Golf began way back in the 15th century, and since that time, it has grown and grown in popularity around the world. Today, there are golf courses in 85% of the world’s countries and over 33,000 golf facilities.
Clearly, it would be impossible to play them all and it would be very difficult to play golf in every country that has a course. However, one of the best things about the sport of golf is trying out different golf courses. Every single one is different. Some are in places you’d never guess; all of them are beautiful in their own way.
If you’re an avid golfer or even just a casual one, chances are that you are interested in knowing more about the world’s top golf courses, and you likely have lots of questions about them. Where are they located? What are they like? And most importantly, can you play there someday?
For the answers to these questions and more, read on. Get ready to start expanding your bucket list to include some of these amazing courses worldwide.
1. The Old Course at St. Andrews Links; St Andrews, Scotland
St. Andrews appears at or near the tip of every list of top golf courses, and for good reason; it’s amazing. It’s believed to be the oldest golf course in the world and there is evidence that people played on it all the way back in the early 1400s.
Even more than that, it’s considered to be the true birthplace of golf, and the way that people played golf there so many centuries ago is quite similar to the way we play it today. Further, every modern golf course used today was designed with St Andrews in mind.
So, this is not only one of the best golf courses in the world, but it is also the most important and most famous. Every golfer should play at St Andrews at least once in his or her life, and fortunately, that’s possible, because it’s a course that is open to the general public.
2. Pebble Beach Golf Links; Pebble Beach, California, USA
There are quite a few fantastic and well-known golf courses in the United States, but perhaps the most beautiful is Pebble Beach Golf Links. Situated overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean with breathtaking views all around, there is no course in the world quite like this.
Jack Neville and Douglas Grant designed this course and it opened in 1919; H. Chandler Egan redesigned it in part nine years later. The US Open has been held at Pebble Beach a number of times and is next scheduled to occur there in 2027.
Pebble Beach Gold Links is a public course, so you can golf here, too. However, if you plan to go, start saving your pennies now. At $525 per round, it has some of the highest greens fees in the world.
3. Royal County Down Golf Club; Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland
Royal County Down is one of the oldest golf clubs in Ireland. It opened in 1889 and consists of two eighteen-hole courses. Its soft, rolling hills and foggy mornings are representative of everything that people love about the beauty of Ireland. Most holes have a view of the Irish Sea and the Isle of Man in the distance.
This club has been host to many tournaments over the years including the Irish Open in 1928, 1935, and 2015, the 2007 Walker Cup, the 2012 Palmer Cup, and others. Although Royal County Down Golf Club is an organization that requires membership, visitors are welcome. This is only one of many great golf courses in Ireland – check out these golf courses for more.
4. Royal Melbourne Golf Club; Black Rock, Victoria, Australia
The Royal Melbourne Golf Club is a 36-hole course that is located just outside of Melbourne, Australia. The two connected courses are designated East and West; the West course is considered to be the best course in all of Australia, and the East course is not far behind.
This course was founded in 1891 which makes it Australia’s oldest golf club as well. It’s been host to the Australian Open sixteen times so far and has also been the site of other major tournaments as well. This golf club is known for taking impeccable care of its courses, both of which look as perfect today as they did when they opened well over a century ago.
The Royal Melbourne Golf Club is a private, members’ only course, but they do offer some tee times for visitors on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. They’re quite limited, though, so don’t take it personally if they turn you down.
5. Cape Kidnappers Golf Course; Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
This course will blow your mind. There is nothing like it in the world.
Cape Kidnappers is far newer than the other courses on this list; it was built in 2004 and it was designed by architect Tom Doak. It’s located on the North Island, on a plateau 500 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Not only that, though; each hole is on a narrow ridge that runs perpendicular to the coastline, with lots of opportunities for lost balls.
Cape Kidnappers is a public course so you’re welcome to try it out for yourself. This is probably the most beautiful golf course in New Zealand, and that’s saying a lot for one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
6. Hirono Golf Club; Hirono, Hyogo, Japan
People don’t often think of Japan as a golf destination, but it’s a wonderful place to play, and it is home to a great many lovely golf courses. Hirono leads the pack; it opened in 1932 and was designed by C.H. Alison. Located near Kobe, it is considered one of the very best golf courses in all of Asia. Unfortunately for you, it’s private, so if you want to play it, you’ll have to befriend a member.
7. The Links at Fancourt; George, Western Cape, South Africa
One of the best golf courses on the African continent is The Links at Fancourt. It is privately owned and is on the property of The Fancourt Resort; the resort’s two other courses also rank high. The setting is idyllic and the beautiful Outeniqua Mountains are visible from every hole. Like Hirono, it’s only open to members and their guests.
Try These Top Golf Courses
The above golf courses are some of the top golf courses in the entire world and are a great addition to the bucket lists of all traveling golfers. Even playing just one of these seven golf courses would be the round of a lifetime; if you can make it to all seven, you’re one lucky golfer! Good luck on your mission, and godspeed. Happy golfing!
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