While the earliest origins of golf are debated even today, the game is steadily rising in popularity across the globe. Hundreds upon hundreds of golf courses are available for players to experience, located in posh resort cities or small towns that are barely on the map.
Ever wondered what the top-ranked golf courses are in the world? Below, you’ll find a list of 8 of the highest ranking courses, in no particular order:
Located in the "Deep South" of America in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta National is home to the revered Masters Tournament and was designed by golf pro Bobby Jones alongside architect Alister Mackenzie. It is widely known as one of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet, which is why getting a tee time at Augusta National is nearly impossible without connections and excellent networking skills. The course is very exclusive and is only open to members and their guests.
This golf course can be played in Pebble Beach, California. Both professional and amateur golfers can find a lot to like about the Pebble Beach course since it’s open to the public, although the fee may be out of some golfers’ price range. The Pebble Beach course also hosts the National Pro-Am, an annual tournament pairing professional golfers with celebrities for charity.
Golfers who prize tradition over trendiness have flocked to New York’s Southampton course for decades. Shinnecock Hills is one of the oldest golf courses in the United States, maintaining its original course design that was built in 1891. This members-only club has kept a firm grasp on its traditions and values ever since.
North Carolina’s Pinehurst golf course is another tried-and-true favorite of seasoned golfers. It is a public course with rich traditions that date back as early as 1898, honoring the start of championship golf. In fact, Pinehurst has even hosted two U.S. Open championship games on its nostalgic greens.
This Midwestern American golf course in Hutchison, Kansas, is on the list for the obstacles it presents to golfers who are always up for a challenge. Its 18-hole course is covered in sand traps, and players almost always have to factor in some wind resistance. Even with all these challenges, Prairie Dunes is still a very exclusive club, so those anxious to play the links may have to wait longer than they’d like.
Six golf courses are part of the grand St. Andrews Links in Scotland, known as "The Home Of Golf." It is steeped in tradition and takes golf lovers back to where it all began. The most famous course is called The Old One, which is the birthplace of today’s game of golf.
Royal County Down
Another traditional European golf course dating back to the days that the game of golf was invented is Royal County Down in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. This is a destination that golfers will want to visit if they fancy a challenging course, beautifully green scenery, and a simply excellent dose of tradition — so much so that they don’t even allow golf carts on the course.
Finally, the Muirfield golf course in Gullane, Scotland, is yet another of the oldest courses in the world. Due to its various levels in difficulty amidst its lush, green rolling hills, it has always been a hot spot destination for traveling golfers. Throughout the years, the course has hosted quite a number of professional tournaments and championships.
These eight courses are just a small handful of quality golf courses in North America and Europe. So when planning your next golf getaway, you may want to take a cross-continental trip, or you could simply venture across town and check out the local links. Either way, you might just discover a brand new paradise that you never knew existed.