Top 25 Golf Destinations In the World One Should Visit At Least Once
Top 25 Golf Destinations In the World One Should Visit At Least Once
Golf is one of the most loved sports played by people all around the world. Enthusiasts of the game not only like to play the sport but they also enjoy watching the professional tournaments on television. The true fanatics will even make it their life’s goal to see or play the top golf courses in the world.
There should be several reasons why one would want to visit many of the famous courses located on six continents. For one to play a difficult course and come out the other end with a great score and the same mental stability they had before they took the first tee box is a great accomplishment. The ability to play the same courses that chewed up and spit out the world’s best is definitely something worth paying for. To play the finest courses known to man, such as the opportunity to play Augusta National because a friend of a friend of a friend is a member, is something worth telling the grandchildren about.
People who do not understand the game or simply are not good at it will quickly claim the sport is boring and there is not much more to it then hitting a ball with a stick. However, the true aficionados know that it is a game of skill that will truly test the limits of one’s physical and mental capabilities.
The following slides are the top 25 golf courses one should see or play at least once in their life. They are not based on world rankings, although most of them would appear very high on that list.
25. Harbour Town
Harbour Town Golf Links is located in Hilton Head, South Carolina and is a very popular course to visit as an estimated 38,000 rounds are played every year. It is a difficult course to play due to its narrow fairways and tiny greens surrounded by water. Not to mention, the overhanging trees will prevent many golfers to improvise their shots. However, the Pete Dye designed course (with the help of Jack Nicklaus) should be played for its originality.
24. Bethpage (Black)
23. Blackwolf Run (River)
Blackwolf Run, located in Kohler, Wisconsin, is another course that was designed by Pete Dye. The intimidation factor certainly comes into play immediately as the first hole contains a 100-yard water hazard that is the Sheboygan River. There are also steep drops offs that will prevent any ball not hit accurate enough to belong to the course. Why should one take the time to play Blackwolf run? The course contains some of the most exciting holes Dye has ever designed.
22. Sand Hills
The most natural golf course in the United States has to be Sand Hills located in Mullen, Nebraska. The hilly course contains natural and man-made bunkers that will cause all sorts of problems, but at least the golfer will not have to worry about trees or water hazards. The Par 71, 7,089-yard course is considered to have the best golfing terrain around.
21. Riviera Country Club
The Riviera Country Club is a world class, championship golf course that is sandwiched in between a canyon and some of the nicest homes that one will ever see. It contains some very unique holes such as a green with a bunker located in the middle of it. It is also a great place to watch a PGA tournament and who wouldn’t want to visit the course where Ben Hogan recorded his first U.S Open win?
20. The Olympic Club (Lake)
The Olympic Club located in San Francisco is another very difficult course in which the world’s greatest golfers have lost sleep the night before stepping foot on the grass. It defies logic in the sense that holes turn when they aren’t supposed to and a ball’s bounce never ends up where it should. For these reasons alone, not to mention the epic finish at the 2012 U.S. Open is why everyone should experience the Olympic Club for themselves.
19. National Golf Links of America
The National Golf Links of America is the closest any American will get to an old British-style golf course without actually leaving the country. Its holes replicate ones from old British Isle golf holes and the design of the course baffles many to this day. The fact that numerous golf architects continue to study the layout and details of each hole proves how special it truly is.
18. The Ocean Course
The Ocean Course was created specifically for the 1991 Ryder Cup and is considered to be one of Dye’s most challenging courses. It is part of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort but is by far the most difficult of the five courses located in the South Carolina region. Thick sawgrass, numerous slopes and bunkers that turn into sand dunes are just several reasons why people have a hard time completing a round without losing a golf ball or two. However, the gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean should be reason enough to play.
17. Pacific Dunes
Pacific Dunes is another ocean-front golf course that has to be seen to believe. However, it does not need the ocean to make it amazing as this course would suffice anywhere in the United States. The ridiculous sand traps and difficult greens plus four par threes on the back nine make this course an unusual one at that but anyone in the Oregon area must give it a whirl.
16. Royal Melbourne
The 36-hole Royal Melbourne in Australia has wide open fairways that are perfect for the average golfer who is interested in playing a top ten course in the world. However, just because the fairways are easy to stay on does not mean it will be a simple task to get to the green. The Royal Melbourne is very much a second shot course and can be very demanding at times. A less than perfect shot could very well find itself in a bunker.
15. Oak Hill (East)
Oak Hill (East) in Rochester, New York is a private golf course filled with history. The numerous oak trees that exist on the course will certainly come into play, if you are even lucky enough to find your way onto the course. If anything, the 2013 PGA Championship will give fanatics a good reason to visit the legendary course where four hole-in-ones were made in less than two hours during the 1989 U.S. Open.
14. Whistling Straits
Whistling Straits is the second golf course on this list in the state of Wisconsin as it is located near Blackwolf Run. It is also one of two courses on this list that I have been on and believe me, it is quite the sight. One would expect it to be along the western coastline but somehow found its way next to Lake Michigan. It has the feel of a California course but still has the Wisconsin touch. The course is fun to play, but is just as exciting to watch a Major tournament. The PGA Championship is scheduled to be played there in 2015 and the Ryder Cup will take place in 2020.
13. Muirfield Village
Muirfield Village is one of those courses that gets reshaped constantly. Nicklaus began by remodeling the 16th and 17th holes of the Dublin, Ohio course. However, it did not stop there as every single hole on the course has been changed in some way over the past 30 years, some of which more than once. The hilly course requires a player to drive the ball far and shape his shots. The beautiful venue that takes after Augusta National is home of the 2013 Presidents Cup.
12. Merion (East)
The Merion East located in Pennsylvania is a beautiful old course that does not have the size to hold Major tournaments, yet the U.S. Open will be played there in 2013. The tight fairways, deep rough and numerous fairways continue to challenge the best in the world. It is not a course in which one must hit the ball far as much as they must be accurate and smart with their shots. Merion East is certainly a course rich in history that must be played at least once.
11. Winged Foot (West)
The legendary Winged Foot West is another course located in New York and is one of golf architect A.W Tillinghast’s six top 100 courses located 30 miles of Times Square. The dramatic greens have been carefully designed and the layout to get to such greens was clearly planned out with precision. It may not be as distinct as some of the other courses on this list but it is still an outstanding achievement that needs to be seen.
Oakmont Country Club is one of the top ranked golf courses in the world and is home to one of best opening holes known to man. The greens have some of the quickest putting surfaces of any course and the makeup proves to be very difficult as it is clearly not for the faint of heart. Oakmont is one of those courses that must be visited, perhaps during a Major tournament, just to say you did it.
9. Royal County Down
Royal County Down located in Northern Ireland is one of the top golf courses in the British Isles. It is also one of the oldest courses in Ireland, a country rich in the history of golf. The 36-hole course has a rare natural beauty due to the landscape and the impressive mountains that surround the course. It is also considered to be one of the best maintained courses in the world which is why many famous golfers enjoy playing a casual round there.
8. Pinehurst No. 2
Pinehurst No. 2 is a historic golf course located at the Pinehurst Golf Resort in North Carolina. It is by far the most famous of the eight courses at the resort and is considered by many to be a golf mecca. It is certainly a course that must be played as well as visited during a Major tournament. For instance, the men and women’s U.S. Open will be played in back-to-back weeks in 2014.
7. Shinnecock Hills
Shinnecock Hills is rich in history as it is considered to be the oldest golf course in the United States (1891). It is most definitely a championship course, one that must be visited perhaps during the 2018 U.S. Open. The famous clubhouse is also worth checking out if you are lucky enough to receive an invitation.
6. TPC Sawgrass
TPC Sawgrass is the other course I have been to, however, I did not have the privilege of playing it. I was lucky enough to be escorted onto the course in which I was able to witness the famous 17th hole that is completely surrounded by water. In fact, that par 3 is the single most reason why anyone pays the pricey greens fee to play the difficult course. The beautiful clubhouse is filled with famous photographs and lovely art work. There is also a tradition that every winner of The Players Championship must leave one golf club in the trophy room after their final round.
5. Pine Valley
Pine Valley Golf Club is considered the No. 1 ranked course in the United States. Unfortunately, it is a private course so the only way to play is to get an invite. The New Jersey course has a beautiful design that takes in mind strategy as well as other factors on every hole. It is every golfer’s dream to at least get a glimpse of Pine Valley even if they cannot play a round.
4. Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach Golf Links located in Pebble Beach, California is considered to be the most gorgeous golf course in the world and is a must for everyone who enjoys the sport. Most of the course is located along the ocean-front, with nine holes that take place right above the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. What makes it such a difficult course is the small greens and windy conditions. Not to mention, the scenery alone can pump the adrenaline of even the most confident golfers.
3. Cypress Point
Cypress Point is a private golf club in Pebble Beach, California. Considering the club only has 250 members it is near impossible to play, however, it is still a great course to at least visit when in the area of the Monterey peninsula. Cypress Point is most famous for its three highly rated holes along the Pacific Ocean. It is not very long and is considered easy by many but it is still a beautiful course to play on a nice summer day.
2. St. Andrews (Old Course)
Many people would argue that St. Andrews should be No. 1 on this list considering it is believed to be the oldest golf course in the world. The 600 year old course is the most famous of them all and is a must for every golf fanatic to visit at least once in their life. To play St. Andrews is quite the achievement for anyone to cross off of their bucket list.
1. Augusta National
Augusta National is easily the No. 1 course any golf enthusiast should at least visit to see the Masters Tournament and obviously play if the opportunity presented itself. Augusta is one of the most magical courses in the world where some of the sport’s greatest names have come together to compete. Not to mention, the course itself is very difficult and the constant changes make it impossible to have a consistent level of play.
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