What makes for a great round of golf? Some want to have every facet of their game tested. Others, at peace with their mediocre skill set, prefer to play amidst inspiring views.
The best courses on Earth combine the best of both worlds – below, we’ll discuss five clubs which live up to the billing they get from golf media, this luxury lifestyle travel blog, and players alike.
Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland
Named the top course on the planet by Golf Digest magazine in 2016, Royal County Down challenges players with its rugged terrain and dastardly bunkers.
While you will be hard pressed to make par on many holes, the lush mountains which surround you at every turn and the ethereal blue of Dundrum Bay will serve as ample compensation as you log your umpteenth triple bogey.
It’s not all bad news for novices, though – with the flattest greens of any of the courses on this list, you won’t be three-putting many holes during your round.
Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Black Rock, Victoria, Australia
Heading Down Under on vacation soon? Make time in your schedule for a round at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
Considered by experts to the toughest course in the Southern Hemisphere, the continual dog legs contained within the holes of this private golf club are a bane to one-dimensional players who can hit long but not accurate shots.
Do take care when approaching their greens as well, as their firmness turn perfect shots into ones which roll right off the end, much to the surprise of experienced players.
St. Andrews Links (Old Course), St. Andrews, Scotland
Familiar to many golf fans in North America due to its frequent appearances during the British Open, the Old Course at St. Andrews Links is a place steeped in beauty and history.
With tall grasses that flow in ever-present winds, holes which run parallel to austere beaches, and fairways which have hosted players since the creation of the game in the 15th century, it is no wonder this place is on the ‘bucket list’ of so many golfers.
While St. Andrews is a public course, its popularity means those who neglect to book a group package months beforehand (£2,000 per person for three rounds during peak season) will have to enter a lottery to see who gets to play. Unless you’re feeling lucky, plan ahead.
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California, USA
America is a nation obsessed with golf. In nearly every state, you’ll find signature courses any player would be thrilled to walk upon in their lifetime. And yet, few courses in this country capture their collective imagination quite like Pebble Beach.
Perched atop a cliff overlooking the relentless surf of the Pacific Ocean, half the holes in this course are directly adjacent to it. This makes them unforgiving to hooks and slices, so try to not get mesmerized by the amazing scenery on tap.
Cabot Cliffs, Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada
The last few years have been heady ones for Inverness, a quaint Nova Scotian town on the west coast of Cape Breton Island. Previously in a state of slow decline following the closure of its coal mine a generation ago, a local developer saw potential in its peaceful setting between sea and highlands.
Cabot Links was the first property they opened, and did so to rave reviews. Word got out quickly, and soon, golf publications were signing its praises.
Emboldened by their initial success, they recently opened a companion course, Cabot Cliffs, which has gained similar acclaim.
Named as the best new course of the year by Golf Digest in 2015, and then making a smashing debut at #19 on the magazine’s best courses in the world list, it is course which needs to be played to be believed.
With sea grass topped sand dunes, a wide-open links format, and unforgiving rough which swallows up errant tee shots with glee, this Canadian gem channels Pebble Beach at every step, while exceeding in certain measures.