We take a look at the places where a lot of us began playing golf, Australia’s inner city golf courses.
We often take golf access for granted in Australia. You don’t need to be a member of a golf course or pay through the nose to get a game with your mates, and a course is often no further than a short drive away.
Thanks to an abundance of space and some foresight from our predecessors, all of Australia’s major cities have a golf course located very close to the heart of the city. It is a fair chance that it was on these courses that most of you had one of your first experiences with the game.
These golf courses are where you played with your mates during school holidays or where your grandparents may have showed you the game. This is where you spend a lot of time waiting for the group ahead of you, where jeans walk the fairways, where bumpy greens abound and where you learn to play golf shots while getting doused by a sprinkler.
These are the inner city golf courses of Australia, and we’re privileged to have them.
Adelaide – North Adelaide Golf Course
Adelaidians have two courses to choose from nestled in the leafy suburb of North Adelaide, a short walk from Adelaide’s CBD. Operated by Adelaide City Council, the north and south courses are two very different beasts and you’ll find it divides opinions like a conversation about the Crows and Power.
North Adelaide North Course is generally considered the inferior of the two courses but many would argue it is a far more interesting layout. It’s a short golf course and perfect for a relatively quick round of golf with a few sloping fairways and short dog-legs to keep you on your toes. The dog-leg 17th hole needs to be seen to be believed.
The North Adelaide South Course is longer and arguably a sterner test of golf but could be considered too ‘straight up and down’ to be very interesting. You’ll need to be patient and a hit a decent ball out here though and you’ll get a better lies and greens than the north course.
Green Fees: North Course – $22 (weekdays) $25.50 (weekends), 4534m Par 69 South Course – $27 (weekdays) $33 (weekends), 5884m Par 71 Location
Brisbane – Victoria Park Golf Course
Just north of the centre of Brisbane lies the Victoria Park Golf Course. The whole complex is a fantastic facility with driving range, mini-golf, function areas and of course, a golf course. Victoria Park is a short little golf course but it’s a great place for new golfers or a hit before work without raising a sweat.
Described by one Brisbane authority on golf as “short, hilly and dicky – perfect for the novice”, this is exemplified with plenty of par-3s on the back nine and a par-4 at a little over 200 metres that is as good a place as any to record your first eagle. What’s not to like about an eagle on your card?
Canberra – Capital Golf Club
Capital is a good test of golf for a public golf course. There is plenty of interest on most tee boxes and more bunkers than most of the Australia’s other capital city courses. Capital is usually in pretty good nick but the future of this golf course is a little unknown since the Canberra Vikings Club are no longer course owners.
There are some great holes at Capital. The eighth is a a tricky par-4 with a water hazard on the inside of the dog-leg that finishes with a small green perched near the clubhouse. The 150m par-3 14th is a gorgeous little hole over a pond that is a good test of concentration for beginner golfers – a memorable hole for anyone playing Capital.
Green Fees: $15 – $25, 5141m Par 69 Location
Darwin – Gardens Park Golf Course
Self-described as an oasis in the middle of town, Gardens Park is a 9-hole golf course about four or five blocks away from Mitchell Street in Darwin. It is a short, no-nonsense golf course that is specifically geared towards first time golfers. The par-3 eighth requires a shot over trees to reach the green which seems somehow against the spirit of the game but it’s fun all the same.
Let’s face it, you’re not coming to Gardens Park to test your game, you’re coming here to have fun. If you’re in Darwin and it’s cool enough for golf, put a bit of money down and challenge your mates to nine holes. Perhaps only in the dry season.
Hobart – Rosny Park Golf Course
By all reports, Rosny Park was once the home of Royal Hobart golf course before it was relocated. It is now just a nine hole course with the old holes on the other side of the Tasman Highway lying derelict.
While plenty of nearby golf courses now offering its fairways to the paying public, Rosny still holds good memories to those growing up around Hobart and serves as a good introduction to the game. Green fees are often paid to a bloke sitting in a car near the first tee and you’ll need a decent short game to post a score here. If you haven’t got a good short game, it’s a good place to get one.
Green Fees (9 holes): ~ $10 for 18 holes, 2227m Par 33 Location
Melbourne – Albert Park Golf Course
If you were brought up playing golf in Melbourne you would have played golf at Albert Park. While arguably more well known these days for it’s Formula 1 race track, the Albert Park Golf course has had its fair share of crazy drives, particularly on a weekend when it gets particularly busy. Avoid it the month after the GP.
The course is located about three kilometres south of Flinders Street station and sits around the banks of Albert Park Lake and is perfect for a quick nine holes before, after or during work. While not overly long, this simple layout has some nice short par-4s with the par 3s on the back nine particularly testing. Try and keep your ball off the road coming down the last few holes, please.
Green Fees: $30 (weekdays) $33 (weekends), 5743m Par 72 Location
Royal Park Golf Course
It was pointed out to us that Royal Park is reasonably close to the centre of Melbourne too, and so it warrants inclusion in this list as well.
The course has slowly shrunk due to surrounding developments but has a fascinating history. The first tee was originally placed alongside the point where Burke and Wills left on their expedition and the original 18 holes were cut down to 9 holes after a lack of interest back in 1911.
It is a little nine hole course – all of 2316 metres – that is a great option if you’re thinking of getting kids into the game. The course is nestled behind the Royal Melbourne Hospital and sits between train and tram lines. The back seven holes (across the train line) are better than the 1st and 9th, so reserve your judgement until after the walk to the second tee where the holes are a little longer with a few bunkers to keep you honest.
Green Fees: Not sure, but yearly membership is $120, 5743m Par 72 Location
Perth – Maylands Peninsula Golf Course
While Burswood Park may be closer to Perth’s CBD, Maylands Peninsula Golf Course probably fits this list a little better. Lying on the banks of the Swan River just 10 minutes drive from central Perth, Maylands is the place to bring newbies to an inexpensive golf course without the need for nasty bunker shots.
Its hard to imagine anyone not enjoying a day out at Maylands. The course is a little ‘up and back’ in some areas but the holes along the river an picturesque and a couple of the par-3s are testing to all players. The newish par-3 8th (formerly a par-4) is a fun little hole and I like the par-3 16th with water lurking if you go long. The course features generous green sizes which are a surprise for a public access course and a couple of holes will test your longer irons such as the par-4 12th which requires a tee shot right of the water.
Sydney – Moore Park Golf Course
Moore Park is the best inner city golf course in Australia and has hosted plenty of charity events and Australian Open qualifying rounds. No more than a couple of kilometres from downtown Sydney, Moore Park is always lush and in pretty good nick. The back nine is particularly interesting. The short downhill par-4 12th requires some thinking off the tee and the dog-leg 18th is a good finishing hole.
Moore Park Golf Club has a fascinating history which is reflected in the wonderful clubhouse built in 1926. Like all the city courses, it is heavily used but if you’re looking for an interesting, public access golf course in the heart of one of the world’s great cities, Moore Park is worth a look.
Green Fees: $47 (Mon – Thurs) $55 (Fri) $62 (weekends), 5791m Par 70 Location