In strict geographical terms, Continental Europe excludes the Mediterranean islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta, Cyprus and the Balearics but we include all of these golfing hot spots in our Continental Europe grouping. For good measure, we also include a number of other islands: out in the Atlantic, we have the Azores and the Canaries, whilst up at the top of the world, we take in Iceland and Greenland. Turkey and Russia are sometimes listed within the Asian continent but we take the more conventional approach of including them in our mainland Europe ranking charts.We cover more than a hundred courses in Central Europe, maintaining a Top 50 for Germany, a Top 20 for the Czech Republic, a Top 30 for Austria and a Top 10 for both Poland and Switzerland. With nearly one hundred and fifty layouts showcased from the Nordic region of Europe, we feature a Top 30 for Norway, a Top 30 for Finland and Denmark, and a Top 50 for Sweden. We also profile over two hundred courses in the Mediterranean region, where we support the following major ranking charts: an Italian Top 30, a French and Portuguese Top 40 and a Spanish Top 100.
The current Continental Europe Top 100 lists only the very best courses from the near five hundred that we promote in mainland Europe. Within the upper echelons of this chart, France rules supreme as four of its top tracks appear in the Top 10, led by the wonderful old Tom Simpson design of Morfontaine at number 1. Some might be surprised at the prominent positions held by Dutch courses – where a couple of Dutch links (Koninklijke Haagsche at number 2 and Utrecht de Pan at number 9) – occupy Top 10 spots; nonetheless, we think this largely undiscovered golfing nation might just be one of Europe’s best kept golfing secrets.
A recent R&A report entitled “Golf around the World 2015” identified an interesting new golfing trend in Europe, where new development appears to be based on short, compact public courses comprising of six, nine or twelve holes. Europe, with nearly three hundred 6-hole golf courses and twenty eight 12-hole courses in operation, had another sixty-six 9-hole courses under development at the end of 2014. To see the full report, click this R&A link then download the appropriate free publication.
Our Continental European Top 100 rankings were last updated in December 2015. Click the link to read the story.