Golf has become one of the most anticipated sports over the years. One of the biggest draws of golf is that you can just hop on a golf cart, steer the wheels and tires, and enjoy the beautiful scenery. With sprawling greens that have breathtaking views, the golf courses of today are a far cry from their humble beginnings in the British Isles. Here’s a round-up of the world’s best golf courses.
Royal County Down Golf Course (Newcastle, Northern Ireland)
Royal County Down boasts some of the best views in any golf course. To the east is Dundrum Bay, to the south are the Mountains of Mourne and the dunes covered with magnificent gorse. All amazing to look at, especially on a clear spring day.
The Old Course at St. Andrews (Fife, Scotland)
Golf has been played in the Old Course since the fifteenth century. St. Andrews is widely considered as the birthplace of the sport itself. Its rich history alone is reason enough for it to be included in the world’s best golf courses.
Royal Dornoch Golf Course (Scotland)
The famed American sports writer Herbert Warren Wind describes the Royal Dornoch as the most natural golf course in the world while golf course designer Donald Ross calls it his home. Dornoche’s greens sit mostly in plateaus, tucked in the scenic dunes of the North Sea shoreline.
Cape Kidnappers Golf Course (New Zealand)
The layout of Cape Kidnappers is considered a modern marvel in golf course design. Situated 140 meters above sea level, this New Zealand gem offers both a challenging terrain for golfers of all levels and breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys, ridges, and seas.
Green Monkey Golf Course (Sandy Lane, Barbados)
The Green Monkey was the first golf course designed by Tom Fazio outside the United States. The seven holes of the course cut through and are surrounded by a quarry, probably the largest quarry feature in any golf course in the world. Some holes also have access to spectacular views of the Caribbean seas.
Yas Links (Abu Dhabi)
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. Compared to other contenders on this list, Yas Links has the most exotic terrain being in the dessert and with a view of the Arabian Gulf.
Pine Valley Golf Club (New Jersey, USA)
Pine Valley does not have the pedigree of the other golf courses in this list, but its unique terrain make it a top contender. Barrens of New Jersey gives the impression of a desert golf club interspersed with pine trees. Golf Digest even said that “Pine Valley blends all three schools of golf design—penal, heroic, and strategic.”
The Blackstone Course (Mission Hills, Haikou, China)
The Blackstone Course is only one of twenty-two golf courses in the enormous Mission Hills complex in the tropical island of Hainan in China. Spanning two locations, it is touted as the largest golf facility in the world by the Guinness World Records.
Royal Portrush Golf Course (Northern Ireland)
Designed by the legendary Old Tom Morris, the Royal Portrush is the only Irish golf course to have the privilege of hosting The Open, the first time in 1951 and again this year. In preparation, architect Martin Ebert added two new holes to the course.
Leopard Creek Country Club (South Africa)
The African golfing jewel, Leopard Creek, can be found at the edge of the world-renowned Kruger Park, bounded only by the Crocodile River in the north. The club was born out of the mutual admiration for the sport between a banker and a pro-golfer.
El Camaleon Riviera Maya Golf Club (Mexico)
El Camaleon gained notoriety in 2007 when it became the home of the first PGA Tour outside of the United States and Canada. Legendary Australian golfer Greg Norman designed the club’s layout to be divided into three distinct ecosystems: Caribbean Sea coastline, mangrove forest, and the Mayan jungle.
Cabot Cliffs (Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Designed by the sensational duo of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the course of Cabot Cliffs is teaming with so much variety. The south side is filled with sand dunes, the north side sits on ocean cliffs, and the in between is reminiscent of the Scottish highlands.