Teeing up great golfing experiences across Australia
Let’s face it – most families and friendship groups have at least one. That person who always insists on playing at least one round at the nearest golf course when away on holiday. Possibly, they are a true fanatic who’d prefer to leave a few essential travel items at home rather than leave their trusty golf clubs behind. Or maybe they are an up-with-the-sun golfer who welcomes sunrise with a swing and smile, before settling into sightseeing and happy hour when visiting somewhere new.
Well, golf lovers – this one is for you! This issue, we’ve put together an extensive Australian bucket list of great golf courses and golf-friendly Accor Vacation Club properties to help guarantee more ‘green’ time on your next trip away.
Fortunately, great golf is par for the course at many of Accor Vacation Club’s destinations. Read on for a selection of our favourite golfing spots, plus ideas for non-golf related alternatives in each destination to make sure your travel companions enjoy the experience as much as you do.
GOLD COAST, QLD
In November 2017, Accor Vacation Club welcomed one of Australia’s original prestige golf-resort addresses, the Mercure Gold Coast Resort, to its Australian network. It has already proven a hugely popular addition to the Accor Vacation Club family over the past year, and is major coup for Members who love to stay and play a variety of top notch golf courses within short walking or driving distance of their accommodation on the Coast with the most.
The Mercure represents Accor Vacation Club’s fourth hotel location on the Gold Coast and is in close proximity to not one, but five affiliated premiership golf courses that together are referred to as the ‘Green Belt’. Take your pick from Lakelands, Palm Meadows, Robina Woods, Colonial and The Glades, designed by Greg Norman. A different golf course for every day of the working (or holidaying) week!
Since opening its doors 21 years ago, the iconic Mercure hotel has earned a strong track record in supporting major sporting events – not least of all, in conjunction with events associated with the adjacent world-class Palm Meadows course, which has hosted a wide range of international tournaments over the last 25 years.
As its closest golf course, Palm Meadows provides a truly tranquil backdrop for Members staying at the Mercure’s Accor Vacation Club Apartments. The property is also ideally located for visitors to explore other great attractions in the region – beautiful beaches, lush hinterland, thrilling theme parks, the Glitter Strip of Surfers Paradise, plus many restaurants, bars and shopping that make this destination so sought after.
Golfers will love: An amazing choice of five premiership golf courses on their doorstep when staying at AVC’s apartments at the Mercure Gold Coast. Plus, for those who want to lower their handicap and improve their game, an experience at Palm Meadows driving range is highly recommended. The Golf School is a leading club fitting centre in Queensland with on range data which enables you to see real ball flight using the best technology and fully trained expert PGA fitting professionals. The Pro team there is friendly and bound to have a few tips to get you playing the best golf of your life.
Everyone will love: Trying the Gold Coast’s newest attraction – Top Golf Gold Coast. This venue features fun and competitive golf games for all ages, with climate-controlled playing “bays” similar to a bowling lane. Fun for all members of the family. There is also an impressive food and drinks menu, HDTVs to watch your favorite sporting games live, and a music selection that will make every visit feel like a party. Not a traditional golfing experience, but one the entire gang will enjoy!
For those Members who want to get in the swing on a rural retreat beyond Melbourne, then The Sebel Creswick Forest Resort is the place to stay, and play, in grand country style.
One of the best forest golf courses in Victoria, the 18-hole Creswick RACV Goldfields Course, is conveniently located next door to The Sebel, and is definitely one to challenge and inspire punters.
A true treasure in the heart of the goldfields district, this championship course has been designed by Tony Cashmore, who created it to highlight the stunning bushland setting and natural surrounds of the area. Featuring sloping fairways, languid lagoons and a mixture of well-placed bunkers, it is the perfect playground for experienced golfers who don’t mind slightly hilly terrain. That’s not to say that newcomers to the game won’t enjoy the goldfields course too. The beautiful scenery and spectacular views alone, combined with gently sloping walking conditions, will keep players of any handicap strolling along quite happily.
Golfers will love: A full Par 3 course available on the Goldfields course, for those after a quicker round. It’s also ideal for those or who simply want to try something different after triumphing over the rest of the 18-hole course. There is also a practice driving range with grass tees, practice green and nets which is open to the public. It’s not necessarily a long course, but given it is quite hilly, we’d recommend checking out the golf carts on offer too for those who prefer to ‘drive’ the gold rush range! Love those buggies.
Everyone will love: The spa capital of Australia, located right on The Sebel’s doorstep! Golf widows will be thrilled to know that Victoria’s historic gold rush country is not only great for golf – it’s famous for being the nation’s mineral and day spa capital too. So if you prefer a green mineral mud mask as opposed to a golf green while on holidays, then you’re in luck! The destination encompassing Creswick and Daylesford has some of amazing natural mineral springs to explore. If modern day, state-of-the-art treatments and massages are more your thing, then they are very easy to seek out. Check out the amazing list of local boutique day spas on offer in the district to revitalize your body and soul, not least of all historic Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa which has been welcoming those seeking rejuvenation since 1895. For something close to The Sebel Creswick, Members can visit the boutique day spa on offer at the neighbouring Goldfields RACV Golf Course complex (charges apply).
SUNSHINE COAST, QLD
Sunshine and great golf abounds at The Twin Waters Golf Club, one of the top six courses in Australia, and of course the absolute best course on the Sunshine Coast.
Designed by five times British Open champion Peter Thomson and partner Mike Wolveridge, the course at Twin Waters has a challenging layout, enjoyed against a picturesque coastal backdrop. Immaculately manicured, players will see kangaroos and birdlife sharing the space guaranteeing an enjoyable game for all that play this tranquil course.
In reviewing the course last year Golf Australia magazine wrote, “Complementing the quality of the design are the beautifully manicured playing surfaces. The greens and fairways are consistently presented at a high standard, which is one reason why the PGA of Australia has hosted more National Finals of the Holden Scramble here than anywhere else in its 25-year history.”
In addition to its second to none presentation, those Members staying at Twin Waters Sunshine Coast, Accor Vacation Club Apartments will also appreciate the close location of this 18-hole, 72 par championship golf course. Highly convenient, as are the facilities of sister resort, the Novotel Twin Waters, situated next door).
So whether it’s warm sunshine, championship golf courses, sandy-white beaches or wilderness walks there is always something for everyone on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
Golfers will love: Twin Waters wide fairways and large putting surfaces. Be warned…this course might not appear to be too difficult on first look, however it plays much tougher than first impressions, so park your ego with your buggy and enjoy the challenge!
Everyone will love: Mudjimba’s patrolled surf beach, the perfect complement to our brilliant beach houses. Accor Vacation Club’s selection of sophisticated self-contained beach houses and apartments are a short walk from one of the Sunshine Coast’s best ‘hidden gems’, Mudjimba Beach. This secluded beach is bound by the Maroochy River on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Best of all, this aquatic playground is patrolled daily, 365 days of the year, which is reassuring for any casual beachgoer. Along the beach you’ll find excellent fishing spots in the rip gutters and at the river mouth just south of Twin Waters. For surfers there are consistent surf breaks along the beach with better banks towards Point Arkwright. The patrolled parts of the beach are perfect for the kids’ boogie board adventures.
For the best of golf in the West, jump in the car and take the simple 35 minute drive from Perth to The Sebel Swan Valley the Vines. Accor vacation Club’s apartments at The Vines are the ideal place to base yourself to play not one, but two challenging 18-hole golf courses located at The Vines Resort & Country Club’s.
Thanks to the amazing presentation and experience enjoyed by players on the Ellenbrook and Lakes golf courses, The Vines is continually rated as one of Australia’s best golf resorts. The lush, manicured gardens and immaculate greens of these magnificent Swan Valley courses are surrounded by natural bushland, where you can expect to be joined by local wildlife – not least of all curious wallabies – as you play each course.
For those up for a challenge, The Vines internationally ranked courses are the real deal with unique bunkering and an interesting course layout that follows the natural landscape making for a testing and enjoyable experience. There is also a driving range, unparalleled in Western Australia, featuring a fully grassed teeing off area and multi-tiered green surrounded by bunkers, for those wanting to perfect their short game.
A short drive from The Sebel Swan Valley The Vines is another popular course with Perth locals and travellers alike, Collier Park Golf Course. Located just 10 minutes south form the heart of the city, this local course offers 27 holes uniquely designed to offer three stand-alone, nine-hole courses. Worth checking out for players who want the option to practice three different strategies and techniques on shorter courses.
Golfers will love: Playing some of the largest greens in Australia, and following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most legendary golfers who have played The Vines. Over the years the courses have been visited and played by golfing greats from around the world, including Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Annika Sörenstam, Michael Campbell, Bernhard Langer and John Daly. The Vines was home to the Heineken Classic from 1993 – 2001, the Johnnie Walker Classic 2006, the LPGA Lexus Cup 2007 plus the Johnnie Walker Classic in February 2009.
Everyone will love: Sampling the Swan Valley’s finest wines. Let’s face it. The only acceptable way to ‘whine’ about golf when on holidays with a golf fanatic is at an actual vineyard! Fortunately for those that do indeed love a ‘wine’, the Swan Valley is Western Australia’s oldest wine growing region. With a viticulture heritage dating back 180 years, the Swan Valley is an intoxicating destination that has long tempted travellers’ seeking out the finer things in life. An easy 25 minute drive from Perth’s city centre, and 10 minutes from the domestic airport, the Swan Valley is best known for producing specialty Verdelho wines (among Australia’s best), plus Chenin Blanc and Shiraz varieties. From fine wine to great food and culture, the Swan Valley will surprise and delight with more than 150 wineries, distilleries, micro-breweries, restaurants, art on its doorstep.
HUNTER VALLEY, NSW
As refined as its name suggests, The Vintage Golf Club in the Hunter Valley is widely regarded as one of the most elegant championship courses in Australia, and is home of the NSW Open Golf Championships, held each November.
This spectacular 18-hole, par 71 course (designed by Greg Norman) is rated among the top 2% of courses nation-wide. That makes it a must-play location for those who love the game. Described as “challenging but fair to all handicaps’, the course is an easy two hour drive from Sydney and provides a beautiful backyard scene for those Members staying at the Grand Mercure The Vintage, Accor Vacation Club Apartments. Convenience plus!
The winding course offers a relaxed scene, serving up a feast for the senses for players – a mix of regal vineyards and bucolic views in the distance, punctuated by eucalyptus forests, wetlands and peaceful creeks at different twists and turns. The first nine holes are a good selection of short par 4s, while the rest of the course demands more accurate shots that will test your putting prowess but certainly boost your ego if successful.
Golfers will love: Playing the ‘wine and vine’ seventh hole. According to Golf Digest magazine, “The par-5 seventh takes you on a viticulture tour, up a steep hill from the tee, and then down it all the way to a slippery left-to-right sloping green. Miss the fairway or green left, and your ball could end up in the neighbouring winery’s next ‘vintage.” We prefer to think of it as the seventh heaven hole – a win/win situation, whether you end up direct on the green, or scrambling to the nearest winery for your ball, and a cheeky refreshment along the way!
Everyone will love: Exploring the expansive and fragrant Hunter Valley Gardens. Far from your typical flower patch, the amazing Hunter Valley Gardens span some 25 acres with ten separate feature themed gardens to explore – not least of all the prized Rose Garden with thousands of varieties on display. Overall there are 8 kilometres of garden trails to enjoy, with special features along the way such as a 10 metre high waterfall above a sunken garden, and a storybook garden for younger family members in mind. The Gardens host special events throughout the year, including a ‘snow time in the gardenss’ and Easter event. Its famous Christmas Lights Spectacular, which is on from November 02 – January 26, 2019 is the largest lights display in the Southern Hemisphere!
No golfing trip to South Australia is compete without a round on the Links Lady Bay golf course. As the number one resort, and public, course in the state, its clever design, vistas and local wildlife make it something special to experience.
The well designed 18-hole golf course was masterminded by a trio of golfing greats – Jack Newton, John Spencer and Graeme Grant. It is considered a genuine ‘St Andrews’ style sand base course, and features subtle bent greens in the style of its Scottish cousin. A championship course where the untamed natural elements meet meticulously manicured fairways.
The Links Lady Bay Resort Accor Vacation Club Apartments is a must-stay property for Members who love the dazzling views of a dramatic coastline almost as much as a dramatic game of golf. Situated on a coat hanger shaped strip of land that encapsulates the Fleurieu Peninsula, the property offers truly spectacular views, and most importantly for golfers, shares it home with the golf course. Almost too easy to fit in an early round before brunch, isn’t it?
Despite being just an hour’s drive from Adelaide, Links Lady Bay will have you feeling a million miles away from city life. The spectacular landscape and long, rugged coastline provide a visual feast, while off the golf course there are plenty or peaceful coastal hamlets, local wineries, restaurants and nearby sandy beaches to indulge your other senses for a truly satisfying holiday experience.
Links Lady Bay resort itself has a range of great facilities too, that complement Accor Vacation Club’s fully self-contained apartments, including an outdoor swimming pool, children’s playground and tennis courts.
Golfers will love: Trying their skill against the wind on the signature 17th hole. While some of the short holes on this course are said to rival some of the most famous links courses in the world, it is Links Lady Bay’s 17th hole that is perhaps its’ most challenging and satisfying to complete under par. With the honour of being one of ‘Australia’s best holes’, the 17th tests players agility and skill, requiring them to drive into the wind in order to achieve its ambitious par 3 score. May the force – or the wind – be with you!
Everyone will love: The chance to take part in a little penguin tour, after dark. Less than half an hour drive from Links Lady Bay is Granite Island Recreation and Nature Park – home to a small colony of wild Little Penguins, who return home from their day in the ocean at dusk. Granite Island Nature Tours are the best way to see Little Penguins in their natural habitat. But it’s not only Little Penguins you will see, with all the Islands natural wildlife to discover after dark. Visiting the island for 2 hours after dusk is only available via guided tour to protect the wild penguin colony. It is important to note that the guided penguin tours are subject to seasonal availability, as during February/March the penguins go through an annual moulting period. Bookings are essential and each night’s tour close at 4pm. Members can check out the specifics of taking a guided penguin tour by visiting the Victor Harbor Visitor Information Centre at the Causeway.
PALM COVE, TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND
The Great Barrier Reef off North Queensland’s coast offers a world of colour to explore, thanks to its abundant coral gardens and marine life. But, let’s face it – for vacationing golfers, green is the only colour that really matters! It’s a good thing that Palm Cove’s signature colour is indeed green, with several great golf courses to tempt you away from the beckoning big blue of the reef.
For Accor Vacation Members staying at The Sebel Palm Cove Coral Coast or the Coral Coast Resort Palm Cove Accor Vacation Club Apartments, the Novotel Palm Cove provides an excellent 9 hole paid golf course in close proximity to your apartment, and great facilities. Set amidst 45 hectares of gardens this course welcomes visitors, and features lush fairways fringed by mountains and graceful melaleuca gums. Watch out for the numerous water hazards as you play this course, and play to win!
Wedged between the Great Dividing Ranges and the Coral Sea is a public access course, the Palm Cove Country Club, which also offers nine-holes in a friendly and relaxed environment. Perfect for casual players who don’t take the game too seriously, this course features seven par threes and two par fours. The highlight is a great par four ninth hole, back to the club house.
For more serious players, it’s worth checking out the 18-hole championship golf course at Paradise Palms. This course is host of the Mercedes-Benz Cairns Classic on the Australian PGA Pro-Am circuit which attracts some of Australia’s best professional golfers. Designed by Graham Marsh and Ross Watson, Paradise Palms is currently ranked in the top 50 public access golf courses in Australia by Golf Digest. But be warned – Marsh and Watson were commissioned by the original Japanese owners, Daikyo, to create Australia’s most difficult tournament venue when they designed this course– and they successfully met the brief! Having said this, the course is in fact suitable for golfers of all levels, and features wide fairways and peaceful surroundings.
Golfers will love: Multiple tee options available at Paradise Palms, depending on your comfort level. Paradise Palms is a par 71 course, however offers multiple tee options, so players of all levels can confidently enjoy a round. Following its update in 2017, almost 250 metres has been added to the length of the course with new tees being built on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th and 18th holes, bringing a number of hazards and bunkers back into play.
Everyone will love: Having your choice of beachside or rainforest paradise, right on your doorstep. Accor Vacation Club’s apartments are located just a short stroll to a tropical palm-fringed beach. The unspoilt paradise lies parallel to the beautiful Great Barrier Reef and is within easy reach of the renowned Daintree Rainforest and tropical Atherton Tablelands for your choice of daytrips. The Kuranda SkyRail is a must do.
COFFS HARBOUR, NSW
What is better than having direct beach access from the resort you’re staying at? How about having your very own 9-hole golf course to practice on? Pacific Bay Resort, Accor Vacation Club Apartments offer you both those things, ensuring your friends will be ‘green’ with envy on your next golf holiday.
Enjoyable, interesting and well maintained, the Bay Golf Course is ideal for beginners of professionals wanting to improve their short game.
For serious golfers those wanting to explore further afield after playing the resort course, try the Bonville Golf Course, a short 20 minute drive south. Widely regarded as ‘Australia’s most beautiful mainland golf course’, Bonville is home of the Australian Ladies Classic and has a great restaurant onsite for those who want to make a day of it. The Coffs Harbour Golf Club is another nearby option, a championship course offering 27 with three different layouts for the touring golfer to try.
When it comes to accommodation, Pacific Bay Resort, Accor Vacation Club Apartments provide guests with the perfect balance between fun and relaxation in a peaceful location, convenient to the heart of Coffs Harbour. In addition to the golf course, the resort has three tennis courts, and three heated swimming pools, offering everything you could want in a place to get away from it all.
Golfers will love: Just enough hazards on the Pacific Bay course to keep things interesting. For those keeping things casual and local, the resort course has a great putting green to warm up on, and offers stunning views and a welcome coastal breeze. The signature 9th hole is an exciting way to wrap up you game, surrounded by water and enticing players to aim for an ‘island’ shot to make par. Golf accessories and a cafe are also within the Pro Shop.
Everyone will love: Ticking a sunset camel ride on the beach off their bucket list! Forget the big banana. If bunkers have been giving you grief all day, then it might be time to let a camel deal with the sand underfoot for a change. If you want to try something fun, relaxing but entirely different, then perhaps a Coffs Coast Camel Ride is for you. Coffs Coast Camels has 20 camels hailing from Alice Springs at the ready for beach rides, sunset and twilight tours and camel safaris, which last around 30 minutes. It’s something couples and families can equally enjoy.
SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS, NSW
With scenery reminiscent of rural England, the Southern Highlands is something special. A classic retreat from all that is urban and suburban, exuding heritage charm, gorgeous gardens, rolling hills and forests at every turn.
For this very reason, The Sebel Bowral Heritage Park is one of Accor Vacation Club’s most popular addresses, with modern, fully self-contained apartments just moments from the heart of town. Keen golfers will be pleased to know that the Bowral Golf Club is even closer – right next door in fact! Not only does that mean that Members can enjoy views over the beautiful fairways from the comfort of their fireplace, but there are no excuses for missing tee off during your next stay.
More than 115 years in the making, the Bowral Golf Club is considered one of the best country courses in New South Wales. The course layout suits all levels of golf, so novices are in luck. One of our favourite features has to be the beautiful arbours and avenues of old English and native trees that border the fairways. Stunning in any season! If you are keen to test drive this course on your next visit, Accor Vacation Club Members can pre-book tee times through the Club, to plan the experience in advance.
Back at The Sebel, Members and guests have complimentary use of the hotel’s heated swimming pool too, which is a great way to unwind and rest your weary muscles after a day on the course.
Golfers will love: Trading their golf club temporarily for a cricket bat to explore the Don Bradman Museum. Ok, it might not be exactly the right sport, however surely one great sportsperson can appreciate another?! Sports fans and history buffs will be impressed to know that the famous Bradman Museum and the International Cricket Hall of Fame, are both within walking distance of The Sebel in Bowral, ensuring that this attraction is a must visit destination.
Everyone will love: Finding a treasure at Dirty Jane’s Emporium. A popular haunt for stylists, designers and bargain hunters alike! Lovers of vintage and antique wares should definitely stop by the iconic Dirty Jane’s in Bowral. There are more than 75 dealers across three impeccably presented warehouse spaces, so be prepared to shop until you drop, or just window shop the vintage furniture, jewellery, clothing and homewares on display. There is even an ‘artist-in-residence’ and Tea Salon. A civilized way to spend the day.
If you are interested in booking a golf holiday at any of these locations, please call Accor Vacation Club’s friendly Member Services team on 1300 76 14 14 and select option 1 to discuss.
To plan your next holiday escape visit www.accorvacationclub.com.au