The World’s top Golf Courses

Golf courses – oft derided as a bastion for the retirement set, they’re actually one of the most impressive meetings of natural beauty and man-made architecture. A great course flows from the land, little different than a stream or sand dune. These are some of the finest.

  1. Shinnecock Hills – a stunning links layout on one of the richest tracts of golfing land in the world (the course is neighbors with the National Golf Links of America and Sebonack), Shinnecock is a wind-worn, brutal layout, defined by its fast greens, plentiful bunkers, and wild undulations.
  2. Cypress Point – one of the most beautiful locations in the world, masterfully molded into one of the most strategic golf courses in the world. The holes at Cypress Point follow the land, flowing over tremendous dunes and playing across glittering chasms of ocean. The stretch from 12-17 may be the best pure golf in the world.
  3. Royal Melbourne West – a gem of a course down under, Royal Melbourne is what Augusta National once was – wide and strategic, with gorgeously sculpted bunkers and massive, sloping greens. The land and the angles of play are subtle, but the course is unforgettable.
  4. Pine Valley – the hard scrabble pine hills of central New Jersey are not where you’d expect to find a great golf course, and yet it’s there that you find Pine Valley, maybe the most difficult course in the world. Huge rolling greens, and even bigger sand pits, create one heck of a challenge.
  5. Merion East – The grand dame of American golf courses, the miniscule fairways, the jungle-thick rough, and the smooth-as-glass greens help to make Merion’s East Course a unique and diabolical test. The famous 16th, the quarry hole, is the star of what might be the best final five holes in the world.