The top ten golf courses you have to play before you die

Par for the course these are not...

Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand

Completed in 2004, this dramatic course has been hailed as one of the marvels of modern golf. Situated on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, it is built on the site of a 5,000 and the fairway stretches out along a series of jagged ridges. Mis-strike a ball, and it will take ten seconds to hit the water.

Pebble Beach, United States

One of the only brilliant US courses that isn’t closed to the public, California’s Pebble Beach is a Pacific Coast-hugging delight. Sloping greens, narrow fairways and panoramic ocean vistas make up this course, and if you needed a stamp of approval, Jack Nicklaus professed that if he had only one more round to play in his life, it would be at Pebble Beach.

Leopard Creek, South Africa

The streams of Leopard Creek, moving water hazards, spice this course up considerably. And, if the risk of your ball being carried away by the current wasn’t exciting enough, try contesting with the crocodiles, elephants, giraffes and zebras that roam through the Kruger National Park.

St. Andrews, Scotland

For the prestige, one must play St. Andrews at least once. Large double greens are virtually unique to the course, and seven greens are shared by two holes each. The famous Swilcan bridge and infamous 10ft deep ‘Hell Bunker’ are notable features of the course, and with 112 individual bunkers, the course may be old, but it’ll still keep you on your toes.

Royal County Down, Ireland

This coastal course is a classic – and for good reason. Designed by Tom Morris, Royal County Down has several challenges – most notably a par three on the seventh and a sharp dog leg on the twelfth. The tee is dramatically elevated, and you must clear a sea of gorse to reach the heavily bunkered green.

Canouan, The Grenadines

There is nothing quite like a tropical island course, and the way in which Canouan rises from the sea and stretches to the brim of an extinct volcano. Lush green fairways give way to clear water and pristine sand beaches. The thirteenth is the highest point of the course, and offers views of the incredible island of Mustique.

Green Monkey, Barbados

This 7,400 yard course zig zags across a tabletop landscape – and drops down through towering walls of rock into a quarry. The signature hole, the sixteenth, from which the course derives its name, is an elevated tee – from which you must reach, 225 yards away, a giant monkey-shaped green.

Whistling Straits, United States

A luxury course in Wisconsin, Whistling Straits was built with an aim to replicate the traditional seaside links courses of the United Kingdom. Nestled along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan, the course has eight holes that hug the water, a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep, three stone bridges and elevation changes of 80 feet.

Kawana, Japan

The Fuji course at the Kawana Resort on the Azu Peninsula boasts breathtaking Pacific Ocean views, sunken folded fairways and plateau greens surrounded by mature swathes of pine forest. With Mount Fuji as a backdrop, the course is the most expensive in Japan – with a $300 green fee – but pay the price and you’ll play nine of the best and most scenic holes of golf in the world.

TPC at Sawgrass, United States

A wild course if ever there was one, TPC lies deep in the heart of Florida’s swampland. Long strips of marsh and wasteland that is never maintained border the course, craters and mounds are placed randomly around the green and tall shot-obstructing palm trees further add to the tricky nature of the course. Frequently complained about – it’s a challenge if nothing else.

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