Sydney will again be on show to the world as it hosts the Australian Open while displaying its aesthetically gifted beaches, stunning harbour and a climate to suit any and enviable outdoor lifestyle.
While viewers watch some of the best golfers in the world navigate The Lakes Golf Club as they make their charge for the coveted Australian Open title, they may be inspired to make their way to Sydney to play some of the city’s magnificent golf courses.
Outlined here are some of the best courses nestled in pockets of Australia’s largest city. These courses will entice golfers around the globe who might be searching for a special golf trip that includes challenging golf courses and an opportunity to explore the surrounding areas in one of the most spectacular cities in the world.
In close proximity to Sydney Olympic Park and nestled in the heart of the Sydney metropolitan area is the beautiful Strathfield Golf Club. The course provides an exciting challenge and a memorable experience. Acclaimed architect James Wilcher from Golf By Design recently redesigned the layout, which rewards accuracy and length off the tee while punishing errant and mishit approach shots. A very reasonable green fee of $50 will see you play 18 holes on this reinvigorated Sydney track.
Just 10 kilometres from the Olympic precinct, Oatlands Golf Club is where Lydia Ko became the youngest to win a professional event, aged 14 at the 2012 Women’s New South Wales Open. Open Day rates start from $55 for visitors, but is worth a visit to play an undulating layout in superb condition.
Further afield, you may wish to venture south-west to Macquarie Links International Golf Club near the M5 motorway. Ranked 99th on Australian Golf Digest’s Top 100 Golf Courses, it’s a 36-kilometre road trip from Olympic Park. Here you’ll find an extremely challenging links-like layout designed by Robin Nelson that has hosted the NSW Open and can be played for $55 with cart on Mondays and $85 on other days. Only 15 minutes away, Lakeside Golf Club Camden is another links-style layout, designed by Peter Thomson and featuring the five-time British Open champion’s trademark pot bunkers and perched greens. Visitors are welcome to play for an attractive $60 green fee with cart.
In Sydney’s north and north-west are numerous options, ranging from the courses of the Northern Beaches to several in the Hills and Hawkesbury districts. Two northern beaches courses are Monash Country Club and Long Reef Golf Club. Monash is an undulating layout with a coastal backdrop that is noted for its fast poa greens, kikuyu fairways and immaculate conditioning. Visitors may play socially for $120 or in competitions with a member. Long Reef, situated on a headland facing the ocean, is a public course that has developed cult status for its panoramic views, sometimes stiff coastal wind and unique playing experience on a Thomson-renovated layout. Visitors can join the Monday competition or play socially for a mere $55, representing perhaps the best value in the Sydney metropolitan area.
In the Hills District, 30 kilometres north-west of the CBD, lies the attractive Castle Hill Country Club. Ranked 93rd in the Top 100, it has hosted numerous professional events and can be played by visitors on Monday mornings for $99 including cart.
To the west, at Luddenham at the foothills of the Blue Mountains and 51 kilometres from the CBD, is the acclaimed Twin Creeks Golf & Country Club, ranked 75th on the Top 100. Designed by former touring professional Graham Marsh, it opened in 2006 and is acknowledged as one of Sydney’s premier courses and is memorable for rustic bunkering and excellent presentation. Social play during winter is just $75 with cart, plus a burger and chips! [see here for our recent course review on Twin Creeks]
Windsor Golf Club is located in the Hawkesbury district, an hour’s drive north-west of the city. The clubhouse is perched high and enjoys panoramic views of the beautiful Blue Mountains. The course is a high-calibre layout that offers very reasonable green fees. For 18 holes plus a cart for two players you will pay no more than $95. Also in the Hawkesbury region are Riverside Oaks Golf Resort and Lynwood Country Club. The rural setting of Riverside Oaks, with twin 18-hole layouts, belies its location 62 kilometres from the CBD. The original Gangurru layout opened in mid-1980s and was complemented by the Bungool course in 2015 by Bob Harrison, former design partner of Greg Norman. Bungool hosted the 2015 NSW PGA Championship and is currently ranked 64th on Australia’s Top 100. At $75 midweek and $99 on weekends for a round, it’s worth a two-day visit, staying at the on-site resort, and playing both layouts.
You could make it a three-day affair by adding a round at Lynwood at nearby Pitt Town, one of the five original Macquarie towns established in 1810 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Named after an historic house on the property, Lynwood is a links-style layout designed by Graham Papworth, former president for the Society of Australian Golf Course Architects. With green fees of $40 Monday to Thursday, it’s almost as good as its onsite golf academy.
If you’re in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, there’s a bunch of fine courses within easy reach of the CBD. It is here you will find the city’s best golf in terms of quality as well as proximity to the best hotels, the harbour, city and entertainment. They include the most iconic and highly ranked championship venues.
The Australian Golf Club, with an affluent membership list, was first laid out in 1882 and has twice been redesigned by Jack Nicklaus, the latest time in 2013. The Australian has hosted many professional tournaments, most recently the Australian Opens of 2014, 2015 and 2017. The Australian is a private club and is closed to play without a member accompanying. It is possible to play The Australian upon request, but it won’t be a cheap exercise.
Right next door and just a few kilometres from Sydney Airport is The Lakes Golf Club. Visitors can play this year’s Australian Open venue for $250 on Tuesday afternoons, Mondays and Thursdays (international guest rate is $350). The Lakes is famous for an abundance of water on the back nine where many a round has been ruined. Greg Norman once posted an 11 at the par-5 14th during the Holden tournament that bore his name. On The Lakes’ eastern boundary is Bonnie Doon Golf Club, Sydney’s third-oldest course that, as the name suggests, has more than a smattering of Scottish heritage. International guests can play socially on this 47th-ranked course for $140 midweek.
Located near beautiful Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour, Royal Sydney Golf Club (ranked 38th in the Top 100) dates back to 1897 when Queen Victoria agreed to the Royal prefix. It boats some of the finest club facilities in Australia, including tennis, bowls and a superb clubhouse built in 1922. Royal Sydney, with arguably the most high-profile membership list in Sydney, hosted the 2016 Australian Open won by Jordan Spieth. As Royal Sydney is a private club, you will have to receive an invitation from a member in order to play the course.
Everyone’s favourite course in Sydney, ranked fifth in the Australian Golf Digest Top 100, New South Wales Golf Club is perched above the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean at La Perouse. Designed by Alister MacKenzie and Eric Apperly, it can throw up the most brutal conditions as well as the odd benign day. A number of classic holes, including the par-3 sixth that plays from a tee on ocean rocks, make it a must-play course in Sydney – however American architect Tom Doak is currently revamping the sixth (and parts of the entire course). Guests can play midweek upon application and it’s worth the price. Next door offers seaside golf at a much lower cost. St Michael’s Golf Club charges visitors $90 (international rate $150) for a links-like experience on a course ranked 70th in the country. The Coast Golf Club, with even more breathtaking ocean views one site farther north, allows visitors to play in its open Friday competition for just $36.
It is mandatory when visiting Sydney to visit iconic Bondi Beach, so while you are nearby why not play one of the most enjoyable nine-hole courses around in Bondi Diggers Golf Club? With amazing views of Bondi and its surrounds, it is the perfect spot to enjoy golf plus food and drinks. The course is regarded as one of the most breathtaking spots in the city with magnificent views of the rocky coastline, the harbour and city skyscrapers. The golf course is open and really tests your short game. The course has fees that please everyone, with 18 holes costing just $30 on the weekend and $20 during the week. It also offers unlimited golf on weekdays after 3pm and after 4pm on weekends.
Home to one of the busiest ranges in the country, Moore Park Golf Course is a picturesque layout in the centre of the city. Warm up at the three-storey, 60-bay driving range that is equipped with a giant TV screen. The course is beautifully lush and a great test for every facet of your game. It boasts convenience, accessibility and spectacular views of the city skyline. Moore Park always offers special deals and off-peak prices, however on any given weekend 18 holes is a very affordable $65.
If you are searching for an experience that is a little more elite, Terrey Hills Golf Club is the place to play. Nestled beside a magnificent national park in Sydney’s north is one of Australia’s best private golf clubs. It has hosted numerous championship events on the immaculately conditioned, 6,499-metre, par-72 layout. The course is a ball-strikers’ course and can be viciously penal to wayward balls. It is a truly serene environment and always quiet enough to give a ‘millionaires’ feel.
Top Of Town
We asked the defending Australian Open champion Cam Davis his opinion on the best of Sydney golf.
What are your favourite Sydney courses?
“I have to say Roseville and Monash, just because I’ve grown up playing those courses and they’ve been so good to me during my junior and amateur days.
“Thinking of the very best Sydney courses, I have a soft spot for The Australian. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always played pretty well there. Last year was very special so I am always going to have fond memories of that golf course.
“Definitely New South Wales is a fantastic golf course. It’s very cool to have a links-style, pot-bunkered golf course so close to home. It’s a cool place to warm up for the British Open, that’s for sure; I remember doing that for my British Amateur and Scottish Amateur preparation. NSW Golf Club is great golf course with amazing views.”
Your thoughts on Sydney courses in general?
“If you’re going to Sydney and have an opportunity to play those courses in and around the city, I would definitely recommend The Australian, NSW, The Lakes and Royal Sydney. I’ve played quite a lot at all of them… through playing junior and senior pennants and other junior tournaments. I do love them all. It’s been so long since I’ve been back, I can’t wait to get back and give them another hit.”
How about The Lakes?
“It will be very cool to see The Lakes again. It’s been a while. I’ve played there an awful lot. There are a lot of tricky holes out there that playing as a junior gave me trouble. But I’m obviously a lot better golfer now and I’m hitting the ball a lot longer and straighter, so I will be a bit smarter how I play the course now. It will be interesting to see how it sets up for me. And I’m looking forward to seeing how different The Lakes looks with crowds and grandstands around.”
– Evin Priest
THE AUSTRALIAN GOLF CLUB
Phone: (02) 9663 2273
BONNIE DOON GOLF CLUB
Phone: (02) 9349 2101
THE COAST GOLF CLUB
Location: Little Bay
Phone: (02) 9311 7422
THE LAKES GOLF CLUB
Phone: (02) 9669 1311
MOORE PARK GOLF
Phone: (02) 9663 1064
NEW SOUTH WALES GOLF CLUB
Location: La Perouse
Phone: (02) 9961 4455
ROYAL SYDNEY GOLF CLUB
Location: Rose Bay
Phone: (02) 8362 7000
ST MICHAEL’S GOLF CLUB
Location: Little Bay
Phone: (02) 9326 8000
BONDI DIGGERS GOLF CLUB
Phone: (02) 9130 3170
LONG REEF GOLF CLUB
Phone: (02) 9971 8113
MONASH COUNTRY CLUB
Green fee: $120 for social play
Phone: (02) 9913 8282
TERREY HILLS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Location: Terrey Hills
Phone: (02) 9450 0155
CASTLE HILL COUNTRY CLUB
Location: Castle Hill
Phone: (02) 9634 2499
OATLANDS GOLF CLUB
Phone: (02) 9630 4444
STRATHFIELD GOLF CLUB
Phone: (02) 9642 0326
TWIN CREEKS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
Phone: (02) 9670 8888
LAKESIDE GOLF CLUB CAMDEN
Location: Catherine Field
Phone: (02) 4634 5838
MACQUARIE LINKS INTERNATIONAL GOLF CLUB
Location: Macquarie Links
Phone: (02) 8796 5888
LYNWOOD COUNTRY CLUB
Location: Pitt Town
Phone: (02) 4580 2800
RIVERSIDE OAKS GOLF RESORT
Phone: (02) 4560 3220
WINDSOR COUNTRY GOLF CLUB
Location: South Windsor
Phone: (02) 4577 4390