Queensland and Victoria Best in State Rankings 2019
This is the last of three articles announcing the re-ranking of our regional charts for Australia. We’ve already published reports for the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales in edition 1, followed by South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia in edition 2 so this one concentrates on Queensland and Victoria.
We added fifteen courses to each of
these states when we last conducted this exercise two years ago so
when the Top 30 for Queensland and the Top 60 for Victoria are added
to all the others, it gives a total of 200, which is our cunning way
of being able to double the coverage afforded by a national Top 100.
Northern Territory is the only region in Australia we haven’t updated and that’s because we feature just one course, Alice Springs, from the eleven located within a vast Outback desert landscape that somehow manages to support around quarter of a million people.
The course at Royal Queensland is still the number 1 track in our Queensland listings. The club engaged Scotsman Carnegie Clark, the Royal Sydney professional, to redesign the layout in 1923, just a few years after it had first opened for play and it remained pretty much unaltered until the start of the new millennium, when Mike Clayton was hired to redesign the course due to the construction of a new bridge across the Brisbane River.
A reviewer last month had this to say about Royal Queensland: “sited on what is basically flat land, Clayton has done a remarkable job to produce a course that retains the golfer’s interest throughout the round. Despite the lack of elevation change, Royal Queensland is a distinctive site… it is very much a strategic course, demanding decisions on line and length constantly. It’s a course where you have to think your way around, or pay the consequences!”
Scott Macpherson, in the book Golf’s Royal Clubs, ends the chapter on Royal Queensland by calling it “an inspirational club with great spirit and warmth. With a superbly renovated course and clubhouse, it is the finest place for the finest people.”
The most significant upward move at the top end of the table involves the course at The Grand Golf Club in Gilston, just outside Gold Coast, which Bob Harrison designed for Greg Norman’s design company back in the late 1980s. It moves up two spots to number 3, having leapt up six places to number 5 the last time we amended the state chart, and it also soared ten places to number 38 in the Australian Top 100 just a few months ago. For a course that got off to such an inauspicious start – closing the day after it debuted in 1990 – it seems like things have definitely taken a turn for the better now.
In Volume V of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses , co-author Tom Doak wrote this about the course: “The routing maximises attractive changes in elevation, something you can’t find elsewhere in Australia’s version of Florida. A hole like the 7th pushes into the rain forest, making a gorgeous backdrop for its rolling green, bunkered only on one side as Bob Harrison prefers. There are teasing holes like the 12th and 15th, and brutes like the 9th. It might not be in the country’s top twenty but it is arguably the best in Queensland.”
The biggest leap up the Top 30 is made by the course at Arundel Hills Country Club, which rises seven places to number 16. Originally built for a Japanese developer in the early 1990s, the country club changed hands (yet again) in the summer of 2016 and the new Chinese owners have since invested in a number of course improvements, including switching the greens from a bent-type grass to TifEagle Bermuda.
The only new entry in our state standings appears at number 26 and it’s the new course at Maroochy River Golf Club, situated outside Sunshine Coast. The regional council paid the club a reputed sum of $42 million to move from its tree-lined former home in Maroochydore’s central business district to a new, more open location in Bli Bli, where Graham Marsh fashioned a links-style layout from what was a former canefield, close to the point at which the Maroochy River empties into the sea.
Opened in 2015, the course has already hosted the Australian Women’s Senior Amateur Championship and the male version of this event is due to be held here in October this year.
|1||Royal Queensland||No change|
|4||Hope Island||No change|
|5||The Glades||Up 1|
|6||Hamilton Island||Down 3|
|7||Sanctuary Cove (Pines)||Up 1|
|8||Pelican Waters||Down 1|
|9||Lakelands GC||No change|
|10||Pacific Harbour||Up 1|
|11||Sanctuary Cove (Palms)||Down 1|
|12||Royal Pines (Gold & Green)||Up 4|
|14||Indooroopilly (West)||No change|
|16||Arundel Hills||Up 7|
|17||Twin Waters||Up 1|
|18||Noosa Springs||Up 1|
|19||Paradise Palms||Down 2|
|20||Palmer Gold Coast||No change|
|21||Kooralbyn Valley||Up 3|
|22||Palmer Coolum||Down 9|
|23||North Lakes||Down 2|
|24||Indooroopilly (East)||Up 5|
|25||Bribie Island||Up 2|
|26||Maroochy River||New entry|
|27||Palmer Sea Reef||Down 5|
|28||Palm Meadows||Down 3|
To view further details of the Queensland Top 30 rankings click the link.
There’s no movement within the top five positions in Victoria, which means the West course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club retains its regal role as the number 1 layout in a very strong golfing state where two thirds of our Top 60 are also nationally ranked. Alister MacKenzie certainly designed the course but the efforts of Alex Russell, Mick Morcom and Claud Crockford must never be underestimated in the process that translated the good doctor’s plans into the world-class layout which is in play today.
The prestigious Presidents Cup returns to Royal Melbourne for the third time in December of this year, when the International Team will be looking for only its second win in thirteen matches against the United States on a composite 18-hole course made up largely of holes from the West.
Only seven courses make an upward move within our new chart for Victoria and the highest of these climbers is the Gunnamatta Course at St Andrews Beach on the south side of the Mornington Peninsula, which eases itself up one spot into the number 7 slot. Recognised as the #1 public access course on the Australian mainland, this 18-hole track is a Tom Doak and Mike Clayton co-design that first opened its doors to golfers in 2004.
A reviewer who played there last month remarked: “the challenge seems to be in the positioning (of) the greens (which) often have hidden parts or at least can have a deceiving look at the pin location and the best place to miss. Some local knowledge won’t hurt! The greens are not that undulated (and) are all set in fitting, natural and fun locations. The course is definitely diverse in its demands and testing the golfer’s shot-making abilities.”
The first of four Victorian newcomers arrives at number 8 and it’s a new Greg Norman design for former Essendon Football Club President David Evans at Cathedral Lodge Golf Club in Thornton, some 130 kilometres northeast of Melbourne. Our Australian Correspondent Kevin Pallier was impressed by what he saw when the place first opened a year ago – terming it “probably the most ‘restrained’ Norman design” he had seen – and our indefatigable contributor Paul Rudovsky from the US has since visited, confidently predicting Cathedral Lodge “will grow into a solid World 100 course (as) it has too many compelling features to miss that goal.”
The layout making the biggest jump towards the top is the South course at Peninsula Kingswood Country Club in Frankston, advancing all of twenty-one places to number 18. The Peninsula and Kingswood clubs merged in 2013, eventually settling on the Peninsula site, which allowed for the subsequent total rebuild of both the North and South courses on that property.
According to OCCM, Mike Clayton’s design company who carried out this substantial upgrade, “major changes included a series of new creeks, extensive drainage, a new irrigation system, vegetation work, new playing surfaces and practice facilities.” It’ll be interesting to read what reviewers have to say when they tackle the revamped 18-hole tracks.
|1||Royal Melbourne (West)||No change|
|2||Kingston Heath||No change|
|4||National (Moonah)||No change|
|5||Royal Melbourne (East)||No change|
|6||St Andrews Beach||Up 1|
|8||Cathedral Lodge||New entry|
|9||National (Old)||No change|
|11||Dunes Golf Links||Down 1|
|13||Peninsula Kingswood (North)||Up 1|
|14||13th Beach (Beach)||Down 1|
|15||Barwon Heads||Down 3|
|16||Moonah Links (Legends)||Down 1|
|18||Peninsula Kingswood (South)||Up 21|
|19||Yarra Yarra||Down 2|
|20||National (Ocean)||Down 2|
|22||Moonah Links (Open)||Down 1|
|23||Spring Valley||Down 4|
|24||Port Fairy||No change|
|26||National (Long Island)||Down 4|
|27||Eastern (South)||New entry|
|28||13th Beach (Creek)||Down 5|
|29||Settlers Run||Down 3|
|30||Sanctuary Lakes||Down 2|
|34||Black Bull||Down 1|
|35||Murray Downs||Down 1|
|40||Heritage (St John)||Down 3|
|42||Heritage (Henley)||No change|
|43||Sandhurst (Champions)||Down 5|
|45||Yering Meadows (Nursery)||Down 4|
|47||Cape Schanck||Down 1|
|48||Sands Torquay||Down 3|
|49||Sandhurst (North)||Down 2|
|56||Rosebud (North)||Down 4|
|58||Eagle Ridge||Down 7|
|60||Lakes Entrance||Down 7|
To view further details of the Victoria Top 60 rankings click the link.
We love to receive reaction and general comment when we revise regional charts so by all means let us know if you have any strong feelings about the two states which are reported in this editorial. Have we missed a certain entry, included a course that doesn’t deserve to be listed, or got the position all wrong for another one? Whatever you’re thinking, please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page if you’d like to get in touch with us.
Top 100 Golf Courses