A true golf aficionado must play golf in Australia during their lifetime. The Australian golf courses are among the best on the planet and therefore the experience “down under” is tremendous.
Australia is in the southern Hemisphere so the ideal time to visit is October through April. When it’s winter in North America then it is summer down under! Not only is the Australian weather ideal for golf, but the people are very friendly too.
Foodies will love the “farm to table” dining and the fantastic Australian wines which add to a very memorable Pioneer Golf Australia golf vacation. The hotels are excellent and a great value too.
The two major east coast cities of Melbourne in Victoria, and Sydney in New South Wales, are fantastic Australia travel destinations with many famed Aussie golf courses.
Our Pioneer Golf packages to Australia normally include the famous Melbourne Sandbelt course Kingston Heath which is ranked #20 in the world by Golf Magazine. Not to be outdone, The Royal Melbourne GC West Course is #11 in the world. Their East Course is almost as impressive.
The Royal Melbourne GC is the host of the 2019 Presidents Cup and utilizes the best routing of the West (12 holes) and East (6 holes) for the 18 hole “Composite Course”.
Other great Sandbelt golf clubs include Metropolitan, Victoria, Commonwealth, Yarra Yarra, Huntingdale and Peninsula Kingswood which can be added to your itinerary if you have a few more days in Melbourne.
Melbourne guests can choose from the 5-star luxury Crown Tower casino or other Pioneer Golf hand-picked accommodations around town. The city of Melbourne is elegant and has so much to do around the Yarra River which splits the town.
You might even consider staying at some of the Melbourne Sandbelt golf clubhouses which have “dormy rooms” although you won’t be within walking distance of all the downtown Melbourne restaurants and nightlife.
An hour south of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula boasts excellent golf courses such as The National, National Moonah, St Andrews Beach, and The Dunes, among others. Add to that some great dining experiences in Sorrento, endless beaches, wine tasting and the Mornington is an easy extension for Melbourne.
Sydney is modern and cosmopolitan and a must see city in Australia. The weather and ambience is much like San Diego which is perfect for golf at New South Wales (Golf Magazine World #43). Also consider playing The Australian GC, The Lakes, Elenora, Terrey Hills, and if your connections are strong, perhaps a round at the exclusive Royal Sydney GC.
There are many hotel choices in downtown Sydney near the Harbour Bridge, The Sydney Opera House, and The Rocks area filled with restaurants, shopping and pubs. The Four Seasons and The Park Hyatt Sydney are among the best. Free time can include a swim at famed Bondi Beach or even a day tour into The Hunter Valley for some wine tasting.
A short flight to King Island (Tasmania) can add another World Top 100 course at Cape Wickham Links (Golf Magazine World #72), which many raters are positioning as among the top 10 links courses in the world.
On proper Tasmania island is the small “Bandon Dunes style” resort at Barnbougle with two superb links Barnbougle Dunes (World #38 Golf Magazine) and Lost Farm (World #90 Golf Magazine) are located.
7 days plus flights / 3 rounds – Just the basics with four days in Melbourne with rounds at Royal Melbourne (East or West) and Kingston Heath, followed by three days in Sydney with a round at New South Wales. A free day in each town allows some sightseeing time and a chance to fall in love with Australia!
10 days plus flights / 6 rounds – Start with three days in Tasmania and golfing Barnbougle Dunes, Lost Farm and Cape Wickham. Then four days in Melbourne with rounds at Royal Melbourne (East or West) and Kingston Heath, followed by three days in Sydney with a round at New South Wales. Free days can be used for extra golf or some wonderful sightseeing experiences.
14 days plus flights / 10 rounds – An extended adventure with three days in Tasmania with rounds at Barnbougle Dunes, Lost Farm and Cape Wickham. Then two days on the Mornington Peninsula with golf at National Golf Club Moonah GC plus wine tasting around Sorrento. Next enjoy five days in Melbourne with rounds on Kingston Heath, Metropolitan, Royal Melbourne East and West Courses, and one free day to enjoy this culturally rich town. End with four days in Sydney with golf at New South Wales and The Australian GC and a couple days for the beach, a Sydney Harbour cruise and many other activities.
7 days plus flights / 6 rounds – Park yourself in Melbourne for a week and play all the famed Sandbelt Courses in one simple package. Challenge yourself on Royal Melbourne East and West, Kingston Heath, Metropolian, Peninsula Kingswood, Victoria and Commonweath, among others. By the end of this Pioneer Golf trip, you’ll be a Sandbelt expert!
The above package options are just a hint of what you can do with Pioneer Golf. There is also Adelaide with the famed Royal Adelaide GC, Kooyonga GC and The Grange GC (36 holes). Canberra is the master-planned Capital of Australia (Australian Capital Territory or ACT) located between Melbourne and Sydney and boasts Royal Canberra GC (with the kangaroos on the course) and Federal GC. The state of Queensland on the northeast coast is tropical and combines attractions such as The Great Barrier Reef, Surfers Paradise, Whitsunday Islands, Brisbane, rainforests, endless beaches, and lots of value golf resorts along the coast. Queensland favorites include Hamilton Island, Sanctuary Cove, Sheraton Mirage and The Great Barrier Reef.
How We Rank Them
The Pioneer Golf staff voted on the Australia course rankings based on quality of course and the more important “fun factor”. Here are the results and some interesting comments:
1. Royal Melbourne West: Opened in 1926 this is the finest golf course in the southern hemisphere. With 12 holes part if the Composite Course, it is the host of the 2019 Presidents Cup. Known for fast greens and superb bunkering, RMGC West is Ranked #11 in the world by GOLF Magazine. Pioneer Golf Staff: “it ranks right up there with St Andrews, Pebble Beach and the best of them”, “has to be the best 36-hole private club in the world” and “the best Alister MacKenzie course you can actually get on”.
2. Cape Wickham Links: Several writers contend that Cape Wickham is a world top 20, and already GOLF Magazine ranked it #72 in the world in 2017. This may be the most dramatic seaside links on the planet. Pioneer Golf Staff: “harder to get to but well worth the effort”, “pure and exhilarating golf right along the ocean” and “how this course is not top 10 in the world I’ll never know”.
3. New South Wales: The #43 ranked course in the world according GOLF Magazine, this Alister MacKenzie 1928 routing is easily the best in the Sydney area. Often voted the guests favorite due to the seaside setting and old school ambience, NSW is a treat to play. Pioneer Golf Staff: “totally exceeded my expectations”, “great Alister MacKenzie routing” and “the ocean views are spectacular”.
4. Kingston Heath: MacKenzie again had his influence on this course in 1928, possibly the most exclusive club in the Sandbelt collection. Ranked #20 in the world by GOLF Magazine, Kingston Heath is pure class. Pioneer Golf Staff: “probably would rank higher if it wasn’t practically next door to Royal Melbourne”, “I’ve never seen such beautiful bunkering” and “I could play it every day for the rest of my life”.
5. Barnbougle Dunes: The teamwork of Tom Doak and Mike Clayton quickly established this Tasmanian course as elite, and it is already ranked #38 in the world by GOLF Magazine. Pioneer Golf Staff: “maybe Doak’s best work”, “like Bandon Dunes but with better weather”, and “I recommend to everyone to add this for sure”.
6. Metropolitan GC: Traditional old Sandbelt club with the prerequisite fast greens and menacing bunkers. Pioneer Golf Staff: “love how the greens are cut to the bunker edges”, “classic Sandbelt look but more open off the tee” and “we met the nicest people there”.
7. Royal Melbourne East: Six of the Composite Course holes are on the east for the 2019 Presidents Cup. Pioneer Golf Staff: “I thought it was just as good as the West”, “I would play either course at Royal they are both fantastic” and “fastest greens I ever played”.
8. Lost Farm at Barnbougle: The other great Tasmania links course at Barnbougle opened in 2010 by the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design team. Pioneer Golf Staff: “another classic Coore-Crenshaw design”, “Coore and Crenshaw are the best of our generation” and “again it’s like Bandon Dunes but that’s a very good thing!”
9. The Australian: Site of many Australian Open including 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Very private but open to some Pioneer Golf visitors. Pioneer Golf Staff: “In America this exclusive club would be off limits to visitors, so you’ve gotta love the Aussie access”, “stunningly beautiful facility” and “normally not a Nicklaus design fan but this place was special”.
10. National GC Moonah: Fantastic rolling landscape on the Mornington Peninsula just about a 75 minute drive from downtown Melbourne. A wonderful Greg Norman design at this large four golf course club. Pioneer Golf Staff: “Greg Norman did a good job here”, “so much fun to play with great rollouts and memorable holes” and “in my opinion the best of the Mornington Peninsula courses”.