10 Best Golf Courses in the World

While technically one golf course is pretty much the same as another, the truth is, some courses just stand head and shoulders above the rest. There's a reason that all serious golfers have golf course bucket lists!

Best Golf Courses in the World

We've listed some of the best golf courses in the world that are open to the public. If you're near any of them, don't miss the chance to spend a few hours swinging your clubs… These are once-in-a-lifetime rounds for many of us!

1. Pebble Beach, California, USA

Playing a round of golf at Pebble Beach is a memorable experience. The course is routed along the rugged cliffs of Camel Bay, with many holes offering spectacular views of the ocean. Despite its beauty, the course is challenging, as the fairways are narrow, with small, lightning-fast greens. Golfers will have to bring their A-game, as each hole is varied and requires a strategic approach.

Although there are so many great holes to play, golfers will find the following ones to be firm favorites: the par-5 6th hole and the three straight par-4’s (holes 8, 9, and 10). The 9th hole has an intimidating drive and you’ll need to be strategic in your approach shot!

2. Cabot Cliffs, Inverness, Canada

This course should be on every golfer’s bucket list, as it has you playing along the cliff tops that overlook the Gulf of St Lawrence. Aside from the breathtaking scenery, this course offers an exciting challenge as it plays through wetlands, woodlands, and open spaces. Cabot Cliffs is a walk-only course and golfers can either carry their own bag, rent a Riksha pull cart, or hire a caddy to guide them through the course.

The course is challenging with generous fairways, large undulating greens, and rough coastal winds on the final eight holes. Golfers will need to be strategic in their approach, as the course follows the natural contours of the land. Fortunately, there are plenty of angles to play each hole from, which will make for an interesting and memorable round of golf.

3. Plantation Course, Kapalua, Hawaii

Not only is the Plantation Course one of the most beautiful in Hawaii, but it’s also one of the very rare courses that’s a par-73! At a lengthy 7,411 yards, some may find the course to be intimidating, but the generous greens and wide fairways make it playable for golfers of all skill levels.

There are a number of blind tee shots, and dramatic elevation changes, and it's exposed to the elements, which makes it even more challenging. But with some strategy and a light, skillful touch, a golfer may be able to beat par!

4. Teeth of the Dog, Dominican Republic

This 18-hole, 7350-yard, par-72 course provides golfers with a unique experience that will have them wanting to come back to play again! The course is very playable and has some of the best par-3s in the world. Golfers of all skill levels will need to be strategic and precise in their approach, as there’s no room for error.

There are seven spectacular holes that hug the shoreline and the wind is almost always present to make them more challenging. Fortunately, golfers can either use their long or medium irons to land their ball on the small greens.

5. Royal County Down, Ireland

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful golf course in all of Ireland! One of the oldest courses in the country, golfers can look forward to a true links experience and follow in the footsteps of legends. The undulating terrain follows the natural curves of the landscape, which is built on dunes. There are several demanding blind shots off the tee and very often, you’re playing into a crosswind.

This course will require scrutiny and accuracy, as the greens are raised slightly and an errant shot will have your golf ball running off the putting surface. There are many memorable holes on this course, but golfers may find the 4th and 9th holes to be unforgettable.

6. Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry, Scotland

It’s definitely worth making a trip to Scotland to play a round of golf on the Ailsa course at the Turnberry Resort. This championship course is a walk-only course and golfers will love the masterfully designed holes, elevation changes, varied terrain, and some of the best par-3s along the coastline.

Golfers will find the 9th and 10th holes to be magical, as they both center around the lighthouse. The 9th hole has you playing over the sea to the fairway, where you can stop for a photo opportunity right by the lighthouse.

7. Real Club Valderrama, Spain

This 18-hole, par-71, 6392-meter—6990-yard—championship course has hosted several major tournaments, like the Ryder Cup and the Volvo Masters. It’s challenging but fair, with an impressive track and pristine greens. Every hole on this course is memorable, as they feature a variety of tiered, elevated, and water-fronted greens that are protected by strategically-placed bunkers.

If you’re playing this course for the first time, it’s best to hire a caddy as they’ll be able to point out hidden hazards. They’ll also help you with your short game, which may lead to you recording one of your best rounds ever!

8. Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand

This is a must-play golf course that will give golfers an experience that they won’t soon forget. Of the 18 holes on this championship course, 15 offer picturesque views of the Pacific ocean. The course has an excellent design that’s fun to play with while putting your skills to the test. There are five sets of tees, which makes the course playable for golfers of all skill levels.

Some of the most memorable holes on this course are the 6th, 7th, and 8th, and on the back nine, the 14th to 17th holes.

9. Golf Club Crans-sur-Sierre, Severiano Ballesteros Course, Switzerland

The host of the Omega European Masters, this course is spectacular in both design and gameplay. Not only is the Swiss scenery a kind of beauty you may never see elsewhere, but every hole brings something new and unique. With multiple elevation changes, the course is tough to walk.

There are also no easy holes on this course—golfers should come prepared for a challenge and stay calm as they work their way through a tough, undulating course with multiple water hazards.

10. Golf Club de Lyon, Les Sangliers Course, France

A true championship course in France, the Les Sangliers course runs through woodlands and features water on half of the holes. It’s a technical course with deceiving looks but has hidden slopes, especially on the greens, which can favor smart golfers but may trip up those who are unaware.

Keep a close eye on your course map—the two courses at this club run close to one another and it’s easy to accidentally slip onto the wrong one. Also take note that English is rarely spoken, so if you’re planning on playing here, brush up on your French beforehand!

About the Author

Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring others, he’s researching and writing value-packed articles for his website, Golf Influence.

Kalyan Panja