Best golf courses of the world
The best golf courses of the world is something exceptionally hard to define. The sport of golf is played internationally. These days golfers are spoiled for as there are so many fabulous courses to play. Picking the best golf courses in the world is of course a subjective process, but there are some historic courses which are mentioned time and time again in peoples’ shortlists.
Best golf courses of the world – what makes a course quality?
What makes a golf course qualify is a number of factors. First and foremost it must be challenging to players of different standards. This is achieved by different tee positions and length for play for people of different standards. However, it must be a fair test of golf. Next, ideally the course should have breath-taking and picturesque scenery, which of course open to different interpretations. Usually the best courses in the world have a signature hole, or signature holes. These are golf holes that stand out above the others due to the level of difficulty or some noteworthy and unique feature. Some courses generally considered amongst the best are seeped in history. This is not to say that some of the newer courses aren’t right up there. Having world class facilities and infrastructure is also a contributing factor.
Best golf courses of the world – not just a place for golfers
Golf courses used to be the domains of golfers. However, nowadays many have turned into all inclusive resorts, with hotels, spa and other recreation facilities. This means they have become tourist destinations in their own right.
Most golfers like to play in different courses. Each golf course provides a unique experience and its own challenges. It is hard enough to come up with a list of the best golf courses in any one country, let alone the world! Fact is there are so many courses to select from. Below, is a shortlist of what many would consider amongst the best golf courses in the world. If you are a keen golfer, you might consider to make it an objective to play or at least visit some of these.
Best golf courses of the world – Ireland
Ireland, or the Emerald Isle is a location well known for great golf courses. In fact there are so many great courses in Ireland that it is a real challenge to pick.
Best golf courses of the world – The Royal County Down Golf Club
The Royal County Down Golf Club and golf course has been in existence since the 19th century. It is located in Northern Ireland . Even today it still offers golfers an exciting challenge. The first totals a huge 540 yards, so a long drive is helpful. The 7th and 12th holes are particularly challenging where many a ball has been lost. This historic course that overlooks the Irish Sea.
Best golf courses of the world –Ballybunion
Located on the West Coast of Ireland, Ballybunion has to be considered amongst the world’s best courses. It is home to what is undoubtedly one of the toughest par 4’s in the game. Ballybunion is particularly challenging, but also incredibly beautiful. It is known to be one of the favourite courses of golfing superstar Tom Watson.
Best golf courses of the world – Scotland
Similar to Ireland, there are just so many top quality golf courses in Scotland. Perhaps two stand out to make it to the ‘among the best’ list.
Best golf courses of the world – Turnberry
Turnberry is located in Ayrshire, Scotland and is an integral part of the rich golfing heritage and tradition for which Scotland is renowned. Turnberry has hosted the British Open a number of times and some of the great pros of the game including, Tom Watson, Greg Norman and Nick Price have won the Championship at Turnberry. These days Turnberry is a world call resort and is a must visit golfing a leisure destination.
Best golf courses of the world – St. Andrews Old Course
Established in the early 1300s, St Andrews is considered accepted birthplace of golf. The whole place is steeped in golfing history. St Andrews is one of the oldest and in inclement weather one of the most challenging golf courses in the world, with the infamous road hole on the finishing straight. Today St Andrews resort offers six courses of varying difficulty levels. As a golfer, this is a must visit destination.
Best golf courses of the world – New Zealand
The remote islands of New Zealand are home to what must be considered one of the best golf courses in the world.
Best golf courses of the world – Cape Kidnappers
Cape Kidnappers was designed by American Architect Tom Doak and is built on what was once a 2,000 hectare sheep farm. The course overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is as challenging as it is beautiful. It features jagged, deep ravines that golfer have to navigate past and sloping greens which challenge even the best best players.
Best golf courses of the world – South Africa
South Africa is also home to what must be considered one of the best golf courses in the world located not too far away from the famous Kruger National Park.
Best golf courses of the world – Leopard Creek
Leopard Creek was funded and co-designed by investment banker Johann Rupert and golf legend Gary Player. Membership is by invitation only, which gives Leopard Creek additional exclusivity. The course was completely remodeled in 2000 and is particularly challenging. Leopard Creek has become a must visit destination for the elite golfers in the world. It is also the natural home of crocodiles, hippos, and even tigers! Best to keep the ball in play at all times!
Best golf courses of the world – Spain
There are some wonderful golf course across Spain, particularly in the southern region of Andalucia, which enjoys a fabulous Mediterranean climate.
Best golf courses of the world – Valderrama
Valderrama was inaugurated in 1985 and boasts spectacular views across the Mediterranean Sea towards Africa. The course is manicured to perfection with fairways and greens that are top quality. Valderrama was host to the 1997 Ryder Cup led by Seve, where Team Europe were victorious by the narrowest of margins: 14½ to 13½.
Best golf courses of the world – Barbados
Barbados in the Caribbean is home a world class golf course with equally intriguing name: Green Monkey
Best golf courses of the world – Green Monkey
Green Monkey is part of the five star Sandy Lane Golf Resort in Barbados. Green Monkey was designed by none other than Tom Fazio, arguably the world’s top golf course designer. Both beautiful and challenging Green Monkey’s 45 holes are must visit destination particularly for the notorious 9th and 16th holes.
Best golf courses of the world – USA
There are just so many fabulous golf course across the USA, that it is just so hard to leave some out of a list that is labelled ‘the best’.
Best golf courses of the world – The Pine Valley Golf Club
The Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey offers some the best golf around. Pine Valley is a 70-par course that has an unusual and challenging design. It’s a popular place for professionals to come to practice due to its difficulty level. The fifth hole is one of the best, being a par-3 of 220 yards.
Best golf courses of the world – The Cypress Point Club
The Cypress Point Club in Monterey, California oozes quality and is possibly even a candidate for the best golf course in the world. It’s a par-72 course of over 6,300 yards and is extremely tough and challenging course. Generally speaking it is more suited for players of more experience, but of course everyone is able to play.
Best golf courses of the world – The Eagle Point Golf Club
Located in the east of North Carolina this par-72 golf course enjoys somewhat of a low profile considering how fantastic it is. The prevailing wind off the Atlantic Ocean makes it a particular challenge for golfers. The club enjoys state of the art golf training area and well as other sports and recreational facilities. It also enjoys all year round fabulous weather.
Best golf courses of the world – Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach was designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant along the Pacific Coast. Jack Nicklaus is quoted as saying, “If I had only one more round to play, I would choose to play it at Pebble Beach.” Well there can’t be much of a higher endorsement than that! Pebble Beach’s golf courses have been voted the number one golf resort in USA by Golf Digest Magazine.
Best golf courses of the world – Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta National Golf Club is home to The Masters. It is not a particularly difficult course, but the greens are known to be slick and it is an incredibly beautiful and manicured setting.
Best golf courses of the world – summary
There are thousands of golf clubs, golf courses and golf resorts around the world. This article hasn’t even touched on courses in Asia and the Middle East, some of which are world class. Selecting the best golf courses in the world is almost an impossible task and everyone’s top ten is likely to be different. It is highly likely though that at least one or two of the courses mentioned above would feature on everyone’s list.
While golf courses used to be a place where golfers would play, nowadays many have been transformed into five star recreational resorts and tourist attractions.