[above] The Coast Golf Club showcases some of the best scenery in Sydney.

Not many Australian golfers are blessed with the overflowing bank accounts of Adam Scott and Jason Day. If you’re looking to sniff out a green fee bargain at a leading golf course, here is a great place to start.

PARTING with money isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t feel you are getting value for your dollar. In our glorious country, when it comes to value for money while playing golf, we are all getting a pretty good deal – be it the cost of club memberships or paying per round at either a public, resort or private golf course.

I can compare my experiences in Australia to my time playing golf in America and comparatively there are a few categories that can be assessed: club membership and annual fees, access to play, cost of green fees, quality of course and facilities and, finally, a family component. There are many different scenarios that play out depending on where you play golf, but the major contributing factor to the cost of golf anywhere in the world is basic economics – supply and demand.

Although Australia doesn’t have a great number of public golf courses, gaining access onto private clubs is both attainable and affordable. For example, in Sydney, to play Moore Park (a public course) will set you back $40 to $60 for 18 holes and to play Bonnie Doon (a private course) will cost you $80 for 18 holes; neither breaking the bank. Golf is available all across America, however there are two opposing areas: California and the North-East. Cali has an abundance of public courses across the state. Although there are still the exclusive and expensive private clubs like Beverly Hills Country Club and Riviera, Californians also enjoy a huge number of fantastic public courses. But are they cheap? Not all of them.

Pebble Beach will set you back close to $525 per round, however keep in mind Pebble Beach is ranked 15th in the world. All of the courses in the Carmel region are in high demand and club managements set the prices accordingly. Lesser courses charge closer to the $100 mark, which is very reasonable, and there are plenty of nine-hole facilities that aren’t exactly championship courses but remain so important. There should be more nine-holers as they provide a wonderful stomping ground for grassroots golf.

I have spent significant time in the north-eastern states (New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island) and although there are some reasonably priced public courses like Bethpage Black ($150), generally golf in the North-East is membership-based. This means paying a hefty joining fee, anywhere from $10,000 to in excess of $100,000, plus annual fees and a compulsory food-and-beverage quota. The bright side of parting with a large amount of money is the golf courses are groomed and kept in immaculate order, foot traffic and the pace of play are monitored to make everyone’s day on the course a happy one, and the service from the locker-room attendants to the professional staff will never cease to impress – it’s seamless from the minute you drive through the gate. It epitomises the old saying, “You get what you pay for.”

Golf in Australia for members and non-members alike is very affordable for anyone who wants to play. However, I strongly believe other parts of the world have a superior system in terms of how their membership categories are structured and it ends up being money well spent despite higher costs. The cost to play golf here in Australia and associated costs are lower than many other countries, but what impresses me about foreign club memberships is how they incorporate family memberships that ultimately encourage junior golf and a family-friendly environment. This takes care of grassroots development as it gives exposure to golf and access to play for kids in a family oriented and social capacity. This is what I am so vehemently in favour of as I feel it is pertinent to look after the future of golf.

Here are 40 courses across Australia – listed alphabetically – that the editors at Australian Golf Digest agree provide value for money for a $50 note or less during at least certain times of the week.

Albert Park Golf Course

Albert Park, Melbourne $34 to $39

Albert Park calls itself the best located public golf course in Australia and it’s difficult to dispute given its central location in the nation’s second-largest city. The course is flat, treelined and wedged snuggly between Albert Park Lake and the CBD. www.albertparkgolf.com.au

Alice Springs Golf Club

Alice Springs, NT $48

An outback gem, the Peter Thomson/Mike Wolveridge design in our Red Centre is an experience not to be missed. The course sits within sight of the omnipresent MacDonnell Ranges and is far lusher than first-time visitors realise. Still, off the kept areas are plenty of dry, dusty and rocky areas that require careful extrication from with a golf implement. www.alicespringsgolfclub.com.au

Barossa Valley Golf Club 

Nuriootpa, SA $35

A quintessential rural layout that’s not excessively bunkered or overly tight but is a handful for anyone taking it on. Subtle elevation changes in places add an extra dimension to this country track.  www.barossavalleygolf.com.au

Bay Views Golf Course

Rosebud, VIC  $39

Previously known as Rosebud Park Public, Bay Views is a fixture in the public-access golf scene on the Mornington Peninsula. Not to be missed is the signature, sweeping dogleg-left 13th hole that points towards Port Phillip Bay. www.bayviewsgolf.com.au

Black Bull Golf Club

Yarrawonga, VIC  $45

The newest addition to the Murray River golf scene might some day be considered its best. Black Bull, perched on the edge of Lake Mulwala, includes the gimmicky but giddiness-inspiring ‘Bull Ring’ holes at the 15th, 16th and 17th. Elsewhere, the design takes advantage of its lakeside location, rustic setting and the site’s other abundant natural features. www.blackbullgc.com.au

Calderwood Valley Golf Course

Albion Park, NSW  $22 to $28

A distinct ‘sleeper’ course in the Illawarra region. Calderwood Valley retains its rural setting while using the Illawarra escarpment as a unique backdrop. The par-70 layout twists and turns around a sprinkling of water hazards, bunkers and challenging doglegs. www.calderwoodgolf.com.au

Club Mandalay

Beveridge, VIC  $30 to $45

Among the newest courses to open in Australia, Club Mandalay diverges from some of the time-honoured Peter Thomson/Ross Perrett design traits while utilising the natural features of the site north of Melbourne – which include a seam of basalt rocks. www.clubmandalay.com.au

Cobram Barooga Golf Resort

Barooga, NSW  $35 to $40

Another Murray course with contrasting layouts, Cobram Barooga’s Old course has the short, narrow passages to the green while the West is more expansive and its greens feature more movement. www.cbgc.com.au

Commercial Club Albury

Albury, NSW $32 to $36

In complete contrast to the layouts further along the Murray River, Albury’s kikuyu fairways provide a true point of difference at the beginning or end of a golf trip along the river. Compact and cleverly designed, several fairways and greens feature dramatic contouring. www.commercialclubalbury.com.au

Corowa Golf Club

Corowa, NSW  $35

The home of successful touring professional Marcus Fraser, Corowa is a 27-holer offering combinations of the two original nines and the newer, longer and more open third nine. The picturesque par-3 12th hole provides a glimpse of the Murray River left of the green. www.corowagolf.com.au

Country Club Tasmania

Launceston, TAS $45

This Thomson/Wolveridge layout provides variety throughout with a collection of open holes complementing treelined excursions. The course owns one of the more daunting opening drives in Australian golf – a water carry off the tee on the 395-metre first hole. www.countryclubtasmania.com.au

Devonport Golf Club

Spreyton, TAS  $30 to $40

Tucked on a peninsula near where the Spirit of Tasmania docks on the Apple Isle, the “Woodrising” course in the state’s third-largest city was a prominent tournament venue in northern Tasmania for many years. Traditional and treelined, Devonport is another Vern Morcom gem. www.devonportgolfclub.com.au

Eagle Ridge Golf Course

Boneo, VIC From $22 (time-of-day-based pricing)

A picturesque and ornate layout nestled among the Mornington Peninsula’s elite, Eagle Ridge is an exercise in straight hitting. And while accuracy is at a premium on the driving holes, it’s the par 3s that get the blood pumping. www.eagleridge.com.au

Flinders Golf Club

Flinders, VIC  $39 (weekdays only)

Flinders is a coastal gem lining the south-eastern edge of the Mornington Peninsula. With exposed holes and subtle nuances throughout, Flinders looks like it can be overpowered but in reality it rarely is.  www.flindersgolfclub.com.au

Growling Frog Golf Course

Yan Yean, Melbourne $40 to $45

Graham Marsh penned an eye-catching design that twists and turns between sprawling old trees and meandering waterways. Marsh’s bunkering is a feature, as are the vistas on offer across the course.  www.growlingfroggolfcourse.com.au

Horsham Golf Club

Horsham, VIC  $40

The highest-profile golf course to suffer at the hands of the devastating Black Saturday bushfires eight years ago, Horsham has transformed itself through necessity while remaining one of the leading country layouts in the land. Located 300 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, the course in its current iteration is not nearly as heavily treed but the fires took away none of its charm. www.horshamgolfclub.com

Howlong Golf Resort

Howlong, NSW $29 to $34

The club known for its generous remote membership deal, the golf course at Howlong is well worth visiting. Laid out within a tremendously small patch of land, the layout manoeuvres masterfully through treelines to provide a genuine test. www.howlonggolf.com.au

Kingston Links Golf Club

Rowville, Melbourne  $29 to $50

A popular public-access course in Melbourne’s east, Kingston Links is a mostly open, links-style course with abundant water to complicate the examination. A par 3 to finish is a unique design facet.  www.kingstonlinks.com.au

Kooindah Waters Golf Club

Wyong, NSW $40 to $50 (weekdays only, must book online prior to midday to receive $50 rate)

Ross Watson worked his magic in swampland on the Central Coast to conceive a short, tight and infinitely tricky course that he designed in collaboration with Craig Parry. The area’s wetlands feature prominently and often border greens in dramatic fashion, while the ochre-coloured bunkers provide a striking contrast.  www.kooindahwatersgolf.com.au

Links Kennedy Bay

Port Kennedy, WA  $50 (weekdays only)

The only course in Australia’s top-50 to offer green fees of $50, Kennedy Bay is an outstanding, windswept links layout an hour south of Perth. Littered with pot bunkers, seaside scrub and rippled fairways, it’s a ridiculously good test of golf. www.kennedybay.com.au

Long Reef Golf Club

Collaroy, Sydney $25 (after 3pm in winter/4pm in summer, weekdays only)

Laid out across a rising peninsula jutting in the Pacific, Long Reef is a public-access staple of Sydney golf. Featuring several hallmarks of fine links courses, the course climbs and descends the steep bank several times during the round, while the beach is in play on occasion late in the round. www.longreefgolfclub.com.au

Moore Park Golf

Moore Park, Sydney $40 to $48 (Mondays to Thursdays)

The Sydney’s primary golf CBD golf destination is more than a multi-level driving range in a central location; the 18-hole course is a past NSW Open venue and remains a highly popular layout. Split into two distinct halves by a road that golfers cross via an overpass, the course’s fulsome treelines guide the way.  www.mooreparkgolf.com.au

Mount Compass Golf Course

Mt Compass, SA  $33 to $45

Formerly known as Fleurieu Golf Course, the Mt Compass layout ranks as one of the most under-rated regional layouts in the land. A narrow, links-like layout, Mount Compass is blessed with sandy soil that’s ideal for golf.  www.mcgc.com.au

Mount Coolum Golf Club

Mount Coolum, QLD  $48

Tucked around the back of the imposing monolith of the same name, Mt Coolum is a hidden gem in Sunshine Coast golf. Featuring its own ‘Amen Corner’ that takes in two par 5s and a par 3 at the far end of the course, the layout is as strategic as it is scenic. www.mtcoolumgolf.com

Murray Downs Golf & Country Club

Murray Downs, NSW $50

Set just across the border from the Victorian town of Swan Hill, Murray Downs has long held the reputation as the leading course along the Murray River. Largely open and forgiving, the Ted Parslow-designed layout features huge greens that will spawn many a three-putt if the approach shot isn’t accurate. The course is far from a pushover, but does give players room to move everywhere other than at the water-laden par-3 fifth hole.  www.murraydownsgolf.com.au

Pacific Dunes

Medowie, NSW $25 to $50 (after 2pm only)

One of the premier additions to New South Wales golf in the past decade or so, the James Wilcher-designed Pacific Dunes is a tale of two halves. The front nine moves through tall timber and dense scrub, while the back nine is much more open although with water hazards in abundance. Whether it’s the trees or the aqua you’re seeking to avoid, precise hitting is essential. www.pacificdunes.com.au

Port Fairy Golf Club

Port Fairy, VIC  $40

Wild, windswept and totally unpredictable, Port Fairy is a throwback layout perched on the edge of Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast, south-west of Melbourne. It might be an out-of-the-way location (many of golf’s best destinations are), but the course, setting and remarkably cheap green fee are well worth it.  www.portfairygolf.com.au

RACV Healesville

Healesville, VIC $40 to $50

Redesigned extensively late last decade, Healesville is a rarity in modern golf in that the par is lower than 70 and the total distance falls shy of 5,000 metres. The 4,872-metre, par-68 layout doesn’t baffle golfers with length as it instead demands precise placement and accuracy approaching the multi-faceted greens.  www.racv.com.au/travel-leisure/racv-club/healesville/play/golf.html

Ratho Farm

Bothwell, TAS $40

Australia’s oldest golf course is a must-play whenever visiting Tasmania – even more so now after restoration work to six ‘lost’ holes by Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford. Whether you opt for yesteryear equipment or today’s weapons, Ratho is a fun window into the game’s origins in Australia. www.rathofarm.com

Rich River Golf Club Resort

Moama, NSW $50

One of several Murray River region clubs blessed with multiple layouts, Rich River’s East and West courses are both pleasant designs where there is ample challenge but also numerous strategies available. The differences between the two courses are mostly subtle, with the East viewed by most as marginally superior.  www.richriver.com.au

Safety Beach Country Club

Safety Beach, VIC  $17 to $30

A gateway to the Mornington Peninsula, Safety Beach is a pleasant and uncomplicated course in the suburb of
the same name with mini-golf and foot golf also available. www.safetybeachcountryclub.com.au

Sandy Creek Golf Club

Sandy Creek, SA  $40 to $50

Formerly known as Gawler Golf Club, Sandy Creek is a must-play course while visiting the Barossa Valley. Scenic and strategic in equal doses, the layout is a genuine sleeper course in South Australia. The clever par-3 sixth hole is worth the green fee on its own. www.sandycreekgolf.com.au

Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club

Colebee, Sydney  $50 (weekdays only)

Home of the past three New South Wales Opens and the only Greg Norman-designed golf course in Sydney, Stonecutters has continued to mature since opening in 2012. With low-lying wetland holes dominating the front nine and more undulating land a feature on the back, it’s another layout characterised by differing but complementing terrain. www.stonecuttersgc.com.au

The Coast Golf Club

Little Bay, Sydney $30 to $50

The Coast offers million-dollar views without the exorbitant price tag. While a few holes are a little bland or even bizarre, the remaining holes are excellent. Several hug the coastline and provide opportunities to take on heroic carries or daring cliffside shots. The exposed site and changing Sydney seaside winds give The Coast multiple personalities in the capricious conditions. www.coastgolf.com.au

The Cut Golf Course

Dawesville, WA  $39 (after 3pm only)

One of the most breathtaking courses in Australia, The Cut sidles up alongside the Indian Ocean with a handful of holes that hug the coastline in dramatic style. The severity of the ocean breeze dictates how tough The Cut plays, however several holes provide shelter. Between wind and pin positioning on the undulating greens, no two rounds are ever likely to feel the same. www.the-cut.com.au

Thurgoona Country Club Resort

Albury, NSW $32 to $36

A Peter Thomson/Mike Wolveridge design in the north-eastern corner of Albury, Thurgoona’s hallmarks are its large bunkers, sizeable greens and the presence of Eight Mile Creek at various points in the layout. The 16th hole is one of the prettiest par-3s among the Murray River courses. www.thurgoonaresort.com.au

Tocumwal Golf Club

Tocumwal, NSW  $45

With two distinctly different courses, Tocumwal is the place to play for golfers seeking a variety of challenges in the a single location. The more established Presidents course is shorter and tighter, while the Captains layout is longer and more open. The club has a reputation for the best putting surfaces along the Murray.  www.tocumwalgolf.com.au

Vines of Reynella Golf Club

Woodcroft, Adelaide  $35 to $40

Guarded by bushland on three sides, the Vines of Reynella in Adelaide’s south is a past SA PGA Championship venue and Australian Open qualifying location. The combination of undulating land, doglegs, treelines and a smattering of bunkers makes it a stiff test. www.vinesofreynella.com.au

Yarra Bend Golf

Fairfield, Melbourne $38.50 to $43.50

An urban sanctuary in the heart of Melbourne, Yarra Bend is best known as a high-calibre coaching venue home to an array of star teachers, but it also has an 18-hole par-70 layout within view of the city skyline and Yarra River. www.yarrabendgolf.com

Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort

Mulwala, NSW  $50

Armed with 45 holes, Yarrawonga Mulwala is the largest of the Murray River golf complexes and features the only hole where the mighty watercourse is actually in play – on the fifth hole of the Murray course. The Murray is arguably the pick of the two 18-holers, although the Lake course provides a nice contrast and the nine-hole Executive course remains as popular as ever. www.yarragolf.com.au