We are not shy of a few pretty spectacular golf courses here in Cabo San Lucas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own bucket list of golf courses we’d love to play. When we’re not eating seafood on the beach, fishing for tuna, partying till the early hours or playing our own great golf course, you might find us relaxing poolside and dreaming of playing golf in some of these fantastic locations:
1.) St Andrews is the home of golf. No list could start off without including this iconic of places. It is said that every course design in the world is either taken directly from St Andrews or a reaction against it.
2.) Whistling Straits has been on our bucket list ever since watching the 2010 PGA Championship. If there is a course in the world with as many bunkers on it please tell us. It’s set on the shores of Lake Michigan and on a former airfield. Pete Dye was brought in to create a lakeside classic and he certainly has. For such a young course, it has already hosted two major championships and is due to host the Ryder cup in 2020 too.
3.) Augusta National makes our list because it is so enshrined into every golfer’s psyche, to not want to play it would be sacrilege to golf itself. Its location is dreamlike and practically every shot you can play on the course bears some historical legacy. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones and Alistair MacKenzie, but a number of other hands have changed the look of the course over the years including, Perry Maxwell, George Cobb, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio.
4.) Old Head Golf Links could be the realisation of a fantasy golf course. Created from a thin, two mile peninsula cutting into the Atlantic Ocean in Southern Ireland, it looks every bit as exhilarating as it does dangerous. Created from farmland sold for just a few thousand Euros, the course itself isn’t the most challenging, unless the wind starts blowing and one look at the clubhouse set into the earth and rock alludes to the forces of nature at work here. What might be more difficult is taking our eyes off the majestic Atlantic coastline and the pretty lighthouse.
5.) Royal Melbourne was also designed by the great Alistair MacKenzie and is touted by many as the best in all of Australia. A thoughtful, well designed course that seems to offer some of the best greens in the world, Royal Melbourne also happens to be located in a city annually voted one of the most liveable in the world. A visit to Australia is on most people’s bucket list, and if you play golf as well, then this place is a must.
6.) Hirono makes the list not least because of our love of sushi and a good sake. This course represents an era of golf course design that remains timeless. Built in 1932 by Charles Alison it has hosted every major Japanese golf event and then some. The layout employs much thoughtful design and remains a test whilst not being prohibitively long. The greens are sited on raised plateaux and provide an almost theatrical setting for every hole.
7.) Cape Kidnappers is also perched atop cliffs in New Zealand affording views that might just make you stop and let a few groups pass through before carrying on. It is so remote that it takes a twenty minute drive to get from the main gates to the clubhouse. This is a Tom Doak layout where the absence of trees makes the bunkers and the lie of the land all the more dangerous and intriguing.
8.) The Pacific Dunes course at Bandon Dunes is also a Tom Doak design at one the finest golf resorts in America. Of the four courses available, this is the pick of the bunch and the one we’d like to visit. It opened for play in 2001 and still in its natural setting might well be the closest course to a British links that America has, without even trying to be.
9.) Leopard Creek makes our list because where else can you play top class golf whilst simultaneously watching out for big game, sharing fairways with giraffe, playing shots over bathing hippos and avoiding the crocs. Arguably the best course in South Africa, it is surrounded by bush and bordered to North by the un imaginatively named Crocodile River!
10.) Trump International Scotland
Ignoring any of the social and environmental concerns of this development, completed in 2012, this course looks just sensational. A true links course that seems to have been injected with steroids for extra muscle. Every hole has been created within majestic dunes traveling either North or South along the rugged North East Coast of Scotland. It has been designed to challenge the golfer on each and every shot, and we love a challenge!
So there you have it, some of the courses on our bucket list. If your favourites aren’t listed then share them with us. We can always find space on our list to add more great golf courses.