For the third time, Golf Digest has released its
of the top 100 golf courses in the world, not including those in the United States (which are relegated to their own list in odd-numbered years). The list only comes out every even-numbered year, and gives plenty of wiggle room for courses to move up or down the list. Judged by a panel of golf professionals and enthusiasts from around the world, the list paints a truly global picture of the state of golf and where to play, with Northern Ireland’s . This list is a great way to update your bucket list, and we have a few shout outs we wanted to make to some of our favorite courses that made the list for 2018.
#2 – Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Scotland (Championship course)
Moving up from the number five spot this time, Dornoch’s Championship course is a classic links course bounded by sandy beaches and littered with plateau greens, known for being unique in size and for its inverted saucer shapes. As with many courses in Scotland, a blowing wind makes the par 70 course even more difficult. The Scottish Highlands are full of unheralded gems, so it’s great to see Royal Dornoch getting its rightful due at the top of the Scottish rankings.
#27 – Casa de Campo-Teeth of the Dog, La Romana, Dominican Republic
More than halving its ranking this year, Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog moved up to 27 from 56, and is the highest ranking course in the Dominican Republic on the list. In fact, Teeth of the Dog has been ranked the #1 course in the Caribbean several times, thanks to its stunning beauty and notorious Pete Dye difficulty. Seven holes are right on the ocean, carved right out of the rock and coral of the Caribbean. La Romana Resort also has two other courses to play, and if you add in a little rum and the famous DR nightlife, you have quite a vacation.
#63 – Punta Espada Golf Club, Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
Up from #76 last year, Punta Espada is the only other DR course on the list. The Dominican Republic in general and Punta Espada specifically have been gaining attention in the golfing world lately, and this year’s inaugural PGA Tour event at nearby Corales is sure to continue that trend. While eight holes of this par 72 course are flanked by the sea, you can see the Caribbean from anywhere on Punta Espada. It opened in 2006 as the first of three Jack Nicklaus Signature courses developed in Cap Cana, and while it may not have the old world charm of the older courses in Scotland and Ireland, it’s a breathtaking and worthwhile golf trip to make.
#83 – Old Head of Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland
This is the first time Old Head has appeared on this list, and it’s about time it made it. Built on a 220-acre diamond headland jutting out nearly two miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Old Head is surrounded by water and is simply gorgeous to play. Nine of the holes are played along the cliffs, which are about as high as you’ll find on any golf course in the world, and every hole has a view of the ocean. As with most Irish or Scottish courses, the difficulty of play increases with the wind, giving a challenge to even the most steady of professionals. The lighthouse and the old castle add a level of charm to Old Head that is hard to match anywhere in the world. In our opinion, Old Head should have been on Golf Digest’s list the first year it went out, but we’re glad to see this client favorite making an appearance.
#95 – Prestwick Golf Club, Prestwick, Ayshire, Scotland
New to the list this year is quirky Prestwick, which was the birthplace of the Open Championship. (How Golf Digest got away without this classic course on its list is a mystery to us.) Designed by Scottish legend Old Tom Morris, Prestwick is a charming favorite among golf course connoisseurs. It’s close to other Open venues Turnberry and Royal Troon, and is great addition to any Scottish golf trip.
#100 – Western Gailes Golf Club, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Another newcomer to the list, and barely sneaking in, Western Gailes is another hidden gem of a the classic links variety. SItuated between the railway and the sea and rarely more than two holes wide at any point, Western Gailes has earned a reputation among professional golfers who use it as a warmup for its more famous nearby Open hosts, and has been a favorite since the early 20th century. The wind plays as much a role in your game as the undulating terrain does, and is sure to provide a challenge for any skill level.
The top 100 list is a great way to plan a bucket list golf trip, and we’re happy to help plan a vacation that includes as many courses on this list as you can muster. Get in touch with us today for a free quote.