Flush fairways flourish across the country.
Better yet, many of the best golf courses in Australia are open to the public.
Continuing the good news, some of them – some – aren’t stupidly expensive to play, either.
We’re highlighting an almighty collection of courses to drive, chip, and putt your way around.
There are plenty of distinctive elements among them, ensuring this fabulous 14 is a must for club carriers of all abilities.
Barnbougle is golfing mecca. It’s home to two well-crafted and contrasting 18-hole links layouts – The Dunes and Lost Farm – that regularly rank among Australia’s greatest golf courses and receive global accolades. A 14-hole course joins that pair; combined, the trio delivers breathtaking coastal views. Additionally, The Dunes features the southern hemisphere’s largest sand bunker. Bridport is 75km northeast of Launceston.
Bonville is right up there in a list of the prettiest golf courses in Australia. With massive trees lining the fairways and abundant wildlife and bird life to see or hear, strolling these stretches is like taking a walk in a national park. So, if your game isn’t up to scratch, you’ll at least be able to blame it on the constant distraction of remarkable scenery. Bonville is a short drive from Coffs Harbour.
Found at the heart of the peninsula, The Dunes regularly shows up in best courses lists whether public access is part of the conversation or not. Set among a sea of sand dunes and of undulating design, the layout is classic links. A round begins in imposing style with the hardest of the 18 holes. But don’t be deterred – these fairways appeal to most abilities. The Dunes is joined by the nine-hole Cups course.
Play when staying at: BIG4 Mornington Peninsula.
Designed by the late Australian golfing great and five-time British Open winner, Peter Thomson, Twin Waters is an extremely enjoyable place to hit a ball. Relatively flat, the much-loved Sunshine Coast golf course strikes a perfect balance: it’s challenging but not overly punishing. Although don’t let that lure you into a false sense of security: some sections of water and annoyingly placed bunkers are ready to feast on errant shots.
This 18-hole championship course is one of Australia’s more distinctive layouts. It contrasts classic country bushland and rich-red desert sands with lush green fairways and putting surfaces. Five varying tee areas on each hole enable the club to increase its appeal for all abilities. A golden find.
Play when staying at: BIG4 Acclaim Prospector, Kalgoorlie.
Play a round at Anglesea Golf Club and expect to share the fairways with a huge population of kangaroos. The Great Ocean Road golf course is literally packed with hundreds of them – so much so that the club even has designated kangaroo tours. Native wildlife aside, this is a scenic layout that holds plenty of interest.
The Fleurieu Peninsula is sprinkled with first-rate golf clubs and this 18-hole championship course is among its most prized gems. Modelled on the St Andrews style, Links Lady Bay is stimulating from start to finish. Sparkling coastal views are prominent throughout the round, including at the famed seventeenth: this tough par three is regarded as one of Australia’s greatest golf holes.
This layout ranks highly when it comes to Australia’s best golf courses, and its signature third hole is hard to beat. A testing par three, Hogan’s Hole is simply awe-inspiring. Witness incredible coastal scenes from the tee as you attempt to navigate a shot over water and onto a small green. It’s one of several holes overlooking ‘the drink’, which contrasts with fairways that are surrounded by tall trees.
Play when staying at: BIG4 Narooma.
Consistently ranked among Australia's top courses, this is Gold Coast resort golf at its finest. It’s another layout that is the brainchild of Peter Thomson and his architect partners, so first-rate fairways and greens and plenty of thought-provoking holes are par for the course. And the island location means water views are constant, although the liquid is not so endearing when its gobbling up wayward shots.
This Bellarine Peninsula beauty is an Australian golf favourite, regularly appearing on top 100 lists and the like. Established in 1907, it’s a genuine links course with its rippling fairways, well-placed bunkers, and fast greens coupled with tricky winds. Naturally, sensational sea vistas come into play, and there’s also a par-three course on site. The club has an iconic neighbour, 13th Beach Golf Links, which consists of two popular courses.
Billed as Australia's largest public-access golf resort, with a mammoth 45 holes, this is a must-visit for those who want variety from their golfing holiday. Two 18-hole layouts as well as a nine-hole course ensure there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge. It’s not just quantity; these quality Murray region courses offer splendid views of Lake Mulwala.
Play when staying at: NRMA Yarrawonga Mulwala.
This links course is renowned across the planet. It occupies a pristine pocket of land on scenic King Island, situated off the northeast edge of Tasmania. Each of its almighty and diverse 18 holes delivers dramatic ocean vistas, ensuring that a hit here is sheer ‘driving’ pleasure. One for the golfing bucket list.
The testing links layout is often lauded as one of the best golf courses in Australia, and instantly it’s apparent why. Glorious fairways flanked by rugged sand dunes and a succession of delightful ocean outlooks constantly wow visitors. The scenery doesn’t get any better than from the tee box of the twelfth hole, a par five that hugs the water in its entirety.
Play when staying at: BIG4 Port Fairy.
Another layout designed by the legendary Peter Thomson, this island course is straight up sensational. It’s demanding and punishing – just wait until you reach the fourteenth – yet delivers immense interest and intrigue. And the sea views that incorporate the Whitsunday Islands are enough to keep the spirits up if play is not going your way. A 1hr ferry ride links Hamilton Island with Airlie Beach.
That award might just go to Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club in SA. Firstly, the course is completely grassless, which makes you think you’re playing on another planet. To hit the ball, you simply carry with you a piece of artificial turf to place on the ground. The course’s second quirk is that it claims to be the only golf club in the world with reciprocal playing rights with the famous St Andrews Links in Scotland.
Play when staying at: BIG4 Stuart Range, Coober Pedy.
There is some contention to this claim, but Ratho Farm in Bothwell, TAS bills itself as the nation’s first. The course traces its roots to 1822 and, as with others on this list, is likened to playing golf in Scotland. There are even sheep that function as greenkeepers. The course’s founders were Scottish and modelled the layout on those in their former homeland. Bothwell is 75km northwest of Hobart.
Welcome to Nullarbor Links, which breathes life into the massively long stretch of road it’s named after. An 18-hole course, it covers a whopping 1365km, with holes found in towns or roadhouses stretching from Ceduna in SA all the way to Kalgoorlie in WA. Prepare for the ultimate road-trip adventure.
If you want a golfing getaway without the hassle, head to BIG4 Casino in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.
This pretty holiday park has a nine-hole golf course within its boundaries. BIG4 Casino occupies space that was once an airport, so there’s loads of room to move.
Meanwhile, BIG Bendigo Marong includes a golf simulator among its excellent assortment of in-park features. When it was installed, it was an Australian holiday park first.
There are more than 1800 golf clubs across the country, and estimates suggest roughly 10% of Australia’s adult population is prone to having a hit.
With plenty of golf courses within chipping distance of BIG4 parks, it’s easy to combine a getaway with a fairway.