Comparing the 2018 Top-100 Australia golf course rankings

Every two years Australian Golf Digest and Golf Australia Magazine release their list of Australia’s Top-100 golf courses. Here is a comparison (and discussion) between the two of them.

The view from the 15th tee at Cape Wickham Golf Links on King Island, Tasmania.

We’ve been wanting to share this for a while but for some reason it keeps getting pushed back, but in the wake of Inside The Ropes fantastic podcast chatting about the top-100 golf course ranking lists (you can listen to it below), we thought it was time to share it all in one big post.

If you don’t already know, Australian Golf Digest and Golf Australia Magazine publish a list of Australia’s Top-100 Golf Courses every two years. Each magazine has its own slightly different criteria by which a course ranking panel rates and then ranks the best golf courses in Australia.

Right off the bat I should tell you that I’m one of the members of the Golf Australia Magazine course ranking panel and can tell you all members of the judging panel (including those I’ve from Australian Golf Digest) do their best to judge a course as objectively as possible. Even disregarding how well, or poorly they played the golf course!

But despite the professionalism with which the rankings are done, it’s still a very subjective process and one that should be taken as just a bit of fun.

Having said that, it’s amazing how much importance many clubs place upon these lists. The desire to rank higher and higher every year is often put ahead of making sure the golf course is fun, interesting and playable for all golfers.

The short par-4 3rd hole at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.

It’s easy to understand why though as these magazine issues are often their best sellers for the year and many golfers regard the lists as a bucket list of sorts and a means of determining which golf courses they will try to play next.

With all this in mind, here are a few bits and pieces comparing the two lists.

Make sure you also have a listen to the great Inside The Ropes podcast where the editors of Australian Golf Digest and Golf Australia Magazine, Steve Keipert and Brendan James chat with Andy Maher, Mark Hayes and Mike Clayton about both lists.


2018 Top-100 Golf Courses – Australian Golf Digest
2018 Top-100 Golf Courses – Golf Australia Magazine


Ellerston’s famous par-3 6th hole.

Golf courses ranked in same position in both lists:
Royal Melbourne West (1), Cape Wickham Links (3), Ellerston (7), Kooyonga (25).

Golf courses making their debut:
AGD: Black Bull (76),  Cathedral Lodge (16), Ocean Dunes (10).
GA: Ocean Dunes (8), Royal Canberra (Westbourne Course) (20), The Eastern (South Course) (47), The Eastern (North Course) (67), Joondalup Resort (Quarry/Lake course) (71), RACV Royal Pines Resort (Green/Gold Course) (74).

Golf courses ranked on both lists within 5 places of each other (GA Mag – AGD):
Royal Melbourne West (1-10), Cape Wickham Links (3-3), Barnbougle Dunes (2-4), Kingston Heath (4-2), Barnbougle Lost Farm (5-6), Royal Melbourne East (6-8), Ellerston (7-7), Ocean Dunes (8-10), New South Wales (9-5),

Kingston Heath Golf Club in Melbourne’s famous sandbelt region.

Royal Adelaide (10-9), The National – Moonah (11-12), Victoria (12-11), The Lakes (14-18), Metropolitan (15-13), The National – Old (17-15), Lake Karrinyup (18-17), Commonwealth (22-27), Links Kennedy Bay (24-28), Kooyonga (25-25), Brookwater (29-24),

Moonah Links – Legends (33-34), Royal Sydney (41-38), The National – Ocean (55-50), Avondale (61-58), Mount Lawley (65-69), Kalgoorlie (66-62), Black Bull (78-76), Narooma (87-89), Eynesbury (88-90).

Golf courses that appear in Golf Australia Magazine’s top-100 list but not in Australian Golf Digest:
Eastern (47), Cranbourne (64), Eastern – North (67), Joondalup – Quarry/Lake (71), Tasmania (80), Warrnambool (84), Royal Fremantle (90), Riversdale (91), Manly (94), Yarrawonga – Murray (95), Twin Waters (96), Royal Hobart (98), Royal Perth (99).

Golf courses that appear in Australian Golf Digest’s top-100 list but not Golf Australia’s Magazine:
Cathedral Lodge* (16), Western Australian (50), Capricorn International – New (68), Secret Harbour (80), Arundel Hills (83), Cypress Lakes (85), Castle Hill (93), The Heritage – St Johns (94), Mount Compass (96), Kooindah Waters (97), Noose Springs (98), Macquarie Links (99), Paradise Palms (100).

Golf Australia MagazineAustralian Golf Digest
1Royal Melbourne West1Royal Melbourne West
2Barnbougle Dunes2Kingston Heath
3Cape Wickham Links3Cape Wickham Links
4Kingston Heath4Barnbougle Dunes
5Barnbougle Lost Farm5New South Wales
6Royal Melbourne East 6Barnbougle Lost Farm
7Ellerston7Ellerston
8Ocean Dunes8Royal Melbourne East
9New South Wales9Royal Adelaide
10Royal Adelaide10Ocean Dunes
11The National - Moonah11Victoria
12Victoria12The National - Moonah
13St Andrews Beach13Metropolitan
14The Lakes14The Australian
15Metropolitan15The National - Old
16Woodlands16Cathedral Lodge
17The National - Old17Lake Karrinyup
18Lake Karrinyup18The Lakes
19Barwon Heads19The Dunes
20Royal Canberra20Newcastle
2113th Beach - Beach21Joondalup
22Commonwealth22Magenta Shores
23Royal Queensland23St Andrews Beach
24Links Kennedy Bay24Brookwater
25Kooyonga25Kooyonga
26Newcastle26Woodlands
27The Dunes27Commonwealth
28The Grange - West28Links Kennedy Bay
29Brookwater29Royal Canberra
30Glenelg30Barwon Heads
31Joondalup31Hamilton Island
32Yarra Yarra3213th Beach - Beach
33Moonah Links - Legends33Royal Queensland
34Bonnie Doon34Moonah Links - Legends
35The Grange - East35Bonville
36The Australian36Glenelg
37Magenta Shores37The Cut
38Elanora38Royal Sydney
39Portsea39The Grand
40The Vintage40Huntingdale
41Royal Sydney41Moonah Links - Open
42Spring Valley42Terrey Hills
43Port Fairy43Links Hope Island
44Hamilton Island44The Grange - West
45Bonville45Elanora
46The Cut46The Vintage
47Eastern 47Bonnie Doon
48Terrey Hills48The Grange - East
49Stonecutters Ridge49Sanctuary Cove - Pines
50The National - Long Island50The National - Ocean
51Meadow Springs51Yarra Yarra
52Huntingdale52Spring Valley
5313th Beach - Creek53Pacific Dunes
54Riverside Oaks - Bungool54The Glades
55The National - Ocean55Western Australian
56Moonah Links - Open56Lakelands
57RACV Healesville57Portsea
58Links Hope Island58Avondale
59The Grand59Sanctuary Cove - Palms
60Pelican Waters60Links Lady Bay
61Avondale61Pelican Waters
62Sanctuary Lakes62Kalgoorlie
63Settlers Run63The National - Long Island
64Cranbourne64Riverside Oaks - Bungool
65Mount Lawley65Pacific Harbour
66Kalgoorlie66Cottesloe
67Eastern (North)67Sorrento
68Curlewis68Capricorn International - New
69Ranfurlie69Mount Lawley
70Links Lady Bay70St Michael's
71Joondalup - Quarry/Lake71Port Fairy
72Sanctuary Cove - Pines72Stonecutters Ridge
73Pacific Harbour73Meadow Springs
74RACV Royal Pines74Settlers Run
75Sun City75Twin Creeks
76Pacific Dunes76Black Bull
77The Glades77Curlewis
78Black Bull78Ranfurlie
79The Vines - Lakes79RACV Healesville
80Tasmania80Secret Harbour
81St Michael's81Brisbane
82Lakelands82Sanctuary Lakes
83Murray Downs83Arundel Hills
84Warrnambool8413th Beach - Creek
85Cottesloe85Cypress Lakes
86Sorrento86Sun City
87Narooma87Indooroopilly - West
88Eynesbury88Federal
89Sanctuary Cove - Palms89Narooma
90Royal Fremantle90Eynesbury
91Riversdale91Murray Downs
92Brisbane92The Vines - Lakes
93Twin Creeks93Castle Hill
94Manly94The Heritage - St Johns
95Yarrawonga - Murray95RACV Royal Pines
96Twin Waters96Mount Compass
97Indooroopilly - West97Kooindah Waters
98Royal Hobart98Noosa Springs
99Royal Perth99Macquarie Links
100Federal100Paradise Palms

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