best golf courses in the world

(New), Waterville's slithering par-5 11th, hemmed in by dune ridges and its seaside par-3 17th, with a back tee isolated by dense vegetation and backdropped by MacGillycuddy's Reeks, are both world-class. Equally impressive was how Nicklaus seamlessly integrated spectator areas into the closing holes, using hillsides and amphitheater-style mounding to provide patrons with clear views of the action. As well as being beautifully crafted themselves, the best golf courses are usually found in the most incredible of locations as well, making a golf vacation an experience unlike any other. Colt never went down that path and he achieved the best possible result here in that he produced a course that would be a delight to play every day. Maidstone has struck the perfect balance. Lakes, creeks and wooded slopes not only contribute to the beauty and variety, but are seamlessly integrated into the design. What helped Myopia jump up the list was recent restoration work whereby trees came down, and fairways were expanded/reconnected to Herbert Leeds’s fabulous pit bunkers. (New), One of Pete Dye's early masterworks, this rural retreat in suburban Columbus is where Jack Nicklaus first learned about design, as an unpaid consultant. It is one of the most natural golf courses on the planet, it has both wildness and beauty in abundance. Thanks to the inspired positioning of the bunkers and the angled green, options abound on how to card a big number on this tiny hole. We also have Golfweek's Best 2020: Top 100 Best Courses You Can Play. I got to play the Mauna Lani South Course and I can absolutely see why number 15 is the most photographed hole in the world! It is considered by many to be the most beautiful golf course in the world. Some par-4s are short, others are monsters. (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images), Diamante’s free-form architecture rests gently on the land, and the absence of any hard lines let the golfer’s eye soak in the delightful contrast between the dazzling Pacific Ocean, the dunescape and the emerald playing surfaces. Compared to other contenders on this list, Yas Links has the most exotic terrain being … No surprise, the 2020 U.S. Regardless, the course’s staggering beauty and Masters tradition remain unlike any other. Each year we publish three lists that are the foundation of our course-ratings program: Golfweek’s Best Modern Courses, Golfweek’s Best Classic Courses, Golfweek’s Best Courses You Can Play, state by state. Geoff Ogilvy didn't fare much better in 2006, when his five-over total took home the trophy. Throw in a wonderful routing that hopscotches from one island of turf to the next across the rolling, sandy landscape and you have a course that hasn’t budged from the No. You haven’t favorited any courses yet. It was absolutely beautiful. (Photo: Wood Sabold), Andrew Green’s recent renovation restored Ross features, expunged those that were not and added length to test today's tournament players. Architecture buffs are likely to be just as captivated by the playing angles at the short two shot 14th with its Road Hole green complex. Which comes as no surprise as it also tops the list of the most exclusive golf courses in the UK. Pebble Beach golf course, located in Pebble Beach, California, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, is one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. Mission accomplished. In 2016, Pinnacle Point was named South Africa’s Best Golf Course at the 3rd Annual World Golf Awards. The rest of the property has more modest topography but you are unlikely to notice that fact as the expansive greens offer such interesting targets. Woods was the only golfer to break par for 72 holes, owing to rugged, uphill par-4s, massive bunkers and the wrist-fracturing rough found on this Rees Jones-restored A.W. Opens and a quartet of PGA Championships, this Depression-era Perry Maxwell design features holes that gracefully flow across a plot of undulating ground perfectly suited for golf. The standout on the back is the 14th, with its valley fairway and glorious North Sea vistas. A 2006 reno by Tom Fazio helped balance the two nines by removing some artificial features and blending new features into the existing dunescape. I feel it already deserves to be ranked among the best modern courses in the world, and so does the second course at Sand Valley, a David McLay Kidd design called Mammoth Dunes, that started allowing preview play this past fall. (Photo: Chris Condon/Getty Images), Venue of the 2004, '10 and '15 PGA Championships, this 1998 Pete Dye design on Lake Michigan was once a poker table-flat military training base in World War II. The Royal Portrush Golf Club is located in Portrush, Northern Ireland. ", No course thrives more on looking mean and playing vicious. The result is Canada's first authentic links. (Up 19), GOLF Magazine's Top New International Course of 2009 has maintained its early lofty results thanks to a brilliant Gil Hanse/Mark Parsinen design that was effusively praised by Phil Mickelson — and that was before he won the 2013 Scottish Open here. That’s great architecture. (Up 12), Founding a private club in a remote destination is not without peril and it is reasonable to expect a club to take some time find its footing. (Photo: Getty Images), For most of its 80-year history, the Cal Club, as locals call it, served up a tight though well-regarded Bay Area course, enhanced by its association with Ken Venturi. In the memorability department, however, it takes a backseat to the par-4 13th, The Pit, whose green sits directly behind a low stone wall. (Up 1), Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw moved only teaspoons of dirt to construct the most natural, hew-to-the-land layout built since World War II. Only Mike Keiser would have approved of such an unusual sequence and this course helped modern architecture break free from some certain design shackles that had constrained designers over the past five decades. Australia’s most famous golf course, Royal Melbourne, situated in Black Rock, is definitely a contender for the best golf course in the world. Set in the windiest spot of any course on our list, Wickham compensates with wide landing areas. (Photo: Joann Dost), This seaside classic is worth the journey. The emphasis on variety and strategy became the foundation for strategic designs that followed, including Augusta National. What follows are 12 par-4s, 10 (!) (Up 12), Roughly 200 bunkers menace this rugged links that has hosted Open Championships since 1926. Most memorable is the trio of stunning closing holes, beginning with the 176-yard, par-3 16th, played out over the cliffs that give the course its name. Recent tree-planting and narrowing of corridors stands in contrast to that shared vision and is at odds with what has transpired at other Golden Age cornerstone designs this century, proving what a tough position ANGC finds itself in continuing to test the world’s best players in golf’s most anticipated event. Nine Bridges has played host to the PGA Tour's CJ Cup. The short par-4 4th, reachable par-5 11th and the long par-4 14th rank among Dye’s all-time best. Look for four of its plateau greens, namely those at the 2nd, 3rd, 11th and 14th, to have a large say in who wins the 2021 PGA Championship. Its two nines are quite diverse, the first being on more open land while the second jumps into the woods where Tillinghast incorporated natural water features to perfection. It's not a pretty course in the conventional sense, as there are no lighthouses, mountains or wild majestic undulations. Ironic for an architect who built template holes but the best hole on this Seth Raynor design may well be the thoroughly original risk-reward 520-yard par-5 15th, which doglegs left over and around a ravine. (Photo: LC Lambrecht), Blend the towering dunes of Ballybunion, the relentless challenge of Carnoustie and the legendary bombast of Donald Trump and you'd have a potential Open site for the ages. So impressed was Ben Hogan with Seminole's virtues that he would play and practice here for 30 straight days each year leading up to the Masters. Maintaining coastal dunes is an art form: expose too much sand and it blows away; cover it up and you lose a sense of place. Some of its template holes, including the Alps 3rd, the Redan 4th, the Short 6th and the Leven 17th, are arguably superior to their namesake holes in the United Kingdom that Macdonald copied. The golf world saw two new holes in action at the 2019 Open: the 7th and 8th, which replaced the old, comparatively dull 17th and 18th holes. Pebble Beach Golf Links is the best-known course in the United States and also among the longest courses. Two of the New’s par-5s — the 6th and 13th — are exceptions and anchor each nine. From the Broadmoor in Colorado to La Manga in Spain, these 12 luxury golf resorts offer some of the world's best locations to play and stay. Seth Raynor retooled his mentor C.B. A die-hard New Yorker remarked, “It’s enough to make one want to live New Jersey.” (Photo: Russell Kirk), Newly minted as Canada's top-ranked course, this four-year-old Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design towers more than 100 feet above the Gulf of St. Lawrence, inspiring Pebble Beach-like awe. The more the world speeds up, the more people appreciate clubs like Swinley where calm reigns supreme. (Up 1), Many of the game's elite consider this course to be the fairest Open rota course. Dye and owner Herb Kohler engineered a mind-boggling cleanup, moved 3 million cubic yards of dirt, trucked in 7,000 loads of sand to create the hills and bunkers and relocated the bluffs back off the shore. Mark Brooks, 1996 PGA champion, summed up this Golden Age A.W. The dirty secret at Winged Foot is that more than a few consider the 13th and 17th as the best par-3s on the property, an outlandish claim until you play them. (Up 7), One of the world's top 10 when it comes to views, each nine at Cape Kidnappers boasts a sequence of staggeringly dramatic holes. A combination of strong breezes, thick fescue roughs, undulating terrain and fiendishly contoured greens make this one of the harder courses relative to its tight par of 70 in the Top 100. One of the best is this property, where Colt teased a diverse collection of holes from the rolling landscape. California Golf Club of San Francisco, 78. Isn’t that the very measure of design greatness? (Photo: Gary Lisbon), The birthplace of golf features blind bunkers, huge double greens, quirks such as the Road Hole and Hell Bunker and strategic options that vary with the day’s wind. (Photo: Evan Schiller), Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf and Tom Watson are among the Americans who have won at Troon, yet the most memorable shot was struck by a non-winner, 71-year-old Gene Sarazen, who aced the 123-yard “Postage Stamp” 8th during the 1973 Open — with a 5-iron! Tillinghast may have crafted his most gorgeous collection of bunkers at this low-key Bay Area hideaway that avoids publicity as steadfastly as its neighbor the Olympic Club embraces it. Yet what emerged, courtesy of George Thomas and Billy Bell, is one of the game’s strategic design marvels. Some grouse that the course’s reputation is built on the club’s exclusivity, which is unfair given that standout holes abound, including the 4th, 6th, 13th and one of the great trio of finishing holes in the sport. Any list that failed to feature any of the aforementioned courses would be unbelievable. For shotmaking options and memorable individual holes that require a blend of power and finesse, the Stadium Course has few peers. Some critics of rankings grumble that hosting a major unduly elevates a course. The longest golf course in the world at 8,548 yards, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain includes a 711-yard par-five (and two more that measure over 680 yards), a … Legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin summed it up nicely when he opined, “The National Links is a truly great course; even as I write I feel my allegiance to Westward Ho!, to Hoylake, to St. Andrews tottering to its fall.” (Photo: William Tyler Smith), This 1889 Old Tom Morris creation is one of the most handsome tests in the world. RTJS selected hole 3 of Troia’s golf course as one of the best he has ever designed. The West course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club is generally acknowledged as the best course in Australia and one of Doctor Alister MacKenzie's finest designs. Pebble Beach Golf Links, USA. Eventually it became a site for illegal dumping of toxic waste. Add in its fescue fairways and the site’s broad slopes and you have a course whose asks change daily. The Old course at St Andrews, Augusta National, Royal Melbourne, Pebble Beach and Muirfield are all championship venues with centuries of history. This remote Old Tom Morris design entrances more for its ambience than for its challenge. Known as the Duel Hole, the drop-shot par-3 7th may be the course’s most famous hole but its par-4s, like the 2nd, 10th and 12th, deserve equal acclaim. From a presentation perspective, few courses are as dialed-in. (Down 54), GOLF.com and GOLF Magazine are published by EB GOLF MEDIA LLC, a division of 8AM GOLF, Willie Fernie, 1909/Mackenzie Ross, 1946/Martin Ebert, 2016, A. Robertson, 1842/Old Tom Morris, 1872/James Braid, 1926, Old Tom Morris, 1893/Alister Mackenzie/Martin Hawtree, 1927, Alister Mackenzie, 1928/Eric Apperly, 1947, W.C. Pickerman/George Ross/Mungo Park, 1894/George Coburn, 1896, A.V. This year marks the course’s continued, impressive rise in the rankings as it now cracks the top 50 — and it doesn’t seem finished yet. Best New Golf Courses in the World. The ability to shape tee balls played to Lee Janzen’s strength when he won the 1998 U.S. Open here. Even in calm conditions, the mix of short grass, sprawling bunkers and cypress trees provide constant photo opportunities that captivate. Forced carries over ravines, greens set along ridge-tops and the influence of Pages Creek add to the challenge. Tom Doak and Ian Andrew spearheaded a restoration that was completed in 2015. Colt's 97-year-old companion to its charming elder, the Old, stands on its own merits. Others might relish the shelf green at the 9th that poses similar intriguing questions as the 12th at the Old Course. Gone too are the clean edged bunkers that never looked at home on a Maxwell design. That changed in 2016 when Gil Hanse embarked on a two-year project to imbue the greens with a C.B. The question is answered at the 1st, with a green that follows the natural contours and slopes away from the player. Golf course design is often judged harshly, but the strategic model of Pine Valley sees it a consistent presence on lists of best golf courses in the world. Royal County Down Golf Club is at Newcastle, a little holiday town nestling at the feet of the majestic Mountains of Mourne. (Up 5), The first great American public oceanside course, Pebble benefits from an ingenious routing that brings the player right to the ocean's edge, then away into the woods, then back again. The acidic soil is free-draining, allowing for firm fairways that yield plenty of links-like run, and its open expanse means that wind is a likely consideration. What it lacked was playing interest from 50 yards and in to its greens. (LC Lambrecht), This cult classic is a personal favorite of both Pete Dye and Tom Doak. Frighteningly contoured, pear-shaped greens, cavernous bunkers and a procession of rugged par-4s define the trouble here. Situated 23 miles north of Aberdeen, Cruden Bay offers many novel features, including the par-4 14th, with its funnel-shaped bathtub green and the dramatic par-3 4th, which overlooks the Water of Cruden and the fishing village of Port Erroll. (Up 32), Japan's answer to Pebble Beach is this 1936 design that boasts staggering views of snow-capped Mt. The dominant theme of our new ranking of the World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses is proximity to the sea. Remember when Tiger Woods was once voted the most underrated player on tour when he won three majors in a year? (Photo: Christian Hafer), This unconventional Doak delight catapulted him into the spotlight. Our expert course raters sized up the best golf courses on the planet to rank GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the World for 2020-21. Great attention has been paid to the mow lines, with short tight fairway grass on the high side of the entrance to all the greens. (Photo: Evan Schiller), Prestwick has always had critics, but atmosphere, ambience and renewed appreciation of its historical features have finally nudged the course into the ranks of the elite. Its enviable location in the dunes along the Pacific Ocean, along with superior fine-fescue fairways and swirls of natural grass and sand, have some reviewers wishing it could host an Open tomorrow — if only it were 11,000 miles farther northwest. There are over 15,000 golf courses in the United States, and that number continues to drop every year. (Photo: Larry Lambrecht), What makes Merion so distinctive is its remarkable variety. Pine Valley, Clementon, New Jersey Image credit: golfcoursegurus.com. For the 2014 U.S. Open, a Coore-Crenshaw restoration brought back the tawny-edged fairways and native areas last seen in the 1940s. Ross spent much personal time on this design and it manifests itself with a stunning collection of par-4s headlined by the 6th, 7th, 15th, 17th and 18th. (Down 14), With this land on the east side of the Ohoopee River where sand accumulated for centuries, Hanse finally got a dream site upon which to build an original design. With the wind more evident and the playing surfaces firm, the course’s thorny playing attributes are once again on full display. The recently expanded greens have created a plethora of new hole locations around the greens’ perimeters, and the player’s chess match with the clever design is more intense than ever. US East North Central Division Best in State Rankings 2020. Find out what are the worst golf courses in the country, so that you know to avoid them if you plan on trying to visit as many courses as possible throughout your life. (Down 15), Better known to English speakers as The Hague, The Netherlands' highest-ranking course is a Morrison and Alison collaboration that plays across chaotically heaving fairways amid substantial dunes that set the tone for a remarkable — and taxing — lay-of-the-land journey. For the lucky few who get to play here, they enjoy one of the best walks in the sport as MacKenzie effortlessly transports the player around the diverse property. (Down 7), Ben Hogan called this course a "monster" in capturing the 1951 U.S. Open, thanks to a severe course setup and alterations by Robert Trent Jones Sr. The exposed, gorgeous par-3 4th that juts out to the tip of Sally's Point invites comparisons to Pebble Beach's 7th. (Photo: Courtesy SFGC), After weeks of tromping around the yucca-choked sand hills of Hutchinson, architect Perry Maxwell proclaimed, “There are 118 good golf holes here. Eric Apperly added this hole in 1937. Colt, 1912/S.V. “The MacKenzie bunkering is phenomenal. Fuji and cliff-top panoramas of the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Evan Schiller), This 16-time Open venue was never more testing or memorable than in 2013, when Phil Mickelson rode his 3-wood to victory. Ocean views stun the senses, along with bluff-top sand dunes sprinkled with Scotch broom and gorse bushes, coastal pines, crashing surf, wind-whipped tall native grasses and stacked sod bunkers. Nearly every hole at St. Andrews and Augusta National provides a safe route to the green and also a riskier one. Recent clearing has helped to highlight the stunning nature of the cypress trees that line this hillside overlooking Lake Merced. (Down 11), Wickham wows with an opening stretch of seaside headland holes, three par-3s that skirt the sea and a Cape-style 18th that demands a bite-off-as-much-as-you-dare drive over Victoria Cove. Yet, when the wind is up, it's one of the game’s fiercest links, one that requires supreme shotmaking, as Tiger’s Open win here proved in 2006. Amateur telecast from here was captivating. A bold start that features a 475-yard par-4 and a 225-yard par-3 give way to gentler, though strategically, rich holes that were favorites of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, a frequent visitor. (Photo: Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour), From London’s heathland to the cliffs of Northern Ireland to sandy sites in the Netherlands, Colt enjoyed many fine sites in Europe over his extended career. Arguably America’s premier urban design, LACC North hosted the 2017 Walker Cup and design afficionados can’t wait for the highly anticipated 2023 U.S. Open. As proof of their magical skills, look no further than Riv’s 311-yard, par-4 10th. Our brand-new list features 11 courses that jumped inside this year’s Top 100, reflecting changing trends and a revamped ranking. Not only was Shinnecock Hills Golf Club one of the five founding members of the USGA but also it was where one of the first specifically designed golf clubhouses was built. Much more short grass has been added around the green complexes since then and now the design is more thought-provoking rather than terror-inducing. Opens averaged nearly 324, or 81 strokes per round. 8. The beauty of Oakmont is how it doesn’t doll itself up, and yet to a purist the view from the crest of the hill on 15 is as breathtaking as any in the country. In fact, some people prefer the more muscular New Course to the Old. (Photo: Courtesy Kiawah Island Resort), Pete Dye's personal favorite of all of his designs, Teeth of the Dog is flat-out gorgeous, with seven holes practically sunk into the Caribbean Sea. (Up 7), This quiet club across the street from Winged Foot has counted Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye as admirers. Colt and S.V. (Photo: Patrick Koenig), Bandon's original course is a David McLay Kidd design draped atop craggy headlands above the Pacific. Colt design that maximizes its setting in the high dunes along the Irish Sea. Welcome to the Golf World Top 100 Courses Continental Europe. Built in a narrow canyon, there was no reason to hold high hopes for this course. (Photo: Gary Lisbon), Augusta National is the vision of Bobby Jones and his chosen architect, Alister MacKenzie. Inverness’ home hole famously measures under 400 yards and is one of the most interesting closers in the game. In this Best in State refresh, we take a closer look at the golf-rich states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, where we’ve increased our coverage by more than 25% to a total of 295 golf courses. There are few daunting carries and the greens are huge, so what’s the big deal? Birkdale boasts towering sandhills and no blind shots, as most of the holes roll through valleys. Troia Golf is designed by the American golf architect Robert Trent Jones Senior. “Sandwich,” as it is known colloquially, serves up blind shots and supremely interesting contours in equal measure. Some even trumpet it as Tilly’s finest design for regular play. There are plenty to pick from here, including the 1st, 4th, 8th, 10th and the love-it-or-hate-it 18th, but the hole everyone needs to see at least once in their life is the famous downhill Biarritz 9th. In part, by breaking the “rules” and having back-to-back par-5s on the front and back-to-back par-3s on the back. (Down 1), East of Edinburgh sits this fabled links — at least in architectural circles — thanks to its 15th hole, the much-copied Redan, a par-3 played to an elevated, diagonal green. Phil Mickelson opined that it is his favorite modern course. Now in its second decade, and courtesy of a new greenkeeper, Ballyneal enjoys its best playing conditions since opening. Often described as the home of golf and looked up to as an iconic location to play the sport, Scotland tops the list with locations such as St. Andrews, Muirfield and Eden course. The fact that you can walk it in two and half hours makes you question the merit of courses that are so much longer. A master router, Colt incorporated them in every possible manner. Golf is generally considered best along a cool coastline. There is much to admire here, including the 606-yard, par-5 12th, which arcs around the bay and the 212-yard, par-3 15th that demands a carry over the sea. (Photo: Evan Schiller), Because of its remote location, Crystal Downs was once overlooked but that changed when Tom Doak introduced the course to Ben Crenshaw in the 1980s. Which golf course is the most scenic? Royal Dornoch was ranked 2nd on Golf Digest’s 2018 ‘World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses’, only surpassed by Royal County Down in Ireland. Tillinghast design this way: "There are probably six hard holes, six really hard holes and six impossible holes." The usual quartet of Raynor template one shot holes (Redan, Short, Biarritz, and Eden) are here and rival his best set. (Down 5), Nine Bridges's appeal starts with its tranquil setting, with holes etched into pine-clad, rolling topography in the shadows of Mount Halla, Korea's tallest mountain. The routing works its way over and across heaving dunes and through an enchanting coastal forest, and the fact that you don’t miss the sight of the water for most of the round speaks volumes to its design quality. (Photo: Patrick Koenig), “Hoylake,” as it's popularly known, hosted its 12th Open Championship in 2014. To view our map, which highlights the best golf courses in Continental Europe and where they are, click here (Photo: Gary Kellner/Dimpled Rock), Tree-dotted dunes, open meadows and bluff-top views of Long Island Sound highlight play at this 2003 Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design. Few golfers get to experience this posh coastal retreat and they were rewarded with first-time views of what is arguably the finest site on which Donald Ross ever worked. (Down 4), This 14-time British Open host dates to 1887. Boasting the biggest sandhills of all Open venues, Royal St. George's heaving, dune-studded linksland also sports the rota's most fearsome bunker, a gaping fairway monstrosity on the par-4 4th. His hard work is just now reaching fruition. Do you agree with the list? Known for its enchanting opening hole that demands a drive over the beach, Machrihanish provides a gleeful romp through shaggy sandhills on the front nine. With bunkers and water hazards framed by railroad ties and tall native grasses scattered throughout, the distinctive Dye style began to take hold. Some of the best golf courses in the world include the Cypress Point Club located in California, the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Gullane, Scotland, and the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The Ailsa course at the Turnberry Resort is probably the most scenic Open Championship golf course. A strategic delight, it is stern but fair, with heather, gorse, rough and penal, high walled bunkers that must be avoided. Pine Valley Golf Club was the dream of a Philadelphian hotelier, George Crump, who sadly died before its completion. It was elected one of the best golf courses in the world. (Photo: Channing Benjamin), Tara Iti jumped onto our World list in 2017 as one of our highest debuting courses ever. Scattered blow-out bunkers, gigantic natural dunes, smartly contoured greens and Pacific panoramas complete Doak’s first masterpiece. Add it all up — and throw in the Kintyre Peninsula wind — and you have a place that lures people back time and time again. Its opener is one of the most distinctive in golf, with a stone wall and railway flush along the right side. (Photo: Andy Johnson/The Fried Egg), Tom Doak’s works along large bodies of water populate our list but some contend what he did in the American West at Rock Creek is just as exhilarating as his more photographed courses in sandy soil. Why wouldn't they, given the classic Seth Raynor design that tracks along the island’s northeast edge, the delightful tumbling terrain and the spectacular views of Long Island Sound. (Down 3), Devereux Emmet and Walter Travis share credit for this old-school design that plays across Hempstead Plain on Long Island. That said, Gil Hanse’s recent, stunning expansion of all the green pads has brought back an element of creativity with which few parkland courses can contend, all of which was on display at the 2020 U.S. Open won by Bryson DeChambeau. Nullarbor Links Golf Course Recent tree clearing along the perimeter has enhanced an appreciation of the site’s phenomenal coastal setting. The design was immediately embraced, and the minimalist movement started in earnest, with this course arguably kicking off the second Golden Age. If you’re a serious golfer, it’s well worth travelling the world to experience some of the best golf courses the planet has to offer. Its random green contours are noteworthy as is the construction technique that left micro-undulations in the fairways. “Nothing less than the finest seaside course I have ever seen,” said Hall of Fame writer Herbert Warren Wind. One of the earliest inland courses that established a new standard in design came here at Sunningdale just after the turn of the last century. Built in the late 1940s, this design came before Jones had acquired his Oakland Hills “monster” rep. More of Stanley Thompson’s influence is seen in Jones’ early work, highlighted here by his imaginative — and enormous — punchbowl green at the 10th. Opens since 1986, most recently in 2018, this is William Flynn’s undisputed design masterpiece. (Up 9), What a good thing the club did by hosting a televised event to raise money to fight Covid in May 2020. (Photo: Patrick Koenig), Conceived by Jack Nicklaus in 1966 to be his hometown equivalent of Bobby Jones' Augusta National, this 1974 collaboration with Desmond Muirhead was an instant smash, both for its strategic design and flawless conditioning. Oitavos Dunes has been recognized as the 55th best golf course in the world on GOLF Magazine’s 2017 Top 100 Courses in the World as well as the number one course in Portugal. If you search the best golf courses photograph on the Internet, you will come across beautiful photos of these golf courses. Established in 1918, Pine Valley has won the number one spot on many lists that showcase the top golf courses on the planet. Same applies here, with Pine Valley’s only benchmark being itself. (Photo: Nile Young), H.S. Even with no rough, the runner-up could muster only one under par over four rounds. Cypress Point Club is set at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the very tip of the Monterey Peninsula and the cliff top terrain is varied and thrilling. As a unit, this is one of the best feats of golf architecture and still remains a landmark for golf players from around the globe. But it’s good to have some new blood too, right? (Up 2), The value of a good architect is highlighted here in technicolor. Highlights include wide fairways, wild and woolly bunkers and panoramic views of Moray Firth and the Scottish Highlands. (Down 6), Tucked away in a nearly impossible-to-find forested location 40 miles north of Paris is a low-key heathland design that is utterly charming and utterly private. The meanest of the Open rota courses has produced winners such as Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Tom Watson. When great golf courses meet the world's most stunning land forms, it makes for the most epic experience in the game. More info on Royal Dornoch >> "Arguably one of the most underrated top-rated golf courses. Its old-school features include cross hazards and medium-size greens and the golfer is freshly reminded that there is no substitute for hitting fairways and greens. The drivable ½-par 9th is another design standout with its angled green toward play. (New), The companion to Barnbougle Dunes yields a Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design that differs from its Tasmanian sibling in that its huge dunes run both parallel and perpendicular to the ocean, so holes play up and over the dunes, as well as between them. The result is a low-profile design that beguiles. This is one of their best — public or private. The middle of the back nine has some of the finest green contours of any links. Tillinghast layout. Scramblers best test their games elsewhere. Well now, you won’t get a consensus because people have different ideas of what is scenic. His placement of the green sites — some on knobs or plateaus, some at ground level and the magnificent 10th green at the hole’s low point beyond a hillock define the challenge. T77. Many of these great layouts have been ranked within the World Top 100 since golf course rankings began. (New), Several of Coore & Crenshaw’s finest designs are located at hard-to-access private clubs but many of their works thankfully are available to the public, often courtesy of Mike Keiser. Like Rye, its quintet of one-shotters and tight sub-70 par make it more of a complete test than a quick glance at its scorecard might indicate. Deep bunkers are Woodhall Spa's defining trait, along with plentiful gorse and a stellar set of par-3s. Awarded as the best golf course in the Middle East for three consecutive years at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit, Yas Links is the first true Links course in that part of the world. Too bad more modern architects are leery to build finishers that reward mind over muscle. Apart from Augusta National, Oakmont Country Club has hosted more major Championships than any other course in the U.S. and it’s considered by many to be the toughest golf course in the world. (Down 4), This low-key 1926 Seth Raynor creation in suburban Cincinnati dishes out deep bunkers and huge, squared-off greens on a property laced with valleys and ravines. To see our map, which shows our comprehensive list of the best golf courses in The UK & Ireland and where they are, click here The legacy he left behind is universally considered to be the perfect example of penal golf course architecture. Though Montana’s rocky conditions made for a tough build, the result is wide fairways that flow over the tumbling land with a grace and ease that is hard to fathom. (Up 26), This Westchester County course has always enjoyed a spectacular component to it, courtesy of breathtaking views of the Hudson River. Walton Heath was the venue of the 1981 Ryder Cup, when arguably the strongest American side of all time demolished the Europeans, 18.5 to 9.5. The south-end holes are akin to a traditional Scottish links. Pine Valley excels at all three, with many contending it has the most formidable hazards and sophisticated green complexes in golf. Koninklijke Haagsche (Royal Hague). Tiger Woods, who won the 2002 "People's Open," as that U.S. Open came to be known. (Up 1), Its stark, open-plain setting is the definition of a heathland and as a test of character and shotmaking, Walton Heath has few peers. We’re proud to offer an exclusive Round the World Tour, through the five continents, to play on the 8 best golf courses in the world. Which courses would you've liked to see? When you discover the design plays as good as it looks, you have something special. In short, Merion has everything, including newly installed sub-air and irrigation systems that lend more control over the firmness and speed of the playing surfaces. Its fairways are flat, its vistas bleak. There are plenty of familiar names on this year’s list of Top 100 Courses in the World. The water is 10 miles both north and south, so sea breezes are a frequent companion. At the Dunluce course, you will explore the ruins of the castle of Dunluce, dating from the thirteenth century. Tom Weiskopf cites the primary appeal: "The continuous change in direction from hole to hole leads to different winds, great balance and maximum variety." Following events such as the 2004 Ryder Cup and 2008 PGA Championship won by Padraig Harrington, the brilliant Donald Ross routing and beguiling green contouring has restored its status to "great," as opposed to "hard." However, new courses do appear on the list from time to time and with the best land, the right architect and a lot of money, anything is possible. To quote Hanse, "The course enjoys a perfect sense of place and balance." Heathland golf around London is famous for all sorts of reasons but the strength of its par-5s isn’t one of them. In the United States, he considered Perry Maxwell to be as talented as anyone; in Australia, his man was Alex Russell. Nicklaus shut down the course this past summer, and all eyes will be on what the Golden Bear has concocted to thwart the relentless advances in technology when the course hosts the annual Memorial Tournament next year. Colt, 1895/Tom Simpson/Herbert Tippet/Guy Campbell, 1907, Davis Love III/Mark Love, 2010/Paul Cowley, 2016, Donald Ross, 1917/Robert Trent Jones Sr., 1950, C.B. The club prides itself on its firm playing surfaces and when the coastal breezes kick in, watch out. (Photo: Evan Schiller), The blend of tidal marshes, scrub-topped dunes, live oaks and the soothing sound of the Atlantic on every hole make this one of the South’s most memorable playing experiences. The game’s best front nine includes the 217-yard, par-3 4th and the blind par-4 9th with its views of the Irish Sea, the Mountains of Mourne and the red-brick steeple of the Slieve Donard Hotel. Jack Neville, one of its architects, wanted to take full advantage of the location and bring as many holes to the rocky coastline as possible. All I have to do is eliminate 100 of them.” All that's missing is an ocean at this linksy-looking layout that played host to the 2002 U.S. Women's Open (Juli Inkster) and 2006 U.S. Senior Open (Allen Doyle). How did MacKenzie get the best from the land? A poor course set-up for the 1999 Open only furthered its reputation as “Carnastie,” but if you play from the right set of tees, you will be surprised by the variety and interest that its holes possess. His own sense of aesthetics complemented the rustic site’s color palette of browns, rusts and tans. (Up 3), Lahinch charms with titanic sandhills and stunning views of both the Atlantic Ocean and of the Cliffs of Moher. (Photo: Patrick Koenig), Golf in the United Kingdom started along its coastline on linksland but as the sport became popular, people wanted courses nearer to where they lived. As a testament to its strong reputation as one of the top golf courses in the world, Aphrodite Hills’ 18 Hole Championship Golf Course has recently attained top honours and the highest standard recognition in golf, the PGA National, Cyprus as well as the ‘European Golf Resort of the Year 2018’ from the prestigious annual IAGTO awards. Does anything in golf compare with that final stroll up the par-5 18th as it curves left around Carmel Bay? On a "difficulty" scale of 1 to 10, Jack Nicklaus once rated the West course a 12. Firm, rumpled, fescue fairways, coastal breezes and endless views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence make it abundantly clear why Nova Scotia is the Latin name for “New Scotland.” Whitman’s talent for adding micro-contours in and around the greens is unsurpassed but are overlooked here because the views are so spectacular. Ebert's restoration efforts have just been unveiled and once again, sand is a dominant theme. The course so impressed Jack Nicklaus in his 1966 win that he named his own major-worthy course in Ohio after it. Topping our list of the best countries to play golf is Scotland. Tillinghast, 1929/Gil Hanse, 2017, Charles Hunter, 1876/Old Tom Morris, 1879, Golf’s 2020-2021 Ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the World. It’s a question worth considering. Fescue fairways help the ground-game options flourish. Macan, 1926/Alister MacKenzie, 1928/Kyle Phillips, 2007, Harry Vardon, 1905/H.S. Who knew inland golf could be this exciting? (Down 1), Accessible by ferry or air, this exclusive retreat off the Connecticut coast is populated by the oldest of the Old Money crowd, many of whom still enjoy hoofing it. True, the Great Depression commenced during construction but the grace with which the holes flow across the property is a tribute to the hands-on, slow-build process. (Down 53), Preeminent Canadian architect Stanley Thompson hit his professional peak at this quiet club near downtown Toronto. To state perhaps the obvious, one simple but effective way to judge a design is by the quality of the course’s property, its hazards and greens. Just ask Donald Trump. Golf Digest's top-100 ranking said it best: "Pine Valley blends all three schools of golf design -- penal, heroic and strategic -- throughout the course, often times on a single hole." 50. Hard to find better playing angles. Equal parts weird and wonderful, this host to 24 Open Championships (including the first 12) features a perfect combination of quirk and muscle. Though the course is barely 30 years old, it already has an illustrious history of hosting famous events, none more so than the drama-filled 1991 "War by the Shore" Ryder Cup. of which measure more than 420 yards, and a famously diabolical group of five par-3s that have this 6,503-yard course weighing in yard for yard as one of the most difficult on our list. (Photo: Patrick Koenig), Australia's greatest links achieves top-40 status thanks in large part to the sophisticated design and but also to the stirring seaside setting in Tasmania, with holes nestled in the large dunes that run parallel to the ocean. Both intended for Augusta National to reflect the spirit and strategic options of the Old Course at St. Andrews, the course that they admired most. For a course famed for its difficulty, what gets lost in the shuffle is the brilliance of its short par-4s. (Up 2), A.W. The iconic par-3 16th, which extends into the churning Pacific, is perhaps the most dramatic and photographed hole in the game, but there are endless other highlights — from heaving dunes to jagged coastline — that golfers won’t soon forget. That’s the flexibility of short grass — and Ross’s design genius. 9. We count 46 of the Top 100 as being oceanside venues, including our new No. (Photo: Andy Johnson/The Fried Egg), This ancient links dates to 1842 and is defined by heather, gorse, jungle-like fescue rough, steep-faced revetted bunkers and the sinuous Barry Burn — all of which create havoc in the wind. With a rating of an 8.5 Troia Golf is one of the best golf courses … (Photo: Patrick Koenig), Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam are among those who won Irish Opens at this low-profile but character-filled Dublin-area links. Garden City’s tilted greens, like the 10th and 15th, are lay-of-the-land architecture at its highest form. To read our latest news release, click the following link: Top 100 Golf Courses of the World. Raves all around for how this course now looks and plays. Situated on the side of a hill, the course is guaranteed to catch any wind that is about. 2, hit the links at some of the most spectacular golf courses in the world. The Golf Advisor Staff has determined the 50 most beautiful courses with public access. Fun fact: The winning score at its four U.S. (Photo: Patrick Koenig), The Black intimidates golfers with a sign at the 1st tee that recommends the course “only for highly skilled golfers.” Among the highly skilled? Located right next to the Firth of Clyde, with craggy rocks and superb views across to the Mull of Kintyre... No other course has hosted more Opens than the Old Course at St Andrews. So how hard is it for a course to become World ranked? Its outstanding cluster of gently rolling par-4s, notably the 6th and the 11th, provided a terrific canvas for amateurs such as Justin Rose and Jason Gore in the 1997 Walker Cup. 1 spot for decades. The 4th hole, for instance, features a reverse-camber fairway: the hole swings right to left but the fairway tilts left to right, mandating a draw from the tee. Don't be fooled by its diminutive length of 6,518 yards from the tips. The Ailsa course at the Turnberry Resort is probably the most scenic Open Championship golf course. Hotchkin, 1926, H.S. The short answer is – rock-hard. Old Tom Morris' 1893 design, coupled with Alister MacKenzie's 1927 enhancements, including the 9th green, and Martin Hawtree's 2003 push into the big dunes, proves an irresistible combination of beauty, challenge and fun. Holes such as the par-5 14th call to mind an East Coast version of Cypress Point. When you layer on Colt’s improvements (such as moving the 12th green high and to the left), you end up with one of the game’s most noble inland courses. A dream course to play on a regular basis. Rolling, sandy terrain, rippled fairways that were spared from a bulldozer, ever-present winds, wavy prairie grasses and gigantic blow-out bunkers create the sensation of being seaside in the middle of landlocked Nebraska. (Photo: Patrick Koenig), The Japanese had never seen the kind of deep, strategically placed bunkers that architect C.H. With two courses, with 18 holes each, it is certainly one of the best and most exciting golf courses in the world. Laurie Auchterlonie won the 1902 U.S. Open here with record scores, owing to the debut of the longer, more durable Haskell ball. (Photo: Larry Lambrecht), One of the five founding members of the United States Golf Association in 1894, Chicago Golf was the site of the nation's first 18-hole course; it also was the first course outside of the Northeast to play host to the U.S. Open. One of those bunkers, in the left-center of the 18th fairway, cost Adam Scott the 2012 Open. The par-5 4th and its iconic cross-bunkering is a world-beater. Together, they took bunker configuration and angled greens to new heights in the 1920s. There's internal out-of-bounds all over the lot. 3. The par-3 9th (pictured) is one of the hidden gem one-shotters in the Northeast, though it may take a few rounds to figure out why. Be careful of its short par-4s: the 4th, 9th and 14th all tempt with driver off the tee — and punish rash tactics. 17. (Up 14), A herculean building effort by Raynor, Yale embodies the maxim that a world-class course must possess — you guessed it — world-class holes. (Up 1), Site of three U.S. (New), Some sniff at the artificiality of a course being hewn from a swamp, yet that’s also what makes the Stadium Course stand out from the crowd. GOLF AROUND THE WORLD: In association with the International Golf Federation and major magazines, we have defined the 2019 ranking of the world’s best golf courses. (Photo: Courtesy), Developers Ben Cowan-Dewar and Mike Keiser handed over a rolling plot of coastal Nova Scotia terrain to Canadian architect Rod Whitman. Welcome to Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Courses Uk & Ireland: an established and comprehensive ranking of the best Golf Courses in the United Kingdom and Ireland. One par-3 is tiny, at 115 yards; the others measure 236, 246 and 256 yards. While some argue that the closing stretch is too flat to inspire affection, it is undeniably tough, earning Troon its long-held accolades. The barren landscape possesses virtually no trees or water, just drainage ditches that traverse the land. Rebuilt following its use for RAF airfields in World War II, the "Duel in the Sun" 1977 British Open venue witnessed a recent series of well-received design changes by MacKenzie & Ebert that better utilized the rugged coastline. As Alister MacKenzie must have felt about his 1928 design, it's almost inconceivable that land this stunning was made available for golf. But the game in the mountains, desert or along lakes is quite nice, too. Opens? For decades, the land was smothered underneath a canopy of trees but Keith Foster and then Gil Hanse have opened up the property for all to admire. Arnold Palmer once tabbed the 15th as one of golf's best par-3s. What a delight that the Maxwells got to work with this special site as their soft touch on the land is a must-study for any architect. A collection of golf's most fearsome-looking bunkers populate the course. Despite its intimidating name, Teeth of the Dog entrances, starting with its superior collection of par-3s. Tillinghast in 1926 and Gil Hanse’s restoration this past decade has the course at peak. Let the beating commence! Kudos to Kyle Phillips as the seamless melding of flat farmland and Old World links contours is quite the design accomplishment. A slew of par-4s on the first nine gives way to a peculiar 3-3-5-4-3-5 start to the second nine. Probably not, given its last one was in 1908. Our expert course raters sized up the best golf courses on the planet to rank GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the World for 2020-21. The next hole, a dogleg right, calls for a fade. This is one of a handful of courses that presents resort guests with a fun test on which they won’t lose a single ball, and a week later, can be ready to host a U.S. Open. (Up 14), A Boston Brahmin society haunt for more than 100 years, this tree-lined design has played host to three U.S. Spectacular ocean views often come with the price of atrocious playing conditions but not here. (No change), Steep ravines affect play throughout its famed stretch of holes from 10-15. (Down 2), The appeal of Alister MacKenzie's Golden Age masterpiece is best explained by former world Number 1 Sir Nick Faldo. (Photo: Jim Krajicek), Harry Vardon left us much more than six Open wins and a grip. (Photo: Evan Schiller), Modern architecture did itself no favors by pursuing holes that constantly scream at the golfer, because at some point the golfer goes tone deaf. Opens and the 1999 Ryder Cup. Thomas’s famous quote — "Strategy is the soul of the game" — manifests itself at Riv. (Down 2), The only Irish course to host The Open is perennially ranked in the world's top-15 courses, thanks to a superior 1929 H.S. (Photo: Evan Schiller), Greg Norman has never been shy about professing his admiration for Alister MacKenzie. Alison's superb bunkering and strategies mix with undulating terrain that make it worth the three-hour trip from Tokyo. Macdonald’s course in 1923 and not much has changed since as its slew of exemplary template holes make it just as relevant today as it was in the age of hickory golf. (Up 12), Unlike in America, England doesn't have a phobia about courses with par under 70. (Down 1), Ever confident in his own work, Alister MacKenzie was quick to praise the talent of others. (Up 14), Recently restored by Coore & Crenshaw, Maidstone's glorious edge-of-the-Atlantic location is once again fully evident. Home of the Players Championship since 1982, the design has evolved into a handsome battleground (however you feel about the towering clubhouse), highlighting Pete Dye’s talent for envisioning something from nothing. (Up 2), Though Spyglass Hill just slipped off the list, Robert Trent Jones’s work is still represented by Peachtree’s strong showing. The design itself stands up to the aesthetics. Credit architects H.S. Holes 1 through 3, which include a Road and Biarritz template, represent one of the game’s great starts. Is that true for Myopia Hunt, given that it has hosted four U.S. Handara Golf & Resort, Bali Handara Golf & Resort Bali is a mountain golf resort located near Bedugul that brings world-class golf to the region of Bali. The golf course was first designed by Neville and Grant in 1919 and is inducted in the fifth place in our list of 10 Best Golf Courses in the World. Macdonald/Seth Raynor, 1913/A.W. Constant refinements, no matter how small, have helped this course continually power up the rankings. Add to this the splendid contouring of the greens and the rich variety of approach shots that you play into those greens. Top 100 Golf Courses of the World is the ranking list on which every golf facility would love to appear. All Kohler told Dye was "I want the course to look like it's in Ireland." Hard for a course this well known to exceed first time expectations — but it does, which is a true feat. Winged Foot, Cabot, Bandon, Sunningdale or here? Woodhall Spa is his design legacy, an intriguing heathland/inland-links blend, an oasis of tumbling terrain amid the surrounding flat fenland of Lincolnshire. The course’s most famous hole is also its most feared, the 650-yard, par-5 15th which falls away on both sides of the fairway and which sports a horizon green perched precariously on a bluff overlooking the sea. (Up 5), The opener is the easiest hole (and the course’s only three-shotter) and then … hold on! Echoed five-time Open champion Tom Watson, “It is one of the best and most beautiful tests of links golf anywhere.” Greenkeeper John Bambury embarked several years ago to convert the poa greens to fine fescue and to re-establish the running game. Work commenced in 1928 and the course didn’t open until 1931. Boasting tranquil, historic 18-hole courses, Scotland offers some of the best courses to make use of your … Macdonald together for the first time and what they created still stands as a marvel of strategic design. Modern architects, take note! Seeing a 6,431-yard, par-69 course like Swinley Forest be embraced as an epitome of great design is a powerful message. At ultra-exclusive Ellerston, he and design partner Bob Harrison adapted MacKenzie strategies and bunker stylings on a rugged landscape, resulting in the one of the strongest, most option-laden tests in the Southern Hemisphere. (Down 34), This 1999 Kyle Phillips design 15 miles from the Old Course has earned the respect of links fans, who can be a tough bunch as they generally travel to the United Kingdom to play courses that are 100-plus years old. The golf courses are called Dunluce and Valley. Bunkers were reshaped and relocated, fairways were widened and re-shaped and a natural barranca was brought back into play as a strategic hazard. Even today, no more thrilling, spectacular stretch exists than holes 4 through 10. Apart from being handed a magnificent piece of land upon which to work, Flynn was given something else nearly as valuable: time. Are the 3rd, 4th and 5th holes as intoxicating as any three consecutive holes on this list? To see our latest World Top 100, simply scroll down this page. (Photo: Joann Dost), Now under the Trump aegis, Turnberry provides unforgettable images, from Tom Watson's heroic and tragic performances to remarkable seaside holes that feature churning surf, a lighthouse and vistas of the football-shaped monolith called Ailsa Craig jutting out of the sea. After Tom Watson played here before his Open defense in 1981, he remarked that the experience was “the most fun I've ever had a on a golf course.” Donald Ross grew up here, though Dornoch took its final shape as we know it today well after he left. The reality, however, is that most courses that feature on our World Top 100 table are household names that have become permanent fixtures. The same design principles — fairway contours that either shunt you out of position or send you to the ideal location, hazards that appear ageless and greens that offer a wide range of hole locations —demand you reassess how to best play each hole from one day to the next. Has counted Jack Nicklaus in his own sense of place and balance. probably six hard,. Site of three U.S sea vistas breaking the “ rules ” and having back-to-back par-5s the... 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