The Bellarine is a golfer’s paradise with a number of outstanding public courses. Several golf courses in the region are consistently rated in the Top 100 Public Courses in Australia, as per Golf Australia, while the Vic Open Golf Championships is held annually on The Bellarine. From avid, passionate golfers to the occasional driver, the health benefits of playing golf are well known. There’s no doubt it helps people of all ages and fitness levels to get out among the great outdoors to enjoy passive exercise and social contact. Expect a golf trip here to include a mix of picturesque seaside fairways, elegant accommodation options, state of the art driving ranges, and historic clubhouses to enjoy a delicious post-game feed. Naturally, our avid surfing readers will know that there’s good waves to be found along the coast here too.
So, without further ado our top Bellarine golf course picks include:
13th Beach Golf Links
Features two spectacular 18-hole golf courses, a driving range, chipping green and bunkers, two practice greens, practice nets and is the exclusive home to the Vic Open Golf Championships, the state’s premier event. The club also has an expansive clubhouse with a range of food and beverage options. The Beach Course, designed by Tony Cashmore, winds through spectacular foreshore sand dunes alongside the famous 13th Beach surf beach. Note: this is one of our favourite breaks to paddle out at when conditions are prime.
Experts say the key feature of this magnificent course, which is acclaimed as one of Australia’s best 25 courses, is its set of par 3s. The Creek Course, designed by Nick Faldo and Tony Cashmore, is located in a parkland setting characterised by undulating fairways, big deep bunkers and large greens. This course includes plenty of water hazards! On a rotating basis, one course is kept for exclusive use of members, with the other open to the public.
The course features brand new lodge style accommodation that opened at the beginning of 2020 – 13th Beach Golf Lodges. The lodges at 13th Beach consist of 16 luxurious rooms and are located adjacent to the clubhouse, a gentle stroll, and all offer stunning views over the famous Beach Course and Lake Murtnaghurt. Each room offers either a king or two single beds, modern furnishings and an outdoor patio to immerse yourself in the surroundings.
Barwon Heads Golf Club
Barwon Heads Golf Club has a rich history and was the first country club in Victoria – a private residential golf club providing accommodation. Established in 1907, the resort helped put Barwon Heads on the map and influenced the development of the town. Today the Links course regularly rates in Australia’s top golf courses, currently sitting at number six according to Golf Australia. The Links will test golfers of all standards with cleverly positioned hazards and subtle slopes.
Stay and play at one of mainland Australia’s highest rated public access courses. By day navigate the challenging tees and by night retire for dinner and drinks and a night in the historic accommodation complex in one of the 19 ensuite Hamptons styled rooms at Barwon Heads Golf Club. The Stay & Play Winter Escape Package is available Sunday to Thursday nights from $265 per room, per night. Inclusions: complimentary golf (one round per person), accommodation in the heritage listed clubhouse and a delicious breakfast.
Curlewis Golf Club
This welcoming golf club has always been known for its year-round lush green fairways that are fed from the onsite water reclamation plant. Recently an extension of the irrigation on various fairways has seen a substantial reinvigoration of indigenous vegetation, fairways have been widened on eight holes, many of the tees have been reworked and improved and more than nine bunkers have also been modified and replenished.
Curlewis also offers a super-popular Women’s Pathway program which has substantially increased female participation at the club. There’s currently 47 women in the program at various stages. The club recently hosted a “Come & Try” day in conjunction with the #ThisGirlCan campaign and VicHealth which has enabled them to add more clinics off the back of women trying golf for the first time. The onsite PGA coaches at Curlewis deliver 8 female-specific clinics each week!
Bellarine locals David and Lyndsay Sharp have made extensive course and clubhouse improvements since their purchase of the club in 2015 including an 18-bay.com.au state-of-the-art driving range and mini golf facility, a fully licenced café and 150-person function room.
Accommodation: Nearby, Manzanillo Grove has three delightful accommodation units that sit within the picturesque olive grove providing the ideal base from which to experience Curlewis.
Portarlington Golf Club
Portarlington Golf Club is a bustling and friendly venue, easily accessible and with a very down to earth feel. It sits on the north facing side of the Bellarine and the tranquil clear vistas of Port Phillip Bay. The course has lush fairways along the tree lined design of Tony Cashmore. The greens are well maintained all year round and there are some great holes throughout the course, cherished by members and acclaimed by visitors.
Starhaven Retreat is located in Indented Head, minutes from Portarlington Golf Club. Starhaven offers guests a luxurious bed and breakfast experience with fantastic views across Port Phillip Bay. Accommodation includes use of the jet stream swim spa, rooftop terrace, games room, 15 seat theatre room and a gourmet cooked breakfast.
A sandbelt-style course in the idyllic and picturesque village of Point Lonsdale. The course has undergone a facelift and now features nine brand new holes designed by Ogilvy Cocking Mead. The redevelopment with the full 18-hole course and new clubhouse is due to open in December 2020 and brings even more reasons to golf on the Bellarine. The clubhouse is open to the public and the Links Bistro offers a selection of food and beverage with a focus on locally sourced produce. The course is challenging yet suitable for all ages and skill levels and has stunning views of Lake Victoria.
A stone’s throw from the course you’ll find one of the Bellarine’s most spectacular, secluded and beautiful places to stay. Lon Retreat and Spa is set on 200 acres overlooking the ocean. The adult only exclusive retreat features seven luxurious suites and a mineral spa. Suites at Lon are spread throughout the sandstone retreat, each individually designed with its own unique character and connection to the ocean, lakes and surrounding farmland.
The Queenscliff Golf Club
A friendly and vibrant and a true all weather golf course. Located on the exclusive Swan Island, this unique setting offers a magnificent course surrounded by natural habitat. There are 18 holes and almost 6000 metres of fairway to play. The course has a fantastic layout with its boundaries defined by the island, incredible views and wildlife. The course is easily accessible via road or aboard Searoad Ferries Sorrento to Queenscliff service. There is a fully equipped clubhouse with snacks and a bar.
Accommodation: Stay at Athelstane House in Queenscliff. Each of the 10 rooms has its own ensuite with split system air conditioning, Wi-Fi and access to the large guest lounge with open fireplace. Overnight stays at Athelstane include free parking, a la carte breakfast and midday checkout.
RACV Torquay Golf Club
NB: Although not technically classified as the Bellarine region – the RACV Torquay Golf Club (a bit further south towards the Great Ocean Road) is well worth your time too. Located on the Surfcoast, it’s a par 71 course flanked with a beautiful backdrop of Torquay and Jan Juc beaches and offers playability, challenge and scenic beauty. Why not make your golfing getaway a surf trip too and paddle out at the famed Bells Beach bowl while your here!