Cypress Point Club in Del Monte Forest, California is a legendary golf course that is highly coveted by golf enthusiasts. With a membership limited to just 250 individuals, gaining access to this prestigious course is a rare opportunity. Nestled at the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the Monterey Peninsula, Cypress Point offers breathtaking cliff-top terrain that has captivated golfers and earned praise for its stunning beauty. While some consider the 18th hole a peculiar return to the clubhouse, others see it as a unique and challenging hole worthy of recognition. The 16th hole, often misrepresented, provides different playing options to accommodate golfers of varying abilities. It showcases Dr. MacKenzie’s characteristic design style, offering alternative routes for weaker players. Cypress Point Club remains a remarkable destination, embodying both the allure of exclusivity and the timeless appeal of the sport of golf.
Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey is the enduring legacy of George Crump, a visionary hotelier from Philadelphia. Though he passed away before its completion, Pine Valley stands as the epitome of penal golf course architecture. Surprisingly, this world-renowned golf course is situated in seemingly unremarkable countryside on the New Jersey side of Philadelphia. Construction began in 1912, and with the endorsement of Harry Colt, 14 holes were playable by 1916. Tragically, Crump’s dream 18-hole course would be completed just a year after his death.
Pine Valley officially opened in 1919, and it quickly earned a reputation as the ultimate test of golf. Members saw an opportunity for wagers, challenging newcomers to break 80. In 1954, Arnold Palmer seized the opportunity and shot an impressive 68, collecting all the bets and reflecting on his financial situation at the time.
Renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones described Pine Valley as a course that both fills players with dread and delight. He lauded its difficulty and considered it to possess the most classic holes in the world, with ten of the eighteen standing out. Jones also recounted playing the 15th hole with Lowell Thomas, who compared the landscape to the splendors of Versailles or Fontainebleau. Pine Valley Golf Club remains a cherished and breathtaking destination for golfers seeking a true challenge amidst natural beauty.
Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, is renowned as the most scenic golf course in Britain & Ireland. Nestled at the foot of the majestic Mountains of Mourne, this classic links course offers breathtaking views where the Bay of Dundrum meets the Irish Sea. Designed by George L. Baillie and expanded by Old Tom Morris, the course showcases rugged sand dunes, undulating fairways, and small, deceptive greens. Measuring nearly 7,200 yards, it presents a formidable challenge, amplified by the ever-changing wind. The 4th and 9th holes are particularly admired for their scenic beauty. Despite some eccentricities like blind drives and grass-fringed bunkers, Royal County Down’s charm is undeniable. Regarded as one of the greatest courses in the world, a pilgrimage to this iconic golf club promises an unforgettable experience amid stunning landscapes.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York, is steeped in history and known for its old traditions. The course’s origins can be traced back to 1891 when Scottish professional Willie Davis, with the help of Shinnecock Reservation Indians, designed the first twelve holes. Over the years, renowned architects like Charles B. Macdonald, Seth Raynor, Howard Toomey, William Flynn, and Dick Wilson contributed to its layout and improvements. The clubhouse, designed by Stanford White, stands proudly atop the property, offering breathtaking views of Peconic Bay. Shinnecock Hills takes advantage of its natural features, including strong winds, sandy terrain, and lush grasses, to create a challenging and reminiscent British seaside links experience. The course has hosted multiple U.S. Open championships, attracting legendary players like Ben Hogan, James Foulis, Raymond Floyd, Corey Pavin, Retief Goosen, and Brooks Koepka. With its rich history and demanding layout, Shinnecock Hills continues to captivate golfers and provide an exceptional golfing experience.
National Golf Links of America, located in Southampton, New York, is a golf course of immense historical significance and a masterpiece of American golf course architecture. Designed by Charles Blair Macdonald, often referred to as the father of American golf course architecture, the National Golf Links is a culmination of his extensive knowledge and ambition to create the greatest golf course in the United States.
Opened in 1909, the course is a testament to Macdonald’s meticulous attention to detail and his admiration for iconic holes from British courses. Each hole at National is named and emulates famous holes from prestigious courses in the UK. The course is set in a picturesque landscape of gently rolling terrain, creating a captivating and dramatic golfing experience.
The large and undulating green complexes present a formidable challenge to golfers, with their size and varying contours. The routing of the course takes players on a journey of zigzagging fairways, adding to the challenge posed by the ever-present wind.
The National Golf Links of America holds a special place in the history of golf, and playing this course is a coveted experience. Its exclusivity adds to its allure, with a theory suggesting that anyone can be connected to a member of the National through a chain of acquaintances. A round at this historic and revered golf course is a dream for many golf enthusiasts.
The West course at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Victoria, Australia is widely regarded as the country’s best course and the masterpiece of renowned golf course architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie. Despite never having seen the completed course or mentioning it in his writings, the West course is considered his finest design. Established in 1891 as The Melbourne Golf Club, it later received the royal designation and became the first club in Melbourne’s Sandbelt region. Alongside other prestigious Sandbelt clubs like Kingston Heath and Metropolitan, Royal Melbourne’s West course represents the epitome of golf in the area. Golf architect Tom Doak even suggested that if Melbourne were closer to America, the standard of American golf architecture might have been higher. The description highlights the West course’s significance and showcases its reputation among golf enthusiasts.
The Old Course at St Andrews, known as the “Home of Golf,” holds a legendary status in the golfing world. With a history dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the oldest golf courses in existence. Its timeless allure lies not only in its natural design but also in the captivating atmosphere of the town itself, where golf is deeply embedded in the community’s fabric.
While the Old Course may not immediately reveal its charms to first-time players, it gradually unfolds its true beauty over time. Its undulating fairways, deep pot bunkers, and challenging hole locations, some of which are reserved for prestigious events, make for an unforgettable golfing experience. The greens, expansive and undulating, require a keen eye and precision to conquer.
As you embark on your journey around the course, you’ll encounter iconic features like the Swilcan Burn and the historic bridge, evoking a sense of golfing heritage. The renowned 17th hole, the Road Hole, is regarded as one of the world’s most famous golf holes. The greens themselves are unlike any other, with minimal distinction between fairway, fringe, and green, demanding careful navigation.
While Mother Nature largely shaped the Old Course, credit is also due to golfing pioneers like Allan Robertson and Old Tom Morris, who made significant revisions and enhancements over the years. Playing the Old Course is an experience every golfer should seek, with the starter’s announcement and the tingling anticipation that accompanies your first tee shot.
Remember to enter the ballot and keep your fingers crossed for the opportunity to create lasting memories on this historic course. And take pride in knowing that St Andrews Links has achieved the prestigious GEO Certified ecolabel, highlighting its commitment to sustainable practices.
Nestled in the picturesque hills of Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, Oakmont Country Club is a golfing gem that embodies the vision of its founders, Henry and William Fownes. Known for its lightning-fast greens and punishing bunkers, Oakmont is a formidable test of skill and precision. The infamous “Church Pews” bunker stands as a fearsome sentinel, ready to claim wayward drives on the 3rd and 4th holes. From its inception, Oakmont has been unapologetically challenging, earning a reputation as a cruel and treacherous playground.
The father and son duo believed in the art of difficulty and crafted an uncomplicated yet punishing layout. The greens at Oakmont are legendary, offering an array of slopes and contours that demand precise approach shots from difficult lies and angles. Divided by the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the course retains its timeless beauty and strategic routing, even after more than a century.
Oakmont Country Club remains a mecca for golfers seeking a true test of their abilities. Its enduring legacy as a formidable and captivating championship venue continues to lure golfers from around the world.
Sand Hills Golf Club, nestled within the expansive Sandhills region of Nebraska, is a golfing gem that commands respect and admiration. Surrounded by cowboys and grazing cattle, this natural expanse of sandy terrain offers a magnificent golfing experience.
Architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw carefully crafted eighteen exceptional holes on this untouched land, demonstrating their commitment to traditional and strategic golf design. Since its opening in 1995, Sand Hills has garnered high praise and is considered a landmark in American golf architecture.
Membership at Sand Hills is highly coveted, with a fortunate few gaining access to this exclusive club. It closes for eight months each year, ensuring that the course is never overplayed and preserving its pristine condition.
The course itself features generous fairways that wind alongside towering dunes, inviting golfers to unleash their swings. However, the menacing bunkers demand respect and precision to avoid their crater-like depths.
Sand Hills’ significance is undeniable, as it single-handedly propelled the remote Nebraska region onto the golfing map, sparking a revival in classic golf architecture across the country. The course’s strategic design accounts for the ever-changing winds, offering playability under all conditions.
The fairways provide ample room, while the greens boast an astonishing array of slopes and locations—some nestled in hollows, others perched atop plateaus or nestled beside exposed sand dunes. Sand Hills Golf Club presents a golfing experience of unparalleled beauty and challenge, a true testament to the splendor of nature and the artistry of golf course design.
Welcome to Trump Turnberry, home to the magnificent Ailsa course, a jewel in the Open Championship rotation. With only four Opens under its belt, Turnberry has quickly become a beloved destination for golf enthusiasts.
Perched on a rugged headland overlooking the picturesque Ailsa Craig island in the Firth of Clyde, with breathtaking views of the Mull of Kintyre and the Isle of Arran, the Ailsa course at Turnberry Resort offers an unrivaled golfing experience in a truly stunning setting.
Established in 1902, Turnberry Golf Club enlisted the talents of Willie Fernie to design a championship-length course on the historic Culzean Estate. Over the years, the course evolved, underwent transformations, and even survived the challenges of two World Wars. The tenacity of the owners and the skillful restoration efforts of Philip Mackenzie Ross brought Turnberry back to its former glory.
The Ailsa course rose to international fame when it hosted the 1977 Open Championship, featuring the legendary “Duel in the Sun” between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Since then, it has witnessed incredible moments of golfing history, including Greg Norman’s spectacular round in the 1986 Open and Tom Watson’s unforgettable bid for victory in 2009.
The recent enhancements by design team Mackenzie & Ebert have elevated the Ailsa course to even greater heights. The 2009 Open showcased its excitement, and golfers from around the world marveled at its scenic splendor. The out-and-back layout, the thrilling stretch from the 4th to the 11th holes along the water’s edge, and the demanding final four holes create a captivating and challenging golfing experience.
But the allure of Trump Turnberry doesn’t end with the Ailsa course. The King Robert the Bruce course, formerly known as Arran and later renamed Kintyre, has undergone a multimillion-pound renovation. This course complements the Ailsa perfectly, offering a remarkable golfing journey that exceeds expectations.
Prepare to be captivated by the beauty, history, and world-class golf that awaits you at Trump Turnberry. It’s a place where legends are made and unforgettable memories are forged.
Hirono Golf Club in Japan, designed by Charles Alison, stands as a testament to exquisite golf course architecture. Despite enduring significant setbacks such as being requisitioned as a runway during World War II and subsequent restoration projects that altered some of Alison’s original intentions, Hirono remains Asia’s finest course. With its captivating green sites, including raised plateaux protected by bold bunkering, Hirono offers a dramatic and challenging golfing experience. Notably, the par-three 13th hole, reminiscent of Augusta National’s famous 12th hole, showcases the natural beauty and strategic design of Hirono. Ravines, ponds, and expertly crafted bunkers add depth and character to the course. Recently announced restoration plans by Martin Ebert aim to address encroaching trees and revive the course’s classic features. Hirono Golf Club, while exclusive and hard to secure a tee time, promises an unforgettable golfing experience and boasts a notable golfing museum near its charming colonial-style clubhouse.
Situated on the stunning Izu Peninsula, the Kawana Resort boasts two exceptional golf courses, with the Fuji Course standing out as the pinnacle. Designed by Hugh Alison and opened in 1936, this course has become a favorite among Japanese golfers. Perched on an elevated promontory, the Fuji Course offers awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean from its cliff-top fairways. With sunken folded fairways, plateau greens embraced by mature woodlands, and the majestic Mount Fuji as a backdrop, it’s no wonder this course is held in high regard. Recognized for its scenic beauty, the Fuji Course has hosted numerous prestigious tournaments, including the World Amateur Golf Team Championship and the Fuji Sankei Classic. Noteworthy holes include the 11th, where Mount Fuji graces the left side, and the challenging 15th, reminiscent of Pebble Beach. The par-three 16th, known as “Battery Green,” poses a formidable test, while the 17th showcases the infamous “Alison Bunkers,” adding to the course’s allure.
Naruo Golf Club, shaped by the renowned architect C.H. Alison in 1931, embodies the essence of traditional Japanese golf club design. With its characteristic small elevated greens and distinctive irregular bunkers, Naruo offers a captivating and unique golfing experience. While not an overly long course, stretching 6,564 yards, its true defense lies in the intricate greens and strategically placed hazards. The large recessed bunkers and tangly rough present challenges and unpredictability for golfers navigating their way to the greens.
Naruo Golf Club cherishes its rich golfing heritage, upheld by its 700 members, whose average age of 71 signifies a commitment to tradition. Alison’s design philosophy continues to resonate, elevating the approach shots to a level of grandeur and anticipation found only on the world’s finest courses. The club exudes a timeless appeal, where the marriage of tradition and thoughtful design creates an unforgettable golfing atmosphere.
Naruo Golf Club stands proudly as a testament to Japan’s golfing legacy, capturing the essence of its traditional roots while offering a fresh and inspiring golfing experience.
Tokyo Golf Club, established in 1913, has a rich history and a picturesque setting near the former castle town of Kawagoe. The course, designed by Komyo Ohtani in 1940, showcases elements inspired by London’s renowned sand belt courses. With two sets of greens for each hole, Tokyo Golf Club offers variation in length and difficulty throughout the seasons. The course is known for its ability to protect par, despite not being overly long by modern standards. Memorable holes, such as the exceptional opening hole and strategic par-5 5th, highlight the course’s charm and thoughtful design. Gil Hanse’s restoration work has further enhanced the course, including the reinstatement of alternate routes and the preservation of historical features. Tokyo Golf Club, a delight to play, exudes a mature and world-class character that transcends its years. Securing an invitation to this exceptional course is a golfer’s privilege not to be missed.
Yokohama Country Club, established in 1960, boasts two renowned 18-hole layouts designed by Takeo Aiyama. The West course, known for hosting the 1978 Japan Open won by Seve Ballesteros, underwent a significant renovation in 2014/15 led by Coore & Crenshaw. The upgrade involved reconstructing and elevating tees and fairways, replacing double greens with single greens, and installing sub air systems for cooling the bent grass putting surfaces in summer. Notably, the former par five 18th hole was transformed into a new par four 8th and par three 9th, while the 13th and 14th holes were merged to create a new 4th hole. Additionally, holes 17 and 18 on the East course were renovated to accommodate the Japan Open. An intriguing par three 19th hole was also added on the West course, providing players with a tiebreaker option or an enjoyable detour back to the clubhouse after their round.
Ono Golf Club, located in Hyogo prefecture, is often considered the sister course to the renowned Hirono Golf Club. Designed by architect Osamu Ueda in 1961, the 18-hole layout of Ono Golf Club showcases influences from Hugh Alison’s work in Japan during the 1930s.
Nestled amidst picturesque woodland, the course features undulating terrain, particularly on the back nine holes. Water comes into play with a lake spanning holes 7 to 9, as well as additional water challenges on the closing two holes.
Ono Golf Club incorporates subtle design elements to enhance the playing experience. Lone trees strategically placed define driving options, notably at the 7th and 11th holes, while back-to-front sloped greens, such as those at the 2nd and 16th, demand precise putting skills.
The par three holes present exciting challenges, with the exception of the 245-yard 5th hole that doesn’t require a water carry. However, the standout one-shot hole is the 200-yard 17th, named “Emerald Lake,” featuring a small pond and a sand-protected green, creating a precise and demanding target from the tee.
Kasumigaseki Country Club, located in Kawagoe, Saitama, boasts two exceptional golf courses: the East and the West. While the debate over which is superior continues, the East course is highly regarded by the club’s members, earning their preference and respect.
Originally designed by local golfers Kinya Fujita and Shiro Akaboshi in 1929, the East course underwent significant enhancements by Hugh Alison, a renowned architect and partner of Harry Colt. Alison’s notable contribution to Kasumigaseki was the construction of expansive bunkers, transforming the course and establishing his legacy as a guiding figure in Japanese golf course architecture.
One standout hole showcasing Alison’s work is the par three 10th, considered among Japan’s finest. With a water carry and a deep bunker protecting the green, Alison’s redesign elevated this hole from good to great.
In preparation for hosting the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for 2020 and postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic, Tom and Logan Fazio conducted a comprehensive renovation of the East course. They eliminated the traditional Japanese dual green system and removed several trees, ensuring the course met the requirements for the prestigious event.
Abiko Golf Club, located in Chiba, Japan, has a rich history dating back to its foundation in 1930. Designed by Shiro and Rokuro Akaboshi, the course makes excellent use of the natural contours between Teganuma Pond and Tone River, providing an intriguing layout for golfers.
Despite facing challenges during World War II, including the conversion of fairways for farming and the establishment of an air defense position, Abiko Golf Course managed to rebuild and regain its prominence. It hosted prestigious events like the 1950 Japan Open Golf Championship, won by Yoshiro Hayashi, and the 2009 Japan Women’s Open, won by Bo-Bae Song.
In 2012, the course underwent a significant renovation led by renowned architect Brian Silva. The renovation included the replacement of the old dual-green system with a single green on every hole, constructed to meet modern standards and featuring improved bent grass. Tees and bunkers were also refurbished, enhancing the overall playing experience.
Abiko Golf Club offers golfers a combination of history, natural beauty, and modern amenities, making it an appealing destination for golf enthusiasts seeking a memorable round of golf in Chiba.
Nestled along the picturesque shores of the Pacific, Oarai Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, is a hidden gem cherished by golf enthusiasts. Its coastal location offers a unique seaside experience, with wide fairways adorned by majestic black pine trees. While the course’s natural beauty provides some shelter, the ocean winds can pose a challenging element, as witnessed during the 1998 Japan Open. However, it was on these very fairways that Hidemichi Tanaka emerged victorious, showcasing the golfing prowess required to conquer the elements. Oarai Golf Club’s captivating landscape and the thrill of battling against nature’s forces make it a must-visit destination for avid golfers seeking a memorable and exhilarating golfing adventure.
Located along the sandy coastline facing the Tsushima Strait, Koga Golf Club in Fukuoka is a testament to perseverance and continuous improvement. From its humble beginnings as a nine-hole “sand holes” course, the members’ determination led to its transformation into a full-fledged 18-hole layout. Renovations by architects like Osamu Ueda and Shoichi Suzuki enhanced the course, including the replacement of all the greens. Koga Golf Club hosted prestigious events like the Japan Open, attracting top players like Craig Parry and Shingo Katayama. With its scenic coastal setting and upgraded facilities, Koga Golf Club offers a challenging and rewarding experience for golfers seeking a memorable round in Fukuoka.