There's a new ranking of the world's top golf courses, this from Golf Course Architecture magazine, as voted on by professional golf course architects, making for an interesting selection.
WGT is honored to have 10 of these top 100 golf courses available to play free on the World Golf Tour golf game. Below are the WGT courses that made the list, including #1 St Andrews Old Course.
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Golf Course Architecture’s Top 100 Golf Courses
Ten top golf courses available on World Golf Tour.
95. Olympic Club (Lake)
Sam Whiting, 1927
When the original 1924 Lake and Ocean courses designed by Willie Watson were damaged in landslides, superintendent Sam Whiting remodelled and rebuilt both. Robert Trent Jones reworked the Lakecourse, which is characterised by its severely sloping fairways, for the 1955 US Open, the first of five it has hosted, and Bill Love oversaw work in advance of the most recent, in 2012.
88. Cabo Del Sol (Ocean)
Baja California Sur, Mexico
Jack Nicklaus, 1994
Combining the best of desert and coastal golf, Cabo Del Sol’s Ocean course is one of just two Central American courses in the Top 100 list. In 2010/11 the club made significant changes to the fifth, sixth and seventh holes, taking play closer to the sea. Jim Lipe, who worked with Nicklaus to create the new holes, said: “With water crashing all around you on the sixth green and seventh tee, the connection to the ocean is greatly enhanced”.
76. Harbour Town
South Carolina, USA, 1969
Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus
Pete Dye had given Jack Nicklaus his first taste of design with a consulting role at The Golf Club in Ohio. But at Hilton Head Nicklaus had a hand in every hole, working alongside Pete Dye to create a design that remains one of the most distinctive on the PGA Tour.
46. Bethpage (Black)
New York, USA
AW Tillinghast, 1936
The first publicly-owned course to host a US Open, the Black is severely bunkered and extremely long. Tillinghast designed three of the five courses at Bethpage State Park, and Rees Jones’s firm conducted a thorough renovation of the Black in advance of the 2002 US Open.
33. Kiawah Island (Ocean)
South Carolina, USA
Pete Dye, Alice Dye, 1991
Originally designed to sit behind the dunes, Alice Dye suggested raising the entire course to provide views of the Atlantic. This also means that golfers are more exposed to the unpredictable winds, making a difficult course even tougher.
27. Royal St George’s
Laidlaw Purves, 1887
14 Open Championships have been hosted on the severely undulating links at Sandwich in south east England. With two loops of nine, rather than the traditional out-and-back links layout, players will typically have to cope with wind from all directions.
21. Merion (East)
Hugh Wilson, 1912
Architects Tom Fazio and Tom Marzolf helped prepare the Merion for the 2013 US Open, demonstrating that there is still a place for historic courses with quirk, character and charm, and without excessive length, at major championships.
Henry Fownes, 1983
“Oakmont is easily the best course I have ever played,” says Joe Jemsek. “It requires exacting shotmaking every hole, every shot.” David Krause adds: “Oakmont was a jaw dropping experience, beauty and terror all rolled into one.”
8. Pebble Beach
Jack Neville, Douglas Grant, 1919
Jack Neville and Douglas Grant were amateur golfers hired by Samuel Morse to design a one-of-a-kind golf course at Pebble Beach. Neville told the San Francisco Chronicle: “Years before it was built, I could see this place as a golf links. Nature had intended it to be nothing else. All we did was cut away a few trees, install a few sprinklers, and sow a little seed.” A long roll-call of designers – including Herbert Fowler, the team of Robert Hunter, Chandler Egan and Alister MacKenzie, then Jack Nicklaus and most recently Arnold Palmer – have since also left their mark.
1. St Andrews (Old)
“The Old Course, incomparable, sits atop – forged by Mother Nature,” says Paul Mogford. Golf has been played at St Andrews for over 600 years, originally with players going out and then playing the same holes back in the reverse direction. The course evolved naturally, but Tom Morris, greenkeeper at St Andrews between 1865-1903, is generally regarded as having had the most influence on the current eighteen hole layout.
Chad Goetz of Nicklaus Design says: “During the history of the profession, so many ideas and so much inspiration was taken from this course. I can’t think of any other course that has influenced design and the game more.”
Brandon Johnson of Arnold Palmer Design Company says: “It is a place that is endlessly complicated, mysterious, intriguing, strategically challenging and stimulating under all circumstances and simultaneously breaks and defines all the rules of design. It stands in a category of its own.”
Rick Robbins says: “The Old Course not only has such enormous tradition but in all respects has stood the test of time in regards to strategy of play and challenge to golfers. The fact that this icon of golf is open for all to play and is playable by all is an added bonus.”
Top 100 Golf Courses