Whether Australia is your home or your next holiday, if you play golf you’re most likely eager to explore the country’s superb variety of fairways. From the ancient Australian Golf Club in Sydney & those ultra-groomed greens around Melbourne, taking polite turns to host the Australian Masters, to majestic, challenging, roo-sprinkled courses like Joondalup near Perth, Australia’s courses are frequently spectacular, & its mellow weather permits year-round play on most of them.
Fees are usually reasonable enough for regular visits, although the more prestigious clubs do require introduction by an existing member - or a meeting with the General Manager, if you’re an overseas visitor. Check, too, with your home club, for any reciprocal membership arrangements.
It’s also worth noting that many Australian golf clubs have especially strict dress codes - if you’re visiting from another country, browse a few club websites before you pack, just to avoid carrying clothes that you won’t get to wear once you’re here.
Learning to play:
If you’ve yet to learn golf, or you’re keen to improve your game, your holiday is the perfect opportunity to learn. You’ll be at your most relaxed, hopefully not worrying about all those chores you normally “should” be doing! If you don’t have long, or you need to share holiday time with your family, try treating yourself to a few hours tuition with a premier course’s resident pro trainer.
When you’ve more time to spare, the Australian Golf Academy runs a variety of programs at selected golf courses across Australia, from corporate golf days & junior clinics to week-long intensive courses, & golf summer camp.
Equipment is easily hired or borrowed when you’re still testing the water. Once you know you enjoy the game, try looking on eBay for second hand clubs, & pick up some refurbished lake balls to practise with. This lets you improve & get properly hooked without committing excess cash straight away.
Where to play:
Victoria is saturated with world class golf courses, to the point where they start to seem commonplace. Mornington Peninsula is particularly good. From a holiday point of view, it’s fringed with excellent beaches, with excellent diving, swimming & surfing conditions, while inland you’ll find vineyards, plenty of boutique shopping & stunning national parks. Golfwise, you’re absolutely spoilt for choice.
Moonah Links, which rather splendidly refers to itself as “the home of Australian golf”, boasts two 18 hole championship courses & luxury accommodation. It hosts the Moonah Classic & sometimes the Australian Open - bear in mind that accommodation will be limited during either of these, so book well in advance if you’d like to attend.
The Dunes is Mornington’s other famous course, brilliantly designed & immaculately maintained. Its greens are unbelievably smooth & its native rough is both challenging & wildly beautiful. For a more relaxed, albeit still satisfying, day’s play, try Flinders, its recently redesigned layout complimented by spectacular views all round.
Perth’s landscape & climate are particularly well suited to golf - not to mention holidays in general - its laid-back pace of life enriched by a delicious variety of top-notch restaurants, excellent vineyards & world class outdoor sports. Its golf heritage dates back to the 19th century; the Royal Perth Golf Club is the oldest, most prestigious & possibly the hardest to get invited to, while the 4 star Novotel Vines resort is more accessible, yet frequently cited as one of the top Australian golf resorts. Joonalup, however, has been rated number 1 several times. Unforgiving but very beautiful, there are three courses to choose from here, & a golf academy to brush up your skills.