GOLF’s 2017-18 ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the World

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100. Prestwick

Prestwick, Scotland, Old Tom Morris, 1851/1883

Prestwick has always had fierce critics, but atmosphere, ambience and renewed appreciation of its historical features have finally nudged Prestwick into the ranks of the elite. Its opener is one of the strangest in golf, with a stone wall and railway flush along the right side. Equal parts weird and wonderful, this host to 24 Open Championships (including the first 12) has earned its Top 100 nod—at last.

2 of 100 GARY KOBAYASHI / VISIONS IN GOLF

99. Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan, Komei Ohtani, 1940

A gently rolling parkland layout that still features the old two-green system on each hole, Tokyo Golf Club has played host to seven Japan Opens, including four at its current location, most recently in 2001. Gil Hanse renovated Tokyo in 2010 and stated that one of his greatest pleasures here was to restore some of the elements and soul of the C.H. Alison design work, especially to the green complexes.

3 of 100 USGA/ FRED VUICH

98. Inverness

Toledo, Ohio, Donald Ross, 1919

A marvelous collection of Donald Ross-designed par-4s set the stage for two of Greg Norman's most crushing defeats, the first when Bob Tway holed a bunker shot to win the 1986 PGA Championship, the second when the Shark lipped out putts on two straight holes, handing the 1993 PGA Championship playoff win to Paul Azinger. A recent renovation has restored Ross features, but also added length to test today's tournament players.

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97. European Club

Brittas Bay, Ireland, Pat Ruddy, 1992

Johnny Miller once stated that he'd 'love to see the British Open played here.' For years, Padraig Harrington tuned up his pre-Open links game here—and twice won Opens a week later. From the tips, the world's 97th ranked course is a rugged test, but the aesthetics match the challenge, thanks to holes that twist through amphitheaters of giant dunes and others that edge the Irish Sea.

5 of 100 COURTESY OF CABOT LINKS

96. Cabot Links

Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada, Rod Whitman, 2012

Developers Ben Cowan-Dewar and Mike Keiser handed over a rolling plot of coastal Nova Scotia terrain to architect Rod Whitman and the result is Canada's first authentic links. Firm, rumpled, fescue fairways, coastal breezes and endless views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence make it abundantly clear why Nova Scotia is the Latin name for 'New Scotland.'

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95. Valderrama

Sotogrande, Spain, Robert Trent Jones Sr., 1975

Said its architect, Robert Trent Jones Sr., 'The greatest golfers in the world have found it a difficult test, yet it is beautiful and playable for the club member.' This impeccably manicured 1997 Ryder Cup host, long considered the Augusta National of Europe for conditioning, features narrow, cork tree-framed fairways, sculptured bunkers, small greens and the short but diabolical par-5 17th.

7 of 100 CLIVE BARBER

94. St. George's

Islington, Ontario, Canada, Stanley Thompson, 1929

Preeminent Canadian architect Stanley Thompson hit his professional peak at this quiet club near downtown Toronto. The wonderful rolling parkland terrain is replete with streams and natural valleys and has witnessed five Canadian Opens, most recently in 2010. Tom Doak and Ian Andrew spearheaded a restoration that was completed in 2015.

8 of 100 MONTANA PRITCHARD/THE PGA OF AMERICA VIA GETTY IMAGES

93. Oak Hill (East)

Rochester, N.Y., Donald Ross, 1923

Host to three U.S. Opens, the 1995 Ryder Cup and a handful of PGA Championships, including 2013, when Jason Dufner triumphed, Oak Hill has witnessed numerous renovations since it debuted in 1924. Yet, its character is unmistakably Donald Ross, thanks to such holes as the 323-yard, par-4 14th, its vexing undulations yielding superb risk/reward opportunities.

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92. Walton Heath (Old)

Tadworth, England, Herbert Fowler, 1904

Its bleak, heathland setting won't set anyone aglow but as a test of character and shotmaking, Walton Heath has few peers. A superb, strategic delight, it is stern but fair, with heather, gorse, rough and bunkers that must be avoided at all costs. Yet, the chalk beneath the sandy subsoil allows for firm fairways that yield plenty of links-like run. Walton Heath was the venue of the 1981 Ryder Cup, when arguably the strongest American side of all time demolished the Europeans, 18.5 to 9.5.

10 of 100 KEVIN MURRAY

91. Yas Links Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., Kyle Phillips, 2010

Yas Links bursts with originality, as befits the first course in the Middle East to crack the Top 100. Architect] Kyle Phillips literally created the coastline that edges this 7,394-yard layout, dredging 2.3 million cubic yards of fill from the sea. Yas Links is carpeted in Platinum paspalum (perfect for linksy lies) and peppered with 109 bunkers. Most unforgettable is the closing stretch, where five of the final six holes ease past the Arabian Gulf.

11 of 100 GARY LISBON

90. Barnbougle (Lost Farm)

Bridport, Australia, Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2010

The companion to Barnbougle Dunes yields a Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design that differs from its Tasmanian sibling in that its huge dunes run both parallel and perpendicular to the ocean, so holes play up and over the dunes, as well as between them. The exposed, gorgeous par-3 4th that juts out to the tip of Sally's Point invites comparisons to Pebble Beach's 7th.

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89. Ganton

Ganton, England, Harry Vardon, 1905

Venue for the 1949 Ryder Cup, Ganton excels via its rural setting in the Yorkshire countryside, via its stern, brilliantly conceived bunkering and via its consistently excellent par-4s. Frequent changes of direction in the routing, firm, fast-running fairways, gorse patches and a compelling set of finishing holes combine to form one of the world's great inland links.

13 of 100 ERIC HEPWORTH

88. Machrihanish

Machrihanish, Scotland, Charles Hunter/Old Tom Morris, 1876/1879

This remote Old Tom Morris design entrances more for its ambience than for its challenge. Known for its enchanting opening hole that demands a drive over the beach, Machrihanish provides a gleeful romp through shaggy sandhills on the front nine. The closing stretch is a letdown, yet the Kintyre Peninsula wind and scenery makes for a complete test overall.

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87. Swinley Forest

Ascot, England, H.S. Colt, 1910

England's Harry S. Colt, one of the giants of early 20th Century architecture, called this 1910 design 'the least bad course' he had ever built, proving as Tom Doak memorably puts it, he 'was no Muhammed Ali when it came to self-promotion.' One of the most lightly played private clubs in Britain, this quiet enclave features wide, wooded fairways, gigantic bursts of rhododendrons in springtime and a back tee yardage under 6,100. Yet, par is only 68 and matching it requires excellent ball-striking, due primarily to a series of meaty par-4s.

15 of 100 EVAN SCHILLER

86. Ballyneal

Holyoke, Colo., Tom Doak, 2006

Tom Doak's 2006 design in the remote, treeless prairie of northeastern Colorado plays like a links, hard and fast, with sandhills, fescues and a different wind every day. The 335-yard, par-4 7th is one of golf's great short holes, drivable for some, and with its skillfully placed bunkers and wickedly contoured, E-shaped green, interesting for all others, no matter the distance of the second shot.

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85. Royal Porthcawl

Porthcawl, Wales, H.S. Colt, 1913

Bob Hope competed in the 1951 British Amateur here, but Tiger Woods found little humor in his Day 1 singles loss at the 1995 Walker Cup. This rumpled H.S. Colt redesign opens with three stout par-4s along the beach, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bristol Channel. Porthcawl then turns inland, traversing higher ground, but never lets up.

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84. Royal Liverpool

Hoylake, England, George Morris, 1869

'Hoylake,' as it's popularly known, hosted its 12th Open Championship in 2014. It's is not a pretty course. There are no lighthouses, or mountains or wild majestic undulations. Its fairways are flat, its vistas bleak. There's internal out-of-bounds all over the lot. Yet, when the wind is up, it's one of earth's fiercest links, one that requires supreme shotmaking.

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83. Winged Foot (East)

Mamaroneck, N.Y., A.W. Tillinghast, 1923

Neither as long nor as tough as its illustrious West sibling, the East course is no stranger to big-time events. It witnessed Roberto DeVicenzo claim the very first U.S. Senior Open here in 1980. A 2015 restoration by Gil Hanse put back many of the most ingenious green contours that had been lost or changed over time.

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82. Waterville

Waterville, Ireland, Eddie Hackett, 1973

Waterville's slithering par-5 11th, hemmed in by dune ridges and its seaside par-3 17th, with a back tee isolated by dense vegetation and backdropped by MacGillycuddy's Reeks, are both world-class. A 2006 renovation by Tom Fazio helped balance the two nines by removing some artificial features and blending new features into existing dunescape.

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81. Koninklijke Haagsche

Wassenaar, Netherlands, H.S. Colt/C.H. Alison/Frank Pont, 1938/2007

Better known to English speakers as 'The Hague,' The Netherlands' first Top 100 contribution, is a 1938 H.S. Colt/C.H. Alison/J.S.F. Morrison creation that replaced the club's old course which was destroyed in World War II. Chaotically heaving fairways amid substantial dunes and inland forests set the tone for a remarkable lay-of-the-land journey.

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80. Sunningdale (New)

The oft-overlooked sibling compared to its charming elder, the Old, H.S. Colt's 94-year-old companion finally stands on its own merits. Supporters have long praised it as the superior modern test. At 6,729 yards, it's longer than the Old by 300 yards and traverses higher ground. It's also stronger, with lengthy carries over heather and sharper drop-offs around the elevated greens, putting a premium on well-struck approaches.

22 of 100 JOHN AND JEANNINE HENEBRY

79. The Golf Club

New Albany, Ohio, Pete Dye, 1967

One of Pete Dye's early masterworks, circa 1967, this men-only domain in suburban Columbus was where Jack Nicklaus got his introduction to design, as an unpaid consultant. With bunkers and water hazards framed by railroad ties and tall native grasses scattered throughout, the distinctive Dye style began to take hold. A superb set of par-5s is a highlight.

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78. Quaker Ridge

Scarsdale, N.Y., A.W. Tillinghast, 1926

This quiet club across the street from Winged Foot counts Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye as admirers. Its outstanding cluster of gently rolling par-4s, notably the 6th and the 11th, provided a terrific canvas for amateurs such as Justin Rose and Jason Gore in the 1997 Walker Cup Match. Dating to 1916, the course was made over by A.W. Tillinghast in 1926.

24 of 100 MICHAEL HOBBS

77. Cruden Bay

Cruden Bay, Scotland, Herbert Fowler/Tom Simpson, 1926

This certified cult classic is a personal favorite of both Pete Dye and Tom Doak. Situated 23 miles north of Aberdeen and ranked 77th in the world, Cruden Bay offers one wild seaside hole after the next, including the head-scratching par-4 14th, with its funnel-shaped green and the stunning par-3 4th, which overlooks the Water of Cruden and the fishing village of Port Erroll.

25 of 100 BRIAN MORGAN

76. Ayodhya Links

Bangkok, Thailand, Thomson/Perrett/Lobb/Pitak Intrawityanunt, 2007

Conceived and routed by Aussie legend Peter Thomson and his partner Ross Perrett, Ayodhya is an inspired design and a remarkable set of greens that was completed by co-founder and chairman Pitak Intrawityanunt in 2007. Forced to rebuild after a 2011 flood, Ayodhya emerged better than ever, with superior conditioning and a remarkable variety of holes—and no weak links.

26 of 100 LARRY LAMBRECHT

75. Somerset Hills

Bernardsville, N.J., A.W. Tillinghast, 1918

A wonderful routing on a tight piece of property not far from the USGA headquarters showcases A.W. Tillinghast's imagination, while his brilliant Redan-style par-3 2nd hole shows that he could adapt with the best of them. A restoration by Tom Doak and associate Brian Slawnik helped put back firm and fast conditions along with reestablished bunkers and green edges.

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74. Baltusrol (Lower)

Springfield, N.J., A.W. Tillinghast, 1922

Rivaling Oakmont as the course that has entertained the most U.S. Opens, this sturdy A.W. Tillinghast-designed test most recently threw its well-bunkered heft around during the 2016 PGA when Jimmy Walker triumphed in the rain. Its unusual finish, back-to-back par-5s has twice ushered Jack Nicklaus into the U.S. Open winner's circle.

28 of 100 GARY LISBON

73. California Golf Club of San Francisco

S. San Francisco, Calif., A. Vernon Macan/A. MacKenzie/Kyle Phillips, 1926/1928/2007

For most of its 80-year history, the Cal Club clearly played third fiddle to Olympic and San Francisco. But following a Kyle Phillips re-do, many feel this layout is now near-equal to its more venerated neighbors. Yanking out trees to restore city skyline and mountain views and reinstalling the sprawling, multi-lobed MacKenzie bunkers have elevated the Cal Club to rarefied air.

29 of 100 GARY LISBON

72. Cape Wickham

King Island, Tasmania, Australia, Mike DeVries/Darius Oliver, 2015

Without a doubt the most spectacular-looking of our Top 100 rookies, Wickham wows with an opening stretch of seaside headland holes, three par 3s that skirt the sea and a 'Cape'-style 18th that demands a bite-off-as-much-as-you-dare drive over Victoria Cove. Typically buffeted by strong breezes, Wickham compensates with wide landing areas.

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71. Castle Stuart

Inverness, Scotland, Gil Hanse/Mark Parsinen, 2009

GOLF Magazine's Top New International Course of 2009 has maintained its early lofty results thanks to a brilliant Gil Hanse/Mark Parsinen design that was effusively praised by Phil Mickelson—and that was before he won the 2013 Scottish Open here. Wide fairways, wild and woolly bunkers and eye candy panoramas of Moray Firth and the Scottish Highlands are highlights.

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70. Maidstone

East Hampton, N.Y., John Park/Willie Park Jr., 1891

One of the nation's oldest and most prestigious clubs has offered golf since 1891. Its current layout is a Willie Park Jr. design (with help from brother John) that dates to 1924. Recently restored by Bill Coore, Maidstone's edge-of-the-Atlantic location is fully realized by the course's mid-section, which skirts the dunes and beach.

32 of 100 MONTANA PRITCHARD/THE PGA OF AMERICA VIA GETTY IMAGES

69. Southern Hills

Tulsa, Okla., Perry Maxwell, 1936

Site of three U.S. Opens and a quartet of PGAs, this Perry Maxwell design rolls out heat, humidity, wind and stern rough framing fairways and greens. Maxwell's oval and clamshell bunkers lack imaginative shaping, but they're perfectly placed. The 9th and 18th both climb steep hills to reach the greens, the latter being one of the game's toughest closing par-4s. Tougher still is the creek-guarded 12th, which Ben Hogan once called the greatest par-4 in the U.S.

33 of 100 BRIAN MORGAN

68. Kawana (Fuji)

Kawana, Japan, C.H. Alison/Kinya Fujita, 1936

Japan's answer to Pebble Beach is this 1936 creation from legendary British architect C.H. Alison, with help from Kinta Fujita that boasts staggering views of snow-capped Mt. Fuji and cliff-top panoramas of the Pacific Ocean. Alison's superb bunkering and strategies mix with undulating terrain that make it worth the 3-hour trip from Tokyo.

34 of 100 EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES

67. Olympic Club (Lake)

San Francisco, Calif., Sam Whiting, 1924

Laid out on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Merced, its fairways hemmed in by thousands of cypress and eucalyptus trees, its greens and landing areas bracketed by wrist-fracturing rough, Olympic has proved to be an imposing test for five U.S. Opens. On fog-free days, the 247-yard, par-3 third enjoys stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

35 of 100 ERIC HEPWORTH

66. Woodhall Spa (Hotchkin)

Woodhall Spa, England, Harry Vardon/H.S. Colt/V. Hotchkin, 1905/1912/1926

Harry Vardon left us much more than six Open wins and a grip. Woodhall Spa is Vardon's design legacy, an intriguing heathland/'inland links' blend, an oasis of tumbling terrain amid the surrounding flat fenland of Lincolnshire. Deep bunkers are Woodhall Spa's defining trait, along with plentiful gorse and a stellar set of par-3s. Credit architects H.S. Colt and S.V. Hotchkin for enhancing Vardon's work and turning the course into one of golf's supreme shotmaking tests.
36 of 100 WOOD SABOLD

65. Bandon Dunes

Bandon, Ore., David McLay Kidd, 1999

Bandon's original course is a David McLay Kidd design draped atop craggy headlands above the Pacific. Ocean views stun the senses, along with bluff-top sand dunes sprinkled with Scotch broom and gorse bushes, coastal pines, crashing surf, wind-whipped tall native grasses, and stacked sod bunkers.

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64. Kingsbarns

St. Andrews, Scotland, Kyle Phillips, 1999

This 1999 Kyle Phillips design 15 miles from the Old Course boasts the respect of links fans everywhere, who relish such holes as the 606-yard, par-5 12th, which arcs around the bay and the 212-yard, par-3 15th that demands a carry over the sea. The seamless melding of flat farmland and Old World links contours has earned the respect of even the toughest course critics.

38 of 100 JOHN AND JEANNINE HENEBRY

63. Camargo

Indian Hill, Ohio, Seth Raynor, 1921

This low-key 1926 Seth Raynor creation in suburban Cincinnati dishes out extremely deep bunkers and huge, squared-off greens on a property laced with valleys and ravines. The usual Macdonald/Raynor template holes are in place, from a Biarritz to a Redan, yet the two strongest par-3s might be the 5th and the 11th, modeled after the two one-shotters at St. Andrews.

39 of 100 COURTESY OF GREAT WHITE SHARK ENTERPRISES

62. Ellerston

Ellerston, Australia, Greg Norman/Bob Harrison, 2001

Greg Norman has never been shy about professing his admiration for Alister MacKenzie. At ultra-exclusive Ellerston, he and design partner Bob Harrison adapted MacKenzie strategies and bunker stylings on a rugged track, resulting in the one of the strongest, most option-laden tests in the Southern Hemisphere. Forced carries over ravines, greens set along ridge-tops and the influence of Pages Creek add to the challenge.

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61. Royal Lytham & St. Annes

Lytham St. Annes, England, George Lowe Jr., 1897

Roughly 200 bunkers menace this rugged links that has hosted Open Championships since 1926. One of those bunkers in particular, in the left-center of the 18th fairway, cost Adam Scott the 2012 Open. There are no views of the sea here, but the wind and vegetation shout 'seaside.' Best of all at Lytham was Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, who won here in 1979 and 1988.

41 of 100 FRED VUICH FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

60. TPC Sawgrass (Stadium)

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Pete Dye, 1981

Venue for the Players Championship since 1982, Pete Dye's imaginatively-designed and occasionally terror-inducing track has crowned winners such as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. One of the wildest finishes took place in 2013, when Sergio Garcia, tied with Woods, splashed two tee shots at the infamous island-green 17th. Some sniff at its artificiality, yet for shotmaking options and memorable individual holes that require a blend of power and finesse, TPC Sawgrass has few peers.

BOOK TEE TIMES

42 of 100 JIM MANDEVILLE/NICKLAUS DESIGNS

59. Muirfield Village

Dublin, Ohio, Jack Nicklaus/Desmond Muirhead, 1974

Conceived by Jack Nicklaus in 1966 to be his hometown equivalent of Bobby Jones' Augusta National, this 1974 collaboration with architect Desmond Muirhead was an instant smash, as much for its strategic design as for its flawless conditioning. Equally impressive was how Nicklaus seamlessly integrated spectator areas into the closing holes, using hillsides and amphitheater-style mounding to provide patrons with clear views of the action.

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58. Whistling Straits (Straits)

Kohler, Wisc., Pete Dye, 1998

Venue for the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGAs, this 1998 Pete Dye design on Lake Michigan was once a military training base in World War II. Eventually it became a site for illegal dumping of toxic waste. Dye and owner Herb Kohler moved 3 million cubic yards of dirt, trucked in 7,000 loads of sand to create the hills and bunkers and relocated the bluffs farther back from the shore. All Kohler told Dye was 'I want the course to look like it's in Ireland.' Mission accomplished.

44 of 100 GARY W.KELLNER

57. Shoreacres

Lake Bluff, Ill., Seth Raynor, 1921

Steep ravines affect play throughout the back nine on this short but sweet 1921 Seth Raynor parkland design. Set into rolling terrain on Chicago's North Shore, alongside Lake Michigan, Shoreacres benefitted from a 2007 Tom Doak restoration that revitalized classic template holes such as Biarritz-style par-3 6th and the Redan-style par-3 14th.

45 of 100 RUSSELL KIRK

56. Garden City Golf Club

Garden City, N.Y., Devereux Emmet/Walter Travis, 1899/1906

This ancient, men-only Long Island layout dates to 1899. Devereux Emmet and Walter Travis most influenced the design, which today plays as firm and as fast as any British links, much as it did in the old days, with tall fescue and sea breezes constant companions. Laurie Auchterlonie captured the 1902 U.S. Open here with record scores, owing to the debut of the longer, more durable Haskell ball.

46 of 100 Courtesy of Oitavos Dunes

55. Oitavos Dunes

Cascais, Portugal, Arthur Hills, 2001

Oitavos Dunes rolls out an Arthur Hills design that peers down at the Atlantic Ocean at every turn and traverses three distinct landscapes, from dense stands of umbrella pines to sprawling, scrub-covered dunes to open, coastal transition areas bracketed by vegetation and buffeted by sea breezes. It's not quite a pure links, but it's close.

47 of 100 KIAWAH ISLAND GOLF RESORT

54. Kiawah Island (Ocean)

Kiawah Island, S.C., Pete Dye, 1991

A blend of tidal marsh carries, scrub-topped dunes and wildly undulating greens pair with 7,600 muscular yards to form a relentless mix of beauty and brawn. While architect Pete Dye has softened his greens and their surrounds over years, the Ocean Course remains among the toughest tests in the country.

48 of 100 NILE YOUNG

53. Oakland Hills (South)

Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Donald Ross/Robert Trent Jones Sr., 1917/1950

Ben Hogan called this course a 'monster.' Following events such as the 2004 Ryder Cup and 2008 PGA won by Padraig Harrington, the brilliant Donald Ross routing and beguiling green contouring has restored its status to 'great,' as opposed to 'hard.'

49 of 100 JIM KRAJICEK

52. Bethpage (Black)

Farmingdale, N.Y., A.W. Tillinghast, 1935

Bethpage Black scares golfers with a sign at the first tee: 'Warning -- The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers.' The 'People's Open,' as the 2002 U.S. Open came to be known, brutalized players with its Rees Jones-restored A.W. Tillinghast layout, owing to rugged, uphill par-4s, massive bunkers and wrist-fracturing rough.

50 of 100 51. North Berwick (West)

51. North Berwick (West)

North Berwick, Scotland, David Strath, 1878

East of Edinburgh sits this fabled links -- at least in architectural circles -- thanks to its 15th hole, the much-copied 'Redan,' a par-3 played to an elevated, diagonal green. In the memorability department, however, it takes a backseat to the par-4 13th, 'The Pit,' whose green sits directly behind a low stone wall.

51 of 100 EVAN SCHILLER

50. Cabot Cliffs

Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada, Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2016

Newly minted as Canada's top-ranked course, this year-old Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design towers more than 100 feet above the Gulf of St. Lawrence, inspiring Pebble Beach–like awe. The south-end holes are akin to a traditional Scottish links. Most memorable is the trio of stunning closing holes, beginning with the 176-yard, par-3 16th.

52 of 100 AIDAN BRADLEY

49. Portmarnock (Old)

Portmarnock, Ireland, George Ross/W.C. Pickeman/Mungo Park, 1894

Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam are among those who captured Irish Opens at this low-profile but character-filled Dublin-area links. Arnold Palmer once tabbed the 15th as one of golf's best par-3s. Deep pot bunkers and low dunes that offer little protection from the wind make Portmarnock Ireland's sternest, yet fairest championship test.

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48. Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog)

La Romana, Dominican Republic, Pete Dye 1971

Pete Dye's personal favorite of all of his designs, Teeth of the Dog is flat-out gorgeous, with seven holes practically sunk into the Caribbean Sea. Yet the design itself stands up to the aesthetics. Despite its intimidating name, Teeth of the Dog entrances, starting with its superior collection of par-3s.

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47. Royal Troon (Old)

Troon, Scotland, Willie Fernie, 1887

Arnold Palmer, Tom Weiskopf and Tom Watson are among the Americans who have won at Troon, yet the most memorable shot was struck by a non-winner, 71-year-old Gene Sarazen, who aced the 123-yard, 'Postage Stamp' 8th during the 1973 Open -- with a 5-iron! While some argue that the closing stretch is flattish and dull, it is undeniably tough, earning Troon its long-held accolades.

55 of 100 DAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES

46. Trump International Golf Links

Aberdeen, Scotland, Martin Hawtree, 2012

Blend the towering dunes of Ballybunion, the relentless challenge of Carnoustie and the legendary bombast of Donald Trump and you'd have a British Open for the ages. Trump Scotland serves up a superb collection of par-3s and a set of fully exposed back tees perched atop sandhills. The standout on the back is the 14th, with its valley fairway and glorious North Sea vistas.

56 of 100 JOE PASSOV

45. Morfontaine

Senlis, France, Tom Simpson, 1927

Tucked away in a nearly impossible-to-find forested location 40 miles north of Paris is a low-key heathland design that is utterly charming and utterly private. A bold start that features a 475-yard par-4 and a 225-yard par-3 give way to gentler, though strategically rich holes that were favorites of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, a frequent visitor.

57 of 100 GARY LISBON

44. Cape Kidnappers

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, Tom Doak, 2004

One of the world's Top 10 when it comes to eye-candy views, the back nine in particular at Cape Kidnappers boasts a sequence of staggeringly dramatic holes, starting with the tiny seaside par-3 13th and peaking with the 650-yard, par-5 15th which falls away on both sides of the fairway and which sports a horizon green perched precariously on a bluff overlooking the sea.

58 of 100 GARY LISBON

43. New South Wales

La Perouse, Australia, Alister MacKenzie/Eric Apperly, 1928/1947

Designed by Dr. Alister MacKenzie, the layout's signature hole is the 195-yard, par-3 sixth, which demands a stout carry over an inlet of Cape Banks -- which wasn't actually MacKenzie's handiwork. Eric Apperly added this hole in 1937.

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42. Royal St. George's

Sandwich, England, W. Laidlaw Purves/H.S. Colt, 1887/1922

This 14-time British Open host dates to 1887. 'Sandwich' as it is known colloquially, serves up blind shots and supremely interesting contours in equal measure. Boasting the biggest sandhills of all Open venues, Royal St. George's heaving, dune-studded linksland also sports the rota's most fearsome bunker, a gaping fairway trap on the par-4 4th.

60 of 100 Brian Morgan

41. Nine Bridges

Jeju Island, South Korea, Ron Fream/David Dale, 2001

Nine Bridges's appeal starts with its tranquil setting, with holes etched into pine-clad, rolling topography in the shadows of Mount Halla, Korea's tallest mountain. Lakes, creeks and wooded slopes not only contribute to the beauty and variety, but are seamlessly integrated into the design. Nine Bridges will host the PGA Tour's inaugural CJ Cup in mid-October 2017.

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40. Hirono Golf Club

Kobe, Japan, C.H. Alison, 1932

The Japanese had never seen the kind of deep, strategically placed bunkers that architect C.H. Alison introduced to Hirono in the early 1930s, so that similar traps built on any course since are known as 'Alisons.' Originally, the course bore a heathland look, but heavy tree planting changed Hirono's character over the years.

62 of 100 Courtesy of Shanqin Bay

39. Shanqin Bay

Bo'ao, Hainan Island, China, Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2012

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw's first effort in Asia is a bluff-top stunner overlooking the South China Sea on Hainan's Southeast coast. Ever-present wind, firm, fast-running turf, craggy bunkers and semi-blind shots -- as well as jaw-dropping aesthetics combine to provide a links-like experience that is unique to China.

63 of 100 LARRY LAMBRECHT

38. Barnbougle Dunes

Bridport, Australia, Tom Doak/Mike Clayton, 2004

Australia's greatest links achieves Top 40 status due in large part to the sophisticated Tom Doak/Mike Clayton design and partly due to the stirring seaside setting in Tasmania, with holes nestled down in the large dunes that run parallel to the ocean.

64 of 100 LARRY LAMBRECHT

37. The Country Club (Clyde/Squirrel)

Brookline, Mass., Willie Campbell/Rees Jones, 1895/1985

A Boston Brahmin society haunt for more than 100 years, this tree-lined track has played host to three U.S. Opens and the 1999 Ryder Cup. Its tournament course is a composite layout, comprised of 18 of the club's 27 holes. The Clyde/Squirrel combo was used for the 1913 Open when local lad Francis Ouimet stunned the Brits.

65 of 100 BRIAN MORGAN

36. Diamante (Dunes)

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Davis Love III/Mark Love/Paul Cowley, 2010

Not quite a links, but built on sand and next to the sea, Diamante is like golf in Ireland, only 30 degrees warmer. Gigantic sand dunes, Pacific Ocean panoramas and superb risk/reward variety are highlights. In 2017, a new par-3 10th was installed to replace the old 18th hole, with the back nine holes renumbered to reflect their new sequencing.

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35. Lahinch (Old)

Lahinch, Ireland, Old Tom Morris/Alister MacKenzie, 1893/1927

Lahinch charms with titanic sandhills and stunning views of both the Atlantic Ocean and of the Cliffs of Moher. Old Tom Morris' 1893 design, coupled with Alister MacKenzie's 1927 renovation and Martin Hawtree's 2003 restoration form a seamless fit on ideal terrain.

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34. Royal Birkdale

Southport, England, George Lowe Jr./Fred Hawtree, 1889/1932

Many of the game's elite consider this course to be the finest of all Open rota layouts. Birkdale boasts towering sandhills and no blind shots, as most of the holes roll through valleys. It has played host to ten Opens, most recently Jordan Spieth's remarkable win in 2017.

68 of 100 EVAN SCHILLER

33. Friar's Head

Baiting Hollow, N.Y., Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 2003

Tree-dotted dunes, open meadows and bluff-top views of Long Island Sound highlight play at this understated 2003 Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw design. The fact that it's Phil Mickelson's favorite modern course is further enticement. Holes such as the par-5 14th call to mind an east coast version of Cypress Point.

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32. Riviera

Pacific Palisades, Calif., George Thomas/Billy Bell Sr., 1926

Architect George C. Thomas Jr. took strategy and bunker configuration to new heights in the 1920s, notably at eucalyptus-lined Riviera in suburban L.A. As proof of his magical skills, look no further than the 311-yard, par-4 10th. Thanks to the inspired positioning of the bunkers and the green, the options on how to play this hole are limitless.

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31. Sunningdale (Old)

Sunningdale, England, Willie Park Jr./H.S. Colt, 1901/1922

Perhaps the noblest of the London-area heathland courses, this charming, tree-lined track is dotted with heather patches and ingeniously placed bunkers. Architecture buffs will appreciate the par-4 fifth hole where the first man-made water hazard in golf design appears in the form of a pond on the right side of the fairway.

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30. Prairie Dunes

Hutchinson, Kan., Perry Maxwell/Press Maxwell, 1937/1957

After weeks of tromping around the yucca-choked sandhills of Hutchinson, architect Perry Maxwell pronounced, 'There are 118 good golf holes here. All I have to do is eliminate 100 of them.' All that's missing is an ocean at this linksy-looking layout that played host to the 2002 U.S. Women's Open (Juli Inkster) and 2006 U.S. Senior Open (Allen Doyle).

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29. Tara Iti

Te Arai, New Zealand, Tom Doak, 2015

Tara Iti jumps onto our World list as one of our highest debuting courses ever. The barely two-year-old course is already acknowledged as the Southern Hemisphere's premier links. Its enviable location in the dunes along the Pacific Ocean, along with superior fine-fescue fairways and swirls of natural grass and sand, have some reviewers saying it could host an Open tomorrow—if only it were 11,000 miles farther northwest.

73 of 100 FRED VUICH FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

28. Carnoustie (Championship)

Carnoustie, Scotland, A.Robertson/Old Tom Morris/James Braid, 1842/1872/1926

This ancient links dates to 1842 and has hosted seven Opens in all, 'with an eighth on the way in 2018. Heather, gorse, jungle-like fescue rough, steep-faced revetted bunkers and the sinuous Barry Burn create havoc in the wind. The toughest of the Open rota courses has witnessed winners such as Ben Hogan, Gary Player and Tom Watson.

74 of 100 RUSSELL KIRK

27. Winged Foot (West)

Mamaroneck, N.Y., A.W. Tillinghast, 1923

1996 PGA Champion Mark Brooks summed up this A.W. Tillinghast design this way: 'There are probably six hard holes, six really hard holes and six impossible holes.' Frighteningly contoured, pear-shaped greens, cavernous bunkers and a procession of rugged par-4s define the trouble here. On a 'difficulty' scale of 1 to 10, Jack Nicklaus once rated this a 12.

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26. Pacific Dunes

Bandon, Ore., Tom Doak, 2001

The highest ranking American links, this 2001 Tom Doak creation checks in as one of the greatest modern designs in the world. It fits so majestically into its billowing terrain, it looks like it's been there 100 years. Scattered blow-out bunkers, gigantic natural dunes, smartly contoured greens and Pacific panoramas are headliners.

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25. San Francisco

San Francisco, Calif., A.W. Tillinghast, 1918

A.W. Tillinghast may have crafted his most gorgeous collection of bunkers at this low-key Bay Area hideaway dating to 1918 that avoids publicity as steadfastly as its neighbor the Olympic Club embraces it. The highlight is the drop-shot par-3 7th, Tilly's favorite hole that he ever designed.

77 of 100 JOHN AND JEANNINE HENEBRY

24. Crystal Downs

Frankfort, Mich., Alister MacKenzie/Perry Maxwell, 1932

Due to its remote location, Crystal Downs was long overlooked. The course became better known after Tom Doak introduced it to Ben Crenshaw in the 1980s. Don't be fooled by its miniscule 6,518 yards from the tips. A combination of strong breezes, thick fescue roughs, wildly undulating terrain and fiendishly contoured greens make it a tough test.

78 of 100 LARRY LAMBRECHT

23. Seminole

Juno Beach, Fla., Donald Ross, 1929

This posh coastal retreat designed by Donald Ross challenges with palms, sea grape bushes, ocean breezes and a varied routing that encompasses two dune ridges. So impressed was Ben Hogan with Seminole's virtues, that he would play and practice here for 30 straight days each year leading up to the Masters.

79 of 100 LARRY LAMBRECHT

22. Los Angeles (North)

Los Angeles, Calif., George Thomas, Jr., 1921

Gil Hanse's team restored George Thomas's classic to perfection in 2011. Bunkers were reshaped and relocated, fairways were widened and re-shaped and a natural barranca was brought back into play as a strategic hazard. The course played host to the 2017 Walker Cup and will stage the 2023 U.S. Open.

80 of 100 JOHN AND JEANNINE HENEBRY

21. Chicago Golf Club

Wheaton, Ill., C.B. Macdonald/Seth Raynor, 1895/1923

One of the five founding members of the United States Golf Association in 1894, Chicago Golf, as it's known, was also site of the nation's first 18-hole golf course, as well as the first to host the U.S. Open outside of the Northeast. Seth Raynor retooled his mentor C.B. Macdonald's course in 1923 and not much has changed since.

81 of 100 GARY LISBON

20. Kingston Heath

Melbourne, Australia, Des Soutar/Alister MacKenzie, 1925/1928

'Kingston Heath offers perhaps the best collection of par-3s without water in the world,' claims Greg Norman.' The Alister MacKenzie bunkering is phenomenal. Short by modern day technology, it's still visually demanding, visually impressive.'

82 of 100 LARRY LAMBRECHT

19. Fishers Island

Fishers Island, N.Y., Seth Raynor, 1926

Accessible only by ferry, this exclusive retreat off Connecticut is populated by the oldest of the Old Money crowd, many of whom still enjoy hoofing it. Why wouldn't they, given the classic Seth Raynor design, the delightful tumbling terrain and the spectacular views of Long Island Sound.

83 of 100 USGA/JOHN MUMMERT

18. Pinehurst (No. 2)

Pinehurst, N.C., Donald Ross, 1907

Donald Ross' 108-year-old chef d'oeuvre rolls gently and spaciously through tall Longleaf pines in the Carolina Sandhills, with holes culminating in the legendary 'inverted saucer' greens. For the 2014 U.S. Open, a Coore-Crenshaw restoration brought back the tawny-edged fairways and native roughs last seen in the 1940s.

84 of 100 EVAN SCHILLER

17. Ballybunion (Old)

Ballybunion, Ireland, P. Murphy/Tom Simpson, 1893/1936

This Southwest Ireland gem is wedged between huge sandhills and the Atlantic Ocean. 'Nothing less than the finest seaside course I have ever seen,' stated Hall of Fame writer Herbert Warren Wind. Echoed five-time Open champion Tom Watson, 'It is one of the best and most beautiful tests of links golf anywhere.'

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16. Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)

Turnberry, Scotland, Willie Fernie/P. Mackenzie Ross, 1909/1951

Now under the Trump aegis, Turnberry provides unforgettable images, from Tom Watson's heroic and tragic performances to remarkable seaside holes that feature churning surf, a lighthouse and vistas of the football-shaped monolith called Ailsa Craig jutting out of the sea. Rebuilt following its use for RAF airfields in World War II, the "Duel in the Sun" 1977 British Open venue witnessed a series of well-received design changes in the past two years by MacKenzie & Ebert that altered several of its most celebrated holes.

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15. Royal Dornoch (Championship)

Dornoch, Scotland, Old Tom Morris, 1886

This seaside Old Tom Morris classic is worth the journey. After Tom Watson played here prior to his Open defense in 1981, he remarked that the experience was 'the most fun I've ever had a on a golf course.' Donald Ross grew up here and you can see his affinity for Dornoch's raised plateau greens on his American masterpiece, Pinehurst No. 2.

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14. Royal Portrush (Dunluce)

Portrush, Northern Ireland, H.S. Colt, 1929

The only Irish course ever to host an Open is perennially ranked in the world's Top 15 courses, thanks to a superior 1929 H.S. Colt design that maximizes its setting in the high dunes along the Irish Sea. Two new holes, now the seventh and the eighth, have replaced the old 17th and 18th holes in plenty of time for the return of the Open Championship in 2019.'

88 of 100 JOHN AND JEANNINE HENEBRY

13. Sand Hills

Mullen, Neb., Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 1994

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw had to move only teaspoons of dirt to construct the most natural, hew-to-the-land layout built in the past 50 years. Rolling, sandy terrain, rippled fairways crafted to accommodate ever-present winds, wavy prairie grasses and gigantic 'blow-out' bunkers create the sensation of being seaside in the middle of land-locked Nebraska.

89 of 100 USGA/JOHN MUMMERT

12. Merion (East)

Ardmore, Pa., Hugh Wilson, 1912

What makes Merion so distinctive is its remarkable variety. Some par-4s are short, others are monsters. One par-3 is tiny, at 115 yards. The other par-3s measure 236, 246 and 256 yards. The famous par-4 11th, where Bobby Jones clinched the 1930 Grand Slam, is slashed by a creek, while the par-4 16th demands a shot over an abandoned stone quarry. In short, Merion has everything.

90 of 100 GARY LISBON

11. Royal Melbourne (West)

Melbourne, AUstralia, Alister MacKenzie, 1926

The appeal of Alister MacKenzie's Golden Age masterpiece is best explained by Sir Nick Faldo. 'I love the way it plays firm and fast-running, the way the bunkering frames and almost intrudes into the putting surfaces and the brilliance of the bunkering style with the native scrubby look.'

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10. Muirfield

Gullane, Scotland, Old Tom Morris/H.S. Colt, 18891/1925

This 16-time Open venue was never more testing or memorable than in 2013, when Phil Mickelson rode his 3-wood to victory. It so impressed Jack Nicklaus in his 1966 win that he named his own major-worthy course in Ohio after it. Tom Weiskopf cites the primary appeal: 'The continuous change in direction from hole to hole leads to different winds, great balance and maximum variety.'

92 of 100 KOHJIRO KINNO FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

9. Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach, Calif., Jack Neville/Douglas Grant, 1919

The first great American public seaside course, Pebble benefited from an ingenious Figure-8 design that brought the player right to ocean's edge, then away into the woods, then back again.

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8. Oakmont

Oakmont, Pa., Henry Fownes, 1903

No course on earth plays so much viciously harder than it looks than Oakmont. No trees, no water, few forced carries and huge greens normally add up to a sea of red numbers for the game's best, but not here.

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7. National Golf Links

Southampton, N.Y., C.B. Macdonald, 1911

NGLA, or 'National,' as it's known, offers the greatest variety of strategic holes and greens in golf. There are blind shots, links-style holes that feature firm, fast-running fairways, forced carries and a remarkable mix of short and long holes.

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6. Shinnecock Hills

Southampton, N.Y., William Flynn, 1931

Venue for four U.S. Opens since 1986, with a fifth on the way in 2018, Shinnecock boasts a William Flynn design that combines parkland bunkering and greens with a seaside sensibility.

96 of 100 BRIAN MORGAN

5. Augusta National

Augusta, Ga., Alister MacKenzie/Bobby Jones, 1933

Nearly every hole at Augusta National provides a safe route to the green and also a riskier one. Combine staggering beauty and Masters tradition and it's easy to see why Augusta National is so revered.

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4. Royal County Down

Newcastle, Northern Ireland, Old Tom Morris, 1889

This 1889 Old Tom Morris creation is one of the most beautiful tests in the world. Perhaps golf's most fearsome looking bunkers populate the entire course. Golf's best front nine boasts the 217-yard, par-3 4th and the blind par-4 9th that does offer other views, the Irish Sea, the Mountains of Mourne and the red brick steeple of the Slieve Donard Hotel among them.

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3. St. Andrews (Old Course)

St. Andrews, Scotland, Nature, 1400s

The birthplace of golf features multiple blind bunkers, huge double greens, quirks such as the Road Hole and Hell Bunker and strategic options that vary by the day. The emphasis on variety and strategy became foundations for all great designs in years to come, including Augusta National.

99 of 100 MIKE EHRMANN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

2. Cypress Point

Pebble Beach, Calif., Alister MacKenzie, 1928

As Alister MacKenzie himself must have felt about his 1928 design, it's almost inconceivable that land this stunning was made available for golf. For the lucky few who have access to super-exclusive Cypress, they're privileged to enjoy the best walk in the sport.

100 of 100 BRIAN MORGAN

1. Pine Valley

Pine Valley, N.J., George Crump/H.S. Colt, 1918

There's no secret as to why Pine Valley has been ranked No. 1 in the World by GOLF Magazine since 1985. Uniquely beautiful and brutal, 99-year-old Pine Valley serves up multiple forced carries on holes that hopscotch from one island of turf to the next.