Australia is truly blessed with spectacular golf courses in every precinct of our populated areas, and for this reason it is difficult to list in specific order the best of the best. From a female perspective – with all important things considered including the golf course, the food and drinks and of course the shopping – two of the best golf experiences on offer from the Top 100 Courses list are St Andrews Beach in Victoria and Royal Adelaide in South Australia.
In 2012, I was one of the teaching professionals at Royal Melbourne Golf Club and aside from having the privilege of playing the coveted East and West courses at my leisure, I was also afforded the opportunity to play many of Melbourne’s wonderful courses, plus the gems on the Mornington Peninsula. Once when about 12 of the lady members at Royal Melbourne were going to play golf at St Andrews Beach and Sorrento, I was invited to come along.
St Andrews Beach is one of the most accessible and well-priced ($72 to $90) courses in the country. It has stunning vistas on every hole, which compete with the world’s best. The Tom Doak-designed course is set on wonderful hilly terrain that gives it beautiful contours and shadows at either end of the day. The undulations make it a challenge to play, as does the elements given it is a links-style course so is protected by gorse rather than trees. St Andrews is a layout that tests professional golfers and at the same time is fair for lesser players, particularly given it is not overly long. We all agreed the course was a perfect combination of a great walk (excellent exercise) and a wonderful challenge without the length of the course compromising scores.
The trip that I accompanied the Royal Melbourne ladies on was a huge success not just because of St Andrews Beach but also because of all that Sorrento had to offer. Sorrento is littered with gorgeous cafés and restaurants and boutique shopping. There are other fantastic courses in the area to play if the trip were longer in duration.
I have sung Royal Adelaide’s praises before and I am sure I will in the future because I simply love the golf course and the surrounding areas. I recently went on a couples’ golf trip to Adelaide and we all relished the stunning links-style layout. It is a firm, fast course to play with almost every hole possessing so much character it’s hard to say which are the best holes.
It has a distinctly Australian feel with its trees and the burnt orange sand. The layout is challenging and it is not surprising why so many tournaments have been hosted at the course, including last year’s Women’s Australian Open.
Royal Adelaide plays slightly differently depending on what length of course you are playing. The greens are so firm that holding them becomes a huge challenge if hitting mid to long irons in. A handful of the shorter par 4s must be carefully managed, as it is vital that players determine their club choice off the tee by evaluating the distance they need to hit their second shot into the green in order to hold it.
The really fun part about playing Royal Adelaide is that the Barossa Valley is only an hour’s drive away. After playing golf at one of Australia’s finest masterpieces, you can make your way to wine country. We stayed at a fully equipped bed and breakfast that catered for six adults. It was a quaint little cottage typical of Adelaide architecture and was outfitted with beautiful furniture and artwork. There are literally hundreds of wineries to visit and learn about the process of winemaking and differing varieties.
We went to Rockford Wines first off and I was blown away by the quality of the wines and also the property’s charming stone buildings. We left well versed about all their different wines on offer and the history of the company. Next we tasted wine at Seppeltsfield then Chateau Tanunda, buying wines at all three vineyards. Next we headed to Hentley Farm for a degustation lunch that had matching wines that were as delicious as the food. Royal Adelaide is one of the greatest golf experiences you can have and if you tie in the Barossa Valley, it is a wonderful trip for women, men or couples.
As a female professional golfer that loves to play new courses, explore new parts of Australia and experience what the surrounding areas have to offer, St Andrews Beach and Royal Adelaide are two of the best trips for men and women. However, if more women are attracted to golf not just because of the brilliant courses we have on offer in Australia but also because of the food, wine and shopping precincts, then I am all for promoting all components that make for a great golf getaway.