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Top 100 Public Access Golf Courses - 2007

from the Golf Course Guide

Australia's Top 100 Public Access Golf Courses - 2007

For the 2006 Rankings - click here

2007    COURSE    2006

2    KENNEDY BAY    2
4    JOONDALUP    5
5    DUNES, THE    3
9    BROOKWATER    6
10    HOPE ISLAND     8
11    BARWON HEADS    12
12    BONVILLE      10
14    HERITAGE - ST JOHNS    nr
15    PORTSEA     13
16    CLUB PELICAN    18
17    LAKELANDS     14
18    COOLUM    16
19    VINES - LAKES    20
20    GLADES     15
21    CUT, THE    21
22    CAPRICORN - NEW    24
23    VINTAGE    17
25    LINKS LADY BAY    31
26    MEADOW SPRINGS     30
27    HORSHAM    29
28    MURRAY DOWNS     22
30    CAPE, THE    25
31    PARADISE PALMS     19
32    HORIZONS    28
33    PACIFIC DUNES    33
34    ROBINA WOODS     27
35    SORRENTO    26
36    TWIN WATERS     32
37    NORTH LAKES    34
39    CRANBOURNE    36
40    NOOSA SPRINGS     39
42    ARALUEN     Top 100
43    LONG REEF    40
45    BONNIE DOON    Top 100
46    ALICE SPRINGS     49
47    NAROOMA     42
48    OCEAN SHORES     Top 100
49    RANFURLIE    Top 100
50    SEATEMPLE  Pt Douglas    47

Top 100    ANGLESEA    Top 100
Top 100    BELMONT     Top 100
Top 100    BRIBIE ISLAND     Top 100
Top 100    CAPRICORN - OLD    Top 100
Top 100    COBRAM BAROOGA - OLD    Top 100
Top 100    COBRAM BAROOGA - WEST    Top 100
Top 100    COFFS HARBOUR    Top 100
Top 100    COLONIAL    Top 100
Top 100    COOLANGATTA - RIVER    nr
Top 100    COROWA     Top 100
Top 100    CYPRESS LAKES     45
Top 100    EAGLE RIDGE    Top 100
Top 100    FEDERAL     Top 100
Top 100    FLINDERS    Top 100
Top 100    GAINSBOROUGH GREENS    Top 100
Top 100    GOLD CREEK     nr
Top 100    GROWLING FROG    48
Top 100    INDOOROOPILLY - EAST    Top 100
Top 100    KEPERRA     Top 100
Top 100    KINGSTON LINKS    Top 100
Top 100    KOOINDAH WATERS    nr
Top 100    KOORALBYN VALLEY     Top 100
Top 100    LAKES ENTRANCE    Top 100
Top 100    LEONGATHA    Top 100
Top 100    LIVERPOOL     Top 100
Top 100    LONSDALE    Top 100
Top 100    MCCRACKEN    nr
Top 100    MILLICENT    Top 100
Top 100    MOLLYMOOK - HILLTOP    Top 100
Top 100    MT BROUGHTON     Top 100
Top 100    PALM MEADOWS     Top 100
Top 100    PORT FAIRY    44
Top 100    RICH RIVER - EAST    Top 100
Top 100    RIVERSIDE OAKS    Top 100
Top 100    ROSEBUD - NORTH    41
Top 100    ROSEBUD - SOUTH    Top 100
Top 100    ROYAL HOBART    Top 100
Top 100    ROYAL PINES     Top 100
Top 100    SANCTUARY COVE - PALMS    Top 100
Top 100    SECRET HARBOUR      43
Top 100    SHEPPARTON    38
Top 100    ST MICHAEL'S    50
Top 100    TALLWOODS    nr
Top 100    TASMANIA    Top 100
Top 100    TOCUMWAL - CAPTAINS    Top 100
Top 100    TOCUMWAL - PRESIDENTS    37
Top 100    TURA BEACH     Top 100
Top 100    VINES - ELLENBROOK    Top 100
Top 100    WARRNAMBOOL    Top 100
Top 100    YOWANI     Top 100

Australia's Top 100 Public Access Courses

Barnbougle Dunes retains top spot
from Selwyn Berg, Editor of The Golf Course Guide

As more of our judges travelled to Bridport , Tasmania to play Australia ’s world class links, Barnbougle Dunes confirmed its standing as our best Public Access Course, scored even more points for Design than it did on debut in 2006, and was once again considered our most scenic layout.

Tony Cashmore’s Beach Course at Thirteenth Beach jumped from 11th to 7th spot, largely as a result of the excellent playing conditions provided by Superintendent Mark Gahan and his dedicated staff. As an indication of just how close the judges’ scores were, Tony’s original new course, The Dunes, a perennial top-ranker in The Guide, maintained its positioning for Design, Conditions and Aesthetics, but nevertheless tumbled from 3rd to 5th overall as Turtle Point and Joondalup edged in front.

This year we included The Pines at Sanctuary Cove (13) and St John’s Course at The Heritage (14) as both are accessible to hotel guests and we feel they belong on our Public Access lists.

Pacific Harbour (24) Ross Watson’s new layout on Bribie Island makes its debut. This course impressed our judges who found it fun to play and felt that it will certainly improve as it settles in. Another new course on debut is Waterford Valley (41) by Pacific Coast Design at Rowville in the Melbourne Eastern suburbs.

New entrants to the Top 100 include the River Course at Coolangatta and Tweed Heads, Gold Creek in Canberra, Kooindah Waters at Wyong a new course designed by Craig Parry in conjunction with Ross Watson, McCracken in South Australia that has been just outside our rankings for some time, and Tallwoods near Taree which has been accessible to residential guests for some time.

Sadly, at least another twenty wonderful courses narrowly missed out on this year’s list, including some favourites of mine such as Albany , Coomealla, Tewantin-Noosa, Sun City, Queenscliff, Mornington, Tuggerah Lakes , Ulverstone (listed No. 22 for aesthetics) and Curlewis.

As usual, our rankings for Best Design differ little from last year’s. The Cut at Pt Bouvard was a notable exception, recognised as a thrilling design by several judges who made the trip south of Perth to play Jim Wilcher’s coastal layout that leapt 8 spots up the ladder. Pacific Harbour debuted at 22. Kooindah Waters, Ranfurlie and Waterford Valley entered the Top 50.

How the List was compiled.


The Golf Course Guide has published a list of Australia's best Public Access Courses every year since 2001. Our list differs from those found in other publications in some important aspects. Clearly, we are focussed only on those courses that encourage green fee players (see details under "what are public access courses"). Our judges have a range of ages and golfing abilities and are instructed to reward course designs that cater for golfers of every level. We are extremely proud of the methodology that we have developed over many years. We strive for transparency, with clear criteria, and we offer separate lists based on course design, conditions and aesthetics to enable readers to select courses that will most readily appeal to their own preferences.

Panellists were asked to score only courses they had played. They were asked to rank courses in each of the three categories - design, conditions and aesthetics. Colleagues who play certain courses frequently were consulted to more accurately assess year round conditions. The judging period is from August 2005 to July 2006. All scores were standardised to compensate for any particular harshness or leniency, and spurious high or low results were rejected.

Course Design (40% weighting): How each hole presents an enjoyable, even thrilling challenge to golfers of all abilities from scratch markers to high handicappers and shorter hitters. The variety of different holes that make up the course, and the variety of shots that they require to test every facet of your game. The strategic design of each hole - where hazards come into play, reward for risk takers plus the existence of a safer/easier option, maybe with an additional stroke, for those who choose not to take the risk.

Courses with two separate 18s considered as two courses; where 27 holes available, the "best" 18 selected.

Course Conditions (40% weighting): Year round playing conditions (from best to worst season) and course maintenance of greens (greatest weighting), fairways, tees, rough and hazards.

Course Aesthetics (20% weighting): The obvious beauty of the setting and also that very subjective quality of ambience and tranquillity that allows the golfer to lose himself in his environment. For some golfers, the thrill of playing golf in a stunning (eg coastal clifftop) environment can far outweigh lacklustre design strategy, and even mediocre fairway conditions. For these players, our allocation of only 20% weighting will seem inadequate, and they should seek out courses from our Best Aesthetics list, rather than the overall rankings.


To be considered for this list courses must be available for play by public, green fee paying golfers for most of the year. Courses available only to members, Interstate or overseas visitors, or holders of official handicaps are excluded. The list includes:

Public Courses – often owned by city councils, these courses have no members and are available to anyone who pays a green fee and conforms to a few simple requirements such as dress codes and owning or hiring a set of clubs. Sometimes an associated “club” is able to book blocks of tee times.

Resort Courses – privately owned, usually of high standard, with additional facilities on site such as accommodation and dining.

Private Courses – most golf courses throughout Australia are private clubs. An annual fee, and often a joining fee, is required, and members then do not usually pay green fees. Most clubs have tee times when the public may pay green fees and play the course, sometimes including club competition times. Such courses are considered “public access” in this Guide if they permit green fee players several days per week.

Other clubs are more exclusive, requiring guests to be introduced by a member, or permitting unaccompanied non-members access only if they are club members visiting from interstate or overseas. These courses are excluded from this list. One or two private courses accessible to in-house guests elected to be excluded.

The Judges

George Begg is the golf writer for Star Newspapers and the Geelong Independent. A member at Altona Lakes and Werribee Park Golf Clubs, handicap 16, he is the Secretary of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

Selwyn Berg is the Managing Editor of ausgolf and the Editor and Publisher of The Golf Course Guide. Handicap of 10 at Commonwealth.

Jeff Blunden leads the new Club and Industry Advisory service for Golf Australia. He is a member at Boonie Doon, playing off a handicap of 7.

Graeme Bond covers golf on Melbourne Radio 3AW. A member at Riversdale with a handicap of 12 that he attributes to the number of rounds that he plays at The National.

Rohan Clarke is a Senior Writer for Australian Golf Digest. His handicap is 8 at Beverley Park, Sydney.

Archie Fraser is the CEO of St Kilda Football Club and has spent many years playing golf based in Victoria and Queensland. He is a member at St Andrews Beach & Commonwealth, handicap 7.

Brendan James is the Editor of Golf Australia Magazine where he travels extensively to review and photograph courses. His handicap is 5 at Riverside Oaks.

Steve Keipert is the Editor of Australian Golf Digest, a role that takes him to golf courses across Australia. His handicap is 7 at Wakehurst Golf Club, Sydney.

Garry Kennedy is Editor and Publisher of Hacker Golf Quarterly and General Manager of The Golf Course Guide. His current handicap is 12 at Heidelberg.

Michael King is a member at The Grand and Kingston Heath, handicap 11.

Jonathan McCleery is a golf author and investor who plays off 9 at Riversdale.

Peter Nolan is a keen golfer who plays off 7 at Rosanna.

Kevin Pallier has played golf extensively throughout Australia and the British Isles. He is a panellist for a number of golfing publications including: Australian Golf Digest and Golf World (UK). He is a member at Wollongong Golf Club, NSW with a handicap of 8

Nigel Wall was the editor of Golf Australia for 12 years, and is currently the Australian writer for US publication Travel & Leisure Golf. Handicap 8 at Riverside Oaks.

Leon Wiegard is an honorary member of the PGA (Australia) and MD of Sportgard, organisers of corporate golf and tours. Handicap 10 at Commonwealth.

David Worley is a member at Commonwealth, Sorrento and Moonah Links who plays off 11. He is currently writing a comprehensive book on British Links.

Additional assistance by Geoff Roach.