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Australia’s Top Public Access Courses 2016

Following hot on the heels of the GOLF Course Guide's listing of Australia's Top courses for 2016 come the latest Golf Australia Magazine Jan 2016 and Golf Digest Mar 2016 rankings.

Here we compare the three lists for PUBLIC ACCESS COURSES ONLY - Note that the Golf Australia criteria were DESIGN (60%) ; CONDITION (20%) ; VISUAL APPEAL (20%) Golf Digest weightings are very similar, see full description here. whereas the GOLF Course Guide uses 40%; 40%; 20% 

COURSE GOLF Course Guide Golf Australia Mag Golf Digest
CAPE WICKHAM nr (Note 1) 3 1
BARNBOUGLE DUNES 1 1 2
BARNBOUGLE LOST FARM 2 2 3
THE DUNES 3 9 5
KENNEDY BAY 4 7 13
JOONDALUP - QUARRY/DUNES 5 8 4
ST ANDREWS BEACH 6 4 7
BARWON HEADS 7 6 10
THIRTEENTH BEACH - BEACH 8 10 11
MOONAH LINKS - LEGENDS 9 12 12
MAGENTA SHORES 10 15 8
NEWCASTLE 11 5 6
BONVILLE   12 22 15
HAMILTON ISLAND 13 18 14
MOONAH LINKS - OPEN 14 30 16
THE CUT 15 14 18
LINKS HOPE ISLAND 16 23 17
BROOKWATER 17 11 9
KALGOORLIE 18 31 29
GLADES 19 27 22
PORTSEA 20 13 30
THIRTEENTH BEACH - CREEK 21 20 35
PACIFIC HARBOUR 22 33 28
PELICAN WATERS 23 24 27
CAPRICORN - CHAMPIONSHIP 24 nr 26
STONECUTTERS RIDGE 25 16 31
HERITAGE - ST JOHNS 26 nr 41
PACIFIC DUNES 27 34 23
SANCTUARY COVE - PALMS 28 36 21
LAKELANDS 29 36 24
SANCTUARY COVE - PINES 30 35 20
MEADOW SPRINGS 31 25 39
THE VINTAGE 32 17 19
SANCTUARY LAKES 33 37 38
PORT FAIRY 34 19 40
THE VINES - LAKES 35 29 52
NOOSA SPRINGS 36 nr nr
PARADISE PALMS 37 nr 49
CAPE SCHANCK 38 nr nr
CRANBOURNE 39 28 47
LINKS LADY BAY 40 41 25
TASMANIA 41 40 53
EYNESBURY 42 38 43
PALMER COOLUM 43 nr 33
TWIN WATERS 44 50 nr
HORSHAM 45 45 54
ALICE SPRINGS 46 nr 50
HERITAGE - HENLEY 47 nr nr
ST MICHAELS 48 32 32
PALMER GOLD COAST(ROBINA)  49 nr nr
RANFURLIE 50 26 36
BALLARAT 51 nr nr
MURRAY DOWNS 52 44 42
PALM MEADOWS 53 nr nr
KOOINDAH WATERS 54 nr 45
NAROOMA 55 47 44
SECRET HARBOUR   56 nr 37
LONG REEF 57 nr nr
FLEURIEU 58 nr nr
FEDERAL 59 nr 46
CLUB MANDALAY 60    
ROYAL HOBART 61    
SANDS TORQUAY 62    
PALMER SEA REEF(SEATEMPLE) 63    
EAGLE RIDGE 64    
YERING MEADOWS - NURSERY 65    
CURLEWIS 66 39 nr
ARALUEN 67   51
CAMDEN LAKESIDE 68    
ROSEBUD - NORTH 69    
ROYAL PINES - GREEN/GOLD 70   48
WIRRINA COVE 71    
SHEPPARTON 72    
GARDINERS RUN 73    
YARRAWONGA - MURRAY 74 48 nr
OCEAN SHORES 75    
FLINDERS 76    
DUNTRYLEAGUE 77    
GROWLING FROG 78    
MOLLYMOOK - HILLTOP 79    
MURWILLUMBAH 80    
WARRNAMBOOL 81 46 nr
THE COAST 82    
PORTARLINGTON 83    
ALBANY 84    
NORTH LAKES 85    
THE SPRINGS (NSW) 86    
ULVERSTONE 87    
PATTERSON RIVER 88    
COBRAM BAROOGA - OLD 89    
BUNBURY 90    
WATERFORD VALLEY 91    
MONA VALE 92    
SUN CITY 93 43 nr
BLACK BULL 94 42 nr
MCCRACKEN 95    
BYRON BAY 96    
ANGLESEA 97    
THE VINES - ELLENBROOK 98    
PORT MACQUARIE 99    
TOCUMWAL - PRESIDENTS 100    

Clearly our judges and Digest look more favourably on The Dunes than Golf Australia's panel who prefer St Andrews Beach and Newcastle. Digest has marked Kennedy Bay down largely due to conditioning issues. The Guide also ranks Bonville highly as a fun layout rather than penalise it on purely technical grounds and it is pleasing to see Digest nudge it up a few slots too. We consider Brookwater and Vintage too penal. It surprises not to find Capricorn Resort on GA's list, and to a lesser extent Noosa Springs, Paradise Palms, Cape Schanck, Palmer Gold Coast and Palm Meadows. Club Mandalay debuts at No. 60 in the Guide with potential to climb much further. Coolum has closed its doors since the Guide list was published, and we understand that Heritage St Johns has deteriorated further although Digest still like it. Golf Australia gave significantly higher rankings to St Michaels, Curlewis, Black Bull and Sun City amongst others. 

Note 1. The GOLF Course Guide did not include the new Cape Wickham links - see our explanation

For more details on the ranking methodology click here

Please feel free to email us with your thoughts.

Below we compare the two lists from last year 2015 - Note that the Golf Australia criteria were DESIGN (50%) ; CONDITION (40%) ; VISUAL APPEAL (10%) whereas the GOLF Course Guide uses 40%; 40%; 20%

COURSE GA GCG
BARNBOUGLE DUNES 1 1
BARNBOUGLE LOST FARM 2 2
KENNEDY BAY 3 7
ST ANDREWS BEACH 4 5
JOONDALUP - QUARRY/DUNES 5 3
THIRTEENTH BEACH - BEACH 6 9
BARWON HEADS 7 8
THE DUNES 8 4
NEWCASTLE 9 Note 1
BONVILLE   10 13
HAMILTON ISLAND 11 11
BROOKWATER 12 15
THE CUT 13 12
PORTSEA 14 18
MOONAH LINKS - LEGENDS 15 6
PELICAN WATERS 16 21
STONECUTTERS RIDGE 17 19
LINKS HOPE ISLAND 18 16
MOONAH LINKS - OPEN 19 14
MEADOW SPRINGS 20 27
THE VINTAGE 21 29
PACIFIC HARBOUR 22 20
GLADES 23 17
LAKELANDS 24 28
THIRTEENTH BEACH - CREEK 25 26
THE VINES - LAKES 26 38
PACIFIC DUNES 27 25
NAROOMA 28 59
PORT FAIRY 29 31
ST MICHAELS 30 41
LONG REEF 31 96
JOONDALUP - QUARRY/LAKE 32 Note 2
SORRENTO 33 Note 1
CAPRICORN - CHAMPIONSHIP 34 30
EYNESBURY 35 43
SANCTUARY COVE - PALMS 36 40
SANCTUARY LAKES 37 36
RANFURLIE 38 42
PALMER SEA REEF (Seatemple) 39 67
KALGOORLIE 40 23
RIVERSIDE OAKS - BUNGOOL 41 Note 3
TWIN WATERS 42 46
LINKS LADY BAY 43 39
COAST (THE) 44 100
SETTLERS RUN 45 33
KOOINDAH WATERS 46 49
HORSHAM 47 37
FEDERAL 48 64
JOONDALUP - DUNE/LAKE 49 Note 2
SECRET HARBOUR   50 44
SANDHURST - CHAMPIONS 51 Note 1
CAPE SCHANCK 52 51
CURLEWIS 53 50
PALMER COOLUM 54 32
TASMANIA 55 34
YERING MEADOWS - HOMESTEAD 56 Note 2
NOOSA SPRINGS 57 35
MURRAY DOWNS 58 47
YARRAWONGA - MURRAY 59 69
WATERFORD VALLEY 60 nr
EAGLE RIDGE 61 62
ROSEBUD - NORTH 62 70
BALLARAT 63 57
THE VINES - ELLENBROOK 64 nr
PALM MEADOWS 65 Note 2
INDOOROOPILLY - EAST 66 nr
YERING MEADOWS - NURSERY 67 54
ROYAL PINES - GREEN/GOLD 68 71
OCEAN SHORES 69 72
GROWLING FROG 70 91
WARRNAMBOOL 71 77
NORTH LAKES 72 75
PALMER GOLD COAST (ROBINA)  73 55
ALBANY 74 76
SUN CITY 75 89
PARADISE PALMS 76 48
BUNBURY 77 84
COOLANGATTA - RIVER 78 nr
BELMONT 79 nr
EASTLAKE 80 nr
BYRON BAY 81 nr
ROYAL HOBART 82 58
LEONGATHA 83 nr
ROSEBUD - SOUTH 84 nr
FLINDERS 85 85
GISBORNE 86 nr
RIVERSIDE OAKS - GANGARRU 87 nr
COOLANGATTA - WEST 88 nr
ALICE SPRINGS 89 53
MURWILLUMBAH 90 nr
VICTOR HARBOR 91 nr
YARRAWONGA - LAKES 92 nr
FORSTER-TUNCURRY - TUNCURRY 93 nr
LAUNCESTON 94 nr
SANDHURST - NORTH 95 Note 1
NARACOORTE 96 nr
TURA BEACH 97 nr
COBRAM BAROOGA - OLD 98 68
MOLLYMOOK - HILLTOP 99 82
TOCUMWAL - PRESIDENTS 100 98

Note 1. Considered a Private Course by GOLF Course Guide

Note 2. GOLF Course Guide only ranks one 18 hole combination where course has three nines.

Note 3. Not yet seen by sufficient judges.