Imagine a list of the top 100 “unique and distinctive” golf courses. That would be a fun exercise. I am thinking about golf courses that hardly ever get any air / paper time….but should. Golf courses that people rarely hear about….but should.
I thought it would be a good exercise if I listed my personal Top 100 golf courses you probably have never heard of but must visit from those I’ve seen in person or plan to visit.
Here goes in no particular order. Note for this exercise I have not included any golf courses from the USA:
1.) Umdoni GC – Mesmerizing views over the Indian Ocean from many/most of the holes
2.) Hans Marensky – Play golf in nature
3.) Humewood – A warm season Links and one of S.V Hotckin’s best.
4.) Sishen, South Africa – About 300 miles from anywhere. One of Ernie Els favorite courses.
5.) Selborne – A journey though the coastal terrain prevalent in Kwa Zulu Natal
6.) Limuru GC – Varied, fun and could be the best golf course in Nairobi
7.) Elephant Hills – Close to Victoria Falls and teaming with wildlife
8.) Golf d Agadir – Golf in the Morocco is remarkably good and this might be the best
9.) The National / Turkey – Its said David Feherty had a hand in the design.
10.) Palheiro – A well designed golf course “on the side of a mountain” with unreal views out over Funchal
11.) Le Domaine Imperial – Some of the richest people on the globe live on this golf course and easy to know why.
12.) Elea – Play golf high above the city of Pathos
13.) Rossmund, Swakopmund – Check it out on google Maps.
14.) El Saler – Spain has a lot of golf courses /not many great courses. This is a great course
15.) Furnas – Mackenzie Ross (Turnberry fame) designed a fun golf courses in the Azores
16.) Nordvestjysk – Denmark has some natural golf…this could be the most natural.
17.) Keiler – Iceland has some remarkable scenery and golf
18.) De Pan – A great COLT designed golf course routed through sand and pine
19.) Hilversumsche – Harry Colt in the Netherlands again. Expect some really good golf
20.) Falsterbo – A Swedish Links
21.) Ljunghusens – Neigbour of Falsterbo but not second to Falsterbo
22.) Zoute – Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo, regarded this as a one of their favorites
23.) Sand Valley, Poland – Good golf architecture in Eastern Europe
24.) Royal Swazi Sun – There are 10 golf courses in Swaziland and this is the best.
25.) Bhatiary GC – A place to enjoy nature and golf in Chittagong
26.) Le Touessrok – Imagine a golf course that occupies its own island
27.) Skukuza – Watch out for the hippos and crocodile and lots of other wildlife.
28.) Bagan Golf – Play golf among 1000 year old Pagodas
29.) Mt Popa Golf – Play a golf course where the maintenance budget is $200 per annum.
30.) Brancaster – Is Brancaster (Royal West Norfolk) the most unique course in Britian?
31.) The Addington – Forget Surrey. Head to Croydon
32.) West Sussex – Maybe the most varied golf course on the planet
33.) Huntercombe – Fun golf with some interesting golf course features
34.) Ganton – Some of the deepest bunkers in golf
35.) Royal Porthcawl GC – This could (should) host an Open Championship
36.) Pennard – wild and rugged Welsh beauty
37.) The Island – There is not only good golf on the west coast of Ireland
38.) Elie – Old school fun
39.) The New Course at St Andrews – The new (not so new) is almost as good as the Old.
40.) Tain – Not well known but as good as the well known golf courses in Scotland
41.) Western Gailes – Next door to Troon and Prestwick and certainly of equal
42.) Connemara – The Wild Atlantic Way
43.) County Louth – A great Links golf course
44.) Ballyliffin (Old) – Rumpled fairways and lots and lots of fun
45.) Shiskine – 12 holes of fun
46.) Silloth on Solway – Hard to fathom why this Links course is not spoken of more often
47.) Ardglass – A must play when in Scotland
48.) Royal Colombo GC – An active railway line bisects many of the holes on the front nine. Enough said
49.) Victoria, Sri Lanka – Beautiful scenery mixed with good design or good design taking advantage of beautiful scenery
50.) Nuwara Eliya GC – Wonderful climate, unique golf. A must play
51.) Delhi GC– A tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city of Delhi. Home to hundres (no thousands) of peacocks and the odd tomb (or two)
52.) Royal Calcutta – The oldest golf club outside of GB&I
53.) Yangon Golf Club – One of the busiest golf clubs in Asia and Myanmar. A great gambling retreat
54.) Royal Hua Hin – Thailand is well known for over maintained / over green golf. Royal Hua Hin is not one of those
55.) Jagorawi GCC (Old) – Peter Thomson (and team) did some really good work in Asia. This could be their best body of work. Note: Attention to detail is second to none
56.) Hong Kong GC (Old) – One of the most interesting golf courses in Asia / the world
57.) Royal Bangalore GC – 18 holes in 43 acres
58.) Indah Puri – This could be one of the best golf courses on the globe because of its location. Just needs a renovation
59.) Royal Springs GC – Play golf in Kashmir surrounded by the Himalayas
60.) Wack Wack – not wacky but very good
61.) The Railway Golf Club – nine holes in downtown Nairobi
62.) Banyan GC – A great club vibe
63.) Red Mountain GC – Awkward in parts but this hardly matters when the scenery is this good
64.) Royal Harare GC – Play golf among flamboyance and Jacaranda trees
65.) Sky 72 – Just because it is probably the busiest golf course facility on the planet.
66.) Paraparaumu – A wonderful warm season links.
67.) Dalat – One of the most beautiful places in Vietnam. The oldest golf club in Vietnam
68.) Danang Dunes (now BRG) – A great design on sand in Vietnam
69.) Laguna Lang Co – An edible golf course
70.) Arrowtown – No bunkers but who cares when the land and scenery is that good
71.) Himalayan – A journey of discovery through the Himalayas
72.) Gokarana Forest – The best golf course in Kathmandu.
73.) Ootacamund Gymkhana – A British hill town retreat
74.) Carey Island Sports Club (old) – Very unique …..a change from the myriad of golf courses in Malaysia that all look and play the same
75.) Chantilly – Northern Paris is home to some of the best golf on the planet. Chantilly is in Northern Paris
76.) Nchanga GC– A great layout in the heart of Africa. If this course were better maintained it will be a top 100 in the world (not that we care)
77.) Dunes at Shenzhou Pennisula – Tom Weiskopf (and team) have done great work around the globe. This is one of their best.
78.) Liphook – Another great golf course on the outskirts of London
79.) Wild Coast GC – A trek of discovery through some spectacular coastal land
80.) Guacalito De la Isla – A high end golf course in Nicaragua
81.) Kabaku Komatipoort – Maybe the best 9 hole golf course “experience” on the globe.
82.) Royal Copenhagen – Play golf on royal property among 1000’s of wild deer
83.) Beachwood – A hidden gem on the Kwa Zulu Natal coast
84.) Chiang Mai Highlands– If you want authentic Thailand visit Chiang Mai. The golf’s not bad either
85.) Royal Ashdown Forest – Imagine a great golf course without any bunkers and better than most golf courses with bunkers
86.) Jasper GC – We think its relatively well know but its so good that it needs to be on this list
87.) Highland Links (South Africa) – Play golf at the highest point in South Africa and enjoy the amazing views
88.) Shek O – The Pebble Beach of Asia
89.) Notts (Hollinwell) – One of the best inland golf courses anywhere
90.) Lookout Point, Niagara – Is Walter Travis the most underrated Golf course Architect. He did Lookout Point.
91.) Scarborough, Canada – Some fun and quirky holes on a difficult parcel of land
92.) Kaziranga Golf Resort. – Play golf flanked by tea trees
93.) Yay Tagon Taung – Who would have guessed Myanmar would have so many “must play” golf courses. Yay Tagon Taung on the outskirts of Mandalay is a must play
94.) Royal Bangkok Sports Club – Multi Use golf at its best
95.) Nkana – A well kept and unique African golf course experience in the Zambian Copperbelt
96.) Perranporth – Another ultra quirky British golf course
97.) The Glen at North Berwick – There are 2 golf courses in North Berwick.
98.) Yemon Island Sports Club – Square greens & bunkers and miles & miles of bridges
99.) Cruit Island – My Irish friends talk about this golf course the most
100.) Santo Da Serra – Golf above the clouds