The Top 5 Must Play Private Golf Courses When You Visit Melbourne
In Melbourne, you are spoilt for choice as it's home to the Melbourne Sandbelt which is world renowned for having some of the best courses in the world. They each differ from one another with unique landscapes, world class bunkering and state of the art facilities. There are a handful of world class bucket list golf courses any golfer would dream to play.
If you are lucky enough to know a member, you can play a round at one of the Sandbelt golf courses for around $100-$120 for adults and approx. $40-$60 for juniors. If you are eager to join, their fees are very similar to one another usually costing around $10,000-$15,000 to join (for adults) and with annual subscription fees around $4500-$5500 (for adults).
Royal Melbourne Golf Club
Kicking off at number 1 is Royal Melbourne Golf Club designed by the late great Alex Russell. Royal Melbourne is Australia’s highest world ranked golf course coming in at number 5 on the Golf Digest ‘’World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses”. The club consists of two 18-hole courses, West and East. Both have their own unique appeal and character but it’s the West course that is the most recognised in the rankings. It’s been the host to many championship tournaments including the 1998, 2011 and 2019 Presidents Cup and the 2013 World Cup of Golf. When the club hosts world class golf tournaments the championship course will be a composite course which comprises of holes from both the West and East course, however, most of the holes are made up from the West course due to the layout and the signature nature of the holes the West course has to offer.
From what you might have seen on TV, the course isn’t as imitating as you would think playing it day to day. The green speeds are always fair, and the course plays considerably short off the regular white competition tees. Where it makes up for the lack of length is the tea tree and bracken that will catch any errant tee shot. The natural sand bunkers are some of the best you will ever play if you are unfortunate enough to land in one. Due to the tight green surrounds, you’d rather play from the bunker than a tight greenside lie. The beauty of the natural landscape of both courses and world glass greens, it’s easy to see why it is the best ranked course in Australia according to Golf Digest’s "Australia’s Top 100 Golf Courses’’ (West ranked no.1 and the East is ranked no.8). Lastly, the practice facilities are some of the best in Australia with a full length driving range, multiple pitching greens and an enormous practice putting green.
If you are lucky enough to know a member the green fees for a guest are approximately $120 for adults and $40 for juniors. If you are considering joining the club, you will need to know a dozen or so members that can be your reference and be prepared to wait as its rumoured to have a 3-5yr waiting list.
Located 40mins from the CBD just outside of the world renowned Melbourne Sandbelt, Peninsula Kingswood in the new kid of the block after a merger with Kingswood back in 2013. The course offers two 18 hole golf courses, the North and South. With the cash injection from the sale of the Kingswood property, Peninsula Kingswood recruited OCCM (Ogilvy Clayton Cocking Mead) to renovate the courses to make it one of Australia’s premier golf facilities. They certainly didn’t disappoint with both courses opening for members to play in 2019.
Even though the North course is ranked 6th and the South ranked 20th by Golf Digest’s ‘’Australia’s Top 100 Golf Courses’’ some would argue that they are still underrated. With COVID sweeping through Victoria, the golfing community with soon come to appreciate how special the facility at Peninsula Kingswood is. Many say that it will take the top honours from Royal Melbourne in the near future. Where Peninsula Kingswood beats out Royal Melbourne are it’s views of the Port Philip Bay and pure distinction greens. If you haven’t putted on pure distinction greens, you are missing out…they are the best greens you will ever putt on.
Having rumoured to have spent between $30-$40 million on the Club house, its arguably one of the best club houses in the country. The practice facilities offer multiple practice putting greens (5 to be exact), a world class pitching area and a semi-full length driving range (if the tees are forward, you aren’t allowed to hit a driver). It also has a state of the art training academy for all members to enjoy. Peninsula Kingswood is a little different to your conventional golf club as it has the country club aspects to it, which includes a 25m indoor swimming pool, full size lawn balls green, a tennis court with a basketball hoop, an indoor gymnasium and accommodation. Be prepared to drive a little further to enjoy the experience Peninsula Kingswood, it's certainly worth the trip.
Guests are only allowed to play with a member which ranges from $50 for juniors and $100 for adults. The word on the links is that there is now a 12 month waiting list to join the club.
Kingston Heath Golf Club played host to the 2009 Australian Master where Tiger Woods went on to win by 4 shots. The club is recognised as one of the best courses in Australia coming in at no.3 on Golf Digest’s "Australia’s Top 100 Golf Courses’’. On the rare occasion (2010) the club has taken the crown from Royal Melbourne for being highest rated golf course in Australia. Kingston Heath isn’t lucky enough to have the land to offer a 36 hole complex like Royal Melbourne and Peninsula Kingswood, but don’t let that disappoint you, as a stand alone 18 hole course it’s one of the best you will ever play. It’s an absolute gem of a course which offers modern day length from the black tees, exceptional bunkering and world class greens. The practice facilities consists of 2 driving ranges, one for a short iron warm up before you tee off and the other one for full range shots. There is a large pitching green to fine tune your pitches, bunker shots, and chipping.
The club is rumoured to have a 3yr waiting list, but it’s certainly worth the wait. Guests are welcome to play with members which will cost around $100-$120 for adults.
Victoria Golf Club coming in at no.9 on Golf Digest’s ‘’Australia’s Top 100 Golf Courses’’. The club has recently undergone a renovation program from the same company that did Peninsula Kingswood, OCCM. The course was overdue for some new greens which were replaced with pure distinction accompanied with a lot of refining and detail around the course. The course has never been better, and it gives Kingston Heath a run for its money. What OCCM has done is a much-needed rejuvenation and the end result is a masterpiece. The practice facilities may not be at good as the other 3 club’s but there is certainly everything you need to fine tune your game.
The club is rumoured to have a 12-24months waiting list. Guests are welcome to play with members and are charged around $100-$120 for adults.
Coming in at number 5 on our list is Yarra Yarra Golf Club which has recently undergone a big restoration by leading golf architect Tom Doak. The club decided to not participate in Golf Digest’s "Australia’s Top 100 Golf Courses” due to the recent works on the course, but don’t let that shy you away. With the mission to find the club’s former glory, they removed a large portion of the trees, reshaped and replaced a few greens and adjoined three fairways to make the course more member friendly. It was never an overly difficult course like the other 4 mentioned above, but the widening of fairways and tree removal have made it play a little bit easier. But don’t let the forgiving fairways fool you, the greens are some of the trickiest on the Sandbelt. The highlight of the course is it’s par 3’s on the back 9. Hole 11 and 15 are arguably some of the best par 3’s you will ever play. With the course playing short for modern day standards, the greens provide a true defense. It’s an enjoyable course to play, as it’s tough to lose a ball and there are some challenging up and downs. If your irons and putting are on, Yarra Yarra will reward you with a fair score.
The rumour is that Yarra Yarra is back to a 7day waiting listing but usually you won't have to wait to join the club as they have 5 and 6 day memberships on offer. Guests are welcome to play with members and are charged around $100-$120 for adults and juniors are around $50-$60.
Disclaimer: Please note that the pricing mentioned is to be used at a guide only and is not accurate nor has it been confirmed or directly provided by from the clubs. To get accurate pricing you will need to contact the club. Mr. Golf takes no responsibility for the accuracy of this information, the purpose of this article is for general information only.