Adelaide may be seen by many Aussie interstaters or international visitors as a ‘sleepy hollow’, but when it comes to golf courses it more than punches above its weight.
How do we know? Because we’ve played them – and have written this article to share with you just how good each of these courses are, and help you decide which one to tee it up at next.
For the purpose of this list, we’ve excluded nine-hole courses with only 18 hole venues qualifying.
We’ve broken them into price categories – under $50, between $50-$100 and over $100 – to help you find the right course for your budget.
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They have been ranked in alphabetical order within each category (not in order of preference).
Do you have a favourite Adelaide golf course to play? Let us know in the comment section below!
UNDER $50 FOR 18 HOLES
Aston Hills Golf Club
Green fees: $42
Once the Mount Barker-Hahndorf golf club, Aston Hills was rebranded to reflect the growing residential housing estate population in the surrounding areas.
What impact this has on the quality of the course I don’t know, but what I can say is that Aston Hills provides a challenging and intriguing round for anyone willing to make the trek down the freeway.
Aston Hills isn’t overly long and is scarcely bunkered – the front nine has hardly any – but will eat alive anyone expecting to rip the big dog and overpower it.
Intricate par fours weave and wind through the softly undulating terrain, calling for as little as a seven iron off the tee on more than one occasion to ensure the best line of approach is found for the second.
The trees are tall and guard corner cutting, so only the most adept shot-shapers will have any chance of dismantling Aston Hills through sheer power.
When driver can be pulled, landing areas are usually generous, offering a fair but testing fight.
The facilities are great here too, with a good length driving range, putting green and two-tee start helping the flow of groups through the often-busy course.
Aston Hills is highly accommodating for guests and offers discounts for large groups, so keep it in mind when planning your next golfing weekend with the boys from work.
Barossa Valley Golf Club
Green fees: $40
Located a little more than an hour’s drive from Adelaide’s CBD, Barossa Valley Golf Club truly is one of the famous win region’s hidden gems.
Despite receiving less fanfare than its rivals Tanunda Pines and Sandy Creek, this Par 72 golf course situated in a woodland setting will surprise you – in the best of ways.
The 18-hole layout winds its way through lush Barossa Valley terrain, with every twist and turn adding a new level of intrigue.
Fairways are lush and generous, while the greens are immaculately kept and roll extremely true.
The course blends its mix of somewhat short but challenging Par 5s with its varied-length Par 4s (ranging from 298m to 381m) to perfection, while each of the Par 3s are visually appealing.
With its friendly, welcoming feel and modest pricing, Barossa Valley Golf Club should absolutely be on your list of Adelaide courses to play.
Echunga Golf Club
Green fees: $30
Situated in the Adelaide Hills only half an hour from the CBD, Echunga Golf Club has that rural feel despite being located a short drive from the city.
Few other courses this close to Adelaide are so immersed in natural wildlife and dense gumtrees, both of which give this 18-hole, Par 70 layout its charm.
But don’t let the relaxed country vibe lull you into complacency – you need to be switched on and thinking clearly if you wish to score well at Echunga.
Your skills will be tested right from the opening hole, which is rated the hardest on the course – as a long Par 4, an out of bounds fence hugs the left side of the fairway, placing a premium on accuracy off the tee.
Echunga comprises four Par 3s, 12 Par 4s and only two Par 5s – one each on the front and back nine – all of which blend their distances to keep things interesting.
At 5460m in length off the back tees, the course isn’t overly long but uses the surrounding terrain to great effect – such as the massive gumtree positioned right in the middle of the third fairway, which has players deciding whether to be bold or conservative.
With nicely manicured fairways and greens, Echunga can be a little boggy during the winter months, but not enough to hinder your round, with the course looking its best in spring and summer.
Only a short drive down the South Eastern Freeway, this course is one to tick off your golfing bucket list.
Flagstaff Hill Golf Club
Green fees: $44-$50
Nestled close to the Sturt Gorge around 30 minutes south from Adelaide’s heartbeat, Flagstaff Hill – which neighbours Thaxted Park and The Vines of Reynella – completes the trio of quality, semi-private courses in the region that welcome visitors.
The Par 72 layout has similar characteristics to those nearby courses – it is undulating, it incorporates water hazards beautifully into its 18-hole set-up and it is challenging – but there are a few standout features that makes it memorable.
Flagstaff Hill begins with an intimidating Par 5, with the tight out of bounds fence and housing that lines the right side of the fairway enough to send chills down the spine of any golfer who battles a slice (or a hook for left-handers).
But it is hole seven that is without doubt the golf course’s signature – a 144m Par 3 that requires you to hit a mid-long iron over a large dam to a small green, flanked by bunkers.
If you drop short, you’re in the drink, while anything too long will disappear into the undergrowth behind the green – and in a way, it is a great snapshot of what Flagstaff Hill is all about.
Players who are accurate off the tee, find the lush fairways regularly and are smart with their course management will score well around this golf course, while the big bombers who are unable to control their ball may battle.
The natural, sloping environment means you’ll rarely have a straight putt on the deceptively quick, breaking greens meaning dreaded three-putts are only one concentration lapse away.
Flagstaff Hill is scenic, well-groomed, challenging and rewards good shots – everything you could want in a golf course.
Highercombe Golf Club
Green fees: $30
If I could summarise Highercombe Golf Club in only a few words, they would be: hilly, scenic, challenging and weather-dependent.
Located in the Adelaide Hills, only 30 minutes east of Adelaide’s CBD, this Par 70, 18-hole course can be extremely enjoyable to play in the drier spring and summer months, and frustrating in the wetter, winter months as it can get very boggy with regular rainfall.
But the redeeming traits of Highercombe are its beautiful surroundings – the hills make for a lovely backdrop, while sporadic water features and flowering trees littered about the course making for an enjoyable and serene round of golf.
Unfortunately, the quality of the fairways can be very hit and miss – at their worst, they could be described as unkempt – while the rough can also be akin to jungle, which is why green fees are usually at a discounted price during winter for visitors.
Those flaws aside, the greens are always in good condition, while the eye-catching Par 3s and mixture of Par 4s (including a couple that are driveable) makes the golf challenging and rewarding if you play well.
Links Lady Bay Resort
Green fees: $48
Despite not yet being 30, I’ve had the pleasure of playing dozens of courses across several states, including the illustrious Royal Adelaide and the highly regarded Thirteenth Beach near Geelong.
Despite this, quite possibly the hardest test I’ve ever encountered lies less than an hour from home at Links Lady Bay.
My most recent experience here was off the blue tees, adding a remarkable four strokes to my GA Handicap.
This assistance did little in my failed pursuit to break 30 stableford points.
Off the back tees, the index three 428 metre fifth and index one 425 metre twelfth provide ludicrous par four challenges longer than anything else I’ve experienced.
Add a 35km an hour headwind and a driver followed by a three wood still won’t be enough to find the putting surface.
The brutish length of Links Lady Bay is hardly compensated for with space either, as, while landing areas are generous enough, well missed fairways invoke prickle laden searches in the tall grass that wouldn’t be out of place at a British Open.
All of this is further complemented by long water carries, deep bunkering and undulation.
While this may paint a scary picture, Links Lady Bay is immaculately presented, undeniably beautiful and provides the ultimate challenge for any golfer, even off the front tees.
The course cuts a superb route through the natural dunes, offering remarkable views of far-off cliff tops and snaking 60-foot putts you usually only see on TV.
Combine 18 here with a round at Mount Compass and you’ve stumbled across one of the best pairings of courses in the country.
McCracken Golf And Country Club
Green fees: $35-$45
If you’re seeking the ultimate golfing getaway experience, then there are few other places in South Australia that provide a better offering than McCracken Golf Club.
This Par 72 course, designed by Tony Cashmore and situated about an hour’s drive from Adelaide, is overlooked by the stunning McCracken Country Club Resort meaning you could book a few nights away from the busy city and play more than one round.
It’s no surprise that being located on a resort, McCracken oozes all the features you’d expect on a course of this nature – including water and extensive bunkering.
There are 14 lakes in total constructed within the layout’s natural watercourses and gentle undulations, while 72 bunkers are scattered across the 18 holes and are waiting to gobble up any errant shots.
Naturally, McCracken places a premium on accuracy.
The surrounding scenery is stunning and will have you fixated throughout your entire round – the hilly backdrop to the Par 3 seventh and Par 5 eighth is breathtaking, while water features on holes like the Par 3 second, Par 4 third and Par 3 thirteenth are attention-grabbing.
It goes without saying that if you struggle with getting your ball in play off the tee, you could be in for a long day at McCracken.
But if you’re up for the challenge, and are willing to make the trek south, this beautifully-presented course is well worth the price of admission – and will have you itching to return for another round.
Mount Pleasant Golf Club
Green fees: $25
Tucked away in the Adelaide Hills, around an hour north-east of Adelaide, Mount Pleasant Golf Club has all the ingredients to be a brilliant course – it just hasn’t quite perfected the recipe yet.
The drive through Gumeracha and Birdwood en route to the course is one of the most picturesque you can imagine, and the initial impression of Mount Pleasant as you approach its gates is one of natural beauty.
Situated in a seemingly untouched part of the hills, it’s not until you step out onto the fairways that it becomes clear why green fees are reasonably cheap at this Par 70 track.
Grass coverage can be a bit hit and miss, while the quality of the greens left a little to be desired.
But what the course lacked in conditioning, it made up for with some visually-striking holes – none more so than the Par 4 third hole, which sees you tee off over a large dam to the awaiting fairway.
While Mount Pleasant may not be on the same level as some other outer-Adelaide courses, such as those located north in the Barossa Valley or south near the coast, it is well worth a visit if you are seeking a new golfing venture that will challenge you.
New Terry Resort And Golf Course
Green fees: $35-$45
Never heard of New Terry Golf Resort? Don’t worry, we hadn’t either until we played it – and we’re glad we did.
Located around 90 minutes south of Adelaide, the 18-hole course previously went by the name Wirrina Cove Golf Club and is without doubt one of the quiet achievers in the area.
Attached to a resort, which admittedly is a little rundown, views of rolling hills and turquoise blue ocean can be viewed from the well-kept fairways and were immediately striking.
New Terry boasts reasonable length at 5697m, but the generous fairways mean you won’t be shaking at the knees while standing over every tee shot.
There are some longer par fours, but many seem longer than they are due to the many elevated tee blocks scattered across the Par 70 layout.
The conditioning is almost faultless – the greens roll true, bunkers are fluffy, fairways are short and lush and rough is adequate.
It all lacks the polish of other notable courses on the peninsula, such as Links Lady Bay, but the $40 price tag is reflective of the attention to detail the course may lack.
While it doesn’t have the reputation of Adelaide’s other south-coast courses, New Terry is well maintained, both challenging and forgiving and will leave you feeling glad you gave it a try.
North Adelaide Golf Course
Green fees: $31-$39
Located in the heart of the city, North Adelaide Golf Club is arguably one of the most trafficked courses in Adelaide due to it being open to the public.
But for the amount of use this expansive layout gets – you’ll even see people walking their dogs across the fairways from time to time – it is always kept in outstanding condition, with the fairways well-manicured and the greens likewise.
North Adelaide has three courses for players to enjoy – the Par 72, 18-hole championship South Course; the Par 68, 18-hole shortened North Course; and the 18-hole Par 3 Course.
The South Course is by far the standout offering, designed for the serious golfer who is looking to tee it up on a full-length layout, while the other two are best suited for beginners or players looking to enjoy a quick, casual round with mates.
The Par 4 fourth hole features an elevated tee block which gives you stunning views of Adelaide’s skyline, while the Par 5 seventh – which has is tightly bordered by Montefiore Road to the left – does also.
The only downside to North Adelaide is due to it being a public course, a standard 18-hole round often stretches past the average four hours due to the pace of play being poorly marshalled – and it gets particularly bad on weekends during peak times.
But if you’ve got nowhere to be in a hurry and are happy spending up to five hours on the golf course with mates, North Adelaide will not disappoint – and there’s plenty of fantastic pubs located nearby to enjoy a meal and drink after your round.
Sandy Creek Golf Club
Green fees: $40
As one of the three big courses in the Barossa Valley region, Sandy Creek Golf Club – formerly Gawler Golf Club – is less than an hour’s drive from Adelaide along the newly-opened Northern Connector/North Expressway bypass, and it’s well worth the trip.
This truly is a country golf course at its best: its pine tree-laden fairways are teeming with wildlife – families of kangaroos regularly spotted watching you plot your way around the Par 72 layout – while there are enough memorable holes to get you back for a return visit.
None more so than the short 114m Par 3 sixth, which sees you hit off from an elevated tee block – which gazes out over the rich farmland visible no matter which way you look – down to a heavily bunkered green complex.
While Sandy Creek has fallen in standard ever so slightly since its back-to-back Small SA Regional Club of the Year awards in 2016 and 2017, due to a change in management, the course is still a delight to play.
The fairways are, for the most part, well-kept and generous enough in width, while the greens always roll quick and true.
The course’s main defences are without question its tall pine trees, which make it difficult to wedge over should you blaze wayward drives off the tee, and also its sandy lies should you miss the short grass.
If you’re planning a Barossa Valley golf getaway, be sure to lock Sandy Creek into your itinerary.
Tanunda Pines Golf Club
Green fees: $40
Tanunda Pines Golf Club is viewed by many as the crown jewel of the Barossa Valley golf offerings – and from our own experiences, we would have to agree.
While the neighbouring Barossa Valley and Sandy Creek courses are excellent, Tanunda Pines oozes that little bit extra class and elegance – largely due to its lush, wide fairways, immaculate greens, well-stocked pro shop and inviting clubhouse.
From the second you step onto the first hole – a driveable, uphill Par 4 that winds its way up the slope like a stairway to heaven – this golf course will have captured your full attention.
The intricate layout of Tanunda Pines continues to captivate as you make your way through the front and back nines, with each hole on the scorecard given its own name – reminiscent of a country Augusta National.
The highlight is without doubt the elevated Par 3 eleventh, which peers out over the rich Barossa Valley vineyards and down to the awaiting, well-bunkered green below.
The course incorporates its dense surrounding scrubland extremely well into its Par 72 design – miss the wide fairways, and it will be waiting to gobble your ball up faster than you can yell ‘fore!’
With friendly staff and a cosy clubhouse awaiting to serve you a beer or hot pie after your round, Tanunda Pines – located around an hour north of Adelaide’s CBD – is a golfing experience you simply have to try.
Thaxted Park Golf Club
Green fees: $25-$35
When you think of courses located south of Adelaide, naturally the mind wanders to Mount Compass or The Vines Reynella – but Thaxted Park Golf Club should not be overlooked or forgotten.
This Par 71, 18-hole track may not have the reputation of some others in the area, but it certainly punches above its weight – with its newly-developed front nine and scenic back nine making for an enjoyable golfing experience from the first tee to the last.
The layout is not overly long, but is undulating, well-manicured and – despite its generously wide fairways – is challenging enough largely due to its sloping terrain and super-quick greens, which will catch you out if you don’t putt with conviction and care.
Some of the highlights at Thaxted Park are without doubt the driveable Par 4 second, which is reachable with three wood for longer hitters, while holes 13 through to 15 – which include a shortish Par 4, a long Par 5, and a tiny but tricky Par 3 – take you past natural water features through a secluded, beautiful part of the course.
Unlike other hilly golf courses, such as Mount Osmond and Flagstaff Hill, which can often unfairly punish good shots due to the camber of the fairways, Thaxted Park – while also very up and down – isn’t as extreme, and rewards accurate play off the tee.
Green fees are also cheaper than some of its rivals, making this golf course extremely appealing for the serious and casual golfer alike.
Thaxted Park is extremely welcoming and accommodating of visitors – but don’t just take our word for it, book a round and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.
The Stirling Golf Club
Green fees: $35-$42
South Australia’s self-proclaimed ‘most picturesque golf course’ may be visually impressive, but with a layout that is only par 67 in length, we couldn’t help but feel it was a bit ‘gimmicky’.
The 4773m layout, located 30 minutes south of the CBD, winds through dense Adelaide Hills foliage with rises and falls that are certainly easy on the eye.
But while there are several challenging and traditionally lengthy holes over the journey, the first, it has to be said, is not a great start – an obscenely uphill 207m Par 4 sets the tone for the rest of the round.
Unfortunately, these frustratingly short Par 4s bob up on several occasions, leaving players surprised at how unsatisfying driving it through the green can be.
The scenery does offer some rolling hills and beautiful aesthetics, and one can only imagine the colour palette autumn leaves would bring.
But these tall, well-established trees also play the role of the villain, obscuring any views of distance valleys, leaving it a distant place-getter to other scenic Adelaide courses like Mount Osmond.
While The Stirling does have its own unique charm, if you’re looking for a classic meat and potatoes par 72 course, you’d be best to look elsewhere on this list.
Victor Harbor Golf Club
Green fees: $38-$48
Unless you’re living or holidaying in Adelaide’s deep south, the journey from the CBD to Victor Harbor Golf Club will take you over an hour – but if you’re willing to make the drive, you won’t regret it.
This Par 72, 18-hole course – which stretches 5962 metres through native gum trees and boasts stunning views of the coast – is always immaculately presented, thanks to the many volunteers who assist the club’s head groundsman in keeping the fairways pristine and the greens true.
Without question, it’s that community spirit and the local members’ love and pride for their course which helps give it that warm, welcoming charm.
There are endless highlights scattered throughout Victor Harbor Golf Club – whether it’s the impressive poplar trees providing a stunning backdrop to the green at the Par 5 sixth, or the short Par 3 third, there are plenty of memorable moments that you’ll be able to share with friends.
But the course’s crown jewel is without doubt the Par 4 first, which is elevated 30 metres above the fairway giving you expansive views out over the ocean and surrounds – it’s no surprise Adelaide’s biggest newspaper, The Sunday Mail, voted it the best opening hole in South Australia.
If you’re seeking a course with memorable holes, stunning views and pristine conditioning, set aside some time to play Victor Harbor – it will be well worth the trip.
West Beach Parks (Adelaide Shores) Golf Course
Green fees: $30-$40
Adelaide Shores definitely isn’t without its problems, one of which being a tendency to overbook and clog the fairways with the slowest of slow play.
Although this is infuriating, when you get a good run at Adelaide Shores, the golf can be about as fun as it gets and you’ll be every chance of scoring your PB on this par 72 layout.
The blue tees here are predominantly used for competitions, so a social round will likely take place off of the incredibly easy whites.
Expect some of the most forgiving golf going around here, as the fairways are wide, holes short and greens fairly flat, varying massively in pace depending on the season.
While I might poke fun at it for being a bit slow at times, not to mention easy, Adelaide Shores is usually in superb shape for a public course that does plenty of business with non-bunker raking hacks.
There’s something about the spongy fairways that makes your ball seem like it is sitting up, and iron shots will sail out of the sweet spot with hazards and trouble few and far between.
There are some weak holes, though, with the par three second barely 100 metres – you could probably throw it on – but if you are after a challenge, explore some others on this list.
If a fun, stress-free social round on a beautifully maintained course is in order, Adelaide Shores can provide this in droves. Just be wary of peak periods.
West Lakes Golf Club
Green fees: $30 (member introduced), $50 (visitor)
Located in Adelaide’s western suburbs, naturally West Lakes Golf Club will forever compete with its Rolls Royce neighbours – namely Glenelg, Grange, Kooyonga and Royal Adelaide, otherwise known as the city’s ‘big four’ courses.
But at a far more affordable price point, and with that same linksy/resort-style blend, this Par 70 course more than holds its own.
West Lakes is moderate in length, with some genuine Par 4 and 5 offerings and a full suite of Par 3s ranging from the very short to the intimidatingly long, and is immaculately maintained.
It is the sort of course that demands being played off the blue tees, though, as playing off the front, white tees is considerably easier.
Fairways can be both generously wide and nerve rackingly narrow – but always cut nicely – with water hazards and bunkering cleverly pinching the landing zones for the mid-to-long hitter.
The saving grace for those troubled off the tee is the adjacent fairways, with most holes having left and right bail outs – as one of the club pros once told me, ‘if you’re going to miss here, miss big’.
While West Lakes will always sit in the shadow of the premium quartet of courses located nearby on the western side of town, this does little to damage its claims as one of Adelaide’s best tracks.
Willunga Golf Club
Green fees: $34-$38
I know the term ‘hidden gem’ is overused when it comes to describing golf courses, but there’s not many other ways accurately reflect the Willunga Golf Club experience.
Tucked away 45 minutes south of Adelaide, this Par 70 track may not be the most well-known or talked about 18-hole courses in the city, but it should be.
While not overly long at just 5052m, Willunga is made challenging by its tight fairways and various water features that are cleverly positioned around the layout.
There’s no better example of this than on the short Par 4 eleventh where any straight drives through the doglegging fairway will find a watery grave, while over-clubbing into the green on the Par 3 twelfth will result in a similar fate.
For a ‘public’ course, Willunga is always kept in extremely good condition with the fairways lush and green, the bunkers white and fluffy and the greens rolled firm, with enough subtle breaks to keep you on your toes.
But, for me, the standout features are without doubt the natural lakes and inlets that line a number of fairways throughout the 18 holes, giving you that ‘resort’ feel you could expect to find on one of the Gold Coast’s premium courses (except for a fraction of the price).
You will enjoy your Willunga experience from the first tee shot, to the final putt – but for beginner golfers, just make sure you pack a few extra balls.
BETWEEN $50-$100 FOR 18 HOLES
Blackwood Golf Club
Green fees: $60
Nestled deep amongst the hills of Cherry Gardens, Blackwood Golf Club is easily accessible, just off the South Eastern freeway.
Despite its undulating surroundings, Blackwood is remarkably flat and open, at least when compared to its Mount Osmond neighbour.
Blackwood boasts class conditioning and offers a range of long and short par threes, fours and fives, providing opportunities for both the longer hitter and cunning course manager to pounce.
While several holes provide bailout areas and adjacent fairways, others are lined with tall pine trees or ominous out of bounds posts, causing golfers of all abilities to plan their route to the green accordingly.
However, after a few tight, long holes, Blackwood knows when to take its foot off the throttle, providing a sub 300m straightaway par four or short par five that can be attacked in two.
The white tees also boast an interesting challenge, being shorter than the traditional blues.
When playing here, I found the extra assistance on the tees caused dog legs to run out at about 220m, so being able to shape the big stick is a must if playing this course in an attacking fashion.
Blackwood Golf Club is well maintained and provides ample challenge and variety for golfers of all ability – a must visit for any avid golfer trekking through the hills of Adelaide.
Mount Compass Golf Course
Green fees: $50-$60
Since being redeveloped only a few years ago, Mount Compass has rapidly claimed a spot in Australia’s top 100, and rightly so.
Mount Compass has been crafted from a beautifully undulating landscape, gradually weaving its way up to ferny forests before meandering back down to its more linksy plateau at the base of the expansive clubhouse.
Mount Compass pulses the accelerator perfectly throughout the round, switching between shorter par fours with options off the tee to long par fives requiring strength, as well as par threes requiring long carries over water.
The course has fun, forgiving holes, such as the par five seventh where you can blaze onto a huge adjacent fairway or reach in two if your line is right.
The layout is also home to some knee tremblers including the 173-metre par three 12th, daring only the bravest of golfers to take on water all the way up to the pin for any hole location to the right of the green.
Of all the courses on this list, Mount Compass may well tick the most boxes: forgiving, yet at times, relentless, both welcoming and beautifully conditioned.
It is for these reasons that Mount Compass simply demands to be played.
Mount Osmond Golf Club
Green fees: $30 (member introduced), $60 (visitor)
Visually stunning, immaculately-kept, but extremely undulating, Mount Osmond Golf Club is the ultimate test for golfers of all abilities.
Nestled high above the Adelaide city skyline, which you can gaze out over as you progress through holes 7-10, this golf course boasts the best views South Australia’s capital has to offer – you really have to see it to appreciate it.
But don’t let the relaxing scenery lull you into complacency – this Par 70 layout bares teeth, and lots of them.
Built on a small parcel of land around 20 minutes south-east of North Terrace, Mount Osmond may not be overly long – meaning you can take iron off many tees – but with up 13 of its 18 holes bordered by out of bounds fences, you’d better be accurate.
The rolling, steep hills – all of which are lush and delicately manicured – will often turn average shots into bad ones should you catch an unlucky bounce, while the greens have subtle breaks and speed that require your full concentration to avoid dreaded three putts.
Boasting late Australian cricket legend Sir Don Bradman as a past club champion, Mount Osmond is steeped in history and oozes class, but will test your game from the first tee right until that hard-earned beverage or delicious meal in the old clubhouse post-round.
Tea Tree Gully Golf Club
Green fees: $55-$70
While it is visually appealing, flawlessly presented and a pleasure to play, Tea Tree Gully Golf Club is arguably one of the least inviting courses for non-members.
In fact, visitors who are not playing as a member’s guest are only permitted to play the course between 12pm and 1pm on Monday and Friday – which doesn’t leave you with a lot of flexibility.
But, if you are lucky enough to snag a tee time, you’ll love what Tea Tree Gully has to offer.
Nestled at the foot of the Adelaide Hills, around a 35-minute drive from King William Street along North East Road, this Par 70 course is set in beautiful surroundings and presents a challenging 18-hole layout that golfers of all abilities can enjoy.
The fairways at Tea Tree Gully may look like carpet but they are anything but flat, with the natural camber of the environment placing a premium on accuracy – miss your landing area, and your ball can easily bounce off the slopes and into the waiting rough.
There are so many memorable holes at this golf course that will have you itching for a return round – the long Par 3 third with its perfect bunkering and two-tiered green is a great challenge, while the Par 4 fifteenth is bordered by water and is visually striking.
With green fees at the pricier end of the scale compared to many other semi-private courses in Adelaide, adding to its feeling of ‘exclusivity’, Tea Tree Gully is certainly worth paying a few extra dollars to experience.
That is, of course, if you can secure yourself a tee time.
The Vines of Reynella Golf Club
Green fees: $35 (member introduced), $55 (visitor)
If you’re looking for somewhere to play within Adelaide’s southern city rim, you won’t find anywhere better than The Vines of Reynella Golf Club.
Hands down, this is the best course within a 30-minute drive south of the CBD – and we’ll tell you why.
As soon as you step foot into The Vines – whether it be the well-stocked pro shop or the gumtree-lined Par 5 first hole, with its luscious, green, doglegging Santa Ana fairway – you get the feeling that it is a golf club of the highest quality.
According to the club, vast redevelopment has been undertaken over the past 15 years – specifically the major reconstruction of the fifth and fifteenth fairways, plus remodelling of the tenth and seventeenth greens – and it has paid handsome dividends.
The Vines is an extremely tranquil course to play, with the frequent dams and water features sporadically incorporated into the Par 71, 18-hole layout giving it a resort-style feel without sacrificing any of its rural charm.
The terrain is slightly undulating without being exhausting, while the front and back nines are uniquely different – with the close proximity of the fairways on many holes allowing you to be a little bold off the tee without fear of losing your ball.
That being said, with water and the occasional out of bounds fence always lurking, The Vines is a golf course you should not take lightly – and it requires accuracy and sound shot selection to tame it.
Don’t think twice about securing a tee time at The Vines of Reynella. This is a must-play course in Adelaide.
OVER $100 FOR 18 HOLES
Glenelg Golf Club
Green fees: $85 (member introduced), $240 (visitor)
Regarded by many as South Australia’s best maintained course, Glenelg Golf club is not only superbly presented but highly challenging.
The parkland layout cuts through rolling dunes synonymous with Adelaide’s ‘sand belt’, squeezed by the wetlands-style water hazards that hug greens and fairways.
The course is cleverly designed, starting gently enough before turning the screws once you start to feel a little more comfortable.
The bunkers get deeper. The water gets closer. The grass becomes longer and begins finding your ball with a frustrating frequency.
The 132-metre par three 16th personifies this, with a green barely popping its head above the reeds, marshland and ponds that are all too willing to claim an errant strike.
Glenelg boasts a slope rating of 139 and scratch rating of 74 off the tips (the course is a par 71) numbers that scream difficulty for even the lowest of handicappers. Adam Scott played the course only a few years ago, walking away with a modest even par – a testament to the strong defences of the course.
Glenelg may be tricky to get onto and its membership prices (with a $7500 sign on fee!) are out of reach for most, but as a genuine top tier course it is one any passionate golfer should endeavour to experience at least once.
Grange Golf Club
Green fees: $85 (member introduced), $220 (visitor)
Considered the lesser of Adelaide’s ‘big four’, Grange golf Club still lays claim to be one of South Australia’s very best tracks.
Containing two very different 18-hole layouts, Grange provides enough intrigue to encourage multiple visits.
The West Course carves an open path through parklands, protected by expansive greenside bunkers and sheer length. Even off the white tees, par fours regularly flirt with the 400-metre mark from tee to green.
The West is, however, quite forgiving, with longer hitters likely fancying their chances to attack via the expansive fairways.
Shorter hitters may appreciate a round on the East Course, which might not be as long, but is far more treacherous.
Redesigned by Greg Norman in 2012, the East course starts off short enough and tame enough, albeit featuring some water that runs tightly alongside earlier holes.
When the East swings onto the back nine it shows its teeth, with tee shots feeling far more cramped and dense scrub land swallowing errant shots.
Despite its standing as one of Adelaide’s best, Grange is quite welcoming and accommodating for visitors. Call them up and book for a taste of what ‘higher end’ golf can look like.
Kooyonga Golf Club
Green fees: $325-$395
Rated the 22nd best golf course in Australia, it’s no surprise Kooyonga is one of the most exclusive clubs in Adelaide.
It has hosted five Australian Opens, nine South Australian Opens, eight National Amateur Championships and one Women’s Australian Open, so it’s fair to say this is a venue of the highest quality.
And, unsurprisingly, it will cost you a small fortune to play – with local and interstate visitors coughing up $325 for a round, and international visitors $395.
Located just five minutes from Adelaide airport, Kooyonga is perfect for holidaying golfers who’ve ventured to SA to experience some new courses.
The Par 72, 18-hole layout was originally designed by H.L ‘Cargie’ Rymill and is beautifully laid out on a gently undulating piece of Adelaide sandbelt.
But don’t let its beauty fool you – it’s certainly not easy.
Kooyonga hits you with back-to-back Par 5s to open your round – the first 495m and the second 450m – and it takes until the fourth hole to arrive at your first Par 4.
There are so many brilliant holes on this 6150m track that are viewable on the club’s website, but few are harder than the 15th – described as ‘one of the toughest Par 3s you will ever play’ due to its 191m length and sharp greenside run-off.
Such is the immaculate conditioning of this course that there aren’t enough superlatives to describe it – simply put, it’s exquisite.
While the steep green fees may ward off many would-be players, Kooyonga is a course you have to experience at least once in your life.
Royal Adelaide Golf Club
Green fees: $320-$350
Royal Adelaide Golf Club really is one of the most photogenic courses in the city that you could argue it’s Adelaide’s crown jewel.
It’s neighbours – Glenelg, Kooyonga and Grange would argue otherwise – but there is a certain warmth that accompanies this 6557m, Par 72 course that first began to take shape way back in 1906.
While Royal Adelaide looks docile enough, with its wide-open fairways and links-style vibe, westerly sea breezes turn this course into a beast that can be tough to tame.
Whether it’s the much-loved short Par 4 third – which is described as a ‘leg of mutton’ and once saw European Tour legend Colin Montgomerie record a quadruple bogey – or the signature Par 4 eleventh, Royal Adelaide will leave you with great memories and plenty of stories to tell.
It is a private course, which does make it difficult to book in as a visitor, but if you do manage to jag a tee time it will cost you between $320 and $350 as a non-member depending on the time of year.
If you want to play the best courses in the city, you can’t leave out Royal Adelaide.
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