European Tour golf courses are an elite band of some of the best places to play golf around the world. It is fair to say that the European Tour has become somewhat of a world tour thanks to a lack of good weather in the continent through the winter months. This has been one of the key success drivers for the tour as it has captivated this global audience and taken the golfing circus to these far-away lands.
As we’ve said before on this blog, one of the most special factors in golf is that we can play the very same courses that our heroes play during the season. Playing at European Tour golf courses gives you a sense of just how good these guys are out there. You must always remember though, you’re playing the course under normal circumstances, not in tour mode.
Thankfully, these courses come with many teeing options and you don’t necessarily have to play the course at the same length that the stars do. If you’re a seasoned European Tour fan then you will no doubt have fond memories of some of the great moments on some of these courses.
We take a look at some of the best playing experiences you can have on European Tour golf courses. The countries and tracks that you should be adding to your ‘must play list’ then getting out there and testing your game against them. There are some absolute gems on this list, enjoy.
There are few European Tour Golf Courses as spectacular as the Seve Ballesteros Course at Crans-sur-Sierre. The annual host course of the Omega Swiss Masters, this is an event with arguably the greatest backdrop in all of professional golf. Sitting high in the Alps, the panoramas are captivating and the course is a perfect accompaniment to the views. There is no wonder why the Tour has been coming back here every year since 1972.
This is high-altitude golf and as a result, you will see your ball travelling further than you may be used to, always a bonus. In 1995, the true legend of European golf, Seve Ballesteros was invited to help refurbish the course. He then came back to concentrate specifically on modernising the greens. What he created is what we see today and the club were so impressed by his work that they named the course after him. The course is a lot of fun to play. With plenty of changes in elevation and with the use of strategically placed hazards, this course requires well-executed shots and a more conservative game plan. You will fall in love with this place so quickly.
Another of the outstandingly beautiful European Tour golf courses is a fairly new member of the club. Thracian Cliffs sits on the coast of the Black Sea and is the work of Gary Player. The course opened in 2011 and immediately caught the attention of the golfing world. One of the most photogenic courses in the world, this is just pure coastal drama as the holes skirt along the cliffs. Thracian Cliffs hosted the 2013 Volvo World Matchplay Championship which saw a host of European Tour stars, G-Mac was the eventual winner that week.
The crystal white cliffs combined with the piercingly blue sea makes for a wonderful visual experience. Many say that this course is made up of 18 signature holes, it’s a fair assessment, but if you had to single one hole out it would probably be the 6th. This long par 3 is over 230 yards and your tee shot is played from high above the green. The putting surface appears to have been carved out of the cliffs and anything right will face either bunkers or a watery end. The ever-modest Gary Player declared that this course will be “in the top three in the world”.
Belek is fast becoming one of the best golfing destinations in Europe, this fact has certainly been helped by the incredible following that the Turkish Airlines Open has created. Carya Golf Club ‘proved itself’ as a championship venue on by hosting the Turkish Challenge on the Challenge Tour for three years. After great success during that stint, it wasn’t long until the European Tour was stopping by in the aforementioned Turkish Airlines Open. The course has now hosted the event for the last three years and has seen back to back victories for Justin Rose and one from Thorbjorn Oleson.
This is quite a unique course as it is very similar to the heathland course of England. The course was designed by one the legends of The Open Championship, Peter Thomson. If you are visiting Turkey in the height of the summer, you can even play this one in the coolness of the night under floodlights. It is definitely worth playing this course in the day time and night time to get the full experience. This course makes its way through high pine and eucalyptus trees that perfectly frame the holes. There are a few water hazards out there that just wait on you slipping up whilst waste bunkering can test your scrambling. It is no wonder that this is a European Tour golf course, it is a wonderful playing experience.
Whilst Belek is a rising star in the golf destination category, few can compete with The Algarve. The Dom Pedro Resort in Vilamoura is one of the best resorts on offer here and the Victoria is a European Tour Golf Course. This is the fifth course to be built at this huge resort and is the work of the late and great Arnold Palmer. From the very early days of even planning this course it was thought of as highly ambitious but the project was an incredible success. Since 2007, this has been the host course of the Portugal Masters and honours list of that tournament contains some of the best European Tour players you could think of.
The first priority when playing this course is avoiding the many and large water hazards that litter the course. An overly safe shot or the occasional dropped shot is far more conducive to a good score than trying to be a hero on every hole and adding to the vast collection at the bottom of the lakes. The greens at Dom Pedro Victoria are vast and fast. Just make sure you keep the ball dry and let your putting do the talking. The 7,273 yard championship course also has many well-placed bunkers for you to navigate around but with plenty of teeing options, you should take time to pick the most suitable tee so that you can really enjoy the quality of this course.
The Scottish Open has traditionally been the tournament before The Open Championship, this is a rather privileged spot on the calendar as it means many PGA TOUR players are around preparing for the quirks of British golf before the major. For many years this event was held at the sumptuous parkland, Loch Lomond Golf Club. After 2010, a great decision was made to start to play this great event on links courses. The first venue to get the new version of the event was Castle Stuart and it was an amazing start to the new era of the tournament. The wonderful links course near Inverness is one of a handful of amazing new links courses that have cropped up in Scotland. For three years the event was held at Castle Stuart and all of a sudden it started to draw more international players who were using it as a chance to ready themselves for the links shots required to win an Open. Among the early winners there were Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson, in 2016 Alex Noren also took the title in Inverness.
Castle Stuart was the project of developer Mark Parsinen and the work he took quickly after the incredibly successful Kingsbarns. This piece of land sits on the Moray Firth and, although on links terrain, has far more elevation change than your average links course. The dramatic elevation change is used to great effect creating exhilarating tee shots down the cliffs onto the fairway. Few course architects could have done this land the justice that Gil Hanse did in bringing Parsinen’s vision to life. The long par three 17th leaves a memorable challenge to keep you honest until the end. The hole is perched on the cliffs and is one of the many highlights of the round.
This is a unique member in this list of European Tour Golf Courses, it has hosted the Ryder Cup and it is also the annual venue for US Open International qualifying. The course hosted five European Opens on the European Tour between 1978 and 1991 and then saw a return of the tour as the host course of the British Masters in 2018. Fan favourite and all-round good guy, Eddie Pepperell would win the event which was hosted by Justin Rose. The newly revamped and repackaged British Masters has been a huge success for the tour in recent years and this was another fantastic edition of the event.
Other great facts about Walton Heath are that it is the only course in British history to have a reigning monarch as captain of the club and it is where Winston Churchill played his golf as a member for 55 years. The land on this course is fairly unique too. It has the fiery and hard-packed nature of a coastal links but the sea is nowhere near. As the name would suggest, this also has a feel of heathland golf to it and the course is decorated with wild heather which adds a great flash of colour to the terrain.
Walton Heath is not an easy course as it requires both length and accuracy from the tee as well as a sound strategy through the bag. Many holes force you into long carries over the heathery land and test your ball striking with the driver. The closing holes, starting from the 13th are regarded by many as among the finest in all of golf. The par-five 16th is one of the major challenges of the final holes and at 535 yards requires you to have left something in the tank for the end. Bunkering on the right and unappealing lies awaiting misses to the left keep you true from the tee, however, that’s the easy part. The green is guarded in a similar set-up and a deep bunker awaits those missing right whilst that pesky heather awaits on the left again. If you’re feeling strong and confident then a great birdie opportunity awaits you on this hole but your mishits will be punished. You have been warned. This is a rare playing experience and a course with a wonderfully rich history. If you get the chance to play it, cease it with both hands.
The European Tour is where some of the most skilled golfers in the world ply their trade and scintillate golf fans. If you have ever been to an event on the tour, you will know just how much comes with the event to draw in crowds and build the spectator experience. It is an amazing thing to go watch a tour event and see the course set up for that week then to go back and see it under normal circumstances. When you can see the course without the grandstands and penal set-up it is like seeing a whole new course again.
We must take full advantage of the fact that we can experience these wonderful courses and most of them are great value to play. You may not have the opportunity to play in front of the cameras and expectant crowds but you can always imagine them as you make your way around. As a golf fan, you must do yourself a favour and play a European Tour course at least once in your life, you owe it to yourself.
The Ryder Cup is the most special team event in all of golf. It is the one event that truly brings in non-golfers as they know which team they should be supporting and get drawn into the atmosphere of the contest. Every two years, the golfing stars of the US and Europe push their games to their limits to try and get picked to play in the great event.
The week of matchplay golf allows players to really open up and play risky shots to win holes. They take on risks they wouldn’t normally and when it comes off you see true golfing drama. Over the years we have seen storming victories, tense draws and emotional comebacks, it really is a treat for sports fans.
The Ryder Cup is an event that all golf fans must attend. The cheering crowd getting involved more than usual and a whole gallery of fans following four matches, this is a competition like nothing you will have ever experienced on a golf course. Below we look at some of the venues that have hosted the historic tournament and why you have to visit them.
In 1920, Golf Illustrated wrote to the PGA of America suggesting that they assemble a squad of elite professionals to sail over the Atlantic and try to win the Open Championship for the US for the first time. The magazine funded this endeavour and eventually 12 men were chosen to make the crossing.
It was decided that they would play a warm-up tournament, The Glasgow Herald 1000 Guineas, which would take place at Gleneagles before The Open at St Andrews. This became a 12-man international match between Great Britain and the USA.
In 1926, another match was announced to take place at Wentworth as Walter Hagen brought a team of Americans for another warm-up match before The Open Championship. Eventually, it was decided that 10 men would represent each side and they would play foursomes on the first day followed by singles the day after. Samuel Ryder donated a trophy for this event and at the time it was supposed to be an annual affair.
At Worcester, the following year, a far more formal and recognisable version of The Ryder Cup was played. The rules of the event were finally written up and it was decided that an annual event was not feasible. From then on, the event was played every two years (with certain unforeseen exceptions) and the rest is glorious golfing history.
L’Albatros at Le Golf National is the most recent Ryder Cup venue was opened in 1990 but plans were put to paper in 1984 to create a course that could one day host the biennial inter-continental showdown. A piece of flat land was chosen close to Paris and Versailles and the idea was to build the greatest stadium course in the world. Anyone who witnessed Le Golf National during the Ryder Cup will fully agree that they pulled that dream off perfectly.
As Thomas Bjorn’s Europe went on to a 17 ½ vs 10 ½ victory over Jim Furyk’s USA, a huge gallery had the perfect view of the unfolding drama. There have been few Ryder Cup venues as good as Le Golf National. The closing holes with the huge influence of large water hazards make for drama right until the final hole. It is a course that requires accuracy and provides plenty of risk versus reward decisions to be made, the perfect matchplay course. Just make sure you drive the ball better than Phil Mickelson did.
Next year’s Ryder Cup venue is one of the best links-like courses in the US and a course that has given us drama in the past. Whistling Straits has hosted three PGA Championships and was the site of a dramatic loss of a trophy for Dustin Johnson in 2010. This is not the usual wide-open and lush course that Team USA favour during the Ryder Cup, it is long though at 7,800 yards. Here we will see Steve Stricker vs Padraig Harrington.
This Pete Dye course is decorated by over 1,000 bunkers and winds can get up making it even more links-like. One of the most spectacular holes on the course, and there are many, is the 7th. This 220-yard par 3 sits snug to the coast and is just so pleasing on the eye. The green sits on a ridge with many bunkers below the green to the right. Anything right of that is in the lake and the terrain on the left just draws your eye to the green. A wonderful hole and an outstanding course.
As you can see, The Brabazon Course at The Belfry is the unofficial home of the European Ryder Cup team. This was a Ryder Cup venue for three home events in a row and a course that saw the home team take home the trophy three times out of four. The Belfry is one of the finest parkland courses in the UK and a course that will test your game. Having hosted more Ryder Cups than any other venue, many of the events biggest names have produced some magic here.
The Americans had been making the event very one-sided and hadn’t lost the Ryder Cup since it was expanded to Europe rather than just Great Britain and Ireland. 1985 was the breakthrough year and Sam Torrance was the man to hole the winning putt. It is no wonder they kept coming back here. The course was designed by Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas and is an exhilarating round of golf. No hole captures the essence of the Belfry better than the 18th and who could forget Seve taking on the water and the corner and greening it from the tee in 1985?
One of the most famous Ryder Cup showdowns of them all, this was to be known as ‘The War on the Shore’ as the US team won 14 ½ to 13 ½. Bernard Langer actually missed a short putt that would have sealed another victory for Team Europe who had been on a run since winning at The Belfry in 1983. This Ryder Cup saw some real tension between Paul Azinger and Seve Ballesteros as claims of breaking rules during the Friday doubles was met with counter-claims of gamesmanship.
The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island was a wonderful Ryder Cup venue near Charleston, South Carolina. This course is just packed with shoreline holes and is a joy to play. Pete Dye did a wonderful job when he created this course. There is an old-fashioned links feel to the course and it even has a sort of nine out and nine back type layout. Dye uses risk vs reward on holes like the 2nd and 7th to test you early on this magnificent course.
This was the 32nd playing of this great match and a special one as it was the first Ryder Cup venue out-with the UK and Ireland. Like the event at Kiawah Island, this match was 14 ½ to 13 ½ in favour of the home team. Seve Ballesteros has always been the hero of Team Europe, here he took his charisma as a player and became a winning captain. Amazingly, Europe have not lost at home since this wonderful week.
Real Club De Valderrama has been refurbished since that Ryder Cup and it is arguably the greatest course in Continental Europe. This is a testing course that will challenge even the best players. It is such a fun test though, you want to be pushed. The closing holes are really tough but this is a course you have to think your way around. It takes good tactics and solid ball striking to score around here.
Another really close match at another wonderful Ryder Cup venue. PGA National is in West Palm Beach, Florida and saw a 14 ½ to 13 ½ victory in favour of the USA. There was a nice symbolism to the captains that year as Tony Jacklin and Jack Nicklaus faced-off after the famous putt concession during their playing days in 1969. The shot of the week came from Seve as he hit a 240 yard three wood out of the bunker on the 18th that lead him to halve the hole with a par.
PGA National is a mecca for golfers and this Ryder Cup was played on The Champion course which now hosts the PGA TOUR annually. The most famous part of this Fazio course is the infamous ‘Bear Trap’. The stretch from 15-17 has ended the hopes of many a good round and will do many more. This is one of the finest courses in Florida and for good reason. The course has generous fairways and landing areas but the constant threat of large water hazards play with your mind and make them seem narrow. This is an outstanding course and a joy to play for any golfer.
For the 40th Ryder Cup and in fitting style with the love of tradition in golf, Gleneagles played host to the great event. Having been the first Ryder Cup venue, of sorts, this was a great place to bring the tournament on its special year. Jack Nicklaus had created the PGA Centenary course especially for the event which was also a nice nod to one of the great competitors of the tournament. A victory for Europe would be the result as Jamie Donaldson hit the shot of his life with a wedge on the 15th to seal the win.
The PGA Centenary at Gleneagles is one of the modern stadium-style courses with high banking all around the greens making it a spectacular venue for watching. Like all great matchplay courses, The PGA Centenary has many risk vs reward type holes and the par 5 18th is a wonderful example. The 513-yard hole snakes its way uphill and requires a bold second shot to a narrow and raised green. With large hollows at either side and deep bunkering, missing the green can leave you with a real short game test especially if you are under pressure to make a score. A great course with stunning views of the Perthshire hills.
The Ryder Cup is as good as golf gets. Every two years the individual nature of professional golf stops for one week and we sit captivated as a whole new dynamic takes over our sport. The Europeans have always been a great team who clearly love this format and play off each other. The US, who have struggled with this factor, have in recent years really become a great team and this has only added to the appeal of the tournament.
There is no golf event like it. Whilst other team events do exist, this is the one that matters most as the two biggest tours in the world compete for that beautiful golden Samuel Ryder Trophy. Who would have known in 1921 when this seedling concept was first attempted, that nearly 100 years later the event would be what it is now.
Importantly, this is the event that gets people interested in golf. If you know anyone who you think could take up our great sport then this is the one to sit down and watch with them. You will never see drama like you see during a Ryder Cup Sunday when 12 men wear their team colours with pride and take on 12 other men doing the same thing. The fast-paced ebb and flow of the red and blue on the leaderboard, the score moving closer and closer to that magic 14 ½ and the emotion of the players that can be a rare sight these days, this is what golf is all about.
There are few sports with the rich history and heritage that golf enjoys. The first golf course in a country is a revered place and makes for an international collection of places you should play. Imagine teeing up where it all began for a country. This is where it all began for the area and you know the club will want to show that fact off to you.
Whilst the true origins of the sport of golf are still debated, there is no doubt that the game that we love today was first played in Scotland. The sport developed and grew here then made a short cross over to England then the other home nations before moving to France and Spain.
Golf is now a truly global sport but it is no surprise that people still want to travel from all over to play at the home of golf, St Andrews. Playing a course that brought golf to a country is a special experience, we shine a light on some of the various places you can have such an experience.
This is the ‘Home of Golf’ and a truly special place for any golfer to visit, what better a place to start. This is a city that is dedicated to golf and everywhere you look is a nod to the greatest export of the place. It is thought that golf has been played on the links land of St Andrews since around 1527 and now The Old Course is the most recognisable course in the world.
There are few features of a golf course more famous than the hell bunker, the road hole bunker, the Swilcan Bridge and the valley of sin. The course was designed by Old Tom Morris who was the club professional for many years and also a club maker in the local area. There are many landmarks that you have to visit as you make your way around the course and even if you avoid some of the terrible bunkers that litter the course, it is worth throwing a ball in and trying to escape. You haven’t really played St Andrews if you haven’t bounced a ball off of the wall at The Road Hole or successfully got a ball out of the bunker of the same name, have you?
The most special factor at St Andrews, it is a fully public course and the price of a round is protected by the Links Trust who care for the courses in St Andrews. This is not just a golf course, it is a museum and a round of golf that takes you back in time. Modern equipment certainly makes the course easier but that can be quickly neutralised by some classic Scottish links weather so don’t get cocky.
Teeing off at The Old Course is a truly special moment in the life of any golfer. Standing on the pristine tee box where the legends of our sport have stood, with the famous clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club and the hallowed turf in front. You must savour every shot and every step you make on this course and appreciate the honour that it is to play golf on such a historic venue. You will never forget your first round on The Old Course at St Andrews.
With the more modern form of golf taking off in Scotland, it wasn’t long before England has its first course. At this time, golf was only played on the non-arable links land close to the coast. Founded in 1864, some refer to this course as Westward Ho! or ‘the St Andrews of the South’. Fittingly, this course was designed by Old Tom Morris too.
Much like St Andrews, Royal North Devon still plays on the original fairways that were laid down all that time ago. The terrain of this course is classic and pure links. Standing in the clubhouse, you will struggle to find the layout of the course as the flat land has no trees and only higher grass and gorse to really define the holes. Many have taken a wrong turn or teed off in the wrong place because of the simplicity of the layout of this course. Make sure you buy a course guide so that you don’t fall into that trap.
Like any historic golf club around the world, the pride the club has for its history is palpable. When you visit Royal North Devon, you must leave extra time so that you can explore the clubhouse and enjoy the fascinating collection of memorabilia that they have on display. This is the cradle of English golf and a very special golfing destination.
As we make our way through the history of golf in the mainland Britain, it is now time to introduce the very first course opened in Wales. Tenby Golf Club is somewhat of a hidden gem and only the most discerning golfer may know of it. As a result, this is a place to visit that will make your list of courses played stand out as unique. Again, this is a links course and it is an absolutely wonderful place to play a round.
Sitting on the Pembrokeshire coast, it is thought that golf has been played on this land since 1875 and Tenby Golf Club was formally founded in 1888. The course was originally only nine holes until James Braid developed it to a full course in 1907. This is a course that fiercely protects the traditional appeal of the course and has a charming lack of modern features. There is something incredibly pure about the playing experience on this links.
At around 6,500 yards from the back tees, this is not a long course, however, the architectural features of the course make it one for thinkers. This isn’t a course that you will be able to wrestle into submission with long powerful driving displays, you need to place the ball and plot your way around. Penal bunkers, tricky cambering fairways and the classic thick gorse bushes will keep you engaged as you play here. A unique round awaits you at Tenby Golf Club.
Having described the courses that started golf as a movement, now we will look at a couple of courses that brought golf to global destinations more recently. Fittingly, as golf courses were built in Victorian times near holiday destinations, our first fits that bill. Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius is an idyllic golfing destination and was founded in 1994. The course was designed by South African, Hugh Baiocchi and is set on a former hunting reserve. This dramatic wooded land has made for a wonderful golfing experience.
The fairways may be tree-lined but they are wide and welcoming. This fact, paired with the piercing electric blue of the ocean makes for a unique round of golf. This course makes its way past one of the most beautiful beaches on the island on the east coast of the island. Thanks to a remodelling project by Rodney Wright, every hole on the course has some sort of water hazard so keeping your ball dry can be a tough ask around here.
The signature hole on the course is undoubtedly the par three 17th. This arrestingly beautiful short hole is one of the nicest you will ever play but best concentrate as there is a lot of water to be avoided. From the tee you hit over a sea inlet with a wonderful panorama of the mountains beyond the green. The indigenous trees frame the green along with five bunkers waiting to collect any mishit short to mid irons from the tee. A glorious hole that will punish you if you’re not careful.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai has become one of the world’s leading golf destinations and Emirates Golf Club is the one that started it all. When this course was opened in 1988 it was the first course in the Middle East, never mind the UAE. There was very little in Dubai at that time, in fact it was more of a fishing town than a global metropolis and so it is safe to say that few golf courses have seen as wild a change in backdrop over the years that Emirates Golf Club has. This is a true golfing oasis in the desert as the lush green fairways make their way across the naturally undulating sandy terrain. This is a course that will test your bunker play, there is an abundance of the stuff so it would have been stupid not to use it.
After being open just one year, The Dubai Desert Classic was founded and quickly started to draw the biggest names in the world out to play this unique course. Now the event is a mainstay of the European Tour in the Desert Swing portion of the calendar and a very large purse helps attract the most skilled players around. Another feature of the course is the use of some natural water hazards including some lakes that can trouble you as you make your way around the course.
The greens at The Majlis Course at The Emirates Golf Club are huge and allow for some weird and wonderful pin positions to test you. To add to this, the course is known for how fast the greens can run in the high season and this makes these tricky pin positions that bit more difficult. To score well around The Majlis, you must place your ball in the correct areas of the greens, that’s imperative.
Of all the modern courses in the world, The Emirates Golf Club has some of the most iconic features. The 7th is an outstanding par three over a lake that requires a full carry to reach dry land. This hole then sets you up for one of the most dramatic tee shots in all of golf. The 8th tee has you firing your driver toward the skyline of Dubai. This is a picture that anyone playing the course must capture and one that will stick firmly in your head. The distinctive shape of the buildings is a celebration of Bedouin tents that are synonymous with the region and another iconic feature of the playing experience here.
If you haven’t made the trip out to Dubai to play this course then you absolutely must put it onto your list. This is one of a new breed of golf course and one that has brought about a whole industry of golf in the area. You can revel in the history of the great players who have played and won at this luxurious course through the years.
From the very beginning of the game and the land where it all began to one of the modern icons of our sport, the collection above are special places to play golf. The game may have its origins on the coastal links land of eastern Scotland but now is played on almost any type of land you can think of. Here we even travel to the desert of the Middle East and the tropical African island of Mauritius.
In golf, we are constantly reminded of the storied and events that brought us to the modern game we play now. With coveted historical events such as The Open Championship we are never far from hearing about the history of our great sport. With over 34,000 golf courses around the world, it is always a special experience to visit one that got the sport started in its country.
Whilst we have covered just a few, this is a select club of courses that every golfer should experience. These courses have a special feeling about them and they are a privilege to play. Why not start collecting playing experiences at these significant destinations and get yourself closer to the backstory of golf.
Golf has many features that mark it out as a unique sport. One of the main things that separates it is the association that the best players in the world have with the clubs upon which they first learned their trade. You see, every golfer remembers their first course. You don’t struggle to conjure up memories of first tee nerves at junior medals or monthly medals if you took the sport up later.
It is, then, no surprise that the pros tend to stay close to the clubs that they grew up on. They may now travel the world playing the best courses in the world in the best shape they can be in, yet that club where they forged their love for the game holds a special place in their hearts.
Today we will be having a look at some of the best examples of professionals and their associations with golf clubs. These clubs are worth visiting as there you will see some great memorabilia of the pros that still call the club home. Speak to members and hear their stories of these golfing superstars, you will find things out that very few people know.
After the incredibly successful return of The Open Championship to the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush, this seems like a fitting place to start. It was also wonderfully fitting that Darren Clarke, the man who calls this place home, got to hit the opening tee shot and set the tournament wheels in motion.
The 2011 Champion Golfer of the Year lives in the town of Portrush and is a member at the dramatic links. It was later that year that Clarke donated his Open Championship medal to Royal Portrush as he accepted an honorary membership and called this wonderful course home. This was certainly a great time in Irish golf history as Padraig Harrington had won three majors and Graeme McDowell had won the 2010 US Open. On his 10th birthday, a young prodigy called Rory met Darren Clarke for the first time at Portrush.
Clarke is vocal about his love for Royal Portrush, this is a course that changes so much depending on wind direction. He talks, with a beaming smile, of the genius design features that Harry Colt had used to make this majestic coastal masterpiece. His pride was on full show during The Open and rightly so.
Like most of the best links courses in the UK, Royal Portrush has more than one course on its property. The second course at Portrush, the Valley Links is another incredible course by Harry Colt that has been somewhat overshadowed by its big brother the Dunluce. The course has more recently been reimagined by Martin Ebert and is the original home to the Royal Portrush Ladies Club and Rathmore Golf Club. It is said that you haven’t properly experienced golf at Portrushuntil you have played both courses.
At Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2010, Graeme McDowell broke a 40-year winless streak of British golfers at the US Open.
McDowell was born in the town of Portrush in 1979 and has been a very proud export of the area for decades. In a twist of misfortune, 2019 was the year that his exemption ran out for The Open, the year it came to his home town. Fortunately, at the RBC Canadian Open, the northern Irishman drained a 30-foot putt to claim a spot, he left it late but he got there. Having learned to play the game at Rathmore Golf Club, it wouldn’t have been the same event without G-Mac. In some ways, the Dunluce Links is his golfing back garden.
We will stick with the Open Championship theme as it is that time of year. Arguably the greatest player to have never won a major championship, although he has now won many senior majors, Colin Montgomerie grew up playing at Royal Troon. The eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner’s father was Club Secretary at the Ayrshire links and, much like G-Mac, above, Monty managed to claim a late spot at his home Open in 2016.
The former Ryder Cup captain first played the children’s course at Royal Troon when he was just six years old. Having grown up just yards from the course, Monty learned the skills that would make him one of Europe’s greatest ever golfers on this very land. He played the course in every conceivable condition and had the honour of leading out The Open in 2016. A fitting way to play the likely last home Open that will take place in his career.
Monty was certainly one of Europe’s greatest assets during Ryder Cup matches in his day. When his days playing for Europe were over, Monty was quickly replaced by a young Englishman with a lion heart and a great passion for the team event. Ian Poulter became the new talisman for Team Europe and, in a strange parallel, has never won a major championship. The charismatic Englishman has one of the most interesting careers of modern golf and is a dying breed of player, he was an assistant pro at a club and grafted his way to global stardom.
Since 2003, Poulter has been attached to Woburn. He credits much of his success in the world of golf to the great facilities that have been made available to him at this fantastic club. He has also made sure that he supported the development of the club and future stars of the game. The Ian Poulter Junior Invitational was held between 2005 and 2016 on the Maquess Course at Woburn Golf Club and is a fitting example of Poulter’s love for developing the sport. In 2017, Poulter qualified for The Open at Woburn playing the role of home hero perfectly as he sealed a place at Carnoustie. This is a great relationship between club and professional, something that golf is all about.
Another of England’s modern golfing heroes is Justin Rose. In 1998, at Royal Birkdale, a new name in golf came to the public view as a seventeen-year-old won the Silver Medal, awarded to the best finishing amateur at The Open Championship. The young amateur holed his final shot from short of the green to finish 4th in the even that was won by Mark O’Meara. After a testing start to his professional career, Rose started to become one of the finest players in the world and won the 2013 US Open at Merion.
From the age of 10, Justin Rose was a member at North Hants Golf Club. He learned the game and by the age of 14 had a plus-three handicap. He recently put his name to a room in the club that they can rent out for meetings an events. The room is full of images and memorabilia from his glittering career including a replica of his US Open trophy. This is one of the ways he is helping support the club that helped make him the player he is today. Rose remains a proud member of the club and many who follow him on Twitter will have noticed that when he signed-in for The Open Championship at Royal Portrush he had North Hants down as his club.
One of British golfs hottest prospects at the moment is Matt Wallace. Under the expert tutelage of Robert Rock, Wallace has won multiple times around the world and is now in the top-50 in the world rankings. He is, to many, one of the best prospects for the next British major champion. At the beginning of 2019, The Belfry announced that Matt Wallace would be their club ambassador.
Wallace was incredibly proud to represent one of the most famous golf resorts in the UK and the home of multiple Ryder Cups and tour events. This player association is different from most of the others as this is one where both parties will promote one another, this is the way of modern golf. It gives Matt Wallace the use of the incredible facilities that are on hand at the state of the art academy and will help him develop his game further. Maybe you’ll see him down there if you go for a visit.
One of the most beloved players on the European Tour became a major champion for the first time during the 2017 US Masters as he defeated Justin Rose to take the green jacket. At the age of 37, the Spaniard had to wait some time to join the major winning circle as he had been on the scene from a very young age. As one of the golfing worlds fan favourites, this victory pleased so many out there. At Campo de Mediterráneo, Garcia developed his unique swing and a game that would take the world by storm. Many still say he is the best ball-striker of his generation.
He would return to the club where it all began and celebrate his Masters victory by showing off his green jacket to members, staff, family and friends. He said, during this trip, that he used to practice his putting on the club’s green and pretend he had to make the putt to win The Masters. Be honest, you’ve done the same. The course has also held many prestigious events including The Spanish Open, this is a wonderful club that is rightly proud of its famous member.
One of the most famous player and club associations has to be between Rory McIlroy and Holywood Golf Club. Much has been made of the fact that Rory’s meteoric rise as a youngster was given a great springboard through his time as a child at the club in Northern Ireland. Some may recall the appearance on Irish TV by a very young Rory as he hit a pitch into a washing machine.
A corner of the clubhouse at Holywood Golf Club is dedicated to the former world number one where you can see an incredible collection of Rory mementoes. The multiple major winner goes back often to visit the club and see his friends there. One of the stories of the club is that in 2004 Rory’s dad and a friend from the club bet £100 each that he would win a major in the coming 10 years. The bet had odds of 500/1, and came in on the final year it could meaning the pair split £100,000 between them. Rory even has his very own parking space at the club so you’ll quickly know if he’s around when you visit.
Clubs always remember the stars that have come through their system and who still call the course home. They, rightly, celebrate those golfers who have developed their game and who inspire the current juniors to show them what is possible if they fully apply themselves to developing their skills. From the list above you can see that even some of the most famous golfers in the world still have their clubs close to their hearts.
The individual nature of the sport of golf lends itself to people remembering the characters of clubs and those who excelled during their time there. Clubs are awash with tales of junior and adult members who have gone on to national and international honours whilst they played at the club. Members are proud to be at a club with such famous names and it does, ultimately, benefit the club financially. When you visit a club who has helped create a star of our sport, try to imagine the young version of that player coming in and sitting with his friends after a junior medal and talking about the dropped shots during the round. It is a funny thought but these stars were once average club golfers like the majority of us, they may have just done this when they were about 12 years old. Get a sneak peek behind the scenes and learn more about your favourite tour golfers.
Have you ever been playing one of the world’s great courses and considered the golfing magic that has taken place on the ground upon which you are walking? Better yet, have you ever witnessed something special on a course during an event then gone back to play it for yourself?
One of the most important things about golf is the ability to play the venues that the superstars of our sport play. One of the ways that these special courses celebrate the moments of magic that took place in the past is by placing small plaques and statues. Have you ever come across one? Be honest, did you try to emulate the shot?
Today we’re going to take a look at some of the most famous shots and moments on courses around the world. Try to find the plaques and statues when you’re out enjoying these world-class golf courses.
You’re probably wondering why the title has 9th and 18th on it. Well, this particular piece of golfing magic happened at the WGC – American Express Championship at The Grove where the course had been flipped for the sake of the tournament. The 18th hole that week was the 9th hole under normal playing conditions.
This is an extra-special moment because it is actually a series of three moments that tie together for an incredible piece of golfing glory. That week, Tiger eagled the final hole three days in a row! Tiger would win the event by 8 shots over Ian Poulter and Adam Scott and the six shots he took from the course here clearly helped. The 567-yard par 5 was basically a par 4 for Tiger that week. There are three plaques on the fairway to mark where he hit his second shots from, give them all a shot and see if you can get to the green let alone close enough to eagle it.
Since the Scottish Open has recently finished, we should talk about one of the most dramatic finishes this tournament has seen. In 2017, the Spaniard played the final round in an incredible 64 to force a playoff between him and Callum Shinkwin. Playoff golf is like final qualifying in Formula1, it’s all about being bold and taking charge.
That’s exactly what the Spaniard did. Having hit a solid drive onto the fairway, Rafa faced a 275-yard decision. He opted for the bold three wood. A sweetly struck fairway metal settled nicely a mere 8 feet from the cup and sealed him his first victory in 5 years.
There are few golfers who created the drama and fireworks when they faced-off like Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson did. The famous 1977, ‘Duel in the Sun’ at Turnberry was incredible and in 1982 the two greats were at it again. Not playing together this time, Nicklaus was in the clubhouse with the lead and carefully watching a TV monitor. Watson made his way to the 17th tee and that day the par 3 was playing 209 yards. Between clubs, he opted for his trusty 2–iron but he overcooked the draw and watched his ball sail toward trouble, this could be the tournament over.
He got to the green and to his surprise it was sitting in the rough just beyond the green. Watson’s caddy suggested he just knock something up there and take his par. Watson disagreed, he had one thing in mind – holing it. The ball came out softly and just as planned, it ran up and dropped. He would go on to birdie the last hole as well and win by two shots. Incredible golf from one of our sports masters.
There are few golf shots that inspire fear and, when pulled-off, impress more than a driver off the deck. The oversized head behind the tiny ball and the utter lack of loft makes for a testing site at address. In 1996 though, Monty opted for that very play in what ‘the best shot of his career’. At this time the golf course was a standalone oasis in the desert, Dubai hadn’t become the metropolis it now is.
Monty reached the 18th fairway with a one shot lead over Miguel Angel Jimenez. The Spaniard had hit his drive into the semi-rough and stood with his three wood showing the Scot that he was going to go for broke. With a one shot lead at this point he knew a birdie would all but guarantee the victory. He hit a truly sublime driver off the deck that landed softly thanks to Montgomerie’s classic fade. The 248-yard shot left him 15 feet away and he two-putted to seal the victory. One of the greatest pressure shot in the history of the European Tour.
Every golfer knows that Jack Nicklaus is the most successful major championship competitor in the history of our great sport. What many may not know is just how good a golf course designer the Golden Bear has become over the years. One of his specialities is creating golf courses for the great matchplay events of golf like the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup. In 2009, Killeen Castle was awarded the 2011 Solheim Cup.
Before the tournament began, the organisers started by unveiling a statue to Jack in celebration of the great man’s contributions to golf. You can visit the bronzed depiction of Jack at the top of his backswing beside the first tee at this Irish gem.
Speaking of Jack Nicklaus-designs hosting major team events, the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles was a wonderful event. Held on the PGA Centenary Course, designed by the Golden Bear, this is a matchplay course that was created specifically for the Ryder Cup. Even just walking around the course you can see that care has been taken to create features for head to head golf with plenty of viewing areas for the captivated galleries.
Europe were leading 13 ½ – 9 ½ and victory was in sight at this historic Ryder Cup. The 40th playing of the event and back where it all began, this was an important one for the home team to win and they were well on their way. 14 ½ is the magic number to reach and Donaldson had split the fairway on the downhill 15th hole from the tee. With 146 yards to go, the Welshman and Ryder Cup rookie hit “the shot of my life” as he hit it stiff then strutted down the fairway with a finger in the air! The putt would be conceded and the Europeans were crowned victorious. The plaque now sits proudly at the spot of that scintillating shot for you to try for yourself. Matchplaygolf at its very finest.
There are few who shaped the modern game like Old Tom Morris. As a greenkeeper, club maker and professional Old Tom was really a golfing jack of all trades. He and his contemporaries really made the first moves toward the sport we see today. Morris has shaped many of the greatest courses in the UK and design features of his are still replicated to this day.
Tain Golf Club is sometimes known as Old Tom’s Northern Jewel. He originally designed 15 holes at this hidden gem of the highlands. 12 of those holes were actually made and thankfully have survived. This is one of the best places to play to feel that historical connection to how golf was played back in Old Tom’s day. To celebrate the influence he had on the course and to our sport in general, a statue of the legend was placed at the club. Go and play at Tain and get a selfie with Old Tom whilst you are at it.
The K Club is one of Ireland’s finest golfing destinations and the site of some great moments. It was here that Europe equalled their record victory margin against the US. In 2016, The K Club was centre stage again as the host course of the Irish Open. The host of the tournament that year was none other than Rory McIlroy. It is certainly worth mentioning here that the Irish Open is now one of the greatest events on the European Tour schedule and Rory has been utterly instrumental in this success.
That week the weather had been frustrating and scoring was not easy. Rory was one shot ahead as he reached the 18th tee, some conservative golf should have seen him home to his first Irish Open title. However, McIlroy doesn’t really do conservative golf, we know this. A great drive left him 252 yards from the pin with 95% of that yardage over water. Rory hit the three wood of his life. The ball settled like a mid-iron and nestled up beside the pin only three feet away. As soon as he hit it you can see that he knows it’s good as you see the customary McIlroy swagger. A piece of golfing magic that took Rory to his well-deserved home title.
To celebrate the fact that The Open Championship has just been, we have to finish on one of the many great moments in the history of golf’s greatest event. Feel free to argue that point but prepare to lose. In 1926, Bobby Jones travelled to the UK but didn’t actually plan to play in The Open. He was here for the Amateur Championship, which was a more prestigious title at the time, and the Walker Cup. A loss in the Amateur made him extend his trip so that he could play The Open but the great American star had to qualify. This was actually the first time that qualifying was required at The Open.
He didn’t play his best golf during regional qualifying at Sunningdale, but Jones did what he had to do and earned a place at the 61st Open Championship. Well, the golfing world is glad he did because this was his first of three Claret Jugs. In the final stages of the second and last day, Jones was basically in a matchplay situation against fellow American Al Watrous. Jones was behind and on 17 hit his tee shot into a waste bunker. Watrous had split the fairway and looked like his lead was about to become unassailable as he hit his second onto the green. After weighing up his options Jones knew he had to go for it and brought out his ‘mashie’, an old club equivalent to a five iron today. He hit a magnificent escape shot and rolled it up on to the green. This rattled his opponent who three-putted and handed the lead to Jones. Considering the pressure and the limitations of the technology, this was a heroic shot that took Jones to a well-deserved victory. The club is still on display in the clubhouse should you wish to pay homage.
Golf is a sport steeped in history and one that celebrates the stories that have created the sport we play today. In the modern era, the greatest golfers are on TV constantly and these spectacular shots can be seen around the world as they happen. It is a testament to how we value greatness that plaques and statues of golfing greatness are placed to celebrate events and people.
Anyone who has played golf, for even a short period of time, has hit a shot that has surprised them and made them feel incredible. Imagine doing that same thing in front of galleries of avid golf fans and a global audience when a title is on the line. This is the amazing mental strength and ability that the best golfers in the world possess and we even expect the best from these players in these moments.
The installation of these plaques and statues allow us to celebrate our collective history as golfers and even try to recreate the magic. In most cases this will do nothing more than show us just how much better the world’s top pros are compared to us, but in its own way that is a special thing. So get yourself out to these courses, get pictures and drop a ball beside the plaques and give it a go yourself!
Golf has long had an association with royal families and the aristocracy playing the game. It is, then, no surprise to hear that many courses around the world have “Royal”, or “Real” for those in Spain, in their name. What’s in a name though? Many just accept this term without thinking about the heritage of this title and the honour that it is to receive the majestic moniker. Some of the most famous and revered courses in the history of our great sport are royal clubs, they are interwoven into the fabric of golf’s rich tapestry of history.
So how does a course get the royal stamp of approval? There are a couple of options but ultimately, the reigning monarch decides whether to grant the title or not. Firstly, if a member of the royal family accepts an invitation to be a patron or honorary member then you will be granted the name. The other option is for a club to just apply for the name and hope for royal approval. Either way, there is no doubt that this is a special group of clubs and a special label.
There are 64 clubs in the UK with the “Royal” name and now you know where the title comes from. Today we will take a look at some of the courses around the world with this name and give you some amazing places to go play to tick off your list.
Royal Dornoch is probably golf’s greatest ‘hidden gem’. The funny thing is that it really isn’t hidden at all, other than its location, however, it is one of those courses that doesn’t host a major event although it very much could and should. If you speak to anyone who has played this masterpiece in the highlands of Scotland, they will tell you that it is the best course they have played. This course has a cult-like following, there is no other way to describe it, and a true highland welcome awaits you.
Golf has been played in this area since around 1616 and in 1906 it received royal status from King Edward VII. The course is most famous for the tricky greens which have been replicated frequently around the world. The greens at Royal Dornoch are like up-turned saucers and with the fiery nature of links land, they really go against the grain in modern golf. Royal Dornoch forces you to play the ‘low ball’ to run approach shots up to the green and nestle it close to the cup. Every hole on this course is sublime but the closing two make for a memorable finish. Playing back along the sand of the Dornoch Firth. Donald Ross, the famous architect, learned his trade on this course as a greenkeeper. Look for features of Royal Dornoch on his works around the world.
Much like Royal Dornoch above, this is a course that only discerning golfers know about and a real treat for those that have the good fortune to play it. From 1909, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club became the second course in Wales to be given the “Royal” treatment. This wonderful links course has changed a lot through the years and the list of course architects that have played a part in the course is a who’s who of some true greats. The course actually has a mix of links and heathland-type holes as you make your way around it. Royal Porthcawl was added to the R&A’s Championship Rota in 1939 and, since then, has hosted some of the world’s most prestigious golf events including Amateur Championships, Senior Open Championships and The Walker Cup.
Being the first course in Wales to host a major championship, the Senior Open in 2014 and 2017, this is a course that Wales is rightly proud of. The course measures just over 7,000 yards from the back tees but, in proper links tradition, positioning the ball well from the tee is far more important than distance here. There are few sand dunes protecting this course and the local geography means that wind will almost always play a considerable role in your round. This course will challenge your spin control so keep the high balls low. The finishing hole at Royal Porthcawl leaves a lasting impression as you hit your tee shot straight towards the Bristol Channel. The dramatic tee shot leads to a great par four and the site of many a victory for some of the great names in our sport.
Founded in 1888, this course was given patronage by the Prince of Wales in its very first year. The course began life as a nine-hole affair until, in 1891, Old Tom Morris came along and helped them design a full championship course. His design brief was simple, he was to make the “finest course in the land” and no-one can deny he did a bad job. Coastal erosion has meant that this course has changed a lot through the years as many architects have been brought in to keep eighteen holes in play despite the changing land. This is a stunning cliff-top links in Norfolk and the quality of the course along with the views you get during your round, there are few golfing experiences better than Royal Cromer.
One of the best features of the course is the old lighthouse. The 14th hole, arguably the highlight of the round, features this building as you aim toward it from the tee. You can’t miss this fairway right as a large water hazard, the North Sea, awaits. This hole is tricky until the end as anything long of the green on approach is out of bounds too. Royal Cromer cemented its place in golfing history when it used to host a match between ladies from Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. These matches were to become The Curtis Cup, the prestigious amateur match that still thrives to this day. Royal Cromer is a unique place to play golf and is a round fit for a king.
The history of Britain and Central Europe is intertwined, this is especially so because of the great wars of the early 20th century. The history of Royal Zoute Golf Club is truly fascinating and is a great example of international relations creating a wonderful place to play golf. Golf has been played here since 1809 and, given the proximity to Britain, it is no surprise that even from the early days there has been great influence from the British. In fact, since 1909, every club president of Royal Zoute has been British. This course has been rebuilt multiple times due to war and was given royal status in 1925. After the Second World War, the course was reinstated as the wonderful championship par-72 that it is today. The course is mainly the design of Harry S. Colt and has that quintessential feel of a Colt course with regards to the bunkering and the general playing experience.
The Belgian Open has been held here many times and some of the European Tour’s greatest golfers have won at Royal Zoute. This is a proper links course on the continent and an absolute gem for all golfers to enjoy. It is a relentlessly good golf course with a particularly strong stretch of holes from the 5th to the 16th. This course is highly reminiscent of Sunningdale with a nice side-helping of Carnoustie. The 16th is a great tree-lined par three with some treacherous trouble sitting all too close to the green. Two infamous pot bunkers lay in wait for anything short and left whilst a large and long bunker awaits those bailing out the right. Beware, the green falls away on this side and balls have a magnetic attraction to that trap.
Of course, the UK isn’t the only country in the world with a standing monarchy and a long history of the royals playing golf. Another great example of a nation that bestows this honour upon its courses is Spain. The only difference here is that thanks to the language difference, the equivalent courses in Spain are given the name “Real” which translates directly. One of the finest examples of a Real golf course is Real Club de Sotogrande, designed by the incredible Robert Trent Jones Snr. This was the World Golf Hall of Fame designer’s first course in Europe and it opened in 1964. There is, without doubt, no greater compliment to the design of a course that Real Club de Sotogrande is as fine and challenging a course now as it was over five decades ago. In its 30th year and after building a global reputation, Sotogrande was awarded royal status.
One thing that RTJ is known for is making his golf courses blend in with their natural surroundings seamlessly. He achieved this here at Sotogrande as well as he did anywhere. This course was used for European Tour Qualifying and one thing you will notice quickly is that it is a thinker’s course. You can’t just mindlessly rip your driver here, you must carefully plot your way around the sumptuous tree-lined track. The 7th hole is one of the standout holes of the round. This beautifully crafted risk versus reward short par four is protected by a large pond down the right side and exquisite bunkering around the green. This hole just sums up the genius of RTJ perfectly, it is a round of golf you will love.
Like many of the historic links courses of England, Royal Cinque Ports has a nickname that locals affectionately know the club as. Deal, as it is known, was founded in 1892 and many golf course architects have been involved in the rich heritage of the club. The great wars took their toll and James Braid helped to restore the course in 1919, however a segment on the BBC really helped to bring Royal Cinque Ports back to its prime. Unbeknown to many, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club was once on The Open Championship Rota and has held the great event twice. It was actually scheduled to host the 1915 Open however, it was cancelled due to the First World War.
King Edward VII played this course many times when he visited the area and was, in fact, president of the club from 1905-1907. It wasn’t actually until 1910 that George V accepted the Royal patronage of the course and it took on the name. When Deal was awarded The Open, it was the longest links course on the rota and it is still seen as one of the hardest links challenges out, especially the closing holes into the prevailing wind. The 16th hole is widely, and rightly, regarded as one of the finest holes in links golf. This year it was lengthened and turned into a par five which has made it a fairer test and it has achieved this without losing any of its charm. The split fairway has wonderful bunkering to keep you honest from the tee. You are then faced with the choice of laying-up and making it a three-shotter or hitting something big and bold toward the small, raised and undulating green. This is a vintage links hole and the new version is sure to be a great hit. Royal Cinque Ports is a course that continues to improve itself and is certainly one of the UKs finest golf experiences.
In this, its 45th year since opening, La Manga was given an incredible birthday treat, a new name. Yes, this is the newest club on this list to be granted the royal seal of approval and this year the club became Real Golf La Manga. With three courses to choose from, this is a well-known golfers paradise and for good reason. Robert Dean Putman, Arnold Palmer and Dave Thomas have each created unique courses which have given the club a deserved global reputation. The North Course, by Putman, is the easiest of all of the championship courses on the property. It is also the one most likely to lull you into a false sense of security though. Large green complexes and fairways make for a forgiving round of golf but if the wind gets up, which it probably will, it’s not as easy as it looks. The par-five 15th hole sums up the course well. It’s a long slog, especially into the seemingly ever-present prevailing wind, however, the wide fairway lets you open up your shoulders and give it a good hit from the tee.
The South Course was also designed by Putman and then remodelled by Arnold Palmer. This course held the Spanish Open in the mid-seventies but is almost unrecognisable now due to many refurbishment projects. This course is protected mainly by plentiful bunkers and will put your ball striking to the test. The 18th hole is the signature hole on the South Course at Real Golf La Manga. This hole is packed with hazards to avoid, every rose has it’s thorns after all. The green is protected by copious bunkers, this course certainly keeps you honest until the last shot.
Finally, The West Course at Real Golf La Manga, the pièce de résistance of this wonderful resort. Not only is the course a truly great golfing experience, the surroundings and the immaculate presentation of the holes are unsurpassed. Each hole on the course provides a unique challenge making this one of the most interesting rounds you will play. The 17th hole on the course is as mad as it is fantastic. In just 479 yards, Dave Thomas manages to fit in so many features in this action-packed hole. A tee shot avoiding the trees and the bunkers takes you to the corner of the dogleg. From here you go over a burn to the final portion of the hole which is water-lined, yes missing at either side will be wet. The hole turns once more to the green and the water on the right will also catch anything short on approach. The best tip for this hole is to make sure you have enough club on every single shot.
As you can see, royal golf courses are all over the world and a collection worth making your way through. We have only begun to scratch the surface today and give you a few to play. If you enjoy the history of golf as much as you do the sport itself, then royal golf courses are great places to visit. These clubs are steeped in the history and heritage of golf and they are immensely proud of it too.
There are few better experiences in golf than going to a royal golf club, finding an old long-standing member and asking him to talk you through the history of the place. Watch as they light up and beam from ear to ear telling you about the past and the wonderful moments they have had at the club. You will gain a connection, learn some great stories and that’s what golf is all about.