Scotland, Ireland, Wisconsin: The ultimate Top 100 trip planner

Scotland, Ireland, Wisconsin: The ultimate Top 100 trip planner

Dollar for dollar, Scotland's spectacular Cruden Bay is the bomb.
David Cannon/Getty

Although most of our Top 100 courses sit behind locked gates, many others—63 to be precise—will welcome your green fee. If you’re looking to knock a bunch off your bucket list, home in on these three golf meccas—two of them are historic, and one of them changed the face of public golf in the U.S.


The greatest trove of Top 100 tracks is in Scotland. In the Northeast alone, there are nine, each available to outside play. Another three lie in the West. Given the modest, 50-mile shore-to-shore drive—plus a couple of weeks, some very deep pockets and the stamina of a beast—it’s conceivable to play all 12 in one epic swing.

St. Andrews (Old Course)
St. Andrews ($115–$228;

St. Andrews ($292–$313;

Trump International Golf Links Scotland
Aberdeen ($241–$306;

Carnoustie (Championship)
Carnoustie ($130–$260;

Royal Dornoch (Championship)
Dornoch ($91–$189;

Castle Stuart
Inverness ($183–$254;

Cruden Bay (Championship)
Cruden Bay ($98–$189;

Gullane ($143–$306;

North Berwick (West Links)
North Berwick ($88–$143;

Trump Turnberry (Ailsa)
Turnberry ($130–$456;

Prestwick ($124–$254;

Royal Troon (Old)
Troon ($254–$300;


The South and West—Lahinch, Ballybunion and Waterville, for starters—rightly grab the glory for Irish golf, but the drive is just a little more than two hours from Shannon to Dublin, so it’s a breeze to access Portmarnock and The European Club as well. As long as you’re here, you might as well take the two-hour journey north from Dublin, to Belfast, and sample Northern Ireland’s Top 15 duo, Portrush and County Down.

Lahinch (Old)
Lahinch ($107–$204;

Ballybunion (Old)
Ballybunion ($107–$204;

Waterville Golf Links
Waterville ($80–$215;

Portmarnock (Old)
Portmarnock ($156–$242;

The European Club
Brittas Bay ($107–$215;

Royal Portrush (Dunluce)
Portrush ($123–$331;

Royal County Down
Newcastle ($104–$270;


Serious golf is spoken here, a cold-weather stronghold that somehow ranks in the top 10 states in the U.S. for total number of courses. And the list keeps growing. Home to Whistling Straits (host of three PGA Championships) and Erin Hills (the 2017 U.S. Open), the Badger State boasts a rich vein of Top 100 venues, including the private Milwaukee Country Club. With Sand Valley Resort’s Mammoth Dunes due in 2018 and Lawsonia (Links) climbing to 106 in this year’s U.S. rankings, Wisconsin might have even more swagger on our 2019 lists. Using Milwaukee as a hub, three of the four courses listed below are less than 70 minutes away, with Sand Valley definitely worth the 170-mile drive.

Whistling Straits (Straits)
Kohler ($410–$475;

Blackwolf Run (River)
Kohler ($359;

Erin Hills
Erin ($280–$335;

Sand Valley
Nekoosa ($85–$215;

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