Rory McIlroy’s Top 10 Favorite Courses

1 of 10 No. 13 (Augusta National Archives / Getty Images)
Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia: Where should I begin with Augusta? Every hole seems to have a personality of its own, and the atmosphere on tournament days adds a dimension unlike any other event. It’s Beauty and the Beast stuff. I said before that I could play the par-5 13th all day. I think I still feel that way. There’s danger left and trouble if you’re too straight. But if you can move the ball right to left, there’s a great chance of making the green in two. And what a green! Unless you’re in close with your approach, two putts is a good result.
2 of 10 No. 14 (Jim Mandeville / Nicklaus Designs)
Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio: Named after Muirfield in Scotland, where the great Jack Nicklaus enjoyed Open success, Muirfield Village is one of the PGA Tour’s most respected and admired courses. It is definitely in my top 10. This Jack Nicklaus design is a great test of driving accuracy -- water comes into play on 11 of the 18 holes. If I had to choose my favourite hole on Muirfield, it’d be the 14th. It’s a tight, downhill drive with a creek bisecting the fairway.
3 of 10 No. 14 / Getty Images
Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina: The home of my first win on U.S. soil, Quail Hollow is a beautiful course and a tremendous golfing challenge. For me, it is one of the best in the southeastern United States. I always look forward to playing the par-4 14th. At less than 350 yards, it’s often reachable. But it is a risk-reward hole, and accuracy is everything.
4 of 10 No. 2 / Evan Schiller
Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey: Against the New York City backdrop and Lady Liberty herself, you are treated to some of the most dramatic scenery anywhere on tour -- 15 of the 18 holes offer almost uninterrupted views of the Manhattan skyline. There are so many great holes, but I think the 2nd hole is really memorable. The views of Lady Liberty on this par-3 are so clear that she seems to be guarding the green!
5 of 10 No. 16 / Getty Images
Firestone Country Club (South Course) in Akron, Ohio: Home of the Bridgestone Invitational, Firestone is a great golfing test. It is also a course for big hitters. With testing par-4s, and perhaps the longest par-5 anywhere in the world (there’s even pond in front of the 16th green to catch out those coming up short!), a good long game is absolutely vital.
6 of 10 No. 11 (Patrick Drickey / Stone House Golf)
Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in Southampton, New York: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is another links-style golf course located on Long Island. It has hosted the U.S. Open four times in the past and it is due to do so again in 2018. It is also home to one of the shortest par-5 in the world, the 150 yard par-3 11th. I played it last year for the first time and fell in love with the place.
7 of 10 No. 14 / Larry Lambrecht
Royal Portrush Golf Club in Portrush, Northern Ireland: Another world-class links and host of the 2012 Irish Open, Royal Portrush is one of Ireland’s most stunning golfing venues. I could mention every hole in detail (I shot 61 here as a 16-year-old in an amateur open event) but Calamity Corner, the 210 yard par-3, must be played to be appreciated. With the wind blowing in from the North Antrim coast, this is not a hole for the faint-hearted! In almost every sense, Royal Portrush is a truly awe-inspiring experience.
8 of 10 No. 5 / Larry Lambrecht
Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York: With really great views and fantastic conditions, Sebonack is a rare golfing gem. The course offers a wealth of understated subtleties and thoughtful features -- an aesthetic treat and incredible challenge. I count myself as very fortunate to be a member of this great course.
9 of 10 No. 12 (David Cannon / Getty Images)
Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland: Set to host the 2015 Irish Open, Royal County Down is one of my favourite home courses. I made the 2007 Walker Cup team here and enjoyed great battles against the visiting U.S. team. Nestling beneath the Mourne Mountains in County Down, this is a classic, testing links.
10 of 10 No. 17 / Getty Images
The Old Course at St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland: Perhaps accurately called golf’s rightful home, St. Andrews tops my list for links courses. For me, it’s the layout, undulations, quirky holes and just so much history. The Road Hole, No. 17, is probably my favourite, but a good round can quickly become undone here. The town of St. Andrews really sets the tone, too. There’s just such a great atmosphere about the place -- golfers, spectators and a great student population as well.