The perfect lodging for golfers offers the best views, proximity to the course and amenities that are first-rate but not over-the-top. What are the rooms that add the ultimate touch for a golf getaway? With input from Australian Golf Digest editors and our 180-plus course-ranking panellists, a well-travelled bunch, we created this list of 14 greats. Like Cape Wickham’s spectacular clifftop cabins [above], which practically put you on the first tee (and in Bass Strait!), these rooms offer an experience so fine you might never want to leave.
With its classic beach-front cottages, stunning four-bedroom villas and the new two-bedroom ocean villas, Barnbougle Dunes offers the unique charm and style of the Tasmanian north-east.
“The bunker villas cut into the dunes on the course are the definition of cool and something we should see more of in this country,” says AGD editor-in-chief Brad Clifton.
“I love staying here because you really feel a part of the rugged surroundings,” adds panellist Tim Browne.
Rothbury, New South Wales
If you visit this place there’s a good chance you’ll bump into someone from Australian Golf Digest. That’s because we keep coming back, regularly, if not for the golf facilities, for the luxurious self-contained rooms at Chateau Elan. They overlook the course and provide just a short walk to the clubhouse bar and restaurant, and the first tee.
“I stayed for a golf getaway and soon after booked it as my wedding venue,” says panellist Scott Muller. Yep, Chateau Elan has that effect on you.
Barwon Heads, Victoria
No surprise this place made our list. The clubhouse’s 19-room accommodation wing has been welcoming visitors since 1924 and enjoys a truckload of repeat business.
“At Barwon Heads, you are welcomed into a world of yesteryear charm,” says panellist Tim Browne.
“While the rooms here are a step back in time, they’re sophisticated enough to keep my generation happy,” adds Tyson Flynn.
It’s particularly giving on wet and miserable days: “To be able to shower and head back to the clubhouse section of the same building is pretty awesome,” says panellist Robert Shakeshaft.
Get ready to rejuvenate your mind and body in one of the deluxe suites at Joondalup Resort, a place where the lodging matches the outstanding golf offering.
“Joondalup’s accommodation places guests directly adjacent to the 27-hole course,” says Australian Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses editor Steve Keipert. “Adorned by every convenience a golfer could wish for, the added bonus is how close you are to that first tee – an aspect I like because it signals that while the accommodation is key, golf remains a focal point.”
King Island, Tasmania
Given Wickham’s remote location – 40 minutes’ drive from King Island’s Currie township – it makes sense to stay in one of the 16 on-site cabins. Each cabin has northward-facing verandahs overlooking the first and 18th fairways, Cape Wickham Lighthouse, Bass Strait and Victoria Cove where in-house guests can take a twilight stroll along the sandy beach.
“The solitude is rather therapeutic – apart from the odd wallaby hopping past the windowpane or an occasional screech from a mutton bird returning to its burrow after a daily flight over the Southern Ocean,” says AGD senior writer Rohan Clarke.
“Anybody who’s ever stayed at Victoria Golf Club would have to rank it No.1,” declares panellist Jason Hill. “Nice simple rooms, great amenities, amazing service, extraordinary value.”
Fellow course rater and NSW Teaching Pro of the Year winner, Jason Laws, concurs.
“In my opinion, Victoria Golf Club sets the standard other golf clubs should follow.”
Indeed, the clubhouse’s 15 comfortably appointed rooms, each with full ensuite facilities, are a pleasure to return to after a nightcap by the fireplace downstairs.
Bonville, New South Wales
The course is spectacular, the restaurant sublime, but it’s the perfectly positioned accommodation on the course that completes the much-hyped “Bonville experience”. There are 30 rooms in total, including 17 Resort rooms, eight Executive Spa options and five of the Executive View variety, all overlooking the glorious first fairway. “Each room offers Molton Brown amenities – a nice touch of luxury added to your stay – and are well presented and very close to the action,” says Flynn.
Gold Coast, Queensland
As the first InterContinental Resort to land in Australia, InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort reflects the grand, graceful architecture of a classic Queensland estate and is highlighted by the refurbished Great House – the ultimate in luxury and privacy.
“Staying here, you feel like you’re on a tropical island with the private balcony and postcard views of the lagoon sands and lush gardens,” Clifton says. “It makes the golf all that more relaxing, and gives you a clearer understanding of why 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott calls this place home”
The second accommodation option on this otherworldly property is great in a different way to its big sister. Owning more of a boutique hotel feel than the Dunes villas down the road, Lost Farm Lodge doesn’t lose points on its appeal, offering open-plan living with a choice of views (ocean or course view rooms). “Waking up to luxury and the stunning views of the course and Anderson Bay really enhances the Barnbougle experience,” says panellist Ben McIlwain.
“Heading out to play the Dunes or Lost Farm, then enjoying post-round drinks in the sports bar, dinner in the restaurant and coming back to the lodge is my idea of the perfect day in golf.”
Cape Schanck, Victoria
The new-look RACV Cape Schanck Resort is unmissable – a striking contemporary building that monsters the landscape it sits on. “And at the very top sits the Peninsula Suite, which redefines personalised, experiential luxury accommodation,” Clifton says. Guests of the Peninsula Suite receive in-room check-in, a personalised gift on arrival and can indulge in the delights of their complimentary provision cabinet. They can also soak in 180-degree panoramic views across the Mornington Peninsula of both Port Phillip Bay and Bass Strait, or literally soak in the free-standing spa bath. The choice is yours.
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
The self-contained one and two-bedroom apartments here are everything you want on a golf trip – roomy, comfortable and well-appointed, offering privacy and boundless space so you’re not tripping over your gear. What’s more, the accommodation is just a short stroll from a wide range of sport and recreation facilities. “The rooms are great but what makes your stay here even better is the complimentary daily transfer to Hastings Street, the thriving hub of Noosa,” Keipert says. “The small things matter on golf trips, and this service is something you don’t get at many other stay-and-play golf destinations.”
Magenta, New South Wales
As we’ve come to expect from the Accor Hotel group, modern accommodation in a great location welcomes golfers to this spectacular layout just north of the NSW Central Coast hot spot, The Entrance.
“I love how many of the rooms overlook the first hole and others the lagoon pool,” says panellist Richard Greville. Adds Flynn: “Accommodation onsite, beaches close by – how can you go wrong?”
The reincarnation of Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley has gathered momentum on the back of its stay-and-play offerings. The resort’s goal is to be the No.1 destination for south-east Queenslanders looking for a country escape in the Scenic Rim. The property boasts more than 100 rooms, each combining a soothing colour palette of rich, warm, natural earthy tones and soft textures to make you feel right at home.
“The presidential suite is the perfect way to spoil the family with its large private balcony, master king bed, eight-seat dining table, premium lounge suite and uninterrupted golf course, pool and Kooralbyn Valley views,” says panellist Tony Webeck.
Gold Coast, Queensland
Golf course views by day, stunning Gold Coast lights at night – RACV Royal Pines Resort continues to be one of the most popular play-and-stay facilities in the country.
This iconic building offers everything from king and twin rooms through to two-bedroom family rooms with views across the golf course or the hinterland to the west. “Executive Package” guests can also enjoy the luxury of the private lounge with contemporary furnishings.
“Walk straight from your room to the first tee and play the Australian PGA Championship course,” says panellist Brendon Williams. “And for a real special treat, go the spa suite and add the executive lounge package.”