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Top 100 Golf Courses of the World 2014

12 December, 2013

Top 100 Golf Courses of the World 2014

Our latest and most eagerly awaited World Top 100 ranking list is unveiled

12th December 2013

We now have two hundred and eighty-seven golf courses vying for a ranking position within our Top 100 Golf Courses of the World.

It’s certainly no easy task, as I explained from atop my soap box last time round, but I’m not going to go over old ground. If you are remotely interested in the challenges we face, click here to read more. So, without further ado, I’ll get on and focus on our new 2014 World Top 100 rankings.

Once again there are numerous positional changes, but there are only six new entries, three of which are classic Golden Age layouts, two from the USA, both designed by Alister MacKenzie and one from England, designed by Harry Colt. It therefore gives me great pleasure to welcome Pasatiempo, Valley Club of Montecito and St George’s Hill into the world hundred.

Those who know a thing or two about South African golf courses regard Leopard Creek (opened in 1996) as the best Rainbow Nation layout. Host to the Alfred Dunhill Championship since 2005, Leopard Creek is a unique cocktail of golf and safari and we welcome this Gary Player-designed course back onto our top-flight ranking list.

We also welcome two brand new courses that break into the hundred for the first time. Trump International Golf Links opened its tees for play in July 2012. European Tour officials spoke of the Scottish venue as worthy of hosting major professional events in the future. One of our reviewers stated “it’s more painting by numbers than a real masterpiece… more Disney than dune land”. However, the majority of our reviewers believe Martin Hawtree’s layout is magnificent and will only get better as it settles in.

It’s said that a number of design companies declined the chance to work on our second brand new entry. The developer of Shanqin Bay, located in the south east of Hainan Island, eventually acquired the services of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Constructed in a manner unlike anything that’s been built before in China, the Shanqin Bay golf course might just become the benchmark for those still to come. Our International Consultant Masa Nishijima played the course earlier this year and also last year and he believes that Shanqin Bay is the best that China has to offer but, being picky, mentioned that there may be too many short par fours on the card.

Unsurprisingly, the USA has the most world ranked courses featured on our 2014 chart, many more than any other country. Forty-six American courses (one down from last year) make our list, and there is still no doubt that the quality of US golf facilities is second to none. The number of Asian courses featured is still too few for my liking, but the good news once again is that more Asian courses than ever before made it onto our shortlist.

European courses continue to struggle to make the World rankings and we sadly wave goodbye to the fabulous Les Bordes this time round. Canadian courses also find it hard and many will be disappointed to find that Cabot Links narrowly missed out, but we think that next time round it will be included.

Unfortunately, we lose two Antipodean courses, one from Australia (Royal Adelaide) and one from New Zealand (Paraparaumu Beach), but there’s a massive rise of forty-eight places for Bill Coore’s Barnbougle Lost Farm, which debuted at 85th last time.

We’ve previously said that the Baja California Sur Peninsula is a golfing hotspot and Diamante Dunes continues to hold its own against the Ocean course at Cabo del Sol in Mexico.

Once again there are mixed fortunes for British and Irish courses, with some climbers and fallers. But with two new additions to the hundred, the total number of courses listed from this small part of the world now totals an impressive thirty-two.

We always welcome feedback, so please feel free to let us know what you think of our latest 2014 World Top 100. We don’t claim to be “definitive” but we do like to think that we’re the most “informed” and considered golf course rankings in the business. If you’ve played any of our featured courses in the World Top 100, we’d love to know what you think, so why not post a course review?

Keith Baxter

2014 Course Move
1 Pine Valley No change
2 Cypress Point No change
3 Royal County Down (Championship) No change
4 St Andrews (Old) Up 5
5 Shinnecock Hills Down 1
6 Augusta National Down 1
7 National Golf Links of America Up 8
8 Royal Melbourne (West) Up 4
9 Muirfield Up 1
10 Sand Hills Down 4
11 Oakmont Down 4
12 Royal Dornoch (Championship) Up 1
13 Merion (East) Down 5
14 Pebble Beach Down 2
15 Royal Portrush (Dunluce) Down 1
16 Bandon Dunes (Pacific Dunes) No change
17 Crystal Downs Up 3
18 Turnberry (Ailsa) Down 1
19 Royal St George's Up 3
20 Kingston Heath Down 2
21 Ballybunion (Old) Down 2
22 Chicago Up 1
23 Winged Foot (West) Down 2
24 Sunningdale (Old) Up 4
25 Fishers Island Down 1
26 Pinehurst (No.2) Up 1
27 Prairie Dunes Up 4
28 Barnbougle Dunes Up 2
29 Royal Birkdale Down 3
30 Carnoustie (Championship) Down 1
31 Seminole Down 6
32 San Francisco Up 8
33 Friar's Head Down 1
34 Hirono Up 8
35 Lahinch (Old) Up 8
36 Cape Kidnappers Down 1
37 Barnbougle Lost Farm Up 48
38 Riviera Up 3
39 Los Angeles (North) Up 24
40 Kingsbarns Down 3
41 Country Club (Clyde & Squirrel) Down 5
42 Oakland Hills (South) Down 4
43 New South Wales Down 10
44 Portmarnock (Old) Up 2
45 Kiawah Island (Ocean) No change
46 Whistling Straits (Straits) Down 12
47 Ballyneal Up 2
48 Sunningdale (New) Up 9
49 Royal Lytham & St Annes Down 5
50 Bethpage (Black) No change
51 North Berwick (West) Up 19
52 Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog) Down 4
53 Morfontaine Up 6
54 Muirfield Village No change
55 St George's No change
56 Olympic Club (Lake) Down 9
57 Highlands Links Down 6
58 Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin) Down 19
59 Bandon Dunes (Bandon Dunes) Up 3
60 Golf Club Up 1
61 Waterville Down 3
62 Kawana (Fuji) Up 2
63 Royal Troon (Old) Down 3
64 Sebonack Up 7
65 Castle Stuart Up 31
66 TPC at Sawgrass (Stadium) Up 12
67 Diamante Dunes Up 2
68 Old Sandwich Up 8
69 Garden City Up 4
70 Kauri Cliffs Down 17
71 Walton Heath (Old) Up 9
72 Bandon Dunes (Old Macdonald) Up 11
73 Shoreacres Up 22
74 Ganton Down 18
75 Camargo Up 24
76 Cabo del Sol (Ocean) Down 4
77 Oak Hill (East) Down 25
78 Loch Lomond Down 12
79 Royal Aberdeen (Balgownie) Down 2
80 Quaker Ridge Up 11
81 Somerset Hills Up 1
82 Baltusrol (Lower) Down 15
83 European Club Down 15
84 Pasatiempo NEW
85 Royal Liverpool Down 1
86 Royal Porthcawl Down 11
87 Swinley Forest Down 6
88 Maidstone No change
89 Noordwijkse Up 11
90 Shadow Creek (North) Down 11
91 Cruden Bay Up 1
92 PGA de Catalunya (Stadium) Up 6
93 Trump International Golf Links NEW
94 Shanqin Bay NEW
95 Tokyo Down 2
96 St George’s Hill NEW
97 Valderrama Down 8
98 Valley Club of Montecito NEW
99 National (Moonah) Down 9
100 Leopard Creek NEW

Click to see the new World Top 100 Golf Courses in detail.

Breakdown of courses by country (previous number in parenthesis):

USA 46 (47), Scotland 13 (12), England 11 (10), Australia 6 (7), Ireland 5 (5), New Zealand 2 (3), Japan 3 (3), Canada 2 (2), China 1 (0), France 1 (2), Northern Ireland 2 (2), Spain 2 (2), Mexico 2 (2), Dominican Republic 1 (1), Netherlands 1 (1), Wales 1 (1), South Africa 1 (0)

The six courses that made way for the new are: Les Bordes, Wade Hampton, Southern Hills, Bandon Dunes (Bandon Trails), Royal Adelaide and Paraparaumu Beach.


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