Get off the beaten track, or stay in the middle lane and play a bunch of great, lesser-known Australian golf courses in 2023.
We all know you should play Royal Melbourne if you ever get the opportunity, a golf trip to Barnbougle is bliss, and New South Wales Golf Club is a spectacular experience. But there is a stack of great Australian golf courses that you may not know about but also deserve your attention.
These hand-picked golf courses are a mixture of ones I’ve played, and some I’ve been wanting to play for years. All are publically accessible and affordable, and the types of places you could take your mates, the family, or even convert a few non-golfers towards the greatest game on earth.
There aren’t any long and difficult resort golf courses here, for example, and there aren’t any that will require you to find a member to permit you to play.
There are plenty of great Australian golf courses missing from here (of course) but I’ve selected golf courses with an emphasis on fun over hardcore golf. Golf courses that will give you a fun golf experience rather than golf with a scorecard.
In no particular order…
1. Lonsdale Links (Vic)
I’ve been excited to play Lonsdale Links for a long time. After several COVID lockdown cancellations, I’ll finally get to see Lonsdale Links in February. Described as quirky and loads of fun, the course features a bunch of unorthodox square greens and tricky green complexes that are a wonderful addition to the Australian golf landscape.
2. Sea View Golf Club (WA)
As a sucker for seaside golf, I’ve added this place to the list of golf courses I’ll play next time I’m in Perth. Golf, the ocean, and Cottesloe Beach seem like it’s worth seeking out to me.
3. Emerald Lakes (Qld)
Next time I’m on the Gold Coast I’m going to check out Emerald Lakes. A driving range, mini-golf, and green fees for around $65. And you can tee off a little later in the day as well as the back nine is under lights!
4. 7 Mile Beach (Tas)
Australia’s newest golf course won’t be open until later in the year but it’s going to be a ripper. Sitting on a spectacular stretch of land 20 minutes out of Hobart, the photos of 7 Mile Beach already look incredible.
5. Port Fairy Golf Links (Vic)
It seems Port Fairy Golf Club is finally getting the recognition it deserves. The three-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne makes this a difficult one to get to, but by all reports, it is a gem and well worth your time. I’ll do everything I can to get there in 2023.
6. Ratho Farm (Tas)
Ratho Farm in Tasmania is reportedly Australia’s oldest golf course and features an interesting mix of golf holes including greens fenced off to sheep, hedges, and blind shots over trees. A great place to stay for a few days while touring the Apple Isle and a course worth playing with hickory golf clubs if that takes your fancy.
7. Crescent Head Country Club (NSW)
Our desire to play Crescent Head golf course went up a notch after seeing the Tredham Golf boys video. Sitting on top of the headland overlooking one of the great surf spots in NSW, this six-hole golf course is perfect for holiday golf. Play it once, twice, or three times, and soak it all in.
8. Teven Valley Golf Course (NSW)
Maybe an outlier on this list, the 9-hole course at Teven Valley will cost you a little more to play than you may be used to, but it’s worth the experience. Nestled in among the hills around the back of Byron Bay, this is a place you should see.
9. Sun City Country Club (WA)
Recent renovations have been well received and have me itching to play Sun City on my next trip west. Quality golf around a 45-minute drive north of Perth – for less than $60. Sounds perfect.
10. Robe Golf Club (SA)
The Limestone Coast in South Australia’s southeast is becoming a popular holiday spot. With three distinct six-hole loops including six brand-new ones, Robe Golf Course is a great place to break up the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide or a good place to work on your game on a trip away.
11. Duntryleague Golf Course (NSW)
I didn’t have time to play last time I was in Orange but it looks like a wonderful place to spend a day. Ideally, you play in Autumn when the deciduous trees look spectacular. Orange has some amazing cafes and restaurants too, so go and make a long weekend of it.
12. Bondi Golf and Diggers Golf Club (NSW)
Wacky golf on an incredible bit of land overlooking Australia’s most famous beach. Nine holes at Bondi Golf is an experience that will leave you wondering how it was even conceived and how it’s still
13. Noosa Hills Par 3 Golf Course (Qld)
For under $40 a round, you have two par-3 courses to choose from at Noosa Hills. A great way to play some golf without it taking too much time out of your family holiday.
14. Queenscliff Golf Club (Vic)
Sitting on Swan Island on the edge of Port Phillip Bay, Queenscliff Golf Club offers a unique island golf experience. We’ll get to see this place for the first time in February, but we’re told the Queenscliff layout, especially the back nine offers some incredible holes with views across the water and is very much a hidden gem.
15. Albany Golf Course (WA)
So this is on my list as I want to take that coast road south of Perth again. It’s a stunning part of Australia with some superb beaches and craft breweries along the way. And when I do I’ll go play Albany Golf Course which looks like a fabulous links golf course and one of the oldest in the country.
16. Mount Compass Golf Course (SA)
Mount Compass has come a long way in the past decade and is now one of South Australia’s best public courses. Recent course changes have improved playability and ground staff always have the course in wonderful condition. Just south of McClaren Vale wine region, it’s a great place to sneak in a round in before (or after) cellar door tastings.
17. Royal Park Golf Course (Vic)
Royal Park is right in the middle of Melbourne and has been introducing new golfers to the game for over 100 years. It’s one of the golf courses where Peter Thomson learned to play the game, it has a tram line running through it and the place where Burke and Wills left from is not far from the first hole. They would’ve had a hit before setting off, for sure. You can’t get more Melbourne than Royal Park and everyone should have played it at least once.
18. Shelly Beach Golf Club (NSW)
Halfway between Sydney and Newcastle, Shelly Beach Golf Club is a wonderful beachside golf experience. Kikuyu fairways in an idyllic seaside setting, this is holiday golf at its best.
19. Bougle Run (Tas)
Who knew the perfect additional golf course to Barnbougle would be a 14-hole short course? Richard Sattler did and the addition has been warmly received by golfers keen to get out to play again in the afternoon without a huge amount of effort. Indeed, any sense of exhaustion from a morning round at Lost Farm soon dissipates several holes into Bougle Run. It’s the best fun I’ve had on the golf course in the past few years.
20. Portsea Golf Club (Vic)
We’re still kicking ourselves that we missed playing Portsea on our most recent trip to the Mornington Peninsula. Set among the rolling dunes with views across Port Phillips Bay, this is an underrated golf course in a part of the world where great golf abounds.
21. Wembley Golf Course (WA)
Just 15 minutes from Perth CBD Wembley is a public golf course mecca with two courses, a driving range, mini golf, and an awesome bar and restaurant complex. You can find something for every member of the family here. A good day out for golfers and non-golfers alike.
22. Curlewis Golf Club (Vic)
Sitting just out of Geelong on the Bellarine Peninsula, Curlewis Golf Club has gone from strength to strength over the past 5 years. The superb 18-hole golf course has been complemented with a mini-golf course, driving range, and cracking clubhouse. Throw in some new on-course accommodation and this place has something for everyone.
23. Scone Golf Club (NSW)
I reviewed the redeveloped Scone golf course a few years ago and redeveloped 9-hole course is a must-play if you’re in the Upper Hunter region. A template golf course for how to keep costs down, and the fun up.