Top 100 Golf Courses of Continental Europe 2014
Our latest Continental European golf course rankings are unveiled
6th January 2014
We now have two hundred and forty-six golf courses on our ever-growing shortlist vying for a position within the Continental European Top 100.
Once again it was a tough and time consuming job to assemble the list, as more golf courses required deeper consideration. The viability of this ranking list is under question because of the challenges faced when trying to compare golfing across a continent that includes so many different countries and languages.
Our many contributors that reach across Europe are invaluable and we are continuing to fine-tune the multiple country rankings that make up the vast continent of Europe. If you are planning to visit any country and want to play the best golf courses on offer, we suggest you take a long look at our individual country rankings, which in some cases are broken down further by regions.
Golf courses from nineteen Continental European countries (up three from 2012) made the list and for the first time we have a course from Estonia and Slovakia in the hundred. Andy, our Marketing Director, visited both these Eastern European countries in 2012 and 2013 and was very impressed with the Estonian Golf & Country Club and the Penati Golf Resort, both of which appear for the first time in our latest hundred. A Greek course also makes its debut, so we welcome the Dunes course at Costa Navarino.
Much to the delight of Jan Nordstrom, our Norway and Sweden Correspondent, two Norwegian courses enter our European rankings. Jan has now played every 18-hole course in Norway and if you missed our feature on Jan’s achievement, click here. Miklagard returns to the list after narrowly missing out last time, while Oslo appears in the hundred for the first time following the settling in of Steve Forrest’s $10m renovation at Norway’s oldest golf club.
In the Low Countries, there’s a return to the table for two Hawtree-designed Belgian courses of Limburg and Royal Waterloo. For the Netherlands, Hilversumsche reappears after the club was subjected to wanton vandalism when fools dug up four greens the night before the start of the 2011 Dutch Open.
Nineteen French courses dominate the European Top 100 and there’s a return for Tom Simpson’s hybrid-links at Chiberta, while Les Aisses makes its first appearance following a recent and extensive Hawtree redevelopment that harks back to the Golden Age.
The Sir Nick Faldo-designed courses in Cyprus (Elea Golf Club) and Turkey (Cornelia Resort) cement their positions in the hundred, while his course at Amendoeira in Portugal breaks into the chart for the first time, joining the high-flying Faldo design at Sporting Club Berlin.
Spain and Portugal are still the primary destinations for those seeking warm climate golf. Spain is the original holiday destination for winter-weary Europeans and the southern Costas are still perennially popular. However, as we reported in 2012, those in search of the best that Spain can offer should head to Barcelona and the Costa Brava region because the Stadium course at PGA de Catalunya retains its narrow advantage over Valderrama. Finca Cortesin and Son Gual both make significant upward moves and we see a return to the list for the Negro course at Club De Campo Villa de Madrid. Portugal’s Monte Rei remains ahead of Oitavos Dunes, with both holding steady in the rankings, whereas Furnas pushes onwards and upwards. One reviewer reckons that if you play the Furnas golf course and do nothing else, it’s still worth the trip to the Azorean island of San Miguel.
Five new German courses entered our 2012 table, but six German courses leave our 2014 European rankings. We have a much better understanding of German golf, thanks in no small part to our new correspondent, Ulrich Mayring. Thanks to his input, our German shortlist has now expanded to 120 courses and there's more to come. Keep an eye open for Ulrich’s German Top 30 release, which we’ll publish soon. We’ve completely overhauled our German rankings, although we still have a long way to go before completing the job. One new German re-entry for 2014 is St Dionys, which is one of Germany’s rare heathland courses and Winston (Links) debuts at a lofty 64th position.
There are a few Italian changes, most notably the re-entry of Torino (Blue), which narrowly missed out last time but comfortably made the hundred this year. The Kyle Phillips-designed East and West courses at Sir Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort switch places. There may be room for both courses in future European hundreds as each are absorbing layouts. Next time perhaps?
We have already mentioned Norway, but all the Nordic countries continue to provide outstanding golfing facilities. Sweden has more golf courses than Denmark, Finland and Norway put together, so it’s no surprise to find ten Swedish tracks in the Euro hundred. Having said that, Denmark, Finland and Norway can now boast nine European Top 100 places for 2014. The New course at The Scandinavian Golf Club is our highest new entry, straight in at 57.
If you have any thoughts or comments on our latest 2014 Continental European Top 100, we always welcome feedback, so please feel free to let us know what you think. If you’ve played any of our featured European courses, we’d love to read about your experiences, so why not post a course review or two?
Click the link to see the latest Continental European Top 100 in detail.
Breakdown of courses by country: Austria 2, Belgium 4, Bulgaria 1, Cyprus 1, Denmark 5, Estonia 1, Finland 2, France 19, Germany 5, Greece 1, Italy 7, Netherlands 7, Norway 2, Portugal 11, Slovakia 1, Spain 15, Sweden 10, Switzerland 2, Turkey 4.
For those interested, the twenty-one courses that made way for the new are: Royal Fagnes, Seddiner See (South), Verdura (West), The Dutch, Gut Larchenhof (Jack Nicklaus), Frankfurter, Koln (Refrath), Barbaroux, Quinta de Cima, Pevero, Zur Vahr Bremen (Garlstedter Heide), Gut Altentann, Royal Antwerp, Sporting Club Berlin (Palmer), Sueno (Pines), Schloss Schonborn, Abama, Emporda (Links), Moliets, Keilir, Kytäjä G.C. (North West).
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