HomeFind Golf Clubs > The Top 25 Golf Courses in the World 2008

The Top 25 Golf Courses in the World 2008


By editor - Posted on 25 November 2008

The objective of this site is to save golfers all over the world shots off their handicaps, so why have a golf course and golf resort reviews section?

Well we figure, that as soon as your golfing ability develops you are no doubt going to want to spread your wings further afield than your local municipal golf course and play some of the great golf courses in the world. 

So to help you determine where the finest courses are, we've added this global golf course reviews section.

If you have played a course that you think is worthy of merit then please get in touch.

If you want to add your own golf resort or golf course review then please get in touch by personal messaging the editor.

We are looking for your honest opinions in less than 700 words and some nice pictures if you have them.  We'll publish the best ones and may even send you a useful game improving gift from the box (it's a large one) in the office.

If you run or own golf course and want it featured here then get in touch and we'll see if we can fit a visit into our schedule....we're looking forward to enquiries from Augusta and St.Andrews!

We've started you off with a review of our current favourite golf course, the beautiful Gary Player designed Blair Atholl in South Africa.

We'd love to hear your comments and reviews, and what courses you'd like to add to the list.

Top Golf Courses and Golf Resorts in The World

Rank
Country
Course Name
Designer/Architect
1
South Africa
Gary Player

Blair Atholl One of the Top 25 Golf Courses Worldwide

Blair Atholl, Near Johannesburg, South Africa

With a championship golf course, its own nature reserve, equestrian facilities and a sumptuous golf course this estate really has it all. The Gary Player designed course is long, it measures 7,536 metres off the Gold tees with a SAGA rating of 77, and there is scope to make it even longer.  Whilst a relatively new course, it is simply a class above even exceptional golf resorts elsewhere.  It may not have the history of other golfing greats, but we hope it could represent the future of golf course design and estate construction. The course is immaculate and a fair test for players of all standards, the staff are friendly, the clubhouse is one of the finest you could find anywhere and the facilities are first class. We love it and you will too if you are lucky enough to get on! (Read our full review).
 
 
2
USA
Alister Mackenzie

Augusta Golf Club Home of The Masters

Augusta National Golf Club - Home of "The Masters"

Augusta is one of the most revered clubs in the world and was designed by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie, a golfer and a golf architect who were at the top of their respective games.  The club hosts the annual Masters Tournament on its immaculately maintained course.  The course is renowned for its beauty, with many flowers adorning the tees and greens of this legendary layout.

 

  
 

 

3
New Zealand
Tom Doak

Ca[e Kidnappers Arguably New Zealands Best Golf Course One of the Top 25 In the World

Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

This is not true links terrain, with the wrinkles of sand dunes; instead the land tilts toward the sea as a series of ridges jutting out toward the edge of the cliffs. Yet, the play is seaside golf at its finest. The surface is firm and fast, the conditions can be windy, and the player who can control his trajectory will be master of the course. You'll hit shots over the tops of the tea trees, and play along the edges of deep ravines. If you stray on your approaches, you'll actually hope to get caught up in bunkers hanging off the green's edge, some of them deeper than you've ever seen before.  Three times, you'll have to make the perilous leap from the end of one ridge to the end of the next. And at the 6th and 15th holes it's possible to pull your approach off the very end of the earth! 

 

4
South Africa
Gary Player

 Fancourt Golf Links Course South Africa One of the top golf courses in the world
Fancourt, Near George, South Africa

There is no doubt that Fancourt is South Africa’s premier golf resort, featuring three highly rated Championship golf courses as well as the Western Cape’s premier 18-hole public course.  The Links at Fancourt was added in 2000, an awe-inspiring example of magnificent design and golf-course construction, which involved shifting over 750,000 cubic tonnes of earth! An exceptional environment, unique in its location, a notable addition to the world's most celebrated golf courses.
 

5
France
Robert Von Hagge

 Les Bordes Golf Club Loire Valley France One of the top 25 golf courses world-wide
Les Bordes, Near Orleans, Loire Valley, France 

Europe's best golfing experience is already one of the world's finest golf resort destinations and it is about to get even better! Robert Von Hagge has returned and will soon be creating another two 18 hole courses to complement his original masterpiece. Deep in the heart of the Loire Valley set in the secluded woodland of the former hunting estate of Baron Bich lies an extraordinary golfing paradise.  You know that there is something special about the place when you spot the Rodin sculpture on the putting green.  Water is an important part of this beautifully conceived and designed layout that is an enjoyable but stern test of your golfing abilities. Proof of the test to come is apparent to all golfers before the round as the staff politely inform them that if they break 80 their name will go on a board of honouring the golf clubhouse!  Les Bordes really is a must visit if you are in this part of France.
 
 

6
USA
Donald Ross

 Oakland Hills Golf Club USA - One of best 25 golf courses in the world
Oakland Hills, USA

Founded in 1916, Oakland Hills Country Club has, and will continue to play a significant role in the history of golf in the United States. Walter Hagen, five time PGA Champion, was the club's first head professional. The South Course has played host to 16 Major Championships including: the 35th Ryder Cup in 2004; three PGA Championships -- including the 90th PGA Championship in 2008; six U.S. Opens; two U.S. Senior Opens; U.S. Women’s Amateur; U.S. Men’s Amateur; Western Open; and the Carling World Open. Some of the greatest players ever to play the game including Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Ben Hogan have competed and won on the famed South Course, also known as "The Monster".

 

7
Scotland
Old Tom Morris

 St Andrews Scotland The Home of Golf Old Course Swilkern Bridge
St. Andrews Old Course, Scotland

It is every golfer's dream to walk on St Andrews Links, the Home of Golf.
A landscape of infinite variety, golf has been played here for over 600 years, evolving on these Links into the game we know today.
 
All seven St Andrews Links courses are open to the public and everyone can follow in the footsteps of the legends of the game, from Old Tom Morris to Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

 

 

 
 
 

8
USA
Jack Neville and Douglas Grant

 8th Hole at Pebble Beach Golf Course one of the greatest golf courses in the world
Pebble Beach Golf Links, USA

Since 1919, the exquisite beauty and unique challenge of Pebble Beach Golf Links has thrilled golfers and spectators alike. Pebble Beach has been the site of golf's most prestigious tournaments, including four U.S. Open Championships. The course hugs the rugged coastline, providing wide-open vistas, cliffside fairways and sloping greens. It is a delightful challenge for all players. 

 

 

 
 
 

9
South Africa
Gary Player

Fancourt Montagu Golf Course near George South Africa

Fancourt, Montagu Course, Near George, South Africa

The Montagu is a much celebrated parkland course and has been ranked as the number 1 golf course in South Africa. It has recently undergone major renovations with several holes being redesigned and has two completely new holes – the 1st and the 9th. The new-look course at 6,714 m has been restored to its former glory.  It once again ranks amongst the best in the world.
 

10
South Africa
Gary Player

Sun City Gary Player Championship Golf Course - Rated one of the best golf courses on the planet

Gary Player Country Club, Sun City, South Africa

South Africa 's famous Gary Player Country Club features an 18-hole golf course with a par of 72. The Gary Player Country Club situated at Sun City is home to the prestigious Nedbank Million Dollar Golf Challenge. The clever design and multiple tees make the course equally enjoyable for both the keen novice and the skilled professional. Sun City 's Country Club offers comprehensive facilities for golfer and non-golfer alike. Make use of the golf and pro shop, putting green, and health spa whenever you feel like it - the club is open seven days a week. A stay at the Sun City Resort and a round of golf at both golf courses is certainly a 'must do' for any golf addict planning to visit South Africa.

 
 

11
New Zealand
David Harman

 Kauri Cliffs New Zealand - 25 of the top golf courses worldwide
Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand

The par 72 championship golf course measures 7,119 yards/ 6,510 metres and offers five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen holes view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs which plunge to the sea. The beautiful inland holes wind through marsh, forest and farmland.  The setting and the golf is truely spectacular.

 

12
Ireland
Arnold Palmer

The K Club Ireland Smurfit (Ryder Cup) CourseThe K-Club, Smurfit Course, Ireland

The Smurfit Course at The K Club has already been described as probably the greatest inland golf course to be developed in Ireland. The best way to describe the Smurfit Course at The K Club is that of an inland links. However, its true attributes do not stop there. The course has many dramatic landscapes with dune type mounding throughout. This assists in making the course into a true championship golf course with many vantage points for spectators to view the golf professional at work.

Coupled with this point, some fourteen acres of water have been worked into the design especially through the final phase of Hole No's: 13 to 18. A watery grave awaits many a golfer on the home stretch. 

 

13
Mauritius
Bernard Langer

 Le Touessrok Golf Course Mauritius - One of the finest golf resorts in the world
Le Touessrok, Ile Auf Cerfs, Mauritius, Indian Ocean

Le Touessrok Golf Course is across the water form the resort mainland on its own beautiful island, Ile aux Cerfs - 'island of deer'. The deer have gone, and what has been created here has been described as the 'wonder of the game'.

Bernhard Langer designed the 18 hole, par 72 championship course to challenge advanced players, while remaining exciting and playable for recreational golfers.  It is one of the toughest but most enjoyable rounds of golf the site's Editor has ever played!  Typical of Bernard Langer, absolutely nothing is left to chance.  It is the perfect golfing holiday destination as the hotel is first class. 

 

 

14
South Africa
Gary Player

 Leopard Creek South Africa Designed by Gary Player - One of the leading golf hotels in the world
Leopard Creek, Malelane, South Africa

Innovative architectural and landscaping techniques ensure that the golf course and lodges are harmonious with the environment while lakes and small streams have been diverted through the development to create scenic vistas and interesting golf strategies. Remodelling of the course took place at the turn of the century with a change of grass on the greens to bent and the installation of sub-air systems. Golfing hazards take on a new dimension at Leopard Creek for much of the water is home to hippos and the creature for which the adjacent river is named - crocodile.An exceptional environment, unique in its location, a notable addition to the world's most celebrated golf courses

 

15
China
Jack Nicklaus

 Mission Hills World Cup Golf Course China
Mission Hills, World Cup Golf Course, China

Venue of the 41st World Cup of Golf in 1995, this masterpiece designed by legendary golf champion Jack Nicklaus is revered throughout the world as the most magnificent golfing challenge in Asia. This famous course is the first in China accredited by the US PGA Tour for major professional competitions. Many top players like Tiger Woods, Greg Norman have found this a great course to play.

 
 
 
 

16
Australia
Unknown

Moonah Links Golf Course Australia - In our top 25 golf clubs worldwideMoonah Links, Open Course, Australia

The Open Course at Moonah Links is the first ever 18 holes built and prepared for a national championship, with exceptional viewing platforms for spectators. It is one of the longest courses in Australia, and probably in the world in this category. It measures 6,783 metres, so it offers more than a casual stroll in the outdoors. It is a mighty and ferocious test of golfing ability, the likes of which even the top pros only occasionally experience. In terms of difficulty, it is estimated that a club-handicapped player would merit an extra eight strokes assistance to return a net par score!
 

17
Spain
Robert Trent Jones Snr

 Cluub De Golf de Valderrama Spain - Europes best golf course and in the top 25 in the world
Club De Golf Valderrama, Andalucia, Spain

Valderrama is a 6,356 metres par 71 with no hole of less than championship quality. But it can be fully enjoyed by players of all handicaps, thanks to the genius of Robert Trent Jones Senior, whom many consider the leading golf architect of his day.The fairways have been described by top pros and leading golf writers as the best in Europe, if not the world. It is not an easy course - nor was it intended to be. It is designed so as to call forth thought and precision for every shot.
 

 

18
Ireland
Ron Kirby/Paddy Merrigan et al

  Old Head of Kinsale Golf Course Ireland - Listed in the World's top 25 golf courses
Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, Southwest Ireland

Unrivalled in terms of the magnificent beauty and setting of the site, Old Head Golf Links continues to take the golfing world by storm. The brainchild of John and Patrick O’Connor, the club has developed into one of the most recognised and sought after golf experiences anywhere on earth. It is a sanctuary for those seeking the finest in personalized service. Old Head, par 72, comprises five Par 5s, five Par 3s and eight Par 4s - stretching to over 7,200 yards from the tips, with a minimum of 6 tees per hole.
 

19
Portugal
Robert Trent Jones Jnr

 Penha Longa Golf Resort Portugal - Europe's finest
Penha Longa, Lisbon, Portugal

Already ranked by many in the top courses in continental Europe, The Atlantic Course designed by the famed Robert Trent Jones jr, offers the very best that golf hasto offer anywhere.  With its bold drives, courageous approaches and artful greens, it is both an adrenalin rush and a soothing journey through one of Portugal's most inspiring landscapes. The opening holes and the final flourish share a wooded vale in the shadow of the rocky mountains, while others arc and plunge over scented hillsides. Exciting at every turn, this championship test and host to the Portuguese Open, is a master of variety and thrills. The Atlantic Course is an 18-hole, par 72, championship course of 6,290 meters, offering a challenging course with breathtaking views over the ocean with Estoril and Cascais to the South and the Sintra hills to the North.
 

20
Scotland
Robertson/Morris/Braid

 Open Championship Venue Carnoustie 17th hole arguably one of the hardest finishing stretches in golf
Carnoustie - The Championship Course, Scotland

Probably the toughest links course in the world, Carnoustie is a significant challenge even on a sunny day.  Hogan’s Alley, the 6th hole, is particularly well known as one of the world’s great par fives.

James Braid designed the course that we know today, although some of his holes were reckoned too weak for competitive play and the notorious "sting in the tail", Carnoustie’s final three holes, was introduced to compensate.

If you want to experience the very best in Scottish golf, a visit to the Carnoustie Championship course is a must. As a test of golfing skill, the Carnoustie Champion course is hard to rival.
 

21
England
Dr Laidlaw Purves

Open Championship Venue Royal St Georges Golf Club Sandwich England

Royal St. Georges, Sandwich, England

The club has hosted many major tournaments, in addition to the Open Championship, for both Amateur and Professional golfers.  These include: The Walker Cup, The Curtis Cup, The Amateur, the English Amateur, The PGA Championship, the Home Internationals and the Brabazon Trophy.  Many of golf's most famous names have won tournaments here - Arnold Palmer won the PGA in 1975, reaching the 14th with two prodigious blows with his driver on a stormy day when no other competitor got closer than 40 yards from the green in two.

 

  

22
USA
Rees Jones

Torrey Pines United States of America - One of the leading 25 golf resorts worldwide

Torrey Pines, San Diego, USA

The name itself stirs the imagination of golf enthusiasts all over the world. Situated atop cliffs towering above the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California, golfers marvel at the views of the coastline and deep ravines. Nature lovers can spot wildlife and the famous Torrey Pines trees that are indigenous to the area.  Torrey Pines is bounded by mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the seaside courses are often swept by sunshine or by rain, fog and chilling winds.
 

23
England
Dave Thomas/Peter Alliss

 The Belfry (Brabazon Course) West Midlands United Kingdom
The Belfry, Brazon Course, Birmingham, England

Designed by Dave Thomas and Peter Alliss, the majestic fairways and carpet-smooth greens of The Brabazon form a world-famous stage on which some of golf’s most exhilarating dramas have played out. Legendary in the world of golf, and the spiritual home of the Ryder Cup, The Brabazon’s perilous bunkers and lakes have tested some of the greatest players including Ballesteros, Woods and Faldo. Experience for yourself, the thrill of this par 72, 7,153 yard course.

And while you're there you can try and emulate your Ryder Cup heroes by trying to hit the green on the driveable par 4 10th hole.

 

24
Canada
Fairmont Jasper Park
Stanley Thompson

 Canada's Best Golf Course - Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Golf Club
Fairmont Jasper Lodge Golf Club, Canada

Stanley Thomspon, Canada's master golf course architect, displayed his finest work with his design.  The course hugs snow-capped mountains, meanders past glacial-fed lakes and through a wildlife corridor featuring elk, caribou, bears and wolves. Thompson had the vision that conceived of and constructed a world-class course in the heart of a Unesco World Heritage Site over 80 years ago. Thompson carved fairways from the surrounding forests, giving top priority to the natural contours of the mountains. As a result, the par 71 course features elevated tee boxes, dramatic bunkers and vistas that scan the surrounding mountain peaks. A stunning natural setting, combined with unparalleled bunkering, makes this a "must play" course!

 

25
Dubai
Tiger Woods

 Tiger Woods Al Ruyawa ClubhouseDubai - One of the leading golf courses worldwide
The Tiger Woods "Al Ruwaya" Dubai

Serving as the centrepiece of The Tiger Woods Dubai, Al Ruwaya reflects Tiger Woods’ goal of designing a very unique experience that plays to all skill levels and rewards smart, creative thinking. 

Embodying Tiger Woods’ vision of creating a spectacular, challenging golf course, Al Ruwaya, will be a 7,800 yard, par 72, 18 hole championship course with dramatic elevation changes, lush landscaping, stunning water features and an overall design that will challenge and entertain golfers of all playing abilities.

 

OK, we know Tiger Woods 1st Course isn't open yet - but we figure the world's greatest golfer knows a thing or two about golf courses and this course is going to clearly be spectacular in every way.  We are looking forward to playing it and are just waiting for the invitation.

So you've read the article - what do you think of the list?

What courses should we add to the list for next year's golf course reviews?

Pre-order the Official 2010 Ryder Cup DVD today

Many congratulations to Lee Westwood, who has just been crowned World No.1 Golfer. He is of course, coached by Europe's No.1 Golf Coach, Pete Cowen, whose videos you'll find here on Save a Million Shots.

We're very pleased to bring you a special offer to purchase the official Ryder Cup DVDs, which are due for release on 22 November. As an additional offer from us, if you place an order for either the Ryder Cup DVD or the Ryder Cup Diary DVD, we'll give you five Pocketshots (worth £20!) on us. These make excellent stocking fillers for Christmas!

Simply visit our online golf store and order your DVDs today!