The Top 30 Public Links Golf Courses In The World To Play in 2021
Guestblog written by: Stan Johnson
- Published on this site: 07-10-2020 15:48:00Share on twitter
If you’re looking to play golf in its most unadulterated form then you’ll want to play on a Links golf course.
Links courses originate from Scotland where early golfing pioneers made use of the arid, sandy coastline of Western Scotland to develop the earliest golf course prototypes. Links golf courses are still the most common golf course in the UK, and every year the Open Championship is played on a Links course.
There are over 250 Links courses around the world, and in this article, we’ll be talking about the 30 of these courses that you have to visit.
Links Course Playing Style
Links courses hold a special place in golfers’ hearts because of the unique play style they offer.
No two Links courses are the same, as the focus when creating these courses is to preserve the natural features of the surrounding areas, just as they did with the early golf courses. This results in Link courses often having uneven fairways, deep bunkers, and steep inclines.
These complex conditions, that differ from course to course, mean that every game on a Links course is unique, full of surprises, and should challenge every area of a golfer’s game.
Playing golf on a Links course is the closest you can get to playing golf as it was originally intended to be.
What makes a good Links course
On top of being unpredictable and full of surprise challenges, there are many other reasons why you would want to play on a Links course.
These courses are often built on sandy stretches of land that are free-draining. This feature means that the only time rain cancels play on a Links course is during extreme weather conditions (you can imagine why this may have been useful in Scotland).
The fairways on these courses are often exposed to the elements, with small amounts of trees and high winds. These conditions present their own challenges that will add a spark of excitement to your day.
Links courses are famed for promoting ‘running play’, meaning that once hit, the ball tends to run further on the fairways due to the hard ground. This is great on a smooth fairway but adds an extra level of difficulty to one with hidden potholes.
The 5 Best Public Links Golf Courses In North America
We’re kicking this list off with the best Links courses in the North American continent, which is home to some of the most iconic Links courses in the world.
A lot of Northern America’s highest-rated Links courses are private, however, we have gathered below the highlights of the courses open to all.
#1 – Pebble Beach, USA (California)
The Pebble Beach Links course is often overshadowed by the course it sits next to – Cypress Point is ranked at number #1 in the world. However, Pebble Beach is an iconic course in its own right, and also sits in the Top 20 courses worldwide.
If you have $400 then Pebble Beach is open to all who book in advance. The course opened in 1919 and was designed by Jack Neville – it is a course with a rich history, that includes hosting regional and international tournaments.
Pebble Beach is set against the dramatic backdrop of Camel Bay and is regarded as one of the most spectacular seaside resorts/courses on the planet. The holes between the 7-10th have been described by many professionals as the greatest series of holes on the planet.
#2 – Bandon Dunes, USA (Oregan)
The Pacific Dunes course at Bandon Dunes was designed by beloved golf architect Tom Doak. It is often said that this course is one of the only courses in the world where the game design is as beautiful as the course’s setting. And that is not an insult to the Oregan countryside.
This cause is a masterfully designed course and a little slice of the Scottish Highlands in the middle of the USA. It really is a love letter to those original Links courses in Scotland. Doak notes that he did very little rearranging of the natural features on the fairway, what you see is pretty much how he found the area.
This course is open to members of the public who book in advance.
#3 – Cabot Cliffs, Canada (Nova Scotia)
Situated on the unforgettable coastline of Nova Scotia the Cabot Cliffs Links course will offer any amateur player an entertaining challenge, and on top of that some gorgeous Canadian views. With a Par of 71 and booking open to all, if done in advance, this course should be on everyone’s ‘to play’ list.
The course curves around a set of cliff tops that overlook the Gulf of St Lawrence, and the holes weave their way through meadowland, woodland, and wetland. The range of ridges, dips, and inclines, coupled with the persistent winds create opportunities for really dynamic games to be played.
The course has two iconic holes. Firstly, the 13th where the player must strike the ball away from the cliffside up a steep incline – a firm favorite of the designers. The course’s second is the 16th where the ball is hit across the cliff top edges and the player is treated to spectacular ocean views.
#4 – Pinehurst – Course No. 2, USA (North Carolina)
Robert Trent Jones once wrote, ‘Americans, unlike the British, are not given to playing in the rain, but at Pinehurst, they make what is perhaps their one exception. […] In the rain, the pine trees seem to glisten, making each hole an individual jewel.’
Designed by a Scottish man determined to bring golf over to an emerging 19th century America, Pinehurst feels like a traditional Scottish Links course – with the addition of pine trees. The course is a textbook example of the lush, rolling greens Donald Ross became famous for.
Many considered this one of the trickiest courses in the USA and if you rewatch any of the US Open matches that Pinehurst has hosted, we doubt you’ll be able to disagree. Don’t forget to book in advance if you want to play at this iconic, 110+ year old Links course.
#5 – Cabot Links, Canada (Nova Scotia)
Before the unveiling of its second course, Cabot Cliffs in 2015, Cabot Links was the jewel in Canada’s golfing crown. When traveling to the Cabot resort any golfing fan should absolutely take the time to play both courses at this location.
Cabot Links is Canada’s original Links course and truly has stood the test of time. Partially set in an old coal mine, this course has all the classic Links features – sandy bunkers, hard ground, tricky hills and inclines, and spectacular views.
The course at Cabot Links is famous for its 5 short holes that make up the bulk of its second half. The star among these is the 14th – which is less than 120 yards long, downhill, and completely exposed.
Just like Cabot cliffs this course is open to all, you will just need to book in advance.
Honorable mentions (private courses)
In this category, our honorable mention goes to the Diamantes (translated as Dunes), a course that brings a taste of the Scottish Highlands to the sunny, Southern tip of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. The course has recently introduced a new route designed by Tiger Woods.
We also have to mention Cypress Point, widely considered to be one of the best private courses in the world. Hopefully, our invitation will arrive in the post any day now…
The 5 Best Public Links Golf Courses in South America
The next stop on our golfing world tour is South America. The huge continent is a newcomer in the world of golf but is quickly making up for its missed years. While the leading nations for golf courses in South America are Brazil and Argentina, other nations like Costa Rica and Paraguay are fast encroaching.
#1 – Chapelco, Argentina (Patagonia)
Chapleco is in our opinion the unsung hero of South American golf, it’s unjustly low in local and world rankings, and we think this needs to be changed.
The course is a short trip away from the capital Buenos Aires. Chapleco appears simple to the eye. With gentle slopes and low lying bunkers. However, a stiff breeze runs through the valley that adds a challenge to even the flattest fairway.
The designers put extensive work into giving Chapelco the loamy, hard soil that is so typical of Links courses. The ball runs well on this type of ground. Slow grasses make up the majority of the fairways. The designers have sprinkled in a few devilish bunkers to try and trip up even the best players.
The course’s signature hole is the 4th, which involves zigzagging swings around fairways and bunkers.
#2 – Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica (Guanacastle)
Is this the most beautiful Links course in South America? It’s very likely that it is. The Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo offers impressive views over the Bahia de Culebra, and its turquoise waters. The course weaves through lush woodland, sloping hills, and breathtaking clifftops.
Designed by Arnold Palmer, this course is full of surprises. Many of the fairways are unusually shaped and weave between complex areas of rough. Water hazards also play a large role in the excitement of this course – particularly at the 13th and 18th holes.
We mustn’t forget to mention ‘El Banjo’ the 6th hole, where, from tee-off you are given one of the best views in Costa Rica.
To enjoy this course you’ll have to book a night at the award-winning resort (it’s a tough life).
#3 – Terravista, Brazil (Bahia)
This clifftop course on the Discovery Coast is open to all and offers some fantastic views and holes to challenge players at all levels. The resort is built on the location where the Portuguese landed in Brazil over 500 years ago.
Designer Dan Blankenship said that this location almost designed the course itself. Terravista was opened in 2004 and has been designed with international competition in mind. This shows in the skill level required to keep to par on this course. Players of any skill level will be able to enjoy this course, however.
This course has many holes battling to be its signature. Some love the 4th, a cliffside hole with breathtaking ocean views. While others think the 17th is the star of the show with its maze-like route through the greens at a tough par 4.
#4 – Lucero, Panama (Chiriqui Province)
This is one of the only riverside Links courses on our list, but what a course it is. The course is described by its designer as a ‘sequence of eighteen holes which encompasses woodlands, meadowlands, ridgelines, and riparian valleys, coupled with dramatic elevation changes makes for a ‘signature’ experience.’ The designer made the course with the intention of the course having a signature hole.
One one side of the course players are given mountain range and volcano views, on the other they are treated to more mountain ranges and a winding Riverview. It is also possible to see 140km to the ocean from parts of this course.
Although it was not intended to have a signature hole, many rave about the 5th hole which not only gets your heart racing with a few tricky shots but has a view that may very well blow your mind.
#5 – Las Veraneras, El Salvador (Sonsonate)
Las Veraners is the final course in our South American Top 5. Las Veraneras is El Salvador’s number #1 Links course. This course is famous for getting progressively harder as the round goes on, and ending with an incredibly devilish dog-legged final hole.
Set on the beautiful Sonsonate coastline, this course offers an unforgettable game to go with those unforgettable views. Complete with running fairways, thick roughs, camouflaged bunkers, and water hazards, there’s not a hole on this course that you won’t enjoy.
The club at Las Veraneras welcomes visitors with open arms, so make sure you stop off here if you’re in the country – it’s only 90 minutes’ drive away from the capital.
Honorable Mentions (Private Courses)
Our number #1 pick for Links courses in South America could have been the Santa Pazienza course in Brazil. Sadly it is a private course. Santapazienza is currently under some renovation. However, Sanatapazienza aims to host a few major tournaments in 2021 if they go ahead.
We also want to mention the Black Pearl Bay and the Indura Beach courses in Honduras, both of which are stunning courses and will provide any golfer an entertaining experience.
The 5 Best Public Links Golf Courses in Europe
It is incredibly hard to narrow down the top Links courses in Europe, as it is the birthplace of golf. We could very easily do a Top 5 of Scotland alone.
The fantastic thing about European golf courses is that they are a lot less exclusive than their American counterparts. Meaning us amateurs get a chance to play on some of the best courses in the world – just by booking in advance.
#1 – Royal County Down – Championship course, UK (Northern Ireland)
Our top pick for Europe is The Championship Course at Royal County Down Golf Club. This course would easily make it into our Top 5 courses in the world – and the best news is that it’s open to the public five days a week.
Royal County Down, in Newcastle, opened for play in 1889 (yes you read that right), and has been delighting players ever since. This course is possibly the best course in the world never to have hosted an open. It is famous for having some of the best sets of final 9 holes anywhere on the planet. It is also celebrated for its 4th and 9th holes, which we’d put in our own Top 10 holes in the world.
This course is one of the finest examples of a Links course anywhere, it is a must-play for Links lovers.
#2 – Ailsa Turnberry, UK (Scotland)
Known as the Ailsa Turnberry course, Ailsa is one of the finest Links courses in the world, and probably the one with the best view too. The Trump Turnberry Resort hosts some of Scotland’s finest golf courses – despite almost being destroyed multiple times.
The resort was requisitioned by the RAF in both the First and Second World Wars. A large part of the resort was flattened and turned into a wide tarmac runway. Ailsa went through major reconstruction after the war and is now the darling of the golfing world.
Every hole from the 4th onwards is a genuine contender for the top holes in the world, particularly the 9th-11th that are played along the cliff tops with the ocean roaring below. The second course at Trump Turnberry – the King Robert the Bruce course – is another world-class course that should not be overlooked because of the titan it sits next to.
#3 – Muirfield, UK (Scotland)
Muirfield is perhaps the one golf course that non-golf fans would be able to name. This iconic location has hosted both the Ryder Cup and the Open on multiple occasions, as well as various other international competitions.
When Muirfield was built it had a unique course route, the opening nine holes lead you in a clockwise circle, whilst the final 9 holes run in an anti-clockwise circle inside the opening 9. Muirfield truly holds a special place in golfing history, and anyone interested in getting to know the origins of the sport a little better should definitely book themselves in to play a round at Muirfield.
#4 – Ballybunion (Old), Republic of Ireland (County Kerry)
The Ballybunion Old course is Ireland’s finest and is regarded by most as the world’s best seaside course. Founded in 1983 Ballybunion has gone through its fair share of renovations over the years, but none of them have dulled the course’s luster.
Ballybunion boasts a tough collection of holes that will challenge any golfer. It has two celebrated holes, the 7th – castle green- and 2nd, both are short holes with one of a kind views. Ballybunion has more average holes than the courses that sit above it on this list, but it is such a unique and historic course that every golf enthusiast should have played it at least once.
#5 – Royal St George’s, UK (England)
Royal St George’s is the only English course to make it onto this list, but its place is completely deserved. The course shares many similarities to Muirfield, having opened at a similar time, and having an unusual course layout. It has the record for the fourth-most times hosting The Open, Muirfield comes in at third.
The course at The Royal St George was unique at the time of building as it forms a rough figure 8 shape, that can be played as two smaller 9 hole games if wanted. Found near the town of Sandwich in Kent, this course is home to the UK’s tallest and deepest bunker at its 4th hole.
It is most famous for ‘the maiden’ – the 6th hole, described by Bernie Darwin as ‘steep, sandy and terrible’.
The Royal St George’s is open to the public on weekdays.
Honorable Mentions (Private Courses)
We have to include the St Andrews Links here, as although they are technically open to the public, entrance runs on a ballot system due to the public demand to use this course. If you’re a local (or UK based even) this may not be a huge issue, however if you’re traveling over from another area of the world, you may not want to leave things to chance. If lady luck does smile on you, however, we cannot recommend this course enough.
While this top five is entirely made of Links courses from the UK and Ireland, there are wonderful Links Courses across the rest of Europe including, Morfontaine (France), Koninklijke (The Netherlands), and Real Valderrama (Spain).
The 5 Best Public Links Golf Courses in Asia
Now, we proceed to the best Links courses in Asia. Japan boasts by far the largest number of golf courses in Asia – having over 3000, compared to the around 500 that can be found in China. So it won’t surprise you that Japan features heavily in this list.
Asia, unlike Europe, favors the Californian style of course over the Links, so you may be shocked not to see some of Asia’s most famous courses on this list, this is because this is a Links only list, and public ones at that.
#1 – Kawana (Fuji course), Japan (Honshu)
We begin our tour of Asia’s best Links courses with the Fuji course at Japan’s Kawana Resort. Ranked as the second-best course in the whole of Asia this is a must-visit location for any golf lovers in the area.
This tree-shrouded, sea-side course offers views and challenges like no other. It’s not everywhere where you can be attempting to putt at the 11th hole, with an international landmark like Mount Fuji to your left.
The Fuji course opened for play in 1930 and was the second course to be built at Kawana.
This fantastic course is open to the public at $300 per round, it is the most expensive course in Japan but this course is worth that and more.
#2 – South Cape, South Korea (Namhae-Gun)
This is the first of two Korean courses on our list. South Cape is a spectacular seaside Links course with panoramic ocean views and exciting holes.
One of the special things about South Cape is that there are ocean views from every single hole. It’s been seeded with multiple grass types throughout the greens and makes the most of modern golfing knowledge in a way that older courses struggle with.
South Cape opened in 2013 and has quickly won a place in the hearts of Asian golfers. It is particularly celebrated for the six holes from the 11th-17th – these include two cliff-edge par 3 holes. The majority of the course is built around the idea of ‘risk and reward’, constantly trying to tempt players into testing their luck. If you’re feeling brave you can book in advance and enjoy this stunning course.
#3 – Nauru Golf Club, Japan (Hyogo)
With an average membership age of 71, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Nauru course was a simple one. You would, however, be mistaken to think that.
Designed by C H Alison, an English architect who had a hand in making some of Japan’s most prestigious courses, this shares key features with many of Alison’s other iconic courses. This includes the small, round greens full of deep and tricky bunkers.
Although the greens appear small and simple, they are very deceptive due to the flora and clever use of grass – slow grass when you want the ball to run, and surprises where you least expect them. Alison had a great talent for using planting and extended lips to hide the location of deep bunkers on the greens.
Nauru Golf Club does allow members of the public to visit its courses, but they have limited numbers every day – so do book well in advance.
#4 – Nine Bridges, South Korea (Jeju Island)
Nine Bridges is the result of a beautiful collision of great course design and horticultural know-how – resulting in an equally exciting and gorgeous course. Nine Bridges instantly became the benchmark for Korean courses after opening in 2001 – many still argue that it is Korea’s top course.
Nine Bridges, like the original Links courses, was designed to cause as little damage to the surrounding area. Although, this was perhaps for different reasons, as the founders of golf tried to avoid this to limit their workload, whereas Nine Bridges’ designers had more of an ecological purpose in mind.
Nine Bridges is a large, carefully designed course with grand ambitions. It has hosted many international tournaments and is one highlight of what South Korea has to offer. Limited non-members are allowed to visit the club, so do make sure to book in advance of your trip.
#5 – Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, Vietnam (Ba Ria Vung Tau)
Bluff Ho Tram Strip is Vietnam’s premier golfing destination. It is hard to believe that this course was only designer Greg Norman’s second project, as the course makes such spectacular use of its geographical surroundings.
The signature hole of the course is the 4th hole which allows the player a fully circular view of the rest of the course. The holes follow the dramatic coastlines, looking out over beautiful blue seas. The Bluffs is another one of those rare courses where you can enjoy sea views from every hole. The fairways sit in the shows of skyscraper sand dunes and deep bunkers.
The sandy loam that makes up the majority of the fairways allows for quick drainage. This makes Bluffs Ho Tram Strip a great course to play in all weather. The course welcomes members of the public all year round.
Honorable Mentions (Private Clubs)
Although not as frequent as in American, Asia does have its fair share of private Links clubs – if you do get invited to any of these clubs, please bring us along.
The Hirono Golf Club in Honshu is the home of Japanese golf, and is ranked as Asia’s number #1 course. Requisitioned by the Air Force during World War 2 and built over, Honshu has gone through a lot of refurbishment over the decades since opening in 1932. If you’re lucky enough to get an invite to play there you’ll love practically every hole – particularly the 13th which gives the Golden Bell at Augusta a run for its money.
The 5 Best Public Links Golf Courses in Africa
Next on our tour of the world’s best Links courses in the continent of Africa. Taking your clubs to Africa will provide you with the chance to experience world-class courses that are actually open to the public (and bask in some incredible weather too).
#1 – Fancourt Links, South Africa (West Cape)
Our number #1 Links course in Africa is the Fancourt Links, although this is open to the public you will have to book a night at the attached hotel to be able to use the course.
Opened in 2000, the Fancourt Links has a distinctly Scottish feel to it, and this was the intention of the designer, Gary Player. Player stated that he wanted players to feel like they were wandering around the grounds of St Andrew’s without having to leave the Western Cape. That is something he definitely succeeded in.
Player used clever planting to frame each hole now, when playing on this course one almost feels like they’re alone out there – like you do in some of the great British and Irish Links courses like Royal County Down.
#2 – Mazagan, Morocco (El Jadida)
The Mazagan is the first of a few Moroccan courses on our list. Morocco is arguably the home of Links golf in Africa, with South Africa coming a close second. The Mazagan is possibly the most beautiful Links course on the Continent (maybe only beaten by the courses on Mauritius). Having opened in 2009, as part of Morocco’s drive to bring golfers to their country, this is a relatively new course that makes the most of modern golfing knowledge and applies it to replicate traditional courses.
This is another course designed by Gary Player, who drew his inspiration for this course from Muirfield – where he won one of his three open championships. Whereas Fancourt feels very Scottish, Mazagan has a distinctly Moroccan feel to it, whilst staying true to its Links routes. It’s most celebrated holes are the seaside run from the 15th-18th.
The Mazagan opens its greens to all, we recommend booking in advance.
#3 – Gary Player, South Africa (North West)
The name pops up again… This course designed by Gary Player (The Black Knight) himself is the perfect course for anyone looking to challenge themselves, especially if you enjoy some mild golfing torture.
The course is particularly famous for the annual ‘Million Dollar Golf Challenge’ hosted there. Although at first look, the course may seem pretty simple, the clever use of bush, water features, and sulking bunkers we soon have you whistling a different tune.
This course most definitely does its namesake justice, a particular highlight is the 9th (par 3) hole, with a very tempting alternative route that has led a lot of golf balls to watery graves.
#4 – St Francis Links, South Africa (Eastern Cape)
This course is a true treasure for any Links players looking for something a little off the wall. Lying a little inland the St Francis Links courses is full of your traditional, favorite Links elements, with a few extra surprises mixed in.
St Francis Links is famous for the large bodies of water that sit amongst the holes. Many of these have to be traversed whilst making your shots – you’ll need a steady hand for a few of these shots. As you can gather this is a tricky Links course, and we haven’t even got to the looming trees or the well-hidden bunkers…
If you’re feeling brave, book in advance and play a round or two on this thrilling Links course.
#5 – Mogador, Morocco (Essaouria)
Finally, we come to Mogador – finished in 2014 – this is yet another course designed by Gary Player (you can see why he got a whole course named after him). This course strikes the balance between feeling like a traditional Links course whilst basking in the beauty of its surroundings and local flora – the Gary Player specialty.
With an interesting mix of grass, clifftop stops, rocky outcrops, and well-placed trees this is an enjoyable course that even newer players will be able to enjoy. The 11th-14th holes are the favorites of Mogador’s visitors.
This course is open to visitors, don’t miss out on this one!
Honorable Mentions (Private Courses and Other Countries)
There are golf courses throughout Africa that are worth mentioning and visiting – we don’t have time to talk about them all, but if you are not visiting South Africa or Morocco you should try Egypt and Kenya.
The Island of Mauritius is also a must-visit. The small island, that takes 4 hours to drive around, is home to 9 golf courses, including the gorgeous links course at Constance Belle Mare Plage. The island offers amazing food, amazing golf courses, and unrivaled views.
If you are able to get an invitation to Golf du Palais Royal d’Agadir take it up, this is one of the best courses in Africa, we’d put it in our Best of the World list too. It is a very exclusive place, but the golf is extraordinary.
The 5 Best Public Links Golf Courses in Oceania
Finally, we arrive in Oceania. The Links courses in this continent are exclusively located in Australia and New Zealand. These two countries are home to some of the most stunning golf course locations in the world (and some of the best weather too).
#1 – Royal Melbourne (West), Australia (Victoria)
The Royal Melbourne is home to two of the highest-ranked golf courses in the country, but it’s the West course that takes the top spot on our list. Finished 89 years ago, the West course was designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, and has since hosted every major golfing tournament to come to the country at least once – including the World Cup of Golf.
Many consider the West course to be MacKenzie’s true masterpiece, composed of one perfect and exhilarating hole after another, tricky but spacious bunkers, and many hidden surprises. There are many who swear that there is not a substandard hole on this course. In our opinion, this is one of the best Links courses in the world.
When talking about the West course Tom Doak said, ‘If only Melbourne were not so far removed from America, the standard of American golf architecture might be a lot higher.’
#2 – Tara Iti, New Zealand (North Island)
This is the only Links course from New Zealand to make it onto our list. This fine course offerers players spectacular views of The Little Barrier, Greater Barrier, Tauranga, and Mokohinau Islands from the fairway.
Tara Iti can be found North of Auckland and is the result of a collaboration between locals and architects from LA. The course has no bunkers, trees, water hazards, or typical rough – however, the natural landscape of the course with its sandy stretches, blind bends, and Fescue grass-covered fairway is challenging enough.
Tara Iti is notorious for its blind 3rd hole, and 18th hole (par 5) with a split fairway which gives the player a choice of approach.
Although this is a private club, it is possible for anyone to play the course, as long as they apply to the club in advance – this course is worth the paperwork.
#3 – Barnbougle Dunes, Australia (Tasmania)
The course at Barnbougle Dunes is the closest thing Australia has to the traditional seaside Links course. Situated on the island of Tasmania, our third pick for Oceania was designed by architects and golf enthusiasts Tom Doak and Michel Clayton, and their passion for the sport is apparent throughout the course.
The course hugs the curves of the natural landscape as it makes players traverse the breathtaking Tasmanian coastline. The designers worked around the natural formations of dunes and sandy bunkers in order to make this course feel like one of those original, Scottish Links courses.
Barnbougle is famous not only for its wildly varying holes (one of which is raised 100m) but for its prevailing Westerly winds that the golfers must play into.
This is the hidden gem of Australian golf courses that should not be skipped.
#4- The Metropolitan, Australia (Victoria)
Throughout the last 100 years The Metropolitan, in Melbourne, has gone through many redevelopments by some of the most iconic golf architects of all time. Thankfully this course hasn’t been spoiled by conflicting visions, the designers have been able to improve their predecessors’ work, and add their own flare as they did it.
The Metropolitan boasts a world-famous opening hole, called devilish by some and an utter delight by others, but everyone can agree that it is unforgettable. The 7th and 15th holes are also celebrated as being some of the best work by designer Dick Willson.
Its sandy build means that no matter the weather, or time of year, this course is a joy to play on. The course is open to the public on Monday, Thursday, and Friday mornings and the club recommends booking in advance. This is a must-visit if you’re in the Victoria area.
#5 – The New South Wales, Australia (Sydney)
This is the third course designed by Alister MacKenzie to make it into our Best of Oceania list, and this really is a testament to his enduring legacy in Australian golf. The New South Wales course has a reputation for being the toughest course in Oceania – it’s a must-play for any golf enthusiasts. It is essential to book in advance for this course.
The New South Wales is set overlooking the historic landing point of James Cook’s first arrival in Australia, Botany Bay. With very little undergrowth on the course, players are treated to breathtaking views of blue oceans and sandy shores as they play.
The wind will be your main rival whilst playing at The New South Wales and is a key factor in the course’s famed difficulty. By the end of the 2nd hole, you’ll be wondering what you’ve signed yourself up for. With the 5th-7th holes being some of the trickiest and most entertaining holes in the world. Particularly the blind drive over a hill during the 5th hole.
Honorable mentions (private courses)
There are a few private Links courses that we are keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll get an invite to – particularly the Old National and the Royal Adelaide. We’d also like to give an honorable mention to the East Course at the Royal Melbourne, as even though it is not as highly rated as the Western course, it is still one of Australia’s top 5 courses.
And there you have it, the 30 Top Links Courses in the World, that anyone can visit. Visiting even a few of these during 2021 will guarantee you a very fun year.
There are fantastic Links courses in every area of the world if you know where to look. This list could have been three times as long, there really is no shortage of great Links courses out there.
It’s hard to narrow down our favorites but if you’re looking for somewhere on this list to start, why not begin with the British and Irish courses. Here you will be able to play Links golf as it was designed to be played. Plus you’ll be able to play on the same courses as many of the all-time greats.
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Author: Stan Johnson