Situated on Dent Island in the Whitsundays, the Hamilton Island Golf Club was designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson. The par-71, 18-hole course makes the most of its idyllic location, with spectacular views of the Whitsundays and Coral Sea from every tee. But don’t let the view distract you; this is one of the most challenging courses in the world, with deep valleys, rugged ridges, thick bushland and punishing winds blowing off the water. Dubbed the ‘Valley of Death’, hole 14 is particularly trying, owing to its elevated green surround by bunkers on three of the four sides. Across Dent Passage, Hamilton Island offers a range of accommodation options and venues for up to 1,000 guests.
A 20-minute drive from the centre of Sydney, the New South Wales Golf Club is perched on the clifftops of La Perouse, overlooking Botany Bay and the Pacific Ocean. That’s right, it’s flanked by water on three sides. This 72-par, 18-hole course was designed by leading golf-course architect Dr Alister MacKenzie and opened in 1928. Its exposure to the elements, coupled with undulating fairways and tight greens, makes for an exciting round. Test your skills on the sixth hole, which is played from a rocky outcrop over the sea. And afterwards, retire to the banquet room in the clubhouse, which can host events for up to 90 guests.
As the home of the Australian PGA Championship and Ladies Masters, RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast plays host to the world’s best golfers. Just 10 minutes from the beaches of Surfers Paradise, this course boasts 27 holes, providing the flexibility of three 18-hole combination golf courses. Play the Graham Marsh–redesigned championship course to navigate tight fairways, waterways and a string of bunkers. The Royal Pines Resort is also home to eight restaurants and bars, swimming pools, 333 guest rooms, and event spaces for up to 1,800 guests.
Ranked number 18 in the world and number three in Australia, Kingston Heath Golf Club is one of the country’s premier courses, located a 30-minute drive southeast of Melbourne in the heart of Victoria’s sandbelt region. Founded in 1909, this 72-par course was designed by Dan Soutar and Dr Alister MacKenzie. Over the past century, its dips, bunkers and hollows have tested the world’s best, including Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Roger Mackay. The highlight of a round at Kingston Heath is the 15th hole, featuring a bunker-flanked green that’s at the mercy of the northerly winds. After playing 18 holes, you can indulge in a deluxe food and wine experience in the exclusive clubhouse.
Historic Royal Adelaide Golf Club is ranked number 10 in Australia and is regularly named in the world’s top 100 courses. Located in the beachside suburb of Seaton, just 20 minutes from Adelaide, this course is dotted with sand dunes and coastal craters. While the traditional open links layout may look approachable at first, it’s not without its challenges. Designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie, hole three is one of the hardest, requiring golfers to gamble with the blind, sloping green. The clubhouse can accommodate functions for up to 230 guests, and you can hire the course exclusively for groups of 72 or more.