Top 10 golf courses in the world

2014-01-29 10:02
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Extreme golf courses

Take a look at these eight golf courses around the world that pose more of a challenge than just the par.

The US edition of Golf Digest – the world’s biggest selling international golf publication - recently released their list of the World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses and, guess what, two South African courses made the list!

We take a look at the local favourites as well as those that made the top 10.

Leopard’s Creek, Mpumalanga – 84th place 

Situated near Malelane in Mpumalanga, Leopard’s Creek golf course is surrounded by bushveld koppies and bordered by the mighty Crocodile River.

And, no, it’s not just a name – these toothy critters actually roam around here! It was designed by Gary Player.

Length: 6 665 metres

Par: 72

The Links at Fancourt, George, Western Cape – 34th place

This gorgeous Garden Route course was also designed by Gary Player and has been called the most impressive piece of golf design and construction ever in South Africa. Player’s design team was greatly inspired by the great golf courses of Scotland and Ireland.  

Length: 5 530 metres
Par: 72 

10. Oakmont, Pennsylvania, US 

Introduced in 1903 by designer Henry Fownes, Oakmont Country Club has hosted more combined USGA and PGA championships than any other course in the US. It is also widely known to be one of the most difficult in North America with 210 deep bunkers as well as hard and slick greens that slope away from the player.  

Length: 6 633 metres
Par: 71  

9. Royal Melbourne West Course,  Victoria, Australia

Designed in 1926 by the renowned Scottish golf architect, Dr Alister MacKenzie, the West Course is known for its crisp bunkering and vertical edges. It’s ranked number one in Australia and is definitely not suitable for beginners.  

Length: 6 074 metres
Par: 72 8

8. Muirfield, Gullane, Scotland 

Home to the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, Muirfield takes on an unusual layout for a links course. It is arranged as two loops of nine holes, one clockwise, one anticlockwise. This means that every hole on the course has a different apparent wind direction from the tee.  

Length: 6 591 metres
Par: 72

7. The Old Course at St. Andrews Links, Fife, Scotland 

As one of the oldest golf courses in the world, St. Andrews Links is often considered a basis for course architecture – with designs either responding to its features or reacting against them. One of the unique features of the Old Course are the large double greens - seven greens are shared by two holes each.  

Length: 6 655 metres
Par: 72

6. Royal Dornoch, Sutherland, Scotland

The course has been called ‘fun,’ ‘natural’ and ‘home’ by a variety of well-known golfers, including Tom Watson and Donald Ross. It finds itself tucked among North Sea shoreline dunes and is often battered by coastal winds.  

Length: 6 130 metres
Par: 70

5. Shinnecock Hills, Southampton, New York

This links-style golf club has many claims to fame. Firstly, it is the oldest formal organized golf club in the United States, having been established in 1891, it has the oldest club house and was the first to welcome women. The course hasn’t been remodeled since the 1930s, because, really, it requires no improvement.  

Length: 6 438 metres
Par: 72

4. Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland

Dating from 1889, it is one of the oldest golf clubs in Ireland and has two 18-hole links courses. The design is attributed to Old Tom Morris but was refined by a half dozen architects in the past 120 years. The ‘bearded’ bunkers are world famous and feature overhanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather.

Length: 6 570 metres
Par: 71

3. Augusta National, Augusta, US

Having played host to the annual Masters Tournament since 1934, Augusta is probably the most famous golf course in the world. The course has a few well-known landmarks, including ‘Amen Corner’, ‘the Big Oak Tree’ and Rae’s Creek.  

Length: 6 798 metres
Par: 72

2. Cypress Point Club, Pebble Beach, US

Designed by Alistair MacKenzie, the course wends its way through jagged coastline and sand dunes. The signature hole is #16, which requires a 231-yard tee shot over the Pacific to a mid-sized green guarded by strategically placed bunkers.

Length: 5 965 metres
Par: 72

1. Pine Valley, New Jersey, US

Despite the fact that it was the first and only golf course ever designed by founder, George Crump and condescendingly called ‘Crump’s Folly’ by some, this unusual golf course has actually managed to make its way to the top of this prestigious list. According to Golf Digest it blends all three schools of golf design - penal, heroic and strategic - throughout the course, often times on a single hole.

Length: 6 452 metres
Par: 70
Read more on:    golf  |  travel  |  travel international

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