22 of the Most Famous Golf Courses in the World

We've compiled a list of some of the greatest golf courses around the world so you can see what makes them so special.

Famous Golf Courses - primary image

Once you've been playing golf for long enough, it's hard not to appreciate the incredible variance between courses. Every hole can have it's own personality, and overcoming the unique challenges that every course brings can keep the experience of playing fresh even years after playing at the same course. All courses aren't alike of course, and courses carry a lot of weight in the history of the sport itself. I've put together a list of some of the most famous courses that you really don't want to miss if you get the chance to see them.

Whether you’re looking for a scenic Scottish link or a sun-soaked
Californian paradise, there’s a course for every type of player. While some are of these certainly more renowned than others, they all have one thing in common: they're dream destinations that anyone who can appreciate golf must experience. So if you're looking for the most popular golf courses in the world, here's a list of the absolute hands-down must-plays.

  1. St Andrews Links

    St Andrews, Scotland

    This is the big one. Known as the "Home of Golf," St Andrews offers life-changing views of the North Sea. St Andrews Links is a private golf club located in Scotland one of (if not THE) most prestigious clubs in the world, the home of golf since the 15th century.

    The club's history is fascinating, and its members have naturally included some of the most famous names in golf. The course at St Andrews is legendary and considered by many to be the best in the world. If you are lucky enough to get a tee time at St Andrews, you can look forward to an unforgettable experience that will connect you to the entire history of the sport.

  2. Pebble Beach

    Pebble Beach, California

    Pebble Beach is a world-renowned golf club in California that is especially known for its gorgeous views. Pebble Beach golf course ranks as one of the top 100 courses in the world by Golf Magazine. It first opened in 1919. Jack Neville and Douglas Grant designed the golf course.

    Pebble Beach has hosted five U.S. Open Championships, four U.S. Amateur Championships, and one PGA Championship. The annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament is is held here every year, consisting of three different rounds played at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Monterey Peninsula country club. Pebble Beach is a place for any golf lover.

  3. Pinehurst

    Pinehurst, North Carolina

    Pinehurst is a world-renowned golf club located in North Carolina. The club features nine distinct courses, each offering something unique for golfers of all skill levels. From the dazzling landscape to the challenging terrain, Pinehurst has something for everyone. In addition to its outstanding golf offerings, Pinehurst is also home to a luxurious spa, fine dining, and various other amenities.

  4. Whistling Straits

    Haven, Wisconsin

    Whistling Straits is one of America's must-play golf courses. Located in Wisconsin, it features beautiful views of Lake Michigan. The course is also home to two signature holes: the par-3 12th hole, which features an island green, and the par-5 18th hole, which has a breathtaking view of the lake. In addition, the club has a world-class spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Whistling Straits is a truly special place with its stunning setting and top-notch amenities.

  5. Augusta National

    Augusta, Georgia

    Nestled in the heart of Georgia, Augusta National is one of the most iconic golf courses in the world. Founded in 1933 by legendary amateur golfer Bobby Jones, the course has played host to the Masters Tournament every year since 1934. While Augusta is a beautiful and challenging course, its rich history makes it special.

    Over the years, Augusta has been the site of many unforgettable moments, from Arnold Palmer's famous charge in 1960 to Tiger Woods' record-breaking win in 1997. For any serious golfer, playing Augusta is a must, and for those lucky enough to secure a tee time, it is an experience they will never forget.

  6. Bay Hill

    Bay Hill, Florida

    For a good reason, Bay Hill is one of the must-play golf courses in Florida. It's the perfect mix of challenge and beauty, with its elevated tees and greens, speedy undulations, and superb lakes. Plus, it's not too long, so you won't be out there all day in the hot sun. But the best part of Bay Hill is its history. It's been around since 1929 and has hosted some of golf's biggest tournaments, including the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

    You should note that the golf course is only open to Bay Hill Club members. Once you get your membership, you can enjoy the 270 acres of beautiful terrain. The 27 holes will be a challenge for professionals and amateurs alike. The most popular golf course is the Champion/Challenger golf course.

    In March each year, the most experienced golf professionals come together to compete on the PGA tour. Enthusiasts get to enjoy the wonderful sport and pick up some tips from top professionals.

  7. Sawgrass

    Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

    Sawgrass is one of the must-play golf courses in Florida. Located in Ponte Vedra Beach, Sawgrass features two 18-hole championship courses designed by world-renowned golf course architect Pete Dye. The Stadium Course is home to The Players Championship, one of the most prestigious events on the PGA Tour.

    Sawgrass also features a state-of-the-art practice facility with a driving range, chipping green, and putting green. In addition to its world-class golf facilities, Sawgrass also offers a variety of dining and shopping options, making it the perfect place to spend a day or two. Whether you're an avid golfer or just looking for a relaxing weekend getaway, Sawgrass is sure to exceed your expectations.

  8. Torrey Pines

    San Diego, California

    Torrey Pines is one of California's most popular golf courses, and for a good reason. Situated on bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it offers stunning views from almost every hole. The course is also known for its challenging layout, tested by some of the world's top golfers.

    In addition, Torrey Pines is home to a renowned restaurant and pro shop, making it the perfect place to spend a day on the links. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a first-time player, Torrey Pines is sure to provide a memorable experience.

  9. Southern Hills

    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, opened its doors in 1935 and started hosting Championships ten years later. It rates as one of the best courses in the country.

    Southern Hills is famous for its challenging layout and beautiful scenery. The club also offers a full range of amenities, including a pro shop, dining facilities, and a practice facility. Whether you're a seasoned golfer or starting, Southern Hills Country Club is the perfect place to tee off.

  10. Mayakoba

    Playa del Carmen, Mexico

    Mayakoba is a world-famous golf club in Mexico that features some of the country's most beautiful and challenging courses. Situated on the Riviera Maya, Mayakoba offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

    The club has been host to numerous professional and amateur tournaments, and its courses are among the best in Mexico. Mayakoba is a paradise for golfers, and its unique setting makes it one of the world's most special places to play.

  11. Bandon Dunes

    Bandon, Oregon

    Designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, Bandon Dunes opened on May 19, 1999 and instantly garnered high praise thanks to its forgiving landing areas off the tee and mildly to moderately undulated green complexes.

  12. East Lake

    Atlanta, Georgia

    East Lake Golf Club in Georgia is best known as the home course of legendary player Bobby Jones. It's a beautiful, old-fashioned club with tree-lined fairways and small greens. The course is quite challenging, especially for amateur players. But that's part of its appeal - it's a great test of golf.

    East Lake is also special because it's one of the few places where you can still play the game the way you should play it. There are no cart paths, and players should walk the course. That makes for a more leisurely pace and a chance to enjoy the scenery. East Lake is the place to go if you're looking for a true golfing experience.

  13. Pine Needles

    Southern Pines, North Carolina

    Pine Needles golf club in North Carolina is one of the country's most popular and exclusive clubs. Its championship course and stunning scenery make it easy to see why. Pine Needles has hosted four U.S. Women's Open Championships, most recently in 2007, and it will host again in 2021.

    The club is also home to a world-class instructional academy, making it a top destination for golfers of all levels. Whether you're looking to improve your game or enjoy a round in beautiful surroundings, Pine Needles is the place for you.

  14. Pumpkin Ridge

    Portland, Oregon

    Pumpkin Ridge golf club is a favorite among locals in the Portland area. The course, nestled among tall pines, provides a serene and picturesque setting for a round of golf. But don't be misled by its peaceful appearance - the course is challenging, with narrow fairways and small greens.

    Pumpkin Ridge also hosts several prestigious events, including the Nike Golf Classic and the LPGA Portland Classic. So whether you're a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior, Pumpkin Ridge will provide an enjoyable (and potentially frustrating) round of golf.

  15. Innisbrook

    Palm Harbor, Florida

    Innisbrook golf club is one of the most special places in all of Florida. It's not just because of the beautiful landscape or the championship-level golf course. Innisbrook is where friends and family can come together to enjoy the great outdoors. When you're at Innisbrook, you're not just a guest – you're part of the family.

    From the moment you arrive, there will be a warm smile and a friendly handshake. And that's just the beginning. At Innisbrook, you'll find everything you need to relax and have a great time, whether you're looking to hit the links or take in the scenery.

    You will find four exceptional courses designed by Lawrence "Larry" Packard. All course is unique and has reminiscent scenery reflecting Florida's terrain. To have the full golfing experience, you can take advantage of the different golf packages available. You can also find amazing golf tips to help you sharpen your skill if you are a beginner.

  16. Kapalua

    Maui, Haiwaii

    Kapalua golf club is one of the most beautiful and serene places on earth. It is on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The golf club overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has a stunning view of the neighboring islands. Kapalua golf club is special because it is a private club that only members can play at.

    The course is also very challenging, which makes it fun for players of all skill levels. In addition, the club offers many amenities, such as a pro shop, a driving range, and a clubhouse. The staff at Kapalua golf club are always friendly and helpful, which makes it a great place to play golf.

  17. Harbor Town

    Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

    Harbor Town golf club in South Carolina is one of the country's most prestigious and well-known clubs. The club, founded in 1969, has hosted many famous tournaments, including the PGA Tour's Heritage Classic.

    The course is on an island, which makes for some stunning views. The layout is also very challenging, with narrow fairways and small greens. In addition, the club is popular for its excellent facilities and outstanding service. If you're looking for a top-notch golfing experience, Harbor Town is the place.

  18. Vidanta

    Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

    At the Vidanta golf club in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, visitors can enjoy a world-class golfing experience against the backdrop of the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula. Featuring 18 holes designed by world-renowned golf course architect Jack Nicklaus, the Vidanta golf club offers visitors a challenging and enjoyable round of golf. In addition to its impressive course, the Vidanta golf club also features a state-of-the-art clubhouse with locker rooms, a pro shop, and restaurants. With its stunning setting and top-notch facilities, the Vidanta golf club is one of Mexico's premier golf destinations.

  19. Iverness

    Toledo, Ohio

    Inverness golf club is one of the most prestigious clubs in Ohio. The course is incredibly well-manicured and challenging, yet fair. It has been the site of numerous PGA and USGA events. Inverness is a beautiful place to golf, and the club does an excellent job of ensuring that the experience is first-class. If you are lucky enough to get an invitation to play here, you should take them up.

    There are multiple top-tier games held on the golf course. Bounded by trees and bunkers, the golf course attracts amateurs and experienced golfers alike. The tee shot of the course runs for 285 yards. Built on a rich heritage, members and guests enjoy memorable experiences.

  20. Payne's Valley

    Branson, Missouri

    Payne's Valley golf club in Missouri is one of the most special places to play golf. Named after Payne Stewart, a professional golfer who tragically died in a plane crash, the course provides challenging play. Jack Nicklaus designed this club, and it is the first public-access course that he has ever designed.

    The course is breathtaking, and it feels like you are in nature even though you are playing a round of golf. Payne's Valley is also one of the few courses where you can play night golf. They have 150 LED lights that line the fairways, so you can tee off after the sun goes down. This is a must-play course if you are ever in Missouri, and it is an experience that you will never forget.

  21. Quail Hollow

    Charlotte, North Carolina

    Quail Hollow is much more than just another golf club. Nestled in the heart of North Carolina, it's a true haven for anyone who loves the game. The rolling hills and beautiful scenery provide the perfect backdrop for a round of golf, and the club's impeccable facilities are second to none.

    Quail Hollow is also home to one of the most prestigious tournaments on the PGA Tour, the Wells Fargo Championship. With its rich history and stunning setting, Quail Hollow is a must-visit for any golf enthusiast.

  22. Carnoustie

    Carnoustie, Scotland

    Carnoustie golf club is in the town of Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland. It is one of the world's oldest and most prestigious golf clubs. Carnoustie has hosted The Open Championship on six occasions, most recently in 2018. The course is famous for its challenging layout, especially the "Burnay" stretch of holes along the coastline. Carnoustie is also known for its stunning views of the North Sea. For any golf enthusiast, Carnoustie is a must-visit destination.

If you're a fan of golf, then you know that there are famous golf courses all over the world. The courses mentioned above are well known for their challenging layouts and stunning scenery. If you're looking for a truly unforgettable golfing experience, you must play at one of these famous courses.

While there are dozens of other famous courses, these are some must-play courses if you're a true golf fan. So, add them to your bucket list and start planning your trip!

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