“Golf is not a fair game, so why build a course fair?”

That’s what the famous course designer, Pete Dye, said and it still rings true. Challenges and winding turns are present in all the best courses, while many also feature scenes of spectacular beauty.

We run you through five of the best golf courses in the world.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Details: Southampton, New York. Architect: William Flynn, 1931. 6,996 yards. Par 70.

The United States’ Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is its oldest incorporated club and one of its earliest links venues. It was founded in 1891 by rich New York businessmen who had been recently introduced to the sport in France.

The course frequently changes directions in order to make the most of both the constant trade winds and the dramatic pitch and fall of the property. Its design is known for its lumpy fairways which are bordered by tall grasses and feature punishing bunker shapes and tilted greens. The ball runs fast and the course has a genuine links feel to it, with the greens hard to hold and often exposed to the wind.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Details: Pebble Beach, California. Architects: Jack Neville/Douglas Grant, 1919. 6,828 yards. Par 72.

Pebble Beach sits on a site of unrivalled scenic beauty and its holes span across a rocky coastline, boasting breath-taking views across Stillwater Cove and Carmel Bay. Nine of its holes run along the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

This course is not short on history and is an annual PGA Tour stop. It has been the venue of multiple U.S. Opens since two amateur architects worked their magic in 1919. They turned it into one of the first venues to use the ocean as a challenge, creating a timeless course.

Unlike many of the world’s best courses, it is open to the public. Its holes along the ocean render it simply spectacular, though it sadly is often overlooked in favour of nearby Cypress Point.

The Old Course, St Andrews

Details: St Andrews, Scotland. Architects: Multiple, 1400s. 6,721 yards. Par 72.

Regarded as the birthplace of the modern game of golf, the famous Old Course is the oldest golfing field in continuous existence. In fact, it has been going since 1457 at the latest after King James II banned it from its common ground.

The Old Course is a par 72 course, with the Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker regarded as some of the toughest obstacles in the world. This is another course that is open to the public, giving the average golfer a chance to follow in the footsteps of all the greats before them, which only adds to its charm.

Speaking of charm, the course’s fairways were formed by sheep grazing and the bunkers came about by animals taking shelter from the wind. No single person has crafted this course and it will long be regarded as one of, if not the best in the world.

Augusta National Golf Club

Details: Augusta, Georgia. Architect: Alister MacKenzie/Bobby Jones, 1933. 7,435 yards. Par 72.

Augusta has been the home venue for the Masters Tournament dating back to 1934. It is the only major tournament to be played at the same course every year, making it one of the most famous and recognisable courses in the world.

Formally opened for play in 1933 with no rough, only a few bunkers, wide-open fairways and greens, the course was able to provide a tough challenge for the best golfers out there and a highly enjoyable experience for non-professionals alike.

Designer of Augusta and Cypress Hill, Dr Alister MacKenzie once said: “Augusta National provides shots which the greatest of all golfers has the utmost difficulty in carrying out successfully, and yet it has only 22 bunkers, no rough, and is a paradise for the average golfer.”

Pine Valley Golf Club

Details: Pine Valley, New Jersey. Architects: George Crump/H.S. Colt, 1918. 6,999 yards. Par 70.

Pine Valley’s founder George Crump, who sadly died before its 1919 completion, took a plot of desolate New Jersey land and sculpted it into something of extraordinary golfing beauty.

The course forges its way through a tall pine forest and its playing surfaces are punctuated by huge natural sand and scrub expanses. The variety of it really sets it apart, with stronger holes offset by an eclectic mix of par threes and six par fours under 400 yards.

It doesn’t play host to any of the big tournaments and it’s just as well. Besides, the layout of the course would make it too challenging to fit in the huge galleries that a pro-tournament would require of it. It took over three years after the course’s opening for anyone to finish it in 70 strokes, helping to establish it as one of the most challenging courses in the world.

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