Whether you’re looking for a quick round with friends, are time poor, or just can’t be bothered walking 18 holes, sometimes a nine-hole golf course is the perfect solution.
And if you live or are holidaying in Adelaide, then you’re in luck – because there’s some great nine-hole courses that are waiting to be played.
We’ve gone out and teed it up at each of these courses and ranked them from most enjoyable to least enjoyable, to help you decide which one you want to visit next.
Marion Park Golf Club
Address: Clubhouse Rd, Seacliff Park SA 5049
Phone: (08) 8298 7454
There were some other strong contenders, but there were a few key elements that makes Marion Park Golf Club standout as the best nine-hole course in Adelaide.
The main feature being its stunning views out over the city’s south coast – something that none of the other rivals on this list can come close to replicating.
As you make your way up to the elevated green on the Par 4 first hole, once you reach the putting surface you’ll be taken aback by just how good these views really are – and will probably wonder why you’ve only paid a tiny fee to experience them.
But they don’t stop there – the coastline provides a beautiful backdrop to many of the holes at Marion Park, which is why it sits number one on this list.
The course itself is well-kept – with the fairways always in good condition and greens likewise – but it’s far from easy.
The hilly terrain will punish any slightly errant tee shot – placing a premium on accuracy – while you’ll rarely ever get a straight putt which, combined with the slick pace, can lead to regular three putts if you’re not concentrating.
The driveable Par 4 ninth is a great way to finish your round, and will without doubt have you booking a return visit in the near future.
Regency Park Golf Course
Address: Days Rd, Regency Park SA 5010
Phone: (08) 8268 5753
As a close second on this list – and I have to stress, it was extremely close – Regency Park Golf Course is without question the best nine-hole track north of Adelaide’s CBD.
Having come under new management in recent times, the condition of the course has improved out of sight – the fairways are immaculate and greens in excellent condition, which is super impressive given how much traffic they get from the public.
What I love about Regency Park is that it’s pretty stress-free.
There’s no massive hills to contend with, there’s no hidden water features lurking in the shadows ready to gobble up your ball – there’s only nice, open fairways that let you take driver off most tees without too much worry.
But just because the course is forgiving, doesn’t mean it’s not well-designed – because it is.
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The Par 3 second requires you to hit your tee shot to an elevated, bunkered green – testing your mid-iron or wedge play – while the Par 5 seventh is one of my favourite holes on any course in Adelaide, with the approach shot into a sloping, guarded putting surface a real test of distance control.
With a mini-golf course slated for the future, its completion could well see Regency Park rise to the top of this list one day.
One last thing to note: this course does get extremely busy, especially on weekends, so calling ahead and making a booking is essential.
Penfield Golf Club
Address: Woomera Rd, Edinburgh SA 5111
Phone: (08) 8281 5210
If you’re talking about the best nine-hole course in Adelaide’s outer rim, then it has to be Penfield.
Tucked away in the city’s working-class heartland of Edinburgh, you probably didn’t even know this course existed – but now that you do, it’s well worth a visit.
Unlike the other short courses nearby – Mawson Lakes and Playford Lakes – which are pretty bare in terms of trees or natural scenery, Penfield has a woodlands feel that helps make for a more enjoyable golfing experience.
It also has better practice facilities too, with two chipping and bunker areas, a large putting green and an open driving range available to warm-up on before your round.
Located next to the Penfield Bowling Club, the Par 70 course has a clever layout with some fun holes that you’ll want to return to play again.
The long, Par 5 first is the hardest hole on the scorecard – and can make or break your round before you get started – while the shorter Par 4 second and third holes both require careful club selection off the tee.
The two Par 3 holes – one shorter, one longer – both require accurate tee shots to avoid the surrounding bunkers, while the final Par 5 ninth (the second on the course, which is rare for a nine-hole layout) presents a real birdie chance to finish your round.
Penfield is a well-kept secret by locals, who love getting out and playing the course, which is busiest on the weekend, but quieter during the week.
If you haven’t played here before, then I highly recommend giving it a go – it’s easily the most enjoyable nine-hole course in Adelaide’s outer north.
Mawson Lakes Golf Club
Address: 1-75 Mawson Lakes Blvd, Mawson Lakes SA 5095
Phone: (08) 8302 3412
Simple, fun, and with a no-frills but clever layout, Mawson Lakes Golf Club is a course for everyone – from the weekend hacker, to the scratch golfer.
Located around 30 minutes from Adelaide’s CBD, this Par 70 track is a popular place for golfers in the north to enjoy a quick round with minimum fuss, and without having to adhere to any strict dress codes outside of competition times (which are typically only Saturdays).
Mawson Lakes is quite a forgiving course, with expansive fairways and very little thick rough in sight, meaning you can fly through your round relatively stress-free.
There are a few traps, however – the short Par 4 fifth and sixth holes hug a wetlands to the left of the course, while the only Par 5 on the scorecard – the seventh – is flanked by a tight out of bounds fence, with wayward tee shots often justly punished.
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The signature hole on the course, without doubt, is the driveable Par 4 ninth that takes you back to the clubhouse.
What better way to finish your round than by trying to hit the green in one hefty swing, and boast to your friends about how you’d match Bryson DeChambeau off the tee?
Mawson Lakes isn’t usually too busy midweek, but I’d still ring ahead to suss availability, just in case, before heading to the course.
Playford Lakes Golf Club
Address: Stebonheath Rd, Para West SA 5114
Phone: (08) 8284 0655
Located around 45 minutes north of Adelaide’s city centre, Playford Lakes – formerly known as North Lakes Golf Club before a recent rebranding – is one of the most frequented courses in the region for both hackers and serious golfers alike.
That being said, you’re more likely to run into weekend warriors bashing their way around the Par 70 layout as opposed to single figure players going low.
This really is a blue-collar course, situated in a blue collar area.
Unless you’re playing in the Saturday morning competition, you can leave your collared shirt at home when playing Playford Lakes – almost any dress code is acceptable.
The course isn’t overly difficult or long, with the fairways quite forgiving – albeit rock-solid underfoot during summer – on most holes.
The standouts include the Par 3 second which requires an accurate tee shot to an elevated green, while the Par 4 fifth is a short dogleg left and is the definition of risk versus reward – you can choose to cut the corner to leave just a wedge in, or take iron off the tee for a longer approach into the green.
Arguably the best part about Playford Lakes is that it has zero pretentiousness that plagues other semi-private courses in Adelaide – you can rock up almost any time, pay your green fees and tee off without worrying about snooty members.
The conditioning of the fairways can leave a little to be desired – bare during the dry months, and muddy during the winter – but the greens are always well-kept and run true.
So if you’re looking for a quick round without having to don your best golfing attire, or are looking to try golf for the first time, Playford Lakes is an excellent place to do so.
West Beach Parks Golf Course
Address: Military Rd, West Beach SA 5024
Phone: (08) 8356 4811
The beauty of West Beach Parks is that it has two courses located on the premises – the first being the championship 18-hole Patawalonga course, and the second being the Par 50, 15-hole Executive Course.
While it’s slightly more than nine-holes, the Executive is one of the premium short courses in Adelaide so it would be remiss of me not to include it on this list.
If you love the smell of sea breeze and the feeling of coastal sun on your skin, then this course (situated around 30 minutes west of the CBD) is a great way to kill a couple of hours with friends or family – and it will also challenge your golf game.
The Executive comprises 10 Par 3s ranging from 98m-172m (perfect for dialling in your wedge game), while the five Par 4s span between 197m and 258m in length meaning you can attempt to drive the green if you’re feeling bold.
Trust me, trying to do so is a lot of fun, especially if you’re going head to head with your mates.
There are no Par 5s, however, which is one downside to this track.
West Beach Parks’ Patawalonga course is notorious for being extremely busy from Monday to Sunday – often leading to slow rounds – but this isn’t typically the case with the Executive course, which sees far less foot traffic on it.
So if you want to play more than nine holes but less than 18 – and be done in good time while still testing your skills – then the Executive course is right in the sweet spot and won’t disappoint.
North Haven Golf Club
Address: Lady Ruthven Dr, North Haven SA 5018
Phone: (08) 8248 3832
Nestled in one of Adelaide’s outer-most north-western suburbs, North Haven Golf Club was a bit of a surprise packet the first time I played it – and, after some initial apprehension, exceeded my expectations.
Located only 100 or so metres from the coast, the first impressions you’ll get of this Par 68 course will be pretty underwhelming.
The entrance to the club is bland and uninviting, while the first hole – a dogleg Par 4 – hugs the Outer Harbor trainline, often giving you a whiff of diesel as the passenger trains pass by.
But the more holes you play, the more North Haven begins to show its true character and charm – and you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in the coastal feel that this track has to offer.
The fairways on most holes are rather narrow, but the surrounding rough is plentiful meaning you can blaze wayward bombs without too much worry.
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The doglegging Par 5 sixth hole is a good challenge – you’ll do well to hit the green in two – while the driveable Par 4 seventh has the tightest of landing areas and will require a deadly accurate tee shot to hit the putting surface.
You shouldn’t have much of an issue jagging a round at North Haven midweek or on a Sunday, but there are competitions held for members on Saturday mornings.
It would pay to ring ahead just to be sure tee times are available before hopping in the car and heading 35 minutes north-west from Adelaide’s CBD to play the course.
Oakbank Golf Club
Address: Smith St, Oakbank SA 5243
Phone: (08) 8388 4510
If you wish to play a nine-hole course in the Adelaide Hills, Oakbank Golf Club – situated in the Onkaparinga Valley just 30 minutes east of the CBD – is the obvious choice.
Founded in 1892, making it South Australia’s second-oldest course, the Par 68 layout blend the natural environment – including gum trees and water features – to good effect.
Similarly, each of the holes have enough variances to keep you thinking and engaged during your round.
There are three Par 3s, five Par 4s and a single Par 5 at Oakbank, the latter which is certainly a highlight and requires an accurate drive through a tight, tree-lined opening and then demands players hit their second shot over a creek in order to reach the green in two.
It is certainly a risk versus reward hole.
Likewise, the third and seventh holes – both Par 4s – have slightly elevated tee blocks and offer beautiful views of the Adelaide Hills in the background.
Oakbank isn’t overly busy during the week, and usually on Sundays, meaning you should have no problem dropping in for a round – the only time you’d likely need to book would be during Saturday morning competitions.
The course can be played outside normal business hours by leaving your green fees in an ‘honesty box’ by the clubhouse.
Having been going strong for almost 130 years, Oakbank Golf Club is certainly one to tick off your list if you find a few spare hours for a round.
Nairne Golf Club
Address: Allon Pl, Nairne SA 5252
If you’re visiting the Adelaide Hills and wish to sneak in nine holes, Nairne Golf Club will allow you to do that – depending on what time of year it is.
This volunteer-run, Par 68 course located near Hahndorf is only open between the months of April and October meaning if you wish to tee it up during summer, you’re out of luck.
When the gates are open, however, Nairne is a perfectly fine place to play without being exceptional.
The fairways are wide but at times indistinguishable from the rough – certainly when compared to other golf courses on this list – while the greens can be a little hit and miss, largely owing to the fact the greenkeeping is left entirely to the members.
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The course comprises seven Par 4s (the longest being 381m and the shortest 247m) along with two Par 3s (only 156m and 120m in length) – there is no Par 5 hole on the scorecard.
Indeed, this is a layout that both long and short hitters can enjoy, and score well at.
Nairne won’t set your world on fire, but for $20 for 18 holes – which can be paid in cash via an honesty box outside of typical business hours – it’s a good way to kill a few hours, stress free.
Kenton Valley Golf Course
Address: 26 Nether Hill Rd, Gumeracha SA 5233
Phone: (08) 8389 1140
Described as a Super Par 60, Kenton Valley is a course for beginner golfers or players who aren’t looking for a serious round.
As its website accurately reflects, “social groups are welcome to spend the day having a barbeque or picnic as well as playing a round of golf”.
But if you’re someone who is looking for a ‘proper’ golf course, then this extremely short track – which comprises six Par 3s and three Par 4s – will leave you wanting.
That being said, Kenton Valley – located deep in the Adelaide Hills almost an hour from the CBD – is open and upfront about what it offers.
The course, which is built on undulating, open terrain, is always kept in good condition and each of the holes has subtle variations to make your round interesting enough.
Of the three Par 4s on the scorecard, the longest is just 225m meaning longer players can have some fun trying to hit the green off the tee, and sink that elusive eagle putt.
Kenton Valley is open every day from 8.30am-5.30pm but has an ‘honour box’ in place where players can arrive outside of these hours and pay their green fees into (please do this, as it’s vital revenue for the club).
As the shortest nine-hole track on this list at just 3020m for 18 holes, Kenton Valley is great if you’re seeking a casual round of golf with friends or family in the picturesque Adelaide Hills – you can even stop by the famous Big Rocking Horse while you’re there!
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