Considering there are more courses per capita on the Gold Coast than anywhere else in the world, perhaps Surfers Paradise should be renamed Golfers Paradise? One thing’s for sure – a visit to some of our fabulous fairways and world-class courses will be far above par for any golfing enthusiast.
There are over 35 courses scattered across our beachside city, providing appealing possibilities for golfers of every ability. If you’re a casual kind of golfer who likes a hit and giggle, there are family-friendly, fun nine-hole courses complete with kangaroos on the fairways.
But if you take your golf seriously, then you’re in for a treat. You’ll find some of Australia’s best courses here, built by the most famous names in golf design including Jack Nicklaus’s first signature course in Australia, Arnold Palmer’s only Australian course, and courses designed by Greg Norman, Peter Thomson and more. Gold Coast golf courses are of international caliber and have hosted major international and national golfing championships – RACV Royal Pines has hosted the Australian Ladies Masters and the Australian PGA championships.
One thing that sets Gold Coast golf apart is that the general public are welcome to play at all but two of our courses. Compare that to Sydney, for instance, where the best courses are only available to members. Even Melbourne, one of the most famous golfing locations on Earth, has member only policies for its most prestigious clubs and courses.
All the Gold Coast’s best courses feature the sort of privileges usually only enjoyed by members of exclusive private clubs – think practice ranges, licensed restaurants and bars, motorised carts and on-course food and drink service. And a round at one of these courses won’t break the bank either – you’ll rarely pay more than $100 for green fees. Many of our golfing resorts have five-star accommodation overlooking fairways too, so you can stay and play.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete hacker, or a scratch golfer looking for the ultimate challenge – there’s a Gold Coast golf course for you. Here are six of the best…
As impressive a golf resort as you’ll find anywhere in the world. There are two world-class championship courses on site, but that’s just scratching the surface. There’s a whole resort village of restaurants, shops, bars… even a marina full of super yachts beside the course. And the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort is a few minutes’ walk away. You’ll need to stay here if you want to play Sanctuary Cove’s private course (The Pines) the only Australian course designed by Arnold Palmer. Their second course (The Palms) is ranked in Australia’s Top 30 public courses and available to all. The facilities will blow you away – motorised carts are delivered to you valet-style, and there’s casual and fine dining before or after your round. Oh, and it’s Adam Scott’s home club (you know, the guy who’s won 31 professional tournaments).
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RACV ROYAL PINES
At RACV Royal Pines you can play the same course as the world’s best golfers. You’ll discover much more than a golf course here, although it’s one of the country’s finest with three different 18-hole combinations to play. These are stunning golf holes framed by a backdrop of the Gold Coast Hinterland. There’s lots of water so bring plenty of balls, and you’ll find kangaroos lazing around on the greens too. The resort is just as impressive – there’s five-star accommodation options available, including family studios and suites. Plus eight bars and eateries including Japanese and Italian restaurants. Bring the whole family – there’s a water park, a day spa and you’re conveniently close to the Coast’s theme parks (yet still just 20 minutes from Surfers Paradise).
LINKS HOPE ISLAND
There’s much more than just a golf course here; this is a suburb of the Gold Coast with its own marina, retail stores, restaurants… even a theme park for after your round of golf. Located on the northern end of the Gold Coast, it’s only 50 minutes from Brisbane but just 20 minutes’ drive from Surfers Paradise. And what a course! Links Hope Island is considered Queensland’s top course by many golf publications. It’s open to the public, but feels like it should be a private members’ club. This course differs from others on the Coast because it’s a links-style course, so it looks like a piece of Scotland or Ireland in sub-tropical Queensland. Our greatest golfer, Peter Thomson, designed it, but don’t be fooled by the lack of trees: there’s more sand and water on this course than you’d find playing on a Gold Coast beach. A challenging course that will improve your skills.
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LAKELANDS GOLF COURSE
You won’t find a prettier course than Lakelands – almost every hole you play is built around lakes and between forests of trees. It’s as pretty as Augusta (site of The Masters) – but perhaps that’s little wonder when you consider who designed the thing. This was Jack Nicklaus’s first Australian signature course – the man who mastered The Masters at Augusta, and all of world golf for nearly 50 years. A few years ago the general public couldn’t get on Lakelands Golf Club, it was for members only. But now social play is allowed all week except Saturday mornings, so golfers get to revel in a place that feels like it should still be off-limits. It’s consistently ranked in Australia’s Top 30 public courses by Golf Australia, though after you play it you’ll wonder why it’s not Top 10.
BOOMERANG FARM GOLF COURSE
For players who want a casual game and some beautiful scenery to match, Boomerang Farm Golf Course epitomises the fun you can have golfing on the Gold Coast. This is the hidden gem of Queensland – a course barely five minutes from town (Mudgeeraba) but totally hidden away in its own private kingdom. The course is only nine holes (though you can play a back nine using different tees) and it’ll only set you back $20 (for nine holes). But you’ll hit drives on 20 hectares of land right beneath the mountains of Springbrook in the Gold Coast Hinterland, through pockets of rainforest inhabited by local wildlife. There’s also a century-old barn and shearing sheds, and a bike park for mountain biking if you feel like adding to the action afterwards.
SURFERS PARADISE GOLF CLUB
A Gold Coast golfing secret hidden amongst its much more high-profile counterparts in the region. You can play this championship course with its pretty tree-lined fairways and its views back to Surfers for as little as $21 for 18 holes – and you can play it seven days a week as it’s always open to the public. They call this the friendliest golf course on the Gold Coast – there are plenty of old-time locals here keen for a hit if you show up solo. There’s also a fully licensed club with bar, gaming, keno and a restaurant for when you get back from your round (with tavern style lunches seven days a week).
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