TIME FORE NINE
Australia has hundreds of nine-hole courses that offer fun and affordable golf. Here are 30 of the best in the country.
In Australia, nine-hole courses account for approximately 31 percent of the 1,530 courses across the country. They rarely grab the spotlight away from the 18-holers but you don’t have to look too hard to find one that o ers fun, a ordable golf.
In most cases, the courses featured here o er alternate tees as a second nine option, while some we found have a few extra greens to mix things up a bit for those players looking to trek 18 holes.
Over the following pages we showcase the nine-hole courses we reckon you will enjoy so much you might want to head out for a second nine.
NEW SOUTH WALES LORD HOWE ISLAND GC
Lord Howe Island is a world-heritage listed paradise that can be reached in less than two hours flying from Sydney, Brisbane or Port Macquarie. Characterised by sandy beaches, subtropical forests and crystal clear waters, the island also boasts a terrific nine-hole golf course.
With the towering Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower on one side and the blue Tasman Sea on the other, this par-33 is one of the most picturesque nine-holers in Australia.
The layout meanders through a lush kentia palm forest and out into the gently undulating fairways along the ocean foreshore. This not only brings the beach into play but the wind o ers its own challenges. www.lordhowegolf.com.au
Founded in 1935, the course is a secret treasure of arguably the most famous beachside suburb in Australia.
Perched high on the cli tops at North Bondi, there are breathtaking views in every direction – the iconic beach to the south, the Pacific to the east and the Sydney skyline to the west – while the course is an enjoyable one to play for golfers of all standards.
The par-28 has only one par-4 but the eight par-3s are all di erent, not only in distance but the shots they call
for to make par. The most memorable tee shot, especially in the wind, comes at the 150-metre par-3 4th hole. Perched near a cli ’s edge, the tee o ers incredible ocean views and you had better be on your game to find the green beyond two bunkers in front. www.bondigolf.com.au
ROYAL SYDNEY GC ( Centenary course)
Royal Sydney also o ers a short nine-hole layout called the Centenary Course, which was completely rebuilt to celebrate the club’s 100th anniversary in 1997. The course was designed to utilise every golf club in the bag and features tight fairways and small contoured greens. Water also comes into play on six of the nine holes.
It is understood the Centenary layout will change as part of the redesign being overseen by acclaimed American architect Gil Hanse. www.rsgc.com.au
Located five minutes’ drive from the Sydney CBD, Cammeray was formed in 1906 when its surrounds were far more tranquil than today.
The freeway approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge skirts the edge of the course and forced the layout to be redesigned in the late 1960s. Today, it is a lush golfing oasis bordering the hustle and bustle of the city.
Boasting tree-lined fairways and small greens demanding pinpoint iron shots, Cammeray’s holes wind up, down and across the side of a hill beneath the clubhouse. www.cammeraygolfclub.com.au
MOLLYMOOK GC (Beachside course)
Measuring an easy-walking 2,102 metres from the tips, Mollymook’s Beachside layout covers undulating terrain between beautiful Mollymook Beach and the equally stunning Collers Beach inlet.
While hardcore golfers tend to make a beeline for the Top-100 ranked Hilltop course, the par-33 Beachside layout is perfect for a fun holiday hit with the kids or casual golfing friends. www.mollymookgolf.com.au
TEVEN VALLEY GC
Set on 10 hectares of stunning Northern Rivers land, Teven Valley was established as a private course back in the 70s.
The nine-holer, 20 minutes’ drive west of Byron Bay, was sold in 2015 with former Monash Country Club course superintendent Paul Gumbleton part of the new ownership. So it should be no surprise that this par-31 is not only
challenging but is beautifully maintained.
The layout, known locally as Royal Teven, winds across gently undulating land skirting some rainforest in parts and bringing two creeks into play on four holes. www.tevenvalleygolfcourse.com.au
HARRINGTON WATERS GC
Opened for play in 2006, Harrington Waters is regarded as one of the best conditioned layouts on the NSW lower-north coast.
Located a mid-iron from the banks of the Manning River, the par-36 has 18 separate tees that create dierent angles to the generous couch fairways and manicured 328 couch greens. With water on most holes, the course is home to a wide variety of birdlife. www.harringtonwatersgolfclub.com.au
TUROSS HEAD CC
Framed by hundreds of Norfolk pines and enchanting water views in all directions, Tuross Head is one of the most scenic courses on the South Coast.
The layout features 18 tees to add variety to the nine holes that weave across the side of a hill and oer picturesque ocean views, especially from the 4th and 5th holes. www.thcc.net.au
TATHRA BEACH CC
Tathra Beach CC is a hidden nine-holer to be found on the NSW South Coast, between Bermagui and Merimbula.
Designed by Kel Nagle and Mike Cooper, Tathra is a nine-holer but features 12 greens and alternate tees laid out on floodplain adjoining the Bega River. This rolling sandy terrain created an ideal canvas for building golf holes and subtly sloping greens. www.tathrabeachcountryclub.com
YARRAWONGA MULWALA GC RESORT (EXECUTIVE COURSE)
As the largest public access golf complex in the country with two nationally ranked 18-holers – the Murray and Lakes layouts – Yarrawonga Mulwala’s Executive Course can sometimes be overlooked by visiting golfers.
The par-33 plays shorter than any nine of the neighbouring courses and is ideal for beginners and those golfers looking for a fun hit in a beautiful setting. www.yarragolf.com.au
QUEENSLAND COOKTOWN LINKS
Constructed on natural rolling sand hills, Cooktown Links was carved from tropical bushland between Walker Bay and the Annan River, about 10 minutes’ drive south of town.
The imposing Mount Cook is a constant backdrop to the layout, which is the northernmost golf course on the Australian east coast. The beauty of the surrounds, and its isolation, make it a must-play for those travelling golfers keen to get o the beaten track.
Cooktown is not long but the wind blows here, particularly from the south east, at around 20 knots on most days making a real challenge.
An irrigation system added in recent times has dramatically improved the year-round presentation of the course, making the $20 nine-
hole green fee great value for money. www.cooktowngolflinks.com.au
Bowen Golf Club will celebrate its 90th anniversary next year and still most reading this feature will never have heard of it.
This small nine-holer lies right on the edge of the beautiful waters of Queensland’s Whitsundays, with several holes running right along the water’s edge. Likewise, the clubhouse with its huge verandah overlooks the sea and all its glory.
The par-35 is an easy-walking layout but the challenge ramps up when the wind whips in from the ocean, providing a strong crosswind on most holes. www.bowengolfclub.com.au
Boomerang Farm could be a million miles away from the beating hub of the Gold Coast when, in fact, it’s just a 30-minute drive into the Hinterland.
Spread over almost 20 hectares on what used to be a dairy farm, the layout winds through vast areas of sub-tropical vegetation and features several elevated tees that add some memorable moments to a round. www.boomerangfarm.com.au
SOUTH AUSTRALIA COPPERCLUB PORT HUGHES
Copperclub is a Greg Norman-designed layout that was meant to be an 18-hole championship course but financial setbacks with the development see it featured on this list of quality nine-holers.
There remains a strong possibility that those remaining holes will be added in future years, but for the meantime the nine holes, with 18 alternate tees, at Copperclub will excite. It is a links-style layout that opens with a reachable par-5, with plenty of sand short of the green just tempting you to take them on.
The 294-metre par-4 2nd is arguably the best risk-and-reward hole on the layout. A huge sandy wasteland bunker hogs the left edge of the fairway, while dramatic and deep bunkers are cut into the front-right half of the angled putting surface. These elements of the design make you consider your strategy thoughtfully. www.copperclub.com.au
TASMANIA LLANHERNE GC
Llanherne GC occupies similar sandy terrain to its neighbour Royal Hobart.
Peter Toogood created the layout in 1994 and was obviously inspired by the heathland and links courses of England and Scotland.
The par-4s and 5s ask questions from the tee and there are at least two playing lines oered on each. This aspect of the design makes it a fun course to play.
Llanherne’s prettiest hole is the par-3 4th hole, where your tee shot must fly over the edge of a lake to reach the wide green protected by a bunker right. www.llanhernegolfclub.org.au
Located five minutes’ drive south of the Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasman Golf Club is a tight driving, undulating nine-hole course where the fairways are lined by coastal ti-tree scrub.
Skirting the sea clis at Point Puer, the course oers breathtaking views of the Great Southern Ocean and dramatic Tasman Peninsula coastline. The view is at its best on the tee at the 124-metre par-3 8th where you must hit your tee shot across the waters of Point Puer to a green on the other side of a rocky gorge. No website available
Wynyard Golf Club is wedged between Bass Strait to the north and the Inglis River to the south about 30 minutes’ drive west of Burnie on the Tassie north coast.
This is a true links course and the short par-4 3rd is reminiscent of some of the great Scottish courses that hug the North Sea. The 275-metre journey between tee and green is not intimidating but the dogleg right fairway sloping down to the beach and ocean presents some concerns especially for the right-handed slicer. Into the
prevailing westerlies, this hole can play up to 100 metres longer. www.wynyardgolfclub.com.au
KING ISLAND GOLF & BOWLING CLUB
Long before the arrival of the courses, Ocean Dunes and Cape Wickham, which put King Island on the international golfing map, there was the island’s original nine-hole layout.
Located just south of Currie’s main street, there are many who believe the course of the King Island Golf and Bowls Club is one of, if not, the best nine-hole layout in the country.
Established on its current site in 1932, King Island features 12 greens as well as alternate tees for both nines covering rolling sand dunes.
Maintained by a small but passionate crew of volunteers, the course has changed very little in the past few decades. A few greens were added in the early 90s, while some tees were moved including the 1st tee, which was repositioned next to the clubhouse that is perched high above the links layout. This was a stroke of genius by the club’s committee, as the new tee oers a far more challenging opening tee shot that must fly over the 9th fairway to reach the diagonally set 1st fairway which pitches and rolls several times en route to the small amphitheatre set green.
Where the first hole is played through a valley, the 2nd is played, for the most part, along the line of a ridge and is laid bare to the influences of the wind.
With the opening of the new King Island courses two years ago, the joys of the original King Island course are becoming more widely appreciated. www.gol ingisland.com
GREENS BEACH GC
Laid out on sandy terrain just a pitching wedge from Bass Strait and about 60 minutes’ drive north of Launceston, Greens Beach is regarded as one of the most challenging nine-holers in Tasmania.
Very little earth was moved when the course was created in 1950, instead the natural bumps and swales of the property were exploited to craft some memorable holes. A favourite hole would have to be the 273-metre par-4 8th with its crumpled fairway leading to a putting surface surrounded by hummocks and hollows with Bass Strait to be seen o in the distance. www.greensbeachgolf.com.au
Quamby Estate is a magnificent homestead built in 1838 and boasts ten fully restored guest rooms within the ambience of a boutique guesthouse, less than 30 minutes’ drive from Launceston.
Surrounding the homestead is a nine-hole course designed by one of Australia’s greatest ever amateurs, Peter Toogood, which was built in the 1990s.
Arguably the best of the holes here is actually its shortest oering and the only par-3 at Quamby – the 158-metre 2nd, which plays eight metres shorter as the 11th hole. The tee shot here must carry the edge of a picturesque lake and a huge bunker stretched across the front edge of the large putting surface. www.quambyestate.com.au
WESTERN AUSTRALIA BINNINGUP GC
Binningup Golf Club is a magnificent nine-hole course carved from natural bushland with holes emerging from the bush to beach dunes oering great ocean views.
For a town with a population of approximately 1,000 people, more than 150km south of Perth, Binningup can lay claim to being a ‘hidden golfing gem’ that punches well above its weight in terms of design and presentation.
Designed by Michael Coate and opened
for play in 1986, Binningup is one of the best courses featured among those showcased here. If Binningup was an 18-hole layout, chances are it would enter the conversation as one of the best courses in WA … the land is that good for golf.
The nine is laid out in a clockwise routing around rugged sandy scrubland. There are two long par-5s in the first three holes, with the 568-metre 3rd being an absolute brute in the afternoon when the south-westerly breeze picks up. The walk from the 3rd green to the 4th tee brings the Indian Ocean into view.
The 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th holes are very terrific holes and go a long way to defying the common held belief of ‘serious golfers’ that only 18-hole courses can be challenging or possess design merit.
Perhaps the best of this quartet is the first of the par-4s, the 4th hole. You can cut the corner of the dogleg right here to find a wide fairway and leave yourself a much shorter second shot. But it can be a risky play with wild scrub and sandy dune wasteland to be found right on the inside of the dogleg. Hit in here and there’s a good chance of a reload.
Beyond the design, Binningup features wellpresented bentgrass greens and wintergreen fairways that would be the envy of many city courses. www.binningup.com.au
SEA VIEW GC
Located in the beachside suburb of Cottesloe, north of Perth, Sea View Golf Club dates back to 1908 when former British Amateur Champion P.C Anderson laid out nine holes on natural undulating terrain opposite the beach.
Back then the course was home to the Cottesloe Golf Club and became the Sea View Golf Club in 1931.
Today, it is a private course but visitors are welcome to play the layout outside competition times. www.seaviewgolfclub.com.au
Originally built in 1961, Mosman Park commissioned a redesign by acclaimed architect Michael Coate in 2007 and the changes have raised the standard of the picturesque course.
Located 20 minutes from the Perth CBD near the bank of the Swan River, the course opens with one of its most dicult tests – a long par-4 which plays 391 metres from the tips, and 414-metres from an alternate tee on the back nine. The fairway is pinched in at the driving zone by a bunker on the inside of the dogleg right. As the fairway turns right, it climbs gradually toward the green, which slopes dramatically from back to front.
A highlight of a round here is the 5th-14th holes where the shared fairway reaches a fork, with the 5th green played to the left and the 14th green to the right. The right edge of the fairway oers the best approach into the 5th green while the opposite applies on the 14th.
The undulating topography combined with the good presentation makes Mosman Park a fun course to play for golfers of all standards. www.mosmanparkgolfclub.com.au
Founded in 1932, Nedlands is a well-established nine-holer laid out across 43 acres of beautiful land that a ords golfers sweeping views toward Matilda Bay and the Swan River.
Nedlands is a suburban oasis with holes flanked by beautiful Tuarts, Redgums and Banksias.
Two sets of tees (the outward nine features white tees) o er variety of distance and angles on most of the holes. Arguably the best hole at Nedlands is the short, driveable par-4 6th. With out-of-bounds to the right and the prevailing sea breeze blowing from the left there is always the potential of losing a ball onto adjoining Melvista Avenue.
Nedlands is a private club but visitors’ tee times are available. www.nedlandsgolfclub.com.au
VICTORIA BARWON HEADS GC (Par-3 course)
Barwon Heads is ranked inside the top-20 courses in the nation. But there is more golf on o er than what the championship course can present.
Barwon Heads has a terrific par-3 course, which has been redesigned in recent times by the highly-acclaimed design team of Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford of Golf Strategies.
The wintergreen couch putting surfaces are set up to roll slower and accommodate the undulating greens, which really add to the enjoyment of a round. The most memorable hole here is the 8th, which was inspired by the famous Dell hole at Lahinch in Ireland, and features a thin green squeezed between high mounds. www.barwonheads.golf
Spring Park not only o ers fun golf, but the ninehole walk is like venturing through a setting that is part botanical garden, part typical Sandbelt, which is not surprising given its location.
The par-33 is in the Melbourne Sandbelt, so it should come as no surprise that the fairways and large greens are well-maintained, while each hole is lined by rough that o ers sandy lies, not deep impossible to escape lies.
Spring Park’s opening hole sets the tone for the round. The 287-metre par-4 plays slightly uphill and there is some risk in taking a driver from the tee. The fairway narrows between gum trees about 200 metres from the tee, so lay your tee shot back to leave a full wedge into the putting surface protected by two bunkers in front.
The prettiest hole on the course is also its shortest. The 105-metre par-3 7th features water, sand and trees between tee and green, so its no pushover. A small pond lies in front of the tee,
while tall gums also obscure the view of the left edge of the green. A typical deep Sandbelt bunker lines most of the right side of the putting surface. It might be short but this diminutive o ering is a gem. www.springparkgolf.com.au
The par-32 is about 30 minutes’ drive east of Warrnambool en route to the world-famous Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. It is a links with fast-running and undulating fairways, while the greens feature wide frontages allowing you to bump and run your shots beneath the wind. The 140-metre tee shot across a cli on the par-3 6th hole is one of the highlights of a round here. No website available
Located in the heart of the Melbourne Sandbelt, Cheltenham has a rich history dating back to 1930.
Vast areas of ti-tree and bracken were cleared to create a design overseen by Frank Lennox, the then curator of the Victoria Golf Club next door. Lennox’s creation has filled out around each hole over the years but the essence of his work, including the routing, remains.
The greens are small for the Sandbelt and the fairways relatively narrow, so this course demands accuracy, not distance. As a result, Lennox’s design has always been a challenge and has gained a reputation over the years for producing high quality junior golfers, who have gone on to professional careers including the likes of Stewart Ginn, US Open Champion Geo Ogilvy and Matt Grin.
Two short par-4s open the round and any gains made here, can be easily lost on the 8th and 9th holes – a pair of lengthy two-shotters that run north and south and are easily influenced by the prevailing winds no matter what the time of year.
If you’re looking for a great value for money Melbourne Sandbelt experience, Cheltenham is the course. www.cheltenhamgolf.com.au
THE DUNES ( Cups course)
The Dunes on the Mornington Peninsula is not only home to the highly-ranked links course, it also boasts a superb par-33 nine-hole course known as The Cups.
Covering similar terrain to its famous neighbour, The Cups o ers a shorter, fun and more forgiving links experience. As you might imagine, wind is certainly a factor and a challenge to club selection, especially on the four par-3s. www.thedunes.com.au
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Millionaires’ club, it is safe to say this is not an extravagant golfing retreat but has hosted prominent businessman, politicians and even royalty in its 104-year history.
Of all the courses featured here, this is the most private and requires an invite from a member to play. If you do ever get the chance, you’ll love the experience of this hidden Sandbelt gem. Few holes are better than the opener though. The short downhill par-4 a ords players a view of Port Philip Bay in the distance as the fairway descends to the bunkered green.
No website available
AUSSIE GOLF RANCH
The Aussie Golf Ranch is a par-3 course that is the brainchild of PGA professional Rohan Walker, who dreamed of a course where he could teach kids the basics of the game whilst also providing a challenging layout for golfers of all abilities.
He found 23 acres of coastal dunes, about 100 metres from a secluded sandy beach on Red Rocks Bay and just a few minutes’ drive west of Cowes on Phillip Island. Acclaimed course designer Ross Watson was commissioned to design the nine-hole par-3 course and his dream to strike a balance for juniors and accomplished players was achieved.
The links course, with holes between 103 and 183 metres, has nearly 20 bunkers, water on many holes and grass-covered mounds surrounding each green. The G2 bentgrass greens have plenty of movement and are superbly kept. www.aussiegolfranch.com
KINGS COVE GC
The lakefront residential community at Kings Cove Metung was once grazing land but has been transformed during the past two decades with more than 15,000 trees planted and several wetlands regenerated.
The Kings Cove Golf Club – a nine-hole course designed by Ted Parslow – was central to this development.
As one might expect from a modern course, the greenscapes here are a little more dynamic with big putting surfaces giving rise to some dramatic slopes and tiers. Parslow has used bunkering sparingly in his design, especially along the fairways, but they certainly play their role in protecting most greens. www.kingscoveclub.com.au
Three years after re-opening, the ‘new’ Geelong Golf Club is thriving.
The original club was founded in 1892 but after 112 years the 18-hole layout was forced to close.
But a decade on, the club began its new life with a superb nine-hole creation designed by Graham Papworth.
There is a modern look to this stunning course, with well-manicured Santa ana couch fairways and bentgrass greens, punctuated by strategically placed bunkering.
A favourite hole is the 282-metre par-4 3rd hole which plays slightly uphill and demands an accurate tee shot to avoid trees and bunkers. Fairway bunkers left are easily reached but longer hitters may choose to blast a drive towards the green. But be wary, it is guarded in front by a scheme of five bunkers.
Given the green fee here is just $20 for nine holes, a round at Geelong presents great value for money. www.geelonggolf.com.au
bondi golf club
yarrawonga mulwala executive course
copperclub port hughes
cooktown golf links
king island golf & bowling club
BINNINGUP GOLF CLUB
barwon heads par-3 course
cheltenham golf club
kings cove golf club
aussie golf ranch
geelong golf club