Tasmania's Cape Wickham ranked No.1 golf course

Royal Melbourne has been deposed as Australia's No.1 ranked golf course by Cape Wickham on Tasmania's King Island.

Australian Golf Digest expects its ranking to "turn heads", Top 100 editor Steve Keipert says.

Besides Royal Melbourne, in the near 40 years of the digest's rankings only Kingston Heath in 2010 had held top spot.

But Cape Wickham, a public access course which opened in late 2015, is simply too good to ignore, Keipert says.

"This result will shock plenty but it should be understood that iconic Royal Melbourne (West) has not lost ground, it's as good as ever," he said.

"It's just that it has been outpointed on our measurement criteria by the stunning Cape Wickham.

Cape Wickham
Cape Wickham's glorious scenery has helped make it No.1 less than 10 years since being open. (HANDOUT/AIRSWING MEDIA)

"That a public course is ranked No.1 for the first time is another accomplishment to celebrate."

A 277-strong panel visited 809 Australian golf courses - more than half in the country - and returned 7,026 evaluations.

Cape Wickham returned a score of 72.62 out of 80, Royal Melbourne 72.40.

"It's a result that will turn heads, induce eyerolls and, no doubt, draw criticism," Keipert said.

"How can any course other than Royal Melbourne be considered our best, you might ask?

"There are a few reasons and none of them are to do with Royal's revered West course slipping in any way.

"In fact, the average score returned by our judging panel for the West has gradually risen in the past four rankings.

"On this occasion, it was simply passed - and by the barest of margins."

Golf Digest Australia's Top 5

1 - Cape Wickham, King Island, Tasmania

2 - Royal Melbourne (West), Victoria

3 - Kingston Heath, Victoria

4 - Barnbougle Dunes, Tasmania

5 - Peninsula Kingswood (North), Victoria