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Since its origins in Scotland in the 15th century, one characteristic of the modern game of golf that has set it apart from almost all other ball-oriented sports: the loosely standardized playing area. What this means is that golf courses have been able to evolve into creative, stunning landscapes throughout the years, and as the popularity of the sport has grown, new and inventive aspects in course designs have popped up all over the world. Today, just about every major resort destination, no matter the continent/country, has links somewhere close. This sparked us to countdown the top 10 courses in the world. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.

10. Vista Vallarta Club de Golf, Mexico


This club was opened in 2001 in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, and is a signature design by Jack Nicklaus. Most of the course is located at the highest elevation on the property, giving players breath-taking views of Puerta Vallarta and Banderas Bay. With dense forests of large palm and ficus trees, creeks and stunning views, this course is a must-visit for any golfer planning a trip to Mexico.

9. Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Scotland


In early summer, the gorse flower is in full bloom in Scotland. If you are lucky enough to play at the Royal Dornoch during this time, you will see some of the best natural views of any links worldwide. The yellow is offset by the pure white sand, attracting many of the world’s most avid golfers. If you love the sport and aim to play at some of the best courses in the world, include this one on your list.

8. Pebble Beach Golf Links, USA


Often regarded as the most beautiful course in the US, Pebble Beach is located on the west coast in California. With 11 USGA Championships (five of which were U.S. Open Championships), Pebble Beach is a favorite amongst golfers around the world. Jack Nicklaus has claimed that the approach shot on the 8th hole at Pebble Beach is his favorite of any, and that’s a big statement.

7. Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia


The longest continuously running golf club in Australia, the Royal Melbourne not only has beautiful scenery, but has been described by many as having some of the “best play” of any golf course in the world. Located right outside of Melbourne, this club is an important part of golf history and one visited by many of golf’s greats on a regular basis.

6. Muirfield Village Golf Club, USA


The dream of golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Muirfield is one of the most consistently gorgeous courses. Located in Dublin, OH, the course play is over 7,000 yards, with 71 bunkers and 11 water hazards. Opened in 1972, it is not one of the oldest courses on the list, but is definitely one of the most prestigious. Many believe it is Nicklaus’ greatest design.

5. Leopard Creek, South Africa


Leopard Creek Country Club is located in South Africa along the Crocodile River. The course is known for having some of the world’s best play alongside the essence of African scenery. It is consistently listed as one of the top 10 most exotic links. The back nine are known for their superior views of the natural beauty of the course.

4. Royal County Down, Northern Ireland


Located in Newcastle, County Down, Royal County Down is one of the oldest clubs in all of Ireland. Along with its great history comes some of the grandest golf you could ever hope to experience. I measures over 7.200 yards from the back tees, and the 4th and 9th holes are largely considered to be the best on the course and regularly make lists of the top holes in all of the sport.

3. Cypress Point Club, USA


Without a doubt, this West Coast private club is known for its 15th, 16th, and 17th holes, which play right along the Pacific Ocean in dramatic fashion. The course starts in the midst of the Del Monte forest and emerges to the rocky coastline of the Pacific for the back nine. The course consistently ranks among the greatest links in the world.

2. Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, New Zealand

Cape Kidnappers 13 14,15,16

Completed in 2004, Cape Kidnappers is the youngest course on the list. It has been dubbed by many as one of “golf’s greatest marvels,” and promises to offer challenging play to golfers at any level. The shear scope of the landscape and amazing scenery are quickly earning this course high marks among golfers around the world.

1. Pine Valley Golf Club, USA


Located in New Jersey, USA, Pine Valley has earned consistent top honors for the best links in the world. The one and only course designed by George A. Crump, Pine Valley is an experience like no other. It was Crump’s intention to have players use every club in the bag on the course, and according to many who have played it, he succeeded. The course is known for its challenging play, requiring thoughtful ball placement from tee to green. Coupled with unrivaled scenic beauty, it’s a no-brainer why this course is number 1.

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