Golf in Australia
G’day mate, and welcome to Golf in Australia!
I remember exactly when I first dreamt of playing Golf in Australia. It was a Saturday afternoon in June of 1984, and a blond-haired surfer kid from Australia was charging up the leader board of the US Open, which was being contested at Winged Foot. The Great White Shark they called him. He swung the club harder than anyone that I had seen before. And he was way cooler than any of the other players! You can golf in Australia, man, that would be awesome, I can remember thinking at the time.
Over the years I’ve learned a lot more about golf Down Under. Home of Mr. Peter Thomson, one of the greatest links players of all time, as well as a wealth of the world’s greatest golf courses, a handful of true links courses, not to mention the infamous Melbourne Sandbelt, Australia is a destination that golfers from all over the world dream about.
Just over 35 years after that weekend in June, Menekse and I arrived on a one-way flight to Melbourne. Armed with a one-year visa and our golf bags on our backs, we were eager to explore and play golf in this extraordinary country!
So, when you’re ready, let’s go play golf in Australia!! After all, dreams do come true!
Golf Down Under!
We happened to arrive in Melbourne at the same time as The Presidents Cup. Coincidence? Well, we will let you decide, but we did not let this chance pass us by and quickly bought a day ticket.
Not only was our day at Mornington Golf Club a day of firsts, but it absolutely epitomizes our love of golf!
With still so much more golf in Melbourne to play, we packed our golf clubs into our campervan Putu and bid our farewells with a promise to return later in the year.
Unfortunately, however, our journey north coincided with the bushfires that consumed much of the country. So we decided to continue further to the incredibly beautiful state of Queensland.
Our plans to play golf with our mate Brendan were a year and a half in the making. We finally met him at Gympie Golf Course, his home course. And some things are definitely worth the wait!
Home to two of Australia’s biggest names in golf, Virginia Golf Club has earned its appropriately named nickname of The Course of Champions. And we were excited to find out for ourselves what made this golf course produce 2 major champions.
Back to New South Wales
From Queensland, we slowly made our way down the beautiful coast of New South Wales making our way to Sydney. Located directly in the city, it seems unthinkable to call Bondi Golf and Diggers Club a hidden gem. After all, how could a golf course that is located just a pitching wedge from one of the most famous beaches in the world be hidden?
When we shared our list of golf courses Down Under that we wanted to play with our mate Ross Flannigan from the My Love of Golf podcast, he said there was one course that we must add to the list- Long Reef Golf Club.
Located at Strathfield Golf Club, we were excited to receive an invitation to view the impressive historical golf collection at The Australia Golf Heritage Society.
Next up was a golf course that we have been dreaming about for years, The New South Wales Golf Club. We had high expectations for NSWGC, and every single one of them was easily exceeded! This is golf that dreams are made of!
A Change of Plans
We must admit that Gerringong Golf Club wasn’t on our golfing radar. Our intention was to travel down the South Coast and head to Tasmania so we could play golf before the cool weather set in.
However, it was March of 2020 and COVID-19 had other plans for us as it did for the rest of the world! And so, during the lockdown, Menekse and I were forced to take a flat in Jervis Bay. Days turned into weeks and weeks quickly turned into months. And after 73 days, we finally could play golf again!
It took us a long time before we could finally play Mollymook Golf Club. But golf was considered essential again, so we packed our golf clubs in our campervan Putu and made the short drive down to the Club.
With borders between Australia’s states still closed, we made a detour to The Hinterland of New South Wales, eager to find out what lies on the road ahead.
“The next town has a golf course, but you might not like it” the museum curator mentioned. “The grass is brown, and the greens are black” she continued. Black greens? Needless to say, we drove to Trundle Golf Club that same day.
We have played many sand green golf courses before. And we’ve even played horse racetrack golf courses. But a horse racetrack golf course with sand greens? Coonamble Golf Club was a first for us!
An Unexpected Return to Queensland
Unsure of what to do and where to travel, we decided to leave New South Wales and head back north to the warmth and safety of Queensland.
Brandybottle Golf Club is conveniently located between the “Are we almost there yet dad”, and the “how much further mum” signposts on Queensland’s Bruce Highway. It was a self-described Hackers Paradise and Golfers Nightmare!
After seemingly endless drives, we were excited to get back to the coast and spend time in the sun and at the beach again. Resting onshore from the postcard-worthy Whitsundays, Bowen Golf Club lies on the tropical paradise coastline of central Queensland.
The oldest golf club in Queensland, Townsville Golf Club is constantly looking toward the future. And the golf course was exactly the challenge that we had been needing!
Golf in the Top End
If you would have asked us in early 2020 if we were planning to play golf in the Northern Territory, we would have said no. But, with border restrictions still impacting our travel plans, we crossed from Queensland into the Top End, eager to Do the NT! The NT does not have many golf courses, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the golf. And we found that the Northern Territory not only has fun golf, but the NT is also chockablock with unforgettable experiences!
Established in 1930, Darwin Golf Club is the oldest in the Northern Territory. More importantly to us, it is also where Menekse played a brilliant round of golf!
When you come across a town named Humpty Doo, well, you must stop and play golf! And we are so happy that we did because Humpty Doo and Rural Area Golf Club was one of the biggest surprises of our golfing journey.
With tee boxes reminiscent of a graveyard, and fairways that haven’t received a drop of rain in forever, Tennant Creek Golf Club was the hottest, dustiest, and most abandoned golf course we have ever twirled our clubs on!
Designed by legendary Australian golfer Peter Thomson, Alice Springs Golf Club is desert golf that highly rewards accuracy.
And, for the umpteenth time this year, COVID-19 reared its ugly head, and we were again forced to adjust our plans. We had to postpone our travels through South Australia, as well as our goal of Golfing the Explorers Way.
Golf in Tasmania
It may have taken us 9 months to get to Tasmania, but we finally made it! We were on our way here when March 2020 changed our, and the world’s plans.
Tasmania is home to 5 courses that are on our Ultimate Golf Course Bucket List, so we gave ourselves nearly 4 months to explore the possibilities of this incredible island.
First up was Ratho Farm, the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere, and an experience that we will never forget.
While in Bothwell, we had to visit the Australasian Golfing Museum!
As we traveled through Tassie, we came to the realization that we might not be able to make it to King Island. But just then, we received an email that made it possible. First up was King Island Golf and Bowling Club, a course that is a must-play while on the island.
It may be an arduous journey just to get to Cape Wickham Golf Links. However, the adventurous golfer will be rewarded with one of the greatest courses in the world!
We loved our day at Ocean Dunes Golf Course, one of the most beautiful golf courses that we have ever played.
Playing golf on my father’s birthday at Lost Farm was something more than special.
When we originally decided to travel the world, bringing our golf clubs wasn’t always the plan. But the dream of playing golf at Barnbougle Dunes was why we changed our plans!
Traveling through Tassie, we asked locals where we should play. Tasmania Golf Club was recommended by everyone, and we found out why!
Arm End Golf Club isn’t even a golf course yet, but that didn’t stop us from having a walk around what is bound to become an incredible golfing destination.
Golf in Melbourne
After Tasmania, we returned to one of our favorite cities, Melbourne. One of the greatest sporting capitals in the world, Melbourne is home to some of the premier golf courses in the world, as well as the famous Melbourne Sandbelt.
Kingston Heath Golf Club was our first time playing the Melbourne Sandbelt, and we fell in love with the subtle genius of the golf course.
Designed by Mr. Tom Doak, St Andrews Beach Golf Club is simply a great golf course!
The story of how we received our invitation to play the Gunnamatta Course at The National is a pretty good one! And we’ve had quite a few unique invites in our travels!
Sandy Golf Links is another wonderful Melbourne Sandbelt golf course and has the coolest rules in all of golf!
We were curious to find out how Royal Park Golf Course turned Mr. Peter Thomson into one of Australia’s greatest Champion Golfers.
Saving the best for last was our visit to the Cathedral of Australian golf, the West Course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club!
And no golfer’s visit to Melbourne would be complete without paying respects to the hallowed grounds of the Melbourne Cricket Grounds and the Rod Laver Arena.
Golf in Victoria
With breaks like the world-famous Bells Beach, Raffs Beach, and Thirteenth Beach, surfing in Australia has its roots in Victoria. But the southern coast of Victoria also has some outstanding golf courses. And for golf in Australia, Victoria is definitely The Place to Be!
Eden, Biarritz, Redan, Road; there are no more famous holes in golf. Incorporating template holes, Lonsdale Links takes inspiration from the game’s greatest design features and routes them into one incredible golf course.
Barwon Heads Golf Club might have been just one small leap for James, But it was one giant leap for Puttering around the World!
Located on the Great Ocean Road, Peterborough Golf Club is one of the most incredible 9-holers we have ever played!
One of only seven true links golf courses in Australia, Port Fairy Golf Club was an absolutely fantastic golf course! And, OMG, what a back nine!!!!
Golf in South Australia
Border closures related to covid really impacted our time in South Australia. Shortly after we first arrived in SA, it was announced that the state would go into lockdown, so we drove all day to catch the ferry to Tassie. Months later as we wanted to return, the state was closed to travelers coming from Victoria, which is where we were. Nevertheless, when we were able to travel the state, we were blown away! The beaches, the wineries, and the golf- South Australia is probably the most underrated state in this extraordinary country!
You already know that our global list of golf courses that we want to play is, well, eccentric. So, it should come as no surprise that Coober Pedy Opal Fields Golf Club was on our bucket list!
Robe Golf Club is made up of three 6-hole courses, and came highly recommended by many golfers we met along the way- we couldn’t wait to find out why!
It took us 6 months to finish our round at Mount Compass Golf Course, but it was well worth the wait!
The Crater, the train, and the foxes, Royal Adelaide Golf Club has it all, and is one of Australia’s all-time classics!
Being able to return to Adelaide, we were finally able to finish our mission of Golfing the Explorers Way!
Did you know that the world’s longest golf course is over 1365 kilometers, or 848 miles long? So it’s obvious that we attempted to play the Nullarbor Links!
Catch Ya Later Australia
We didn’t plan on staying in Australia for over two years. In fact, we had a rough plan to be here for only 6 to 9 months! But, as we’ve learned in our journey, travel, as well as life, don’t always go as planned! However, what we can say with positivity, is that our time in Australia helped us to learn more about ourselves as a couple. As travelers, and as golfers. While it didn’t make us become better players, it sharpened our golfing palette and helped us understand more of what we like in a golf course. And it cemented our belief that selling our stuff so we could travel the world and play golf was exactly the right decision for us.
Even after being in Australia for an astonishing 798 days, racking up an impressive 50,950 kilometers on Putu, and one Vegemite Sandwich (sorry, not our cuppa mate!), we weren’t able to complete our golfing journey. Because of border closures, we never were able to get to Western Australia, or WA as it’s known.
And so, in January of 2022, we made the painful decision to sell Putu, our beloved campervan that had become our home for over 2 years, and fly out. But not before promising ourselves that one day we would return!
Hmmm, where to next?!?!
Our Golf Mates
Traveling and playing golf in Australia has been a rewarding experience. We have been fortunate to have seen so many of Australia’s icons, as well as to be able to play some of its greatest golf courses. And we have met so many wonderful people in our travels that we now consider mates. We would like to introduce you to just a few of the many wonderful Aussies who have helped to make our journey truly unforgettable.
We caught up with Tyson Flynn and asked him about his quest to play Australia’s Top 100!
Puttering around the World wishes to acknowledge and pay respect to the Australian Aboriginal Peoples as the traditional and original owners, and continuing custodians of this beautiful land.