Is the hustle and bustle of the big smoke getting you down? Are you itching to throw the clubs in the boot and just get away?

You’ll be surprised what you can find just a stone’s throw from Australia’s busiest capital cities. With a relaxing pace and boasting amazing hospitality, these breathtaking golf courses are carved out of some of the most beautiful landscapes our nation has to offer.

From the rugged Blue Mountains of New South Wales to the smooth white sands of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, we’ve compiled a list of great regional courses that would make the perfect weekend escape.

A couple of hours in the car? Feels like a million miles away.

Wentworth Falls Country Club

Blue Mountains

Immersed in the world-famous Blue Mountains National Park of NSW, the facilities at Wentworth Falls Country Club match the beauty of their surrounds – boasting one of the best 18-hole layouts the region has on offer.

Playing 5,719 metres and with a rating of 69.2, Wentworth Falls is an easy walking course with a couple of uphill holes. And while each has a look and feel of its own, there’s a range of short, medium and long holes placing a premium on driving, with fairways lined by native trees, mountain pines and large gums. The training facilities are also impressive and include a practice fairway, 50-metre short-game area, two driving nets and a gently sloping practice.

After an enjoyable day on Wentworth Falls’ sloping contours, you might like to unwind by soaking up the tranquil bush surrounds back at the clubhouse.

Wentworth Falls Country Club
206 – 220 Blaxland Road, Wentworth Falls, NSW
(02) 4757 1202

Calderwood Valley Golf Club

South Coast

If a trip to the NSW South Coast is your style, then only 20 minutes south of Wollongong sits the picturesque Calderwood Valley Golf  Club, where stunning scenery complements a friendly atmosphere.

Set on 30 hectares of scenic farmland, the par-70 layout utilises its rugged Illawarra escarpment surrounds as a backdrop.

Designed by McKay and Sons, each hole has its own unique features, combining crystal-clear creeks and native plant species with immaculately presented fairways and true greens. Be prepared to be surprised.

Regional Golf Courses
Calderwood Valley Golf Club on the New South Wales South Coast is a hidden gem for travelling golfers.

Calderwood Valley Golf Club 
532 Calderwood Rd, Calderwood, NSW
(02) 4256 3055

Murray Downs Golf & Country Club

Murray River

Widely regarded as one of the best regional resort courses anywhere in Australia – let alone the Murray – this Swan Hill-based layout is an absolute must-play for golfing purists.

Murray Downs Golf and Country Club remains the premier championship golf course on the Murray River, currently ranked No.81 in Australian Golf Digest’s Top 100 Golf Courses.

In addition, it has all the facilities to match a stellar reputation.

Large, firm, undulating greens are always perfectly manicured at Murray Downs, despite its hot summer climate, while demanding water hazards and endless bunkers will have you believing you are playing on the Gold Coast, not on the Mallee plains.

Like most top-shelf courses, Murray Downs rewards good shots and penalises errant ones, but the enjoyment level is such that golfers return for more.

Post round, settle back in the lounge with a drink while taking in the panoramic views – or live entertainment – while the kids play in the best supervised facilities on the Murray.

With 50 hotel-style rooms and self-contained apartments on site, guests at Murray Downs can enjoy a hit of tennis or sit back, relax and take in the tranquil surrounds by the large tropical pool, before capping off the perfect day on the famous  Murray with a spa.

Regional Golf Courses
Murray Downs is the best the Swan Hill region has to offer.

Murray Downs Golf and Country Club
5 Murray Downs Dr, Swan Hill, VIC
(03) 5033 1966 

Mirage Country Club

Port Douglas

Designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson and Michael Wolveridge, Mirage Country Club is an icon of Port Douglas – and Australian golf.

Featuring an aquatic driving range and formidable facilities, the clubhouse experience here is world class, spearheaded by platinum PGA Professional Robert Brydon.

While nurturing members, Mirage welcomes visitors, casual and corporate golfers. The country club offers the ambience and service, while the gym, tennis courts, lap pool and sauna are the icing on the cake.

Mirage Country Club
Port Douglas Road , Port Douglas,QLD
(07) 4099 5537 

Maroochy River Golf Club

Sunshine Coast

Minutes from the pristine white beaches of the Sunshine Coast, this new 18-hole, par-72 golf course offers corporate golfers and keen amateurs the freshest challenge in the region. Formerly the Horton Park Golf Club, this stunning Graham Marsh-designed championship course uses the backdrop of magnificent Mt Coolum as a visual feature. If that isn’t enough to delight novices and low markers alike, Maroochy River has a unique drawcard: a complete absence of trees allows you to see every one of the 18 holes from almost any point on the golf course. And when a well-earned hunger strikes, Maroochy River’s superb restaurant and bar has you covered.

Regional Golf Courses
Maroochy River Golf Club is a must-play just minutes from the Sunshine Coast’s iconic beaches

Maroochy River Golf Club
374–514 David Low Way, Bli Bli, QLD

(07) 5373 1000

Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort

NSW Hunter Valley

A refurbishment program headed by a new superintendent has put this Pokolbin-based layout back on the Hunter Valley radar. Considered one of the finest golf resorts in the country during its heyday, Cypress Lakes had begun to show visible signs of wear and tear a few years ago.

But all that’s a thing of the past following a timely takeover from Thai hotel group Minor International, which purchased the resort for $10 million along with the management rights to 140 strata-titled villas through its Australian entity, Oaks Hotels and Resorts.

While there are still more improvements to come, travelling golfers will experience a great play-and-stay stopover here, with pure greens the highlight on the course and top-notch accommodation off it.

While at Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort, be sure to check out the popular Bodega restaurant and bar and make the most of the resort’s two swimming pools, tennis courts and surrounding vineyards – home to some of the best wine in the country.

Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort
15 Thompsons Road, Pokolbin, NSW
(02) 4993 1555

Magenta Shores Golf & Country Club

NSW Central Coast

Magenta Shores is the only private golf course located on the Central Coast of New South Wales, boasting magnificent ocean views from the front nine holes, with the back nine holes adjacent to the rainforest and National Parks.

Members and their guests have the opportunity to play one of the most unique, challenging and highly ranked courses in Australia at this 5-star location. Voted the 23rd top ranking course in Australia and No.6 in NSW, Magenta Shores is a true links challenge.There are many benefits to this exclusive club: join colleagues for a corporate group day of nine or 18 holes, experience the invaluable coaching from its golf professionals or play and stay at the exquisite Pullman resort on site.

Regional Golf Courses
Magenta Shores is the highest-ranked course on the NSW Central Coast.

Magenta Shores Golf & Country Club
1 Magenta Drive (off Wilfred Barrett Drive), Magenta, NSW
(02) 4336 0100

Black Bull Golf Club

Murray River

A new and exciting trend is returning to Australian golf course design – tough signature stretches. And in the age of social media, having an iconic few holes gofers can check into, and share photos of, is a great way for a course to get its message to the masses.

Enter Black Bull, on the Murray River. Wanting to create an answer to Augusta’s famed Amen Corner, the ‘Bull Ring’ was born. Peter Thomson’s Murray River gem features a self-styled beautifully brutal stretch where many rounds have been made, or broken. Black Bull is the newest addition to the Murray River and is wrapped by the shores of Lake Mulwala. But while the river views are great, it’s The Bull Ring that has the golf world talking. Starting at the par-3 15th, where a strong water carry to a green guarded by bunkers, your scorecard is seriously tested through to the 17th – an undulating hole with water and bunkers waiting all around the hole. Its name is a tip of the hat to the original use of the land – real estate that was once was a prized Black Angus stud.

Black Bull – located in Yarrawonga – is a fair test for all skill levels, from the large, undulating Grand Prix Couch fairways to strategically-placed bunkers.

With 18 holes now open for play, golfers visiting this part of the Murray will be able to enjoy a stunning golf course with have a unique Aussie feel.

Regional Golf Courses
Yarrawonga’s Black Bull is one of the newest courses in Australia.

Black Bull Golf Course
1 Phillip Hyland Drive, Yarrawonga, VIC
(03) 5744 0044
[email protected]

Mollymook Golf Club

NSW South Coast

Although Hilltop Golf Course is in excellent condition year-round, playing this Mollymook layout in spring is one of the most enjoyable golfing experiences in New South Wales. The weather is warm, the South Coast air is fresh and a series of natural amphitheatres formed by native flora and fauna create a tournament feeling to the round when they’re in full bloom. This is just one of several reasons why Hilltop has been nicknamed ‘Augusta of the South’. Walk around the sweeping, tree-lined holes here and the resemblance to the home of The Masters is uncanny.

But it isn’t just the wide, rolling fairways and towering trees that are reminiscent of Augusta – gentle streams dissect several of Hilltop’s fairways and are not unlike the water hazards made famous every April.

At 6,225 metres, Hilltop actually plays longer with changes in elevation dishing up many uphill tee and approach shots. Downhill play isn’t any easier, with kikuyu fairways offering limited roll and green complexes surrounded by water hazards or garden features. While you’re here, be sure to try Mollymook’s spectacular beachside nine-hole course down the road.

Regional Golf Courses
Mollymook’s Hilltop course has been nicknamed “Augusta of the South”.

Mollymook Golf Club
Clifford Cl, Mollymook, NSW

(02) 4455 2055
[email protected]

Alice Springs Golf Club

Northern Territory

The sporting showpiece of the unofficial capital of Central Australia, Alice Springs Golf Club boasts one of the world’s finest desert venues set in the foothills of the majestic MacDonnell Ranges. With several quality hotels backing onto the course, staying a couple of days and enjoying the magnificent scenery is a must here.

Alice Springs has earned rave reviews from golfers far and wide as a course of unique charm blended with some subtle severity.  Accuracy is a must and even the best ballstrikers must harness their power and replace it with discretion to ensure a safe landing, rather than challenge the menacing rocky outcrops which lurk at the edges of several of the fairways.

The legendary Peter Thomson and business partner, Michael Wolveridge, designed the course during the early 1980s. It is currently ranked No.94 in Australia’s  Top 100 and is rated inside the world’s top-10 desert courses. The fully equipped club provides a restaurant, bars, well stocked pro-shop, floodlit driving range and putting green. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the course, clubhouse facilities and views.

Alice Springs Golf Club
Cromwell Dr, Alice Springs, NT
(08) 8952 1921

Links Lady Bay

Southern Fleurieu

Just a one-hour drive from the cosmopolitan buzz of Adelaide lies one of the real hidden gems of Australian golf: Links Lady Bay.

Designed by renowned Australian golfer Jack Newton, Graeme Grant and the late John Spencer, Links Lady Bay is a layout that delivers big on a classic links experience with true bent greens and stunning ocean views of the Southern Fleurieu.

Filled with local history and heritage, the land was originally a sheep and cattle farm before being transformed into a layout garnering excellent reviews. And the good news is it’s open to visitors seven days a week.

Regional Golf Courses
Links Lady Bay is just an hour from Adelaide and has serious wow-factor.

Links Lady Bay
73 St Andrews Blvd, Normanville, SA
(08) 8558 0650

Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club

Margaret River

Less than 10 minutes from the big-wave surf breaks of Yallingup are the calm waters of Dunsborough Lakes Golf Course.

Built in 1993 at the gateway to Western Australia’s iconic Margaret River wine region, this resort style layout features 11 lakes designed to please the eye – and protect par.

While the fairways around the 6,129-metre layout are mostly free of any significant undulation, an intricate system of waterways and breaking, bent grass greens provide real test of golf.

Along with the customary pro-shop and chipping/practice putting greens, the club also boasts an alfresco tavern that is open to the public for lunch and dinner on Fridays and Sundays.  Mark this place down as one of the hidden gems of the West.

Regional Golf Courses
Heading to Western Australia’s Margaret River? Make sure you play Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club.

Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club
Caves Road, Dunsborough, WA

(08) 9756 8733