Often considered to be a sport of the elite, golf has been played since as early as the fourteenth century. Golf courses, with their endless expanse of green and their proximity to water bodies, make for a very picturesque sight.
“Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness.” ~ William Wordsworth
If walking on the deepest green turf, surrounded by the most amazing views becomes a part of that ‘strenuous idleness’, wouldn’t it be picture perfect?
Golfing is, without doubt, a hobby for the moneyed lot. This probably explains the presence of a golf course at almost every exclusively scenic corner of the world. The fame attached to a golf course is a by-product of its history and grandeur. Restricted access ups the prominence of a golf course by several notches.
For now, we’re going to look at some of the best golf courses around the world, the ones which open their gates to the bourgeois (at a considerable price, mind you).
Best Golf Courses in the World
Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland
A rich golfing tradition of 600 years, the Old Course at St. Andrews is golf’s hallowed turf, and has rightfully earned the status of a pilgrimage site. It was way back in 1552 that a license was issued which allowed citizens to “play at golf, futball, schuteing … with all other manners of pastimes.” The highlight of the Old Course is the large double greens. The Swilcan Bridge here remains an icon for the game of golf to this day. The Open Championship has been played 28 times here, beginning in the year 1873.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, California, USA
When you have a golf course lining the Pacific coast, it is bound to be a knockout beauty. Pebble Beach designers, Jack Neville and Douglas Grant used the peculiar ‘figure 8’ pattern to align maximum number of holes along the uneven Monterey coastline, that provides breathtaking views of the Pacific ocean. Pebble Beach has hosted the prestigious U.S. Open tournament five times, and is due to host it in 2019 for the sixth time. The year 2019 also happens to be this golf course’s centennial year.
Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Scotland
We’re back in Scotland, the home of golf, this time at the Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Sutherland. It was in 1877 that the Dornoch Golf Club was formed, changing the landscape of this quiet town. Nine years later, the club sought the services of the legendary golfer Tom Morris and assigned him the job of formally designing the course. With a rich history and a spectacular course, it is rather odd that Dornoch has never hosted a national championship so far. Nevertheless, its place in the list of best golf courses remains undisputed.
Pinehurst Resort, North Carolina, USA
Eight golf courses are a part of Pinehurst Resort, the highest among all resorts in America. Course number two is the foremost, having played host to the U.S. Open, the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship. It also hosted the North and South Open from 1902 to 1951. The year 2014 will witness the men’s and women’s U.S. Open Championships being played right here at Pinehurst No. 2.
Royal County Down Golf Club, Ireland
Nestled between the Irish Sea and the Mourne Mountains, the Royal County Down Golf Club is 90 miles away from the Irish capital, Dublin. The dense green cover, combined with the sea breeze make this a deceptively difficult turf to play on. Tournaments played here include the Senior British Open Championship, the Amateur Championship, the British Ladies’ Amateur Golf Championship, the Curtis Cup and the Walker Cup.
Sperone Golf Club, France
Sperone Golf Club is situated on the southern tip of French Corsica. You get unrestricted views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Bonifacio Strait, and that’s not the only joy you experience while playing here. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., this course is deceptively tough to play on. Its first nines are a part of the bushland and pines, whereas the back nines are located on the rocky terrain that overlooks the Mediterranean. Tournaments like the AGF Golf Tour, the Grand Prix de Corse and the Pro Am have been played here.
Pacific Dunes Golf Resort, Oregon, USA
A relatively new course, the Pacific Dunes Golf Resort opened on 1st July 2001. With Tom Doak as the architect, the layout of the course became instantly popular. It is located near Bandon in the state of Oregon, U.S.A. It is considered by experts to be a premiere golf destination in North America.
Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, New Zealand
At the southeastern tip of New Zealand’s North Island is where you will find the Cape Kidnappers golf course. This course happens to be one of Tom Doak’s several architectural marvels. The outstanding feature of this terrain is its tilted level that slopes towards the sea. Combined with the sea wind, it makes for an interesting playing experience.
Les Bordes Golf Course, Loire Valley, France
Rated as the best golf course in Europe, Les Bordes is also sometimes called ‘the Augusta Golf Club of France’, and that’s saying something. The design of this course is attributed to Robert von Hagge and Rick Baril, who consider Les Bordes to be their pièce de résistance. With the lakes and island greens integrated into the playing terrain, this course provides a golfing game like no other.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina, USA
The Ocean Course entered into limelight when it hosted the Ryder Cup in 1991. Situated in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, golfers have to combat the fierce Atlantic winds while playing on this course. The large number of bunkers and the Bermuda grass turf intensify the golfing action here. The Ocean Club has played host to the World Cup of Golf, Senior PGA Championship and PGA Club Professional Championship.
Before we conclude, a special mention of the Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey, U.S.A is inevitable. Grandeur and exclusivity go hand in hand here at the Pine Valley Golf Club. This club defines the word ‘private’, and the select few who have played here consider it a privilege.
Famous golf courses blend the best golfing experience with state-of-art luxury. Some of these courses are seeped in centuries of history, while others gained prominence due to their strategic locations. Whatever the reasons may be, do make it a point to tee off at each one of these hand-picked golf courses and reserve your share of the golfing world’s very best.