Global highlights

1 Pebble Beach, United States Jack Nicklaus said that if he had only one more round to play in his life, he would play it here. Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant nearly 90 years ago, the course hugs the Pacific coast and features narrow fairways, sloping greens and panoramic ocean views. The most famous closing two holes in golf were played here (Tom Watson’s chip-in during the 1982 US Open and Jack Nicklaus’s unerringly accurate one iron a decade earlier). 2 Green Monkey, Barbados The Green Monkey zigzags 7,400 yards across a tabletop landscape – but its first few holes are anti-climactic. Dropping down through towering walls of…

1 Pebble Beach, United States
Jack Nicklaus said that if he had
only one more round to play in his life, he would play it here.
Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant nearly 90 years ago, the
course hugs the Pacific coast and features narrow fairways, sloping
greens and panoramic ocean views. The most famous closing two holes in
golf were played here (Tom Watson’s chip-in during the 1982 US Open and
Jack Nicklaus’s unerringly accurate one iron a decade earlier).

2 Green Monkey, Barbados
The
Green Monkey zigzags 7,400 yards across a tabletop landscape – but its
first few holes are anti-climactic. Dropping down through towering
walls of rock, it is 635 yards long – but the signature hole is the
16th. From an elevated tee, you stare down at a green 225 yards away,
protected by a giant bunker where your only salvation is a grassy
island carved in the shape of… a green monkey.

3 Leopard Creek, South Africa
Being
a bit wild off the tee takes on a new meaning here, since some of the
water hazards are moving ones – from ‘the big five’ to more than 200
species of bird, plus baboons, crocodiles, giraffes and warthogs that
come to drink in the streams of Leopard Creek, on the edge of the
Kruger National Park. The fourth hole, more than 600 yards long, sits
100ft above the edge of Crocodile River and is a popular resting point
for both elephants and errant drives.

4 Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand
Built
on what was a 5,000-acre sheep station, its fairways play out along a
series of jagged ridges. From the time of being struck, misdirected
balls will take a full 10 seconds to reach the water. Designed by the
American architect Tom Doak, Cape Kidnappers has none of the sandy
dunes that characterise true links courses – but the harsh landscape is
in keeping with the game. Players must contend with fearsome ravines,
contoured fairways and fast, tilted greens.

5 Royal Melbourne, Australia
Designed
80 years ago by Dr Alister MacKenzie, the fairways and greens are not
as benign as they look. Strategically placed bunkers and fast,
contoured greens mean only the best achieve a good score. Flanked by
deep bunkers, the green at the fifth hole on the West course looks
inviting – but its tilt from back to front means any hit short of the
flag races back down the glassy surface.

6 Domaine de Sperone, Corsica
This
course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, and near Bonifacio, is a unique
mix of nine inland holes and nine played on coastal links and craggy
rocks where ravines plunge to the Mediterranean. The 15th offers superb
views of the islands of Cavallo and Lavezzi, but the signature hole is
the 16th. Considered one of the finest par fives in the world, it
requires a daring drive across the cliffs.

7 Turnberry, Scotland
Turnberry
in Ayrshire – the venue for next year’s Open, with its two championship
courses, Ailsa and Kintyre. The 18th hole of Ailsa is often named “Duel
in the Sun”, after Tom Watson’s epic victory over Jack Nicklaus by a
single stroke 31 years ago, but the ninth – on a cliff edge – blows the
mind. As golf writer Henry Longhurst observed: “You find yourself
lingering on the tee, gazing down on the waves as they break on the
rocks and reflecting how good it is to be alive”.

8 Royal County Down, Northern Ireland
Among
the course’s many challenges, the seventh (a par three) and the 12th (a
sharp dog-leg) stand out. However, the feature hole has to be the
fourth – a 217-yard par four. From a dramatically elevated tee, players
must clear a sea of gorse to a heavily bunkered green surrounded by
trees and tall grasses. Views stretch to the Morne Mountains while,
behind you, wind-whipped dunes rise high above the Irish Sea.

9 Doonbeg, Ireland
Doonbeg,
designed by Greg Norman, is barely six years old – but from the first
hole, you feel it has been there for centuries. The rolling green hills
and headlands of south-west Ireland are perfect for golf courses, hence
classics such as Lahinch and Ballybunion. The fairways follow the
natural contours of the terrain, so holes range from a clifftop par
three of 100 yards to a 600-yard par five flanking a mile or so of
golden sand.

Tagged Live, Golf

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