Top 5 Golf Courses In The World

Whether you're an expert golfer or just starting out learning the basics, life doesn't get much better than when you're teeing off from some of the world's most beautiful and challenging fairways.

Top 5 Golf Courses In The World

Whether you’re an expert golfer or just starting out learning the basics, life doesn’t get much better than when you’re teeing off from some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging fairways. So, to help you find the most beloved courses, we asked our top travel agents for their opinions. Based on their own experiences and those of their clients, here are their chosen top 5 golf courses in the world...

1.  Augusta National • Augusta, Georgia

When you think of golf in the southern U.S., one course inevitably comes to mind—Augusta National.  Considered by many of the world’s greatest golfers to be the holy grail of courses, those players fortunate enough to play it say it’s a life-changing experience.  Home to the PGA’s Masters Tournament, Augusta National offers 18 demanding, yet sublime holes lined with vibrant azaleas and towering hundred year old trees. However, the course’s botanic beauty is just one facet of its undeniable allure. Unique course features like Ike’s Pond, Hogan Bridge, and the difficult “Amen Corner”—the second shot at the 11th, all of the 12th, and the tee shot at the 13th hole—make this course a true privilege to play.

2. Royal County Down • County Down, Northern Ireland

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne on Northern Ireland’s western coast, the Championship Links at Royal County Down overflows with character and unspoiled natural beauty.  The links stretch along the shores of Dundrum Bay, zigzagging back and forth to provide different vistas from every hole. Players who succumb to the challenge will have their skills and mettle tested. Fairways are surrounded by purple heather and golden gorse—so beautiful to look at, but so punishing for any who strays from the prescribed path.  The ‘bearded’ bunkers are world famous and feature overhanging lips of marram, red fescue and heather. Greens are fast and many are domed, rejecting any shot lacking conviction.

3. Predator Ridge • Vernon, British Columbia

One of only two public golf courses in Western Canada to have ranked in Score Magazine’s Canadian Top 25, Predator Ridge was the first course to win the coveted BCPGA Golf Facility of the Year award twice. Balancing length and design strategy, The Predator 18-hole course features elevated green complexes and links-style bunkering. Incorporating both the Osprey and Redtail nines, it was here that Predator Ridge hosted the Skins game twice. Starting with three par-four holes, the course is a challenge for players of every level. Predator’s second half is a stunning links design with grassy dunes rolling to the horizon.  As challenging as it is beautiful, the course is known for its classic bunkering framed by golden windswept fescue grasses.

4. Pebble Beach • Pebble Beach, California

Since 1919, the exquisite beauty and outright difficulty of Pebble Beach Golf Links has both thrilled and frustrated golfers.  The par 72, 18-hole course has been the site of golf’s most prestigious tournaments including the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the 2010 U.S. Open Championships.  Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, the course hugs the rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean, providing wide-open vistas, cliff-side fairways and sloping greens.  Telecasts often lavish attention on the course’s closing holes, but the real magic is to be found on the front nine.  The most spectacular series of holes you’ll find anywhere are numbers five through eight, which are on the promontory between Stillwater Cove and the Pacific.  The charm of Pebble Beach is not only its layout, but its mix of history and superb playability.

5. St. Andrews • St. Andrews, Scotland

Golf has been played on the Links at St. Andrews since around 1400 A.D. and its Old Course is known throughout the world as the “Home of Golf ”.The Old Course is where golf was first played 600 years ago and it remains a real test even for today’s champions.  This fabled links course is synonymous with The Open Championship which it will host for a 28th time in 2010. Despite its reputation and status, it is one of seven public courses at St. Andrews.  The magic of the Old Course has stood the test of time and continues to challenge the best golfers in the world well into the 21st Century. Famous features along the course are the enormous Hell bunker, Road Hole (which has been the site of many famous Old Course moments) and the Swilken Bridge

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