Ten courses that have a tee-time with your name on it right now.
Victoria Golf Club
When my good friend, Golf Digest staff writer Daniel Rapaport, visited Australia for the first time, to cover the 2019 Presidents Cup, I made sure his first round on the Melbourne Sandbelt was Victoria Golf Club. The short par-4 first hole is perhaps the greatest introduction to sandbelt golf and “Vic” is ideal for a sandbelt rookie to play before Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne – in order to celebrate Vic in its own right. I had waxed lyrical about the 15th hole being one of the best short par 4s in the world. After I took driver and ‘Rapa’ took an iron off the tee, we both made par and marvelled at its risk/reward appeal. That’s not to say Rapa wasn’t in awe of the other 17 holes, Vic’s pure greens and the majestic piece of land it sits on. You will be too.
Address: Park Rd, Cheltenham VIC 3192
Phone: (03) 9584 1733
Gardiners Run Golf Club
Just 35 minutes east of the Melbourne CBD is Gardiners Run, a golf course that has earned the respect of the Victorian golf scene with a fantastic layout on the doorstep to the globally renowned Yarra Valley. Its gentle contours have allowed for an enjoyable routing, which is topped with marvellous Santa Ana couch tees and fairways and bentgrass on the course’s sublime greens. Gardiners Run is proud of its practice facilities, and rightly so with a 90-metre wide, mixed-use (couch and synthetic) tee on a 250-metre driving range, a short-game pitching green and challenging putting green. Hot tip: be sure to enjoy a post-round beverage on the alfresco deck, overlooking the 18th green and with a 180-degree view of water.
Address: Victoria Rd, Lilydale VIC 3140
Phone: (03) 9739 7522
Warrnambool Golf Club
Take the scenic, coastal drive south-west from Melbourne to visit Warrnambool Golf Club. It’s a beautiful oceanside links-style layout in its own right. But it’s also become a shrine to five-time PGA Tour winner Marc Leishman. The club has named the driveway after Leishman, they’ve got his own beer, Leishman Lager, on tap in the clubhouse and the set of sticks he used for his first professional victory on display. Big ‘Leish’ honed his world-class game on the windswept fairways of Warrnambool – and you’ll have just as much fun.
Address: Younger St, Warrnambool VIC 3280
Phone: (03) 5562 2108
Black Bull Golf Club
Three hours north of Melbourne sits Black Bull Golf Club, a Murray River standout course that, unlike its neighbours, sits on the Victorian side of the border. Most travelling golfers who have visited this Peter Thomson/Ross Perrett-designed course since the full 18 was completed remark how much fun the layout is. But now it has a recently converted, state-of-the-art fitting and teaching centre plus the new Sebel Yarrawonga on the lakeside site. Black Bull is the gift that keeps on giving.
Address: Silverwoods Boulevard, Yarrawonga VIC 3730
Phone: (03) 5744 0044
Yarra Bend Golf Club
Yarra Bend is one of the most convenient courses on the Melbourne golf landscape, sitting just 10 minutes from the CBD. Despite the proximity to the city, the course is set among beautiful parklands and the Yarra River. That creates a unique sanctuary within the inner city. But it’s more than a golf course. Yarra Bend boasts an 18-hole, publicly accessible course, a driving range with Toptracer technology and a 36-hole mini golf course. Yarra Bend is also home to BannLynchMcDade Golf coaching – Australia’s most successful coaching group. These gurus have coached a Major champion in Geoff Ogilvy and PGA Tour winners including Marc Leishman and Stuart Appleby.
Address: Yarra Bend Rd, Fairfield VIC 3078
Phone: (03) 9481 3729
As you make your way out of Melbourne towards the Mornington Peninsula, be sure to stop off for a game (or two!) at Sandhurst Club. This residential estate features two courses designed by a five-time British Open champion, the late, great Peter Thomson. The stone stack wall surrounding the North course’s par-3 third and the Scottish-style burn guarding the ninth green on the same layout are just two of the standout features at Sandhurst. But there are also two contrasting and exciting golf courses, with plaques dedicated to past Australian PGA winners on each hole of the Champions course, as well as the North’s formidable collection of short and long par 4s.
Address: Sandhurst Boulevard, Sandhurst VIC 3977
Phone: (03) 8787 7011
Moonah Links is the centrepiece of the Mornington Peninsula golf spread and it’s hard to call yourself a serious Australian golf fan if you haven’t tried to tackle the brutish Open course. Peter Thomson’s stern test remains the only purpose-built course for an Australian Open, which the Open course hosted in 2003 and 2005. But Moonah Links also has Ross Perrett’s more forgiving Legends course and the contrast is excellent. The Open course’s openness versus the secluded valleys and rippled corridors of the Legends is a fun complement. Topped off with a Peppers Resort on-site, Moonah Links is a staple of Victorian golf’s stay-and-play scene.
Address: Peter Thomson Drive, Fingal VIC 3939
Phone: (03) 5988 2000
Hidden Valley Resort
Set among acres of rolling hills and the stunning countryside of Robert Holmes à Court’s former country equestrian estate, Hidden Valley Resort has put its hand up as one of the leading lifestyle resorts in Australia. The course was recently remodelled by one of Australia’s favourite tour players, Craig Parry. Hidden Valley recently opened its magnificent $15 million clubhouse, which features state-of-the-art facilities including The Grove Bar & Bistro and multiple event spaces, as well as 17 luxury three-bedroom townhouses. Try your hand at Hidden Valley’s ‘Amen Corner’, a network of picturesque lakes coming into play on holes 13, 14 and 15. Then, finish your round at perhaps Australia’s only true island green on the 18th hole.
Address: Hidden Valley Boulevard, Wallan VIC 3756
Phone: (03) 4701 0000
Portsea Golf Club
Portsea made the leap from one of the most pleasurable golf courses in Victoria to one of the most pleasurable golf getaways in the state courtesy of the addition of the on-site Mercure Portsea hotel in 2013. Now there’s another excuse to drive out from Melbourne to the Mornington for a stay-and-play sojourn at Portsea. The golf course is gorgeous, it has thrilling changes in elevation and a stellar collection of short par 4s all set on firm and bouncy turf that weaves around rugged, craggy bunkers. Portsea is also one of the most picturesque seaside towns in all of Victoria. It’s well worth the drive.
Address: London Bridge Rd, Portsea VIC 3944
Phone: (03) 5981 6155
Thirteenth Beach Golf Links
The history of Thirteenth Beach can be summed up as a match made in heaven. Arguably the best terrain on the Bellarine Peninsula for a golf course, which includes Barwon Heads next door, paved the way for Thirteenth Beach’s delightful Beach and Creek courses. Then, in 2013, the Victorian Open made its home at Thirteenth Beach and has since garnered international acclaim as one of golf’s most progressive and captivating events where men and women play for the same prizemoney on the same courses during concurrent events on the European and Ladies European tours. That shone the light on Thirteenth Beach, which is thoroughly deserving of the attention. Put Thirteenth Beach on your list, you’ll thank us later.
Address: Barwon Heads Rd, Barwon Heads VIC 3227
Phone: (03) 5254 2922