There are some fantastic golf courses around the world, all of which offer up different challenges from professional level all the way down to amateurs, but which layout should you be adding to your bucket list?
Augusta National, USA
One of the most iconic courses in golf is Augusta National, which was founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and has been the home of the annual Masters tournament – the first major of the year – since 1934.
A par 72 over 7,768 yards, Augusta has provided some memorable stories over the years, Fuzzy Zoeller’s victory in 1979 and Tiger Woods’ win in 1997 just two of several to mention, and it is certainly one of the greatest courses around.
It is famous for the treacherous Amen Corner, a stretch of holes from the 11th to the 13th, where Jordan Spieth famously blew up on the par-three 12th in 2016 to allow Danny Willett to come through and clinch the coveted Green Jacket.
How much to play?: unfortunately, as Augusta is a private club the only way to play a round here is as a member or the guest of a member. Becoming a member will cost around $40,000 up front plus around $4,000 per year. However, it’s not even possible to apply to become a member, as invitations are sent out at the club’s discretion when a spot opens up. Luckily, the rest of the courses on this list are a little more welcoming…
Pebble Beach, USA
It wouldn’t be right if this top-five list didn’t have the sensational Pebble Beach in, with the California venue boasting some of the most sensational views in the golfing world.
Hosting seven US Opens and one PGA Championship, the 7,075-yard layout hugs the rugged coastline and has stunning views of Carmel Bay, opening to the Pacific Ocean on the south side of the Monterey Peninsula.
How much to play?: a round will cost $575 plus another $45 (per person) for a cart. Or you could walk the course in the company of a caddy for $95 per bag.
TPC Sawgrass, USA
Florida is home to TPC Sawgrass, which opened in the autumn of 1980, and this course has hosted The Players Championship – the unofficial fifth major – since 1982.
This is one of the toughest tests for a professional golfer, let alone a mere amateur, but there is one hole that every golf enthusiast is itching to play, the famous 17th, known as the ‘Island Green’.
Measuring only 137 yards, it should be nothing but a flick with a short iron. However, with water surrounding the green and the rafters surrounding the putting surface ready to cannon any errant efforts into the lake, it is one of the most feared shots in golf.
How much to play?: a round on the PLAYERS course at Sawgrass will set you back between $200 and $500 depending on the time of year.
Valderrama, located in the resort of Sotogrande, is, quite simply, a stunning course and one that hosted the 1997 Ryder Cup – the first ever held in Continental Europe.
In 1999, the Spanish track was rated the top course in mainland Europe by Golf World magazine and it boasts one of the greatest holes around, the par-five fourth.
Named ‘La Cascada’, the pond situated to the right of the two-tiered green has caught several players out over the years and it is just one of 18 fantastic holes that provide a true test of a golfer’s ability.
How much to play?: playing 18 holes at Valderrama will cost you €400, with a buggy or caddy adding an extra €60 to the bill.
Old Course at St Andrew’s, Scotland
No list would be complete without the Old Course at St Andrews, which is considered the oldest golf course in the world and is commonly known as ‘The Home of Golf’.
The Scottish course provides a test like no other, with varying weather conditions, knee-high rough, undulating greens, and treacherous bunkers requiring the highest level of skill to overcome.
It is also home to “The Road Hole”, the par-4 17th, one of the world’s most famous golf holes and perhaps the hardest hole in tournament golf.
Players have to take aim over a corner of replica railway sheds from the tee box, which lie beyond the out of bounds wall, while the “Road Hole Bunker” is ready to ruin any round.
However, the dream for every golfer on the final hole is to make that walk over the Swilcan Bridge, one of the most famous golf course landmarks in the world.
How much to play?: playing 18 holes at St Andrew’s Old Course will cost you a not-unreasonable amount of between £95 and £195, depending on the season. Buggies cost £30 but are only available to senior citizens and golfers who can show a medical cert.