The top 10 courses I’ve ever played: A mix of tough but fair classics

December 23, 2019

GOLF recently unveiled its Top 100 Courses in the World, which included all the well-known iconic gems like Augusta National, Cypress Point, St. Andrews and, well, you get the picture. But there’s more than one way to make a list, so here’s ours! Over the next month, GOLF staffers will take their turn creating their own ranking, but not of the best courses in the world — the best courses they’ve played. Enjoy, and if you haven’t made the time to create your own list to dissect and look back on, now’s the time to get started.

My top 10: Jonathan Wall

10. Pete Dye Golf Club

Worth the trip if you’re ever in West Virginia. Abandoned coal cars and mine shafts remind you the course sits atop a mining deposit.


9. Pinehurst No. 2

Coore and Crenshaw nailed the restoration. Playing it on a day when the course is baked makes for one hell of a ride.

8. Southern Hills

Played it before the Hanse restoration and it was still a treat. Intricate putting surfaces keep you engaged for the entire round.

7. Kiawah Island (Ocean)

Views take some sting out of the beating you’re about to endure. It’s a Dye course. What else do you expect?

6. Shinnecock Hills

America’s first links course has it all. Historic clubhouse. Classic layout. Feels like you’re stepping back in time.

5. National Golf Links

The history, iconic windmill and stunning views place it high on my list. Layout offers a multitude of ways to play each hole.

4. Carnoustie

Bring plenty of balls for the finisher. Carnoustie lulls you to sleep early and then lays haymakers after the turn.

3. Shoreacres

Just thinking of the stretch from Nos. 11-15 puts me in a good mood. Could play it every day for the rest of my life.


2. Pine Valley

Pine Valley forces you to deploy every shot in the arsenal. The toughest (and fairest) test I’ve ever faced.


1. Augusta National

Played it the Monday after Tiger’s historic 2019 Masters win. Enough said.