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​Queensland and Victoria Best in State Rankings 2017

16 November, 2016

Queensland and Victoria Best in State Rankings 2017

We revise our listings for the final two Australian states in our biennial update process

This is the third and final article associated with our Australian state revisions. Previously, we’ve looked at the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales, followed by Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. With this announcement covering Queensland and Victoria, it means that we’ve now revised seven of our regions Down Under.

Northern Territory is the only Australian state or territory that we haven’t updated, simply because we feature only one course in that sparsely populated region. There are fewer than a dozen golf facilities registered with Golf NT, the local governing body, for a population that numbers around a quarter of a million so we’re happy for the time being to focus on just the one track, Alice Springs.

We’ve increased the number of courses in our Queensland chart by 50% so we now have a Top 30 for this state. The Victoria chart has also had fifteen courses added to it so we maintain a Top 60 for a very strong golfing region where more than half the ranked courses are listed nationally, with the top three also occupying positions in our World Top 100.


The topography of Queensland along its Pacific seaboard is reminiscent of Florida, with low lying areas, lagoons and wetlands strung out along the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast to the north and south of Brisbane. This has resulted in the construction of many modern, resort-style golf courses and these largely dominate the golfing landscape within the state.

Royal Queensland is something of a shining light in the Sunshine State, retaining its place at the top of our newly extended chart. This 1920s Carnegie Clark design – which hosted the Australian Open three times between 1947 and 1973 – was extensively remodelled by Mike Clayton in 2007 when part of the course was used during the construction of the enormous Sir Leo Hielscher Bridge nearby.

A couple of layouts make steady progress near the top of the listings: Hamilton Island (up two to number 3) is a very challenging Peter Thomson track with the reputation of a punishing layout due to its narrow fairways, and Grand (up six to number 5), where the course will celebrate twenty years of continuous operation next year, having spent the previous six years lying dormant within a failed business venture.

The only other course to make a positive move up the chart is the Palms course at the 36-hole Sanctuary Cove complex (up three to number 10), which is available for public play. Unveiled in the late 1980s, the course complements the private Arnold Palmer-designed Pines course at the same facility, having undergone a costly renovation by Ross Watson six years ago.

Further down the chart, the two highest of our ten new entries appear together.

The first of these is Brisbane at number 15, another course that was laid out by the three-time Australian Open champion Carnegie Clark at the start of the twentieth century, and its greens have all recently been rebuilt after a three-year program to convert every putting surface to Champion Ultradwarf Bermuda Grass.

One place lower at number 16, the Gold and Green nines at the 27-hole RACV Royal Pines Resort also make their first appearance in our regional chart. Originally designed by Tomojiro Maruyama in the late 1980s for a Japanese developer, the course has since been redesigned by Graham Marsh and it’s the current venue for the Australian PGA Championships, which we relocated here in 2013.


To view further details of the Top 30 Golf Courses in Queensland click the link.


Many of the nation’s finest courses are concentrated on the Melbourne sandbelt, in the southern suburbs of the city. Alister MacKenzie travelled here at the end of 1926 to design Royal Melbourne’s new course and the club’s committee was astute enough to offset the architect’s fees by arranging advisory visits to other clubs in the area, ensuring a more widespread dissemination of his considerable architectural skills.

MacKenzie worked on his design with Alex Russell, the 1924 Australian Open champion, and they brought Mick Morcom (the Royal Melbourne greenkeeper) into the process, entrusting him to translate their strategic plans from the drawing board into the desired natural-looking features on the ground. In particular, the style and placement of the bunker complexes is as demanding as you will find anywhere.

It’s no real surprise then to find that our chart for the state of Victoria is headed by the West course at Royal Melbourne, MacKenzie’s original commission. Interestingly, despite its consistently high ranking in World Top 100 charts, a composite 18-hole layout (using holes from both the West and Alex Russel’s East course) is often employed for logistical reasons during major golf tournaments hosted by the club.

Victoria rises two places to number 3 and this is one of the additional clubs that Alister MacKenzie gave guidance to ninety years ago during his Australian trip. It just so happened that founder Billy Mead and Club Captain Oscar Damon were in the process of constructing a new course at that time and the timely intervention of MacKenzie led to the redesign of at least half the holes on the layout.

Also climbing two places to number 8, Woodlands is another sandbelt course that’s been in use for just over a hundred years. The club was originally founded as Mordialloc Golf Club in 1913 and a second nine was added to the club’s inaugural 9-hole course five years after its formation. Apart from the addition of the short 11th hole in 1936, today’s course is much the same as it was a century ago.

Ten kilometres to the north of Woodlands, another couple of adjacent golf courses each advance an impressive four places in the new Victoria listings: Commonwealth (at number 11) owes much of its architectural significance to Sloan Morpeth, secretary/manager at the club between 1930 and 1962, and Huntingdale (at number 16) is where thirty editions of the Australian Masters tournament were hosted up until 2008, when a rotation system was introduced to stage the event at different Melbourne clubs annually.

A little further down the chart, the National Golf Club’s Long Island course makes a significant jump up the Victoria standings, rising ten places to number 22. The layout’s a recent club acquisition, with the eighty-year-old course at Frankton North joining the more modern Moonah, Old and Ocean courses at Cape Schanck in a very impressive 72-hole Mornington Peninsula roster. With more than 3,200 members on its books, you can see why the club now needs four 18-hole courses to satisfy demand.

The honour of highest new entry among the fifteen chart newcomers rests with Curlewis, which debuts at number 30. Located on the Bellarine Peninsula, the course is a 1970 Vern Morcom design that was recently upgraded by Mike Clayton, when he removed trees on some of the doglegged holes and installed new tee positions on others. A recent change of ownership might lead to further course modifications, which in turn could see the course improve its current position when we next re-rank the state chart.

We should also mention that the in-state positioning of both Peninsula Kingswood's North and South courses are arbitrary. Since we defined our Australian Top 100, the North course (ranked #25 in Australia) went under the Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead knife and the club's members are currently playing a composite course at their Peninsula site. We anticipate that both courses will rise significantly in the Victoria state rankings next time round.

1Royal Melbourne (West)No change
2Kingston HeathNo change
3VictoriaUp 2
4National (Moonah)Down 1
5Royal Melbourne (East)Down 1
6MetropolitanNo change
7St Andrews BeachNo change
8WoodlandsUp 2
9National (Old)No change
10Dunes Golf LinksDown 2
11CommonwealthUp 4
12Barwon HeadsDown 1
13Thirteenth Beach (Beach)Up 1
14Peninsula Kingswood (North)Down 2
15Moonah Links (Legends)Down 2
16HuntingdaleUp 4
17Yarra YarraUp 1
18National (Ocean)Down 2
19Spring ValleyUp 2
20PortseaUp 2
21Moonah Links (Open)Down 2
22National (Long Island)Up 10
23Thirteenth Beach (Creek)Up 7
24Port FairyUp 5
25HealesvilleUp 3
26Settlers RunDown 1
27Amstel (Ranfurlie)Up 4
28Sanctuary LakesDown 4
29SorrentoUp 5
30CurlewisNew entry
31CranbourneUp 2
32EynesburyDown 6
33Black BullNew entry
34Murray DownsDown 7
35HorshamUp 2
36RiversdaleNo change
37Heritage (St John)Down 14
38Sandhurst (Champions)Up 1
39Peninsula Kingswood (South)Down 22
40WarrnamboolNew entry
41Yering Meadows (Nursery)Up 2
42Heritage (Henley)Down 7
43KeysboroughDown 2
44CapitalUp 1
45Sands TorquayDown 7
46Cape SchanckDown 6
47Sandhurst (North)Down 5
48SouthernDown 4
49BallaratNew entry
50MandalayNew entry
51Eagle RidgeNew entry
52Rosebud (North)New entry
53Lakes EntranceNew entry
54KewNew entry
55SheppartonNew entry
56Gardiners RunNew entry
57FlindersNew entry
58Growling FrogNew entry
59Rosebud (South)New entry
60PortarlingtonNew entry

To view further details of the Top 60 Golf Courses in Victoria click the link.

We actively seek feedback when we conduct our regional re-rankings so why not get in touch to let us know what you think? If you’d like to correspond regarding either of these two Australian state chart updates then please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page to share your opinion.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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