THE GOLD COAST HAS MORE GOLF COURSES PER CAPITA THAN ANYWHERE ELSE IN AUSTRALIA, BUT WHERE IS THE GRASS GREENEST? EMILY SELLECK HAS THE TOP 10 AS VOTED BY YOU
PALM MEADOWS 1 Palm Meadows Drive, Carrara Financial controller Chad Sheppard (pictured right) says Palm Meadows was the first resort golf course built on the Gold Coast and it’s ever-evolving.
“We’ve been here since the late 1980s so there’s a lot of history,” he says.
“It was managed by a Japanese company for about 20 years until 2010 when we came in with a different structure.
“Previously they were trying to engage the interstate and overseas market, but after the GFC (global financial crisis) we had to bring the price point down to meet the local market.”
Chad says the course hosted “million-dollar competitions” in the ‘80s. “Back then it was totally unheard of,” he says. “Today we offer a great product at an affordable rate for members and the general public.
“We cover such a vast area, we have one loop around the southern side and another around the northern side.
“We also have our world-famous 18th hole, which wraps around a big lake, so you have the choice to take on as much water as you want.” Chad says they are currently making improvements. “We’ve redone our bunkers where we’re redoing the grainage and putting new sand in, which I’m sure the members will be really happy with.”
The club also boasts a bistro overlooking the 10th and 18th holes. “It’s the perfect place to ponder how much better you could have played,” Chad laughs. “It’s a beautiful setting.”
“WE ALSO HAVE OUR WORLD FAMOUS 18TH HOLE, WHICH WRAPS AROUND A BIG LAKE, SO YOU HAVE THE CHOICE TO TAKE ON AS MUCH WATER AS YOU WANT.
2 THE GRAND GOLF CLUB 364 Gilston Rd, Gilston
The Grand Golf Club celebrates its 20th anniversary in December — and those two decades have been anything but boring. At the height of his international career, Greg Norman designed the $30 million course. With only 555 memberships available, general manager Michelle Bowers says The Grand has maintained its pure “members only” agenda. “Because we’re so private, members can come and go at any time – it’s actually quite rare to run into someone else on the course. About half of all our members are from interstate or overseas. We’re open 364 days a year and have no definite closing time.”
3 SOUTHPORT GOLF COURSE Slatyer Ave, Southport
General manager Nik Robinson says the Southport Golf Course is located on prime real estate. “We’re so central with a beautiful view of the Surfers skyline over the green,” he says. “The course itself is also extremely well maintained. We are a premium private club, but we’re open to the public in terms of food and beverage offerings. We have a refreshment cart, a sports bar and a la carte offerings made by our highly skilled chef, which is pretty unique for a golf course these days. “We also have special nine-hole competitions for guests to come and play and live entertainment on the weekends.”
4 EMERALD LAKES GOLF CLUB Cnr Alabaster Drive & Nerang-Broadbeach Rd, Carrara
At these floodlit grounds you won’t have to cut the perfect round short when you run out of sunlight. “People can keep playing out there right until 10pm,” general manager Chris Bagley says. “It’s not as long as some of the championship courses, but it’s challenging and there’s plenty of water. We also have facilities that add to the experience like food and beverage offerings and gaming.” The driving range is also welllit, ideal for after-hours social golf or letting out pent-up aggression after a long, hard day at work – there’s no better stress relief than smacking a ball with a stick.
5 BOOMERANG FARM GOLF COURSE 55 Johns Rd, Mudgeeraba
Regardless of how well you’re playing, it’s hard not to feel serene in the tranquil setting of Boomerang Farm Golf Course. “We’re such a unique course, you feel like you’ve gone back 100 years in time,” office manager Cindy Lewsey says. “We’re very small and casual with a small bistro and a really strong membership base, but we allow the public as well. Our grounds have also been used in moves and TV including
Married at First Sight and The Inbetweeners movie.” The full 18hole course is spread over 20 hectares of lush greens, picturesque dams and historic farm buildings.
6 LINKS HOPE ISLAND Hope Island Rd, Hope Island
Links Hope Island doesn’t just rate in the Gold Coast’s top 10 golf courses – it’s been voted in the top courses in Australia. Designed by five times British Open champion Peter Thomson and partner Mike Wolveridge, the course’s current replacement cost is estimated at $25 million. There’s an aquatic-style driving range, a putting and chipping green, a concierge bag drop and GPS carts. General manager TraceyLea Tiley says the club offers the only links-style course on the Coast. “It’s very unique to us. We have 128 pot bunkers, they’re quite deep and individually hand-raked every day.” 7 SANCTUARY COVE GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB The Parkway, Hope Island Boasting two full golf courses, Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club is well known for its spaciousness, accommodation of its players and luxury. The first of the courses is The Pines, Australia’s only course designed by late golfing legend Arnold Palmer, which reflects his ideology that golf is “deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” The second is their Palms course, which underwent an $8.8 million revamp in 2011, raising its profile to one of the best courses in Australia.
8 LAKELANDS GOLF CLUB 100 Lakelands Drive, Merrimac
PGA championship winner Jack Nicklaus designed the Lakelands course, his first signature course in Australia. It features cascading greens, a waterfall and an 18 hole, 72 par course of international championship standards. Head greenskeeper Phil Soegaard says the club changed their business model in July. “We no longer have a membership program, now people are ‘access holders’ and they pay for a certain amount of rounds. We’re catering to more people ... but it’s the course conditioning that keeps people coming back. Our national golf course ranking is now 56, up from the mid-70s.”
9 THE GLADES GOLF CLUB 1 Glades Drive, Robina
General manager Phil Baker says memberships at The Glades are limited to “around the 100 mark” and the grass may indeed be greener at this course. “Our members love that we have a small member base,” he says. “We also have a different style of grass on our greens. It’s called creeping bent, which does cost a bit more to maintain but it definitely is a point of difference.” Phil says the club’s restaurant is open to the public seven days a week.
RACV ROYAL PINES 10 Ross St, Benowa
RACV is perhaps best known for hosting the Australian Professional Golfers Association Championships. The golfing tournament is held over four days and attracts many of the world’s best professionals. Golf manager David Hogben says the club’s $11 million redevelopment in 2014 was a big drawcard too. “It’s made the course a lot more challenging,” he says. “But we’re definitely a one-stop shop for everything – you can stay, play, dine and use the gym. We have a number of different dining options, including Japanese, Italian and the seafood buffet.”