If the game of golf had a Mecca, it might just reside somewhere in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Some of the best golf courses Melbourne has to offer are indeed some of the finest anywhere in the world. Several of the standouts cohabit the famed Melbourne Sandbelt, a rich vein of sandy subsoil that has proven particularly adept at supporting extraordinary golf courses. Six of the courses on this list rank in the top 20 golf courses in Australia; three are in the top 10. If you ever get the chance to play at one of these courses, we suggest you jump at the opportunity.
Royal Melbourne Golf Club
A universal icon of golf, this is certainly not the first list the Royal Melbourne has topped. 36 holes make up a trio of championship courses. The West Course continually ranks among the top 10 golf courses in the world; it was recently named No.1 in Australia and No.3 in the world by Golf Digest. Not to be outshone by its exalted neighbour, the East Course listed in the top 20 by the same Golf Digest ranking and features one of the most underrated par 3s in any of the best golf courses Melbourne has to offer. Taking 12 holes from the West Course and six from the East, the world-renowned Composite Course merges to form a whole greater than the sum of its parts, the best eighteen holes of golf in the country and the greatest mash-up since Linkin Park and Jay-Z.
Cheltenham Road, Black Rock, Victoria, 3193.
Kingston Heath Golf Club
A seven-time host to the Australian Open, Kingston Heath Golf Club offers an outstanding layout and some of the best bunkering around. Kingston Heath is lauded as one of the finest courses in the world by many of golf’s greats – Tiger Woods himself sung its praises when he took out the Australian Masters tournament there in 2009. One of the most exclusive clubs in the country, achieving membership requires referrals from several established members and a lengthy wait – which, I dare say, is worth it once you step onto this revered course.
Kingston Road, Cheltenham, Victoria 3192.
Victoria Golf Club
The Victoria Golf Club throws its hat in the ring as yet another world-class golfing institution in the Melbourne Sandbelt. The Victoria holds up against its famous comrades and is an excellent addition to this cluster of improbably superb golf courses. Small, lightning fast greens favour sharp-shooting, careful club selection and an immaculate short game; professional and amateur alike come unstuck in the imposing bunkers hard against the collars of the greens. Of all the best golf courses Melbourne has to offer, the Victoria may just be the toughest challenge out there.
Park Road, Cheltenham, Victoria 3192.
Metropolitan Golf Club
Sharing a common origin with the Royal Melbourne and widely regarded as one of the finest championship courses in Australia, the Metropolitan exemplifies why the golf courses of the Melbourne Sandbelt are regularly touted among the best in the world. Fairways with the smoothness and uniformity of carpet are carved from the contrasting ragged native scrub, and strategically-placed bunkers border every green and hinge every bend in the freeway. No stranger to hosting championship tournaments, the Metropolitan will host the PGA World Cup of Golf in 2018.
Golf Road, South Oakleigh, Victoria 3167.
Woodlands Golf Club
Featuring all the hallmarks shared by the best golf courses Melbourne offers, the rolling freeways, ominous bunkers and elevated greens at Woodlands lay down a challenge any serious golfer would relish. A certain finesse is required to navigate the narrow freeways and troublesome bunkers successfully – the careless slugger will not fare well with Woodlands’ many challenging nuances. Visitors satisfying the handicap and club membership requirements are welcome to sample the delights at Woodlands, a rarity among the Sandbelt courses which frequently require guests to be accompanied by a member.
109 White St, Mordialloc Victoria 3195.
Commonwealth Golf Club
Another member of the illustrious group of courses that reside on the Melbourne Sandbelt, the Commonwealth Golf Club is revered for its strategic layout and tricky, narrow freeways. With origins that trace back to 1914, the early designers showed remarkable foresight in carefully selecting and nurturing native eucalypts that, over the century, have grown into the towering sentinels that now guard the freeways and the gently sloping greens. The stately clubhouse enjoys commanding views over the course, with the upper balcony one of the better spots to enjoy a post-game beverage.
Glennie Ave, Oakleigh South, Victoria 3167
Huntingdale Golf Club
Consistently rated among the best golf courses Melbourne has to offer along the famed Sandbelt – until 2008 Huntingdale was recognised as the ‘Home of the Australian Masters’, having hosted the event for thirty consecutive years. The meticulously manicured greens are kept in Masters condition throughout the year, and the carefully considered bunkering placement synonymous with courses in the area ensures an equally challenging and rewarding round. Abandoning the grand old clubhouse aesthetic ubiquitous with well-aged golf courses, the Huntingdale in 2014 sunk $12 million into a sophisticated, award-winning clubhouse.
Windsor Avenue, Oakleigh South, Victoria 3167
Yarra Yarra Golf Club
Developed under some of the greatest course architects of the twentieth century, the Yarra Yarra Golf Club has recently appointed modern-age master architects Renaissance Golf Designs to restore the subtleties and intent of the original design. Already considered one of Melbourne’s preeminent Sandbelt courses with several holes renowned around the globe, the restoration of the Yarra Yarra will be one to watch. The goal of the club’s executives in appointing this upgrade is simple, restore the Yarra Yarra Golf Club to its rightful position as a world-class golf course.
567 Warrigal Road, Bentleigh East, Victoria 3165
Spring Valley Golf Club
Recently taking out the 43rd position in Golf Australia’s 2018 best courses in the country and rounding out the top ten best golf courses Melbourne has to offer; the Spring Valley Golf Club is the hidden gem in the Sandbelt collection. With such eminent company in its immediate vicinity, it’s easy to discount Spring Valley. To do so, however, would be to ignore an underrated and well-designed course that is emerging from the shadows of its grand neighbours as a worthy test of golfers of all abilities.
619 Heatherton Road, Clayton South, VIC 3169
Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club
The Peninsula Country Golf Club and the Kingswood Golf Club made history in 2013 as the first merger of two golf clubs in Australia. Now known as the Peninsula Kingswood Country Golf Club, it is home to three Championship courses, each with something to please golfers from all walks of life. The North course favours the strategic, while the South and the Kingswood with their long, wide fairways and big greens allow the long-hitters to bring out the big guns.
Kingswood Site: Centre Dandenong Rd, Dingley Village, Victoria 3172
Peninsula Site: Skye Rd, Frankston, Victoria, 3199
Albert Park Golf
While it might not be as esteemed as others on this list, the convenience of its location makes it worth a mention. Situated at Albert Park, home to the F1 Grand Prix, is Albert Park Golf, a public course right in the heart of the city, and one of Melbourne’s best public golf clubs. Located in the heart of Melbourne, this public course is ideal for mid-week escapes from the office to smack a few balls while the boss isn’t looking, or a great place to practice your game without having to travel far.