The ultimate list for the discerning golfer

10 Favorite Courses in Australia

By Michael Clayton
A former Australian amateur champion and veteran of the European tour, Michael Clayton turned to architecture in 1995. His portfolio includes renovations of Portsea and Kingston Heath, as well as the original design at Ranfurlie.

Royal Melbourne:
The West course at Royal Melbourne is clearly the best in Australia. MacKenzie’s design features great strategic width from the tee, severely fast greens and some of the world’s most beautifully bunkered greens.

Kingston Heath:

With an ingenious routing that makes wonderful use of its limited property, MacKenzie contributed the entire bunkering scheme which was carried out by the brilliant but unheralded Royal Melbourne greenskeeper, Mick Morcom. Mackenzie called him the best he had ever worked with.

New South Wales:
The most spectacular course in the country. Built on the cliffs high above Botany Bay, it winds up and over huge dunes and features many blind shots—the finest holes are truly exhilarating to play.

Royal Adelaide:
Another course altered significantly by Alister MacKenzie. Its best holes play around a high dune in the middle of the course. It is probably the only club with a functioning railway line that not only crisscrosses the course but runs within 20 meters of the clubhouse and the 1st and 3rd tees.

Full of holes that are great fun, Portsea plays over a spectacular dunescape with great strategic interest.

Across the street from Royal Melbourne, MacKenzie devised a dramatic bunkering plan. It has been altered significantly over the years—to its detriment. Fortunately, in the mid 1990s the club embarked on a restoration project that reclaimed much of what was lost.


One of the hidden gems of Australian golf, it rolls across tumbling land and plays through some beautiful indigenous bush that gives it a unique feel.


Though never visited by MacKenzie, the course features all the principles he executed so brilliantly with Morcom on its nearby neighbors. It may be a relatively short layout, but the tiny greens are surrounded by fearsome bunkering.

The National (Moonah):
A big, long, serious course. Located on the Mornington Peninsula, the land—which proved perfectly suited for golf—was not really discovered until an old pro, Colin Campbell, built a good, but low budget, course nearby in the mid 1970s.

Barnbougle Dunes:

Not scheduled to open until November 2004, Barnbougle Dunes is Tasmania’s answer to Bandon, Oregon. Built on some awesome beachfront dune land, it features holes destined to become among the best in the country. To have achieved anything less on such a perfect piece of land would have been seen as a failure.

Back to Features


Site designed by Shahna Garg