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Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales Best in State Rankings 2017

12 November, 2016

Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales Best in State Rankings 2017

We present expanded listings for ACT and NSW in Australia

Top 100 Golf Courses updated its Australian Top 100 last month and we mentioned in our news release for the new standings that we were expanding our coverage of courses at state level Down Under. Apart from the sparsely populated Northern Territory, where there are fewer than a dozen courses in play, every one of the other seven states or territories within the nation has now had its regional list extended.

In this, the first of our Australian regional reports, we highlight two areas in the southeast of the country, namely the federal district of the Australian Capital Territory, which is enclaved within the state of New South Wales, and separate charts are maintained for each of these domains. ACT is home to only ten registered clubs and five of these are now featured whilst fifty of the four hundred golf facilities located within NSW are also listed.

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra, the nation’s capital, is the only city located within ACT and all five courses in our updated chart for this region lie within 15 kilometres of the city centre. The Westbourne course at Royal Canberra remains the top track in our updated chart, thanks in no small part to the very recent renovation work carried out by the Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead design firm.

Mike Clayton gave us an exclusive quote: “The fairways were narrow and the greens were surrounded by rough. The bunkers were 6-8 feet from all the greens with rough between bunker and green. The putting surfaces drained poorly as did the bunkers, which also looked particularly ugly.

We rebuilt every green and bunker and removed the trees that were encroaching to make it a much better course. It still has all the things people liked (such as ambience, conditioning, nice clubhouse and a reputation as a classy club) but it now has course architecture to match.”

Federal remains at number 2 in our ACT list and it’s also just made an impact in the national rankings, having squeezed into the latest Australian Top 100 chart at number 99. The club was forced to move to Red Hill in the late 1940s due to the planned development of Lake Burley Griffin. Prosper Ellis, who laid out or remodelled dozens of courses during his career, upgraded the course in 1967 and it’s his design that’s still in use today.

Three new courses have been added to our ACT portfolio and they’re all located in the northern suburbs of Canberra. At number 3, Yowani Country Club is a 1950s layout with a 24-roomed motel attached for visiting golfers. A little further north, the Bruce Devlin-designed course at Gold Creek Country Club (at #4) is a leading public access facility and its near neighbour Gunghalin Lakes (at #5) is another club with a mid-1990s 18-hole layout where casual golfers are warmly welcomed.


To view further details of the Top 5 golf courses in ACTclick the link.

New South Wales

We’ve doubled the size of our latest New South Wales chart, adding twenty-five tracks in this 2017 edition. Twenty-three of the fifty NSW courses are also nationally ranked which gives some indication of just how strong a golfing region this is. With more than four hundred golf facilities spread throughout the state, there’s strength in depth to be found here in the south east of Australia, especially around metropolitan Sydney.

New South Wales prevails at the top of the state standings – it also occupies the number 38 position in our World Top 100 – and it was visited by a reviewer earlier this year “on a cold and very windy day in January 2016. Playing in a 50-60km/hr southerly ‘buster’ and a temperature of barely 19 degrees certainly presented a new set of challenges compared to the day before when it had been 40 degrees… would love to go back to play the course again in conditions that allowed one to appreciate the design, rather than just enduring the elements.”

The most significant upward move in our updated NSW table is made by Bonnie Doon, rising five spots to number 12 (up thirty-one places to number 49 in the Australian Top 100 chart). We’ve received feedback which questioned such a rise in the national rankings because Mike Clayton’s major renovation project at the club has not quite reached completion but we’ve seen and heard enough to justify its surge forward.

The highest new entry arrives at number 16 (the course is also the third highest newcomer in the Australian chart at number 60) and it’s the 18-hole Bungool layout at Riverside Oaks, which opened for play just a couple of years ago. Designed by Bob Harrison, it’s the perfect complement to the older Ganguttu course at the same golf resort and together, these two layouts comprise a formidable 36-hole combination.

Further down the listings, half a dozen other multi-course destinations catch the eye as new entries.

Along the Pacific seaboard, two hundred and thirty kilometres south of Sydney, the Hilltop course at the 27-hole Mollymook Golf Club (#33) is a brilliant beach escape layout. Further north, between Brisbane and Newcastle, there’s the Tuncurry course at Forster Tuncurry Golf Club (#37) and the River course at Coolangatta & Tweed Heads Golf Club (#50), both of which offer golfers a scintillating seaside golf experience.

Inland, along the Murray river – which forms part of the border separating NSW and Victoria – another three 36-hole golf complexes also make their mark in our new chart: the Murray course at Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort (#26), the Old course at Sporties Cobram Barooga Golf Club (#41) and the Presidents course at Tocumwall Golf Club (#48), with all three facilities located on a 50-kilometre stretch of the river, less than a four-hour drive away from downtown Melbourne.

1New South WalesNo change
2EllerstonNo change
3NewcastleNo change
4LakesNo change
5AustralianNo change
6Royal Sydney No change
7Magenta ShoresNo change
8VintageUp 2
9Bonville InternationalNo change
10Terrey HillsUp 2
11ElanoraDown 3
12Bonnie DoonUp 5
13ConcordDown 2
14AvondaleUp 1
15Pacific DunesDown 1
16Riverside Oaks (Bungool)New entry
17Stonecutters RidgeDown 4
18St Michael'sDown 2
19Twin CreeksDown 1
20NaroomaDown 1
21ManlyNew entry
22Kooindah WatersDown 2
23Castle HillDown 2
24Macquarie LinksDown 2
25MonashDown 1
26Yarrawonga (Murray)New entry
27PymbleDown 2
28Ocean Shores CCNew entry
29TallwoodsDown 6
30Long ReefNew entry
31HorizonsNew entry
32Camden LakesideNew entry
33Mollymook (Hilltop)New entry
34Cypress LakesNew entry
35BelmontNew entry
36Coast (The)New entry
37Forster Tuncurry (Tuncurry)New entry
38KillaraNew entry
39Mount BroughtonNew entry
40LiverpoolNew entry
41Cobram Barooga (Old)New entry
42DuntryleagueNew entry
43MurwillumbahNew entry
44The SpringsNew entry
45Mona ValeNew entry
46Byron BayNew entry
47Port MacquarieNew entry
48Tocumwal (Presidents)New entry
49RosevilleNew entry
50Coolangatta & Tweed Heads (River)New entry

To view further details of the Top 50 golf courses in NSWclick the link.

We’re always happy to receive comments when we carry out a re-ranking exercise like this so feel free to tell us if there’s a course that we’ve missed out or one that we shouldn’t have included. Perhaps we’ve got one far too high or way too low in the pecking order? Whatever you think, please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page if you’d like to voice an opinion.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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