The game of golf is unique as its courses, which, spread over 100 to 200 acres of lush green turf, vary immensely in shape and design and provide an endless stream of new challenges. The opportunity to build spectacularly scenic courses near oceans or mountains has created some of the most beautiful playgrounds for mankind.
Here is a list of four of the most famous courses that every golf aficionado must try to play at least once in their lifetime:
The Old Course, St. Andrews
Located about an hour’s drive away from Edinburgh, Scotland, right off the beach, this is the oldest and most famous of all 40,000 golf courses on the planet. With its famous stone clubhouse and much photographed foot bridge on the final hole, this course is on every golfer’s bucket list. Fortunately, this is a public course and you can just show up, put your name on the waiting list and hope that a spot opens up during the day. Confirmed reservations, though, need to be made at least three to six months in advance.
Pebble Beach, Carmel, California
About an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, this fabulous clifftop course has seen some of the most famous tournaments played in the past 100 years. Considered to be such a treat, the course charges between $500 to $750 for a game (035,000 to 050,000) for a single round for one person and even this has to be booked months in advance. A famous haunt of celebrities and the best players in the world, with the Pacific Ocean’s waves crashing on rocks just below the fairways, a visit to Pebble is an experience you won’t forget easily.
Royal Melbourne, Australia
Located on the outskirts of the city, this course has a rugged natural design built through the sand belt just off the ocean. Having hosted many famous tournaments, including the World Cup, the course constantly appears on the top of “World’s Best Courses” lists. Visitors are welcome on weekdays, but make sure you book online well in advance. The best months to play are during the Aussie summer, which is opposite in season to ours. Wind is always a factor near the ocean, so be prepared to play the ball low.
Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada
Out in the Canadian Rockies, this course, located in the foothills, has some of the most spectacular snowcapped peaks as a backdrop to your shots. Banff is one of the prettiest places on the planet, so even non-golfers will catch their breath as they stare at the vertical rugged mountains surrounding the course.
The one course where everyone wants to play, but I have not included, is Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, the permanent home of the Masters, one of the four grand slam events in golf. Augusta National is one of the most private clubs in the world and impossible for mere mortals to get access to. So, I’m not recommending it. Meeting the president of the United States is easier than getting invited for a round of golf at Augusta.