The Eastern Suburbs is home to many of Sydney’s best courses, a lot of which are open to any member of the public to play.
According to Golf NSW, the sport was first recorded as being played in the Colony of New South Wales in May 1839 at Grose Farm in Sydney. While that land now forms part of the campus of the University of Sydney and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, there are many more golf courses to choose from these days.
In fact, golf has been going through a revival since COVID-19 struck, with participation numbers lifting by as much as 21% over 2021.
The good news is that whether you’re a seasoned golfer or one of the many people who’s recently caught the golfing bug, you shouldn’t have to travel far for a round. Our area is home to many of Sydney’s very best golf courses, from exclusive private clubs to public council-owned courses where anyone of any age or ability can play.
With that in mind, we look at some of the best golf courses in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
1 Coast Hospital Road, Little Bay
Social play: 7 days a week
Green fees: $45 (midweek twilight) to $70 (weekend peak)
This spectacular par 70 links-style course surrounds Little Bay and boasts ocean views from every hole. The course occupies an area once belonging to Prince Henry Hospital (the pro shop building was actually the hospital’s laundry) and is built on the footprint of what was once a much smaller course used for staff recreation.
If you’re playing here, the wind is likely to be a key factor – especially if you’ve booked an afternoon round. So be prepared to go up or down a club or two depending on whether you’re hitting into the wind or it’s at your back.
Alternatives you might try: Situated just around Buchan Point, Randwick Golf Club is a smaller par 60 course (par 59 for women) that offers a similar Links-style experience at a reasonable price (18 holes is just $30).
1 Jennifer Street, Little Bay
Social play: 7 days a week
Green fees: $120 (local players); $200 (overseas guests)
Situated right next door to The Coast is St Michaels Golf Club, and although private, it is open for public play every day of the week. Known as one of Sydney’s top golfing venues (St Michaels is featured on the top 100 list of virtually every Australian golf publication), this championship par 72 course has hosted numerous tournaments and has its own open comp on Thursdays. All this comes at a price, though, with green fees coming in at more than double many local rivals.
Alternatives you might try: Situated on the other side of St Michaels is New South Wales Golf Club, one of Australia’s best known and most prestigious golf clubs. Despite its exclusivity, New South Wales is actually open to visitors at certain times during the week – so long as they have a handicap below 27 for men or 36 for women and a letter of introduction.
3 Bannerman Cres Rosebery, NSW 2018
Social play: n/a
Green fees: n/a
Unfortunately, Australia’s oldest golf club (founded in 1882) is one course you’re unlikely to play without a member invitation. The Australian has been at its current Rosebery address since 1903 (it was previously at Moore Park, where it shared the space with the old zoo, including elephants and a bear pit), and the course’s 1926 update was undertaken by Alistair MacKenzie – the same man who designed Augusta National, home of the US Masters. If you can’t score a member invite to the course, you could always visit to watch the professionals play – ‘The Aus’ has hosted more Australian Opens than any other venue (21).
Alternatives you might try: if you don’t know any members of The Australian, you could always find someone who’s a member of other exclusive members-only courses, such as Royal Sydney Golf Club or Bonnie Doon Golf Club.
5 Military Road, North Bondi, 2026
Social play: 7 days a week
Green fees: $25 (9 holes mid-week) to $40 (18 holes weekends)
It may not be likely to host The Australian Open anytime soon, but if you’re after a more casual setting, Bondi Golf & Diggers Club bills itself as “the most relaxed club in Sydney”. You won’t find strict dress codes (“just wear what’s comfortable”) or golf snobs here, just eight par 3s and one par 4 holes stretching out across the cliffs of North Bondi to offer players some of the best views of Australia’s most iconic beach. If you want even more of those views, stay for a while after your round and soak them in from the reasonably-priced clubhouse.
Alternatives you might try: Nine-hole Woollahra Golf Club is situated on Sydney Harbour right next door to Royal Sydney. Exceptionally well-kept and welcoming, it offers a more low-key experience than its better-known neighbour. And Moore Park Golf Course is home to more than just the closest 18-hole championship to the CBD – it’s also got a great driving range and some excellent lesson options to fine-tune those skills.
67 Gardeners Rd, Daceyville 2032
Social play: 7 days
Green fees: $30 (midweek Sundowner) to $60 (weekend peak)
Founded in 1930, Eastlake Golf Club is the only public golf course of Sydney’s four ‘sandbelt’ courses (the others are The Australian, The Lakes and Bonnie Doon). Eastlake prides itself on consistently being rated one of Sydney’s top courses and offers a challenging par-72 championship layout, even though it isn’t as long as many similar courses at 5,872 metres. Known as one of Sydney’s most progressive clubs, Eastlake also has a popular bistro in its clubhouse, which was recently redeveloped after a devastating fire.
Alternatives you might try: Next door to Eastlake, The Lakes Golf Club is one of Australia’s leading tournament venues. Despite being a private club, it also offers some public play. Just be sure to bring your wallet, an 18-hole round will set you back $270 (or $450 if you’re from overseas).
If you’d like to know more about living in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, please get in touch.