yarra Yarra, Kingston Heath and countless other courses are right next to each other!
Here we take a look at some of the best golf courses in the country.
Royal Melbourne (East and West)
The West course at Royal Melbourne is rated as the best course in Australia and one of the very best in the world. Set on what has become known as Melbourne’s Sandbelt, the course is one of the very finest examples of the work of Dr Alister MacKenzie (opens in new tab).
With firm fairways and tremendous green complexes, Royal Melbourne’s West course delivers a pure and near-perfect golfing test.
The East may not have the same level of reverence but it is still a world-class layout with several of the holes used in the composite track that regularly plays host to big tournaments and events.
With 50 hectares of fairly flat virgin land to work on, Dan Souter started construction on Kingston Heath, when word had it that Dr MacKenzie was working down in Black Rock. An invitation for him to visit and make some observations was proffered and to the delight of all accepted.
After his visits he tweaked the fairways, some lengths and rendered the greens a little less severe. Bunkering had already gained his stamp after the club gained the services of Mick Morcom.
A Tom Doak (opens in new tab) and Michael Clayton design, Barnbougle Dunes has become known as one of the very best courses in Australia and one of the top-50 layouts anywhere in the world. Set on Tasmania’s striking north east coast, the track has been laid out across the stunning, rolling coastal terrain, between the impressive sandhills. This is a great golfing venue delivering wild and dramatic golf.
Barnbougle Lost Farm
It was not an easy task to create a course that can compete with the original design at Barnbougle, the Dunes course. But Coore and Crenshaw’s Lost Farm does just that with its two extra par-3s that mean their are 20 holes for you to enjoy.
New South Wales
MacKenzie designed this gem in 1928 which looks out over Botany Bay. It may not technically be a links course, but it most definitely plays like one thanks to its rugged terrain, strong winds and lightning fast greens.
Situated on the island of Tasmania along with the two world class tracks at Barnbougle is Cape Wickham. Created by Mike DeVries, the course starts by moving around the Cape Farewell headland before switching into the holes set amongst the sand hills.
The final few holes move towards the Cape Wickham Lighthouse and the final hole wraps itself around the cove.
From the short 250-yard par-4 opening - to the 18th a birdieable par 5, all the holes at Victoria are protected by high trees which block out sight and sound of local traffic.
No consecutive holes are played in the same direction, and the wind, a regular factor here, has a major influence on club selection. The most splendid set of par 3s adorn Victoria - all are uphill either severely, like the 14th and 16th, or gently at the 4th and the superbly bunkered 7th.
How exclusive is this club? On average, just three foursomes tee it up. Not per day. Per week. It was created in 2001 at the behest of Australia’s richest man, the late media tycoon Kerry Packer.
Set in the rugged bush country of the Upper Hunter Valley, a four-hour drive northwest of Sydney, the muscular, drama-filled Greg Norman/Bob Harrison design features plentiful forced carries over deep gullies and ravines. Most of the course is set in a valley, with Pages Creek influencing play on half the holes.
Immaculate conditioning pairs with Norman’s Sandbelt-style bunkers and chipping areas, tangles of buffalo grass and a collection of ridge-top targets, to form a beautiful if brutal test of any player’s golf skills.
MacKenzie was involved at Royal Adelaide as well as he made a four-day visit to the site in 1926. The original layout is thought to have been created in 1905 by Cargie Rymill and Club Secretary C.L. Gardiner. Kingston Heath creator Dan Souttar was also asked by the club to make alterations in 1906.
Currently it is surrounded by the suburbs of Adelaide but the sheer size of the dunes combined with the native grasses and roughs create a lovely experience.
There are 3 courses at The National Golf and Country Club - the Old, the Ocean and the Moonah, the last of which is the pick of the bunch. Created by Greg Norman and Bob Harrison the course has links-like land to it with the bump-and-run shot being a must particularly if the wind is up.
St Andrews Beach
The course that Tom Doak says he wish he could have in his backyard, St Andrews Beach opened in 2005 and was the work of Doak and Mike Clayton.
Doak said in his Confidential Guide To Golf Courses Book; "From the day we mowed out the native grasses the course was more or less there...only one hole required any earth moving, so it was just a matter of digging bunkers and finishing trees to get it built."
Metropolitan is probably the best Australian golf course that nobody has heard of. Adam Scott believes it to be on a par with Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath and Greg Norman reckons it to be “second to none” and wishing courses in the USA would “take note.”
Metro is famous for having some of the best fairways in the world, along with bunkers that eat into the edges of the greens and some extremely fast greens.
Designed by Alex Russell, the course opened in 1929 and remains substantially the same. Sitting on undulating ground, surrounded by indigenous Eucalyptus trees, the holes generally follow a North/South routing with notable tee shots coming on the par 3s.
Notable Mentions: Cathedral Lodge, Newcastle, Woodlands Golf Club, The Dunes Golf Links, Commonwealth, The Lakes, The Australian, Peninsula (North), Joondalup, Lake Karrinyup, Alice Springs, Hope Island, Royal Queensland, Concord, Barwon Heads,
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A golfer for most of his life, Sam started playing the game to prove he was the best player out of his father and two brothers.
He quickly became a golf equipment expert and has always been the one family and friends come to for buying advice, and spends a lot of his time putting golf gear, apparel and shoes to the test.
He is a graduate of Swansea University where he studied History and American Studies, and he has been a part of the Golf Monthly team since February 2018. He also previously worked for World Soccer and Rugby World magazines.
A jack of all trades across print and digital formats, Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website. He also oversees all Tour player content as well.
Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a handicap of five.
Sam is currently playing:
Driver: Titleist TS3
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees)
Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚
Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #6
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