The Old Course at The National Golf Club was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr and opened for play in 1988. It is the highest ranked course in the region (No. 10 Golf Digest) and is an exhilarating, perfectly presented test. Dramatic changes in elevation offer truly thrilling golf holes such as the Par 3 4th and 7th holes and the twisting, tumbling Par 5 8th and 17th holes. The Old Course at The National is rightly regarded as the best ‘experience course’ on the Mornington Peninsula – a must play.
The undisputed No. 1 golf course in Australia and the 6th best course in the World (Golf Digest), the West Course at Royal Melbourne is as pure a golf experience as can be found on these shores. It is simply a great golf course design, wonderfully and faithfully constructed and maintained. Alister MacKenzie's 1926 routing fits perfectly into the contours of the rolling sandbelt land. The greens are miniature versions of the surrounding topography. The crisp bunkering, with vertical edges a foot or more tall, encroaches into fairways and putting surfaces. Most holes dogleg and the fairways are wide - distance is not a major factor, but with fast and firm greens, angle-into-the-pin is everything. Royal Melbourne has played host to numerous national and international tournaments and in 2019 will again be the venue for The President’s Cup. The Club, which was founded in 1891 has a proud reputation of providing visitors with a friendly, welcoming and inclusive experience to sit alongside its peerless golf courses.
The East Course at Royal Melbourne is far from being in the shadows of its more illustrious big brother The West – The East contributes 6 holes to the famed Composite Course, including its two closing holes. Indeed, many knowledgeable observers regard it as the most underappreciated of the great golf courses in Australia. The bunkering is again a standout, as too are the greens, which although slightly smaller than the West’s are beautifully constructed and contoured. The East course incorporates some of the most dramatic undulation on the property and gets underway with the classic combination of a short four, long four and mid four - each of which offer risk and reward options. Make no mistake, Royal Melbourne’s East course is one of the top 3 examples of quintessential Australian sandbelt golf.
Kingston Heath in Melbourne’s sandbelt region is consistently rated as one of the best 2 golf courses in Australia, and one of the best golf experiences anywhere in the world. It is loved as much for its charm and ambience as it is for its design and conditioning. Many (if not most) Tour Pros choose it as their favourite Australian course, including Tiger Woods, who commented:
“Unbelievable golf course…the bunkering is just phenomenal. You don’t get to see bunkering like this in any other place in the world.”
Kingston Heath has the great Alister MacKenzie to thank for its exquisite bunkering, who suggested a bunker-plan was the only improvement he could make to an already perfectly routed and constructed course. Kingston Heath is a must-play golf courses.
Situated in the far north of King Island, approximately a 45-minute drive from the airport lies Cape Wickham Links. As you pass the Cape Wickham lighthouse (the tallest in the Southern hemisphere) and enter the unpretentious property down a stony track, the golf course gradually unveils its splendour to you as if rewarding you for making the effort to visit. By the time you get out of the vehicle your jaw will be on the floor. For the rest of your day, the smile will not leave your face.
Golf travel is about making memories and Cape Wickham delivers 18 holes full of them.
The golf course itself thrills and then immediately demands attention in quick succession and equal measure. Although every shot, hole and backdrop will have you reaching for the camera, the course is far from ‘all show’. Indeed, it is a few of the necessary inland holes that might be among Cape Wickham’s best (#8, #9 and #14).
And then there’s hole #18. You’ll see the photos everywhere for evermore but take it from The Golf Travel Agency team – nothing can prepare you for standing on a tee that forces you to carry your ball over the crescent beach of Victoria Cove. But if you fail this unique test (or just for fun, as most do) you can walk down the steps from the fairway and play your second as it lies on the beach!
Another Cape Wickham and King Island memory made. By the time you’re looking through your camera roll post-round, surveying the scene and sharing stories with a drink in hand, you’ll have planned your next golf adventure to this remarkable course and island.
“Absolutely stunning. I think that this is not only one of Australia’s best, it is one of the best courses in the world, old or new.” Geoff Ogilvy
The Dunes course at Barnbougle on the Northeast coast of Tasmania is a pure links golf test of the highest order. Thrilling, exacting, memorable, fun – it is all these things, but in the best traditions of classic links golf it is also surprising, often magical and always good for the golfing soul. If that sounds a bit poetic, once you have walked from the 4th green to the 5th tee or taken a moment to sit on the bench at the back of the 15th tee – you’ll understand what was meant and you will forever love links golf.
The course, designed by Tom Doak and Mike Clayton, winds its way between coastal sand dunes reminiscent of the great Scottish and Irish links courses. The dunes shape the holes, shelter you from the elements and provide many of the elevation changes that make the course so visually spectacular.
Strategy and creativity are the currencies of this type of golf. Options abound on almost every shot, and the choice you make between bravery and safety will often determine your score, but never your enjoyment.
The beauty of the game of golf lies in its endless variety of challenges. Never is this statement truer than on a good links course where one day’s straightforward shot is the next day’s card-wrecker. And on a great links golf course such as Barnbougle Dunes that means you’ll be planning your return trip before putting out on the 18th.
To have one piece of land on your Northeastern Tasmania farming property so perfectly suited to the creation of a magnificent golf links is fortunate. To have a second parcel of land arguably more dramatic than the first is truly golfing heaven-sent. The vision to create a links golf sanctuary unlike anything in the country was one man’s, but it was the artists behind Barnbougle Lost Farm, Coore and Crenshaw, that pulled off something special – a course determinedly different to the Dunes, yet no less stunning. The two courses complement each other perfectly, and it was the addition of Lost Farm in 2010 that made Barnbougle the must-play destination it is to golfers the world over today.
Lost Farm winds through dunes significantly steeper than those found next door at The Dunes, and its wide fairways are complemented by strategic rugged bunkering and beautifully positioned undulating greens, making it an exciting, but fair test for golfers of all abilities.
Lost Farm also has 20 holes, such was the design potential of the land. Hole 13a was designed as an extra hole, but was too good not to allow everyone to play it every day and Hole 19 provides the wager-deciding short hole that every course (and clubhouse) wished it possessed.
Lost Farm is less in-your-face intimidating and exacting than the Dunes but is no weaker a test. It’s generosity and subtleties mean it will grow on you more than its older sister and it certainly provides a more consistently enjoyable golfing experience.
Play them both, play them often, play them in varying conditions and at various times of the day – then (and only then) pick your favourite…then play them again and change your mind. The Dunes and Lost Farm golf courses at Barnbougle are both that good.
NSW Golf Club is located just 20 minutes south of Sydney’s CBD on the northern headland of historic Botany Bay. It is a links style course set amongst the sandy hills and valleys that lead to the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline. Its undeniable quality lies, in part, in the genius of its routing, laid out by Alister MacKenzie in 1926 and completed by Eric Apperly. It is at times heroic with some of the most photographed coastline holes in all of Australia. On a calm day it can be quirky, playable and fun, but if the wind is blowing, New South Wales bears its teeth and can be brutally challenging. Whatever the conditions, the course is always a shot maker’s delight and finishes in glorious fashion with a Par 5 littered with pot bunkers whose lengthy, rolling green is overlooked by the splendid clubhouse. The combination of exemplary layout, conditioning and natural topography with a huge enjoyment factor makes New South Wales Golf Club a true bucket list course.