Most Famous Golf Course According to Professional Golf Coaches at Tell Me More Golf

As the head golf coach here at Tell Me More Golf, with over 50 years experience in the game, I’m here to help you on your golfing journey. 

I will be talking to you about a great many aspects of the beautiful game, but today we’re stepping away from game improvement, training and equipment. Instead, we’re going to look at some of the most famous golf courses on the planet.

What is The Most Famous Golf Course in the World?

The most famous golf course in the world? Well, there is some debate about that. It really does depend on who you ask?

To some, it’s easy, the answer is Augusta, of course.

After all, this is the venue synonymous with The Masters, which is arguably the easiest of the four majors to identify. After all, even non-golf fans know about The Masters, and they likely know it’s played at Augusta. 

However, some golfing people, perhaps the purists among you, consider St. Andrew’s in Scotland to be the home of golf, therefore, they’d surely say that it is the most famous golf course in the world. 

For the purpose of answering this question, we should say that Augusta is America’s most famous course, while St. Andrew’s is undoubtedly the most famous golfing venue outside of the United States. 

Top 25: Famous Golf Course List

Here is a list of the top 25 most famous golf courses in the world according to Tell More More Golf: 

1. Augusta National, Georgia, USA

It doesn’t really matter which list you consult. Only one of two golf courses is going to fill the top spot. I’m going with Augusta, because as an American, it is the epitome of a great golf course.

There’s quite a few holes in Augusta that look perfect … and it is home to the iconic Masters tournament. 

The Masters does of course play a huge part in making this course so special. It is the only mainstay on the major schedule, as The Masters is the only major to be played at the same venue year in, year out. Beyond that, the golf course is simply recognizable in an instant. Let’s face it, when you see Augusta, you know it’s Augusta, there’s no confusion, and that is why this is the most famous course in the world. 

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2. Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland 

Steeped in history and considered by many as ‘the home of golf’, the Old Course and St. Andrew’s in Scotland is another course that is unlike any other.

It has been home to the Open Championship, which is one of the four majors, for well over 100 years, while the best players in the world were striding up the fairways at St. Andrew’s not just long before you and I ever existed, but long before our fathers, grandfather and in some cases, even our great-grandfathers were born. 

In a world without St. Andrew’s and Augusta, Pebble Beach would be king. Thankfully we do not live in a world without the top two courses on this list, so Pebble Beach must settle for an admirable third, but wow, what a course.  

Located on the cliff-edges of the Monterey Peninsula, this Californian course combines breathtaking views with incredibly tough golf.

It’s not for the faint hearted, that’s for sure. Many of the games’ greats have come unstuck playing at Pebble Beach, which has hosted some fine tournaments such as the US Open and the PGA Championship. 

4. Cape Kidnappers, North Island, New Zealand 

Moving away from the US and UK for the first time in this list, we head to New Zealand’s North Island, which is home to the beautiful Cape Kidnappers. Aptly named, this golf course is as deadly as it is delightful to look at. Designed by Tom Doak, the course is situated atop 140ft cliffs, offering stunning sea views. People travel from all over the world to play this bucket-list course and you only have to check out a few pictures to see why. 

5. Pinehurst No.2, North Carolina, USA

Draw up any list of golf courses and naturally you’ll feature plenty in the US, that’s just the way it is, for America is home to a whole host of truly wonderful golf courses.

One of those courses near the top of any list should be Pinehurst No.2, located in North Carolina. 

You know a course is of elite quality when it hosts multiple top-level tournaments, which is exactly what Pinehurst No.2 can lay claim to having hosted the US Open, the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship. 

Pinehurst is world renowned. With its wiregrass waste areas straddling many of the fairways it can be a nightmare to navigate. Many of the world’s best players have struggled at this famous venue, which means that mere mortals often have the toughest of times when playing it. Nevertheless, it is a must-play if you get the chance, make no mistake about that. 

6. Prestwick, Prestwick, Scotland

Another of Scotland’s gems is Prestwick, which is every bit as steeped in history as St. Andrew’s. This famous course, which dates back to 1851, was the first to be used for the Open Championship.

Believe it or not, Prestwick actually hosted the first 12 Open Championships. 

Prestwick is one of the few golf courses in the world that still offers a challenge to today’s players that is similar to the one presented to those playing in the early days of the sport. Some of the holes remain original and unaltered, which is quite remarkable given that the course is nearly 200 years old. That fact alone makes this another of the most must-sees in the world of golf. 

7. Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland

Staying in Scotland, we have Carnoustie, which is yet another superb course in the Scottish catalog. This fantastic links course is another to have hosted multiple majors, hosting the Open Championship on eight occasions. 

Famously, in 1999, Jean van de Valde triple-bogeyed the final hole of the Open Championship when holding a three-shot lead.

He fell victim to one of Carnousties many traps, blowing his lead, eventually losing out in a play-off. To this day, that collapse is considered one of the greatest in major championship history. 

With its tight fairways, terrifying rough and treacherous conditions, Carnoustie is widely considered as one of the toughest tests in links golf. 

8. TPC Sawgrass, Florida, USA

With its iconic island-green 17th hole, TPC Sawgrass is a real gem of a golf course , there’s no doubt about it. The famous 17th is arguably the most identifiable hole in all of golf, but Sawgrass is much more than its wonderfully isolated 17th green

Home to THE PLAYERS, which is widely considered as the best tournament outside of the majors, TPC Sawgrass, designed by legendary course architect Pete Dye, is one of the toughest tests that professionals and amateurs alike can wish to face.

It is a bucket-list course for most golfers and is undoubtedly one of the best-looking courses not just in America but in the world. 

9. Bethpage Black, New York, USA

The most elite golf course in all of New York state, Bethpage Black is a must-play for purists of the game. It is wonderfully located amidst the lushious trees in Bethpage State Park and is considered to be one of the toughest courses in all of America.

Bethpage Black has hosted multiple top-level events, including two US Opens, two PGA Championships and the FedEx Cup play-offs. 

For such a prestigious golf course, Bethpage Black is actually quite cheap, which is one of the reasons why it features so highly on this list. Of course, it is a fantastic course, but the respectable price-tag makes it even better. 

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10. Oakmont Country Club, Pennsylvania, USA

One of the US courses steeped in history is Oakmont Country Club, which is located in Pennsylvania. First opened all the way back in 1903, Oakmont has been a premier American golfing venue for over a century. 

Oakmont offers an all-round test of a golfer’s skillset, which is why it has hosted nine US Opens, with another set to arrive in 2025, not to mention three PGA Championships. With its numerous sand traps, steep run-off areas and trees, Oakmont Country Club is a tricky assignment for even the best players in the world. Arnold Palmer once alluded to the difficulty by commenting: “You can hit 72 greens at Oakmont and still not come close to winning”. Doesn’t that make you want to head to Pennsylvania and find out just how hard it is?

11. Pine Valley, New Jersey, USA

  • Location: Camden County, New Jersey, USA
  • Fee: Unknown (must be accompanied by a member)
  • Website: NO WEBSITE

Completing the top ten, we once again stay on American shores. Pine Valley is New Jersey’s most premier golf course and it’s also one of the best golfing venues in all of the US. In fact, this course was ranked by Golf Magazine as the number one course in the US in 2012, 2015, 2019 and 2020. 

Between 1936 and 1985, the New Jersey venue hosted the prestigious amateur event known as the Walker Cup. Pine Valley also hosts the Crump Cup, which features elite amateur players. 

Unfortunately, this is one of the harder courses to access. It is incredibly exclusive. Non-members can only play if invited and accompanied by a member.  

12. Royal County Down, County Down, Northern Ireland 

The jewel in the crown of Northern Irish golf courses, Royal County Down is one of the best golf courses in not just all of Northern Ireland, not just in all of Britain but in all of the world. It consistently ranks highly whenever a list is published on the world’s best golf courses. 

Wonderfully designed and beautifully set on the coast, Royal County Down presents players with about as true a links test as you can get. Top competitions are regularly hosted at the venue such as the Walker Cup, British Amateur Open and the Irish Open. 

13. Royal Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

No doubt about it, this is the best golf course in all of Australia, and if you ask any Australian golf fan, then they’ll tell you that it’s not only the best course down under but one of the best courses on the planet. It’s hard to argue with them, let’s be honest. 

This sandbelt course dates all the way back tok 1891. It shares a similarity with the great Augusta in that it was designed by the same person, none other than Alister MacKenzie. 

Naturally, as the most prestigious course in all of Australia, Royal Melbourne has hosted 16 Australian Opens, while it also hosted the Presidents Cup in 2019. If you love golf and happen to be in the Victoria area of Melbourne any time soon, then check it out, you won’t be disappointed, though getting a tee-time won’t be easy and it certainly won’t be cheap!

14. Shinnecock Hills, New York, USA

This Long Island beauty is not to be missed if you’re looking to play one of the top courses in the eastern part of the US. 

Not only is this course amongst the most famous courses in the US, it’s also amongst the oldest and most prestigious, as it is one the USGA’s five founding golf clubs. Naturally, several big tournaments have taken place at Shinnecock Hills, including the US Open, which has been played at the Long Island venue on three occasions.

15. Torrey Pines, California, USA

Anyone who knows just a little bit about the wonderful game of golf has heard of Torrey Pines, for this Californian course is not just one of America’s most famous, but one of the most famous and well known courses in the world. 

With its luscious greens, rich sandy areas and stunning sea views, Torrey Pines really is an outstanding venue, one that hosts a yearly PGA Tour event known as the Farmers Insurance Open. The US Open has also been hosted at Torrey Pines on two occasions, most recently in 2021. 

16. Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA 

25 miles off of Charleston, Kiawah Island is something of a paradise resort that just happens to be home to one of the best golf courses on the planet. Sitting on the sea’s edge, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is a course that is exposed to the elements. The winds are especially fearsome, as we saw when the PGA Championship was in town back in 2021. 

Kiawah Island was first made famous in a golfing sense back in 1991 when it hosted what was a hugely memorable and dramatic Ryder Cup. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island was also the venue of Rory McIlroy’s first major success back in 2012. 

17. Medinah Country Club, Illinois, USA

Another course that is synonymous with the Ryder Cup is Medinah, which is located in the US state of Illinois. 

Dubbed “The Miracle of Medinah”, the 2012 Ryder Cup was played at this famous course, which has become far more famous since that fantastic comeback from a European side that looked down and out ahead of the final day. 

Medinah Country Club is not just Illinois’ best golf course, but one of the best courses in all of America, which is why it features on this list. 

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18. Royal St George’s, Kent, England 

Located across the pond is Royal St George’s, which can be found in Kent, England. Known as one of the toughest tests on the Open Championship circuit, the Royal course has been regularly used as a venue for the only major to be hosted outside of America. 

A true links test that is nothing short of up there with St. Andrew’s, Prestwick and Royal County Down in terms of difficulty, Royal St. George’s was the scene of Collin Morikawa’s Open Championship win back in 2021. 

19. Montagu Course at Fancourt, South Africa

Designed by none other than South African golfing royalty Gary Player, the Montagu Course at Fancourt is up there with the very best golfing destinations outside of the US. 

This luscious green Parkland course is not only a feast on the eyes but is a true test of a golfer’s skill and mental capacity. Soak up the stunning mountain views, sure, but don’t expect to have it easy on the course.

20. Tara Iti, North Island, New Zealand

  • Location: Mangawhai, North Island, New Zealand 
  • Fee: Playable only by application to the director of golf
  • Website: https://www.taraiti.com/

The North Island of New Zealand is home to Cape Kidnappers, which is arguably the world’s number one golf course outside of the US and the United Kingdom, but it’s also home to another golfing gem in the form of Tara Iti. 

Located 100 km north of Auckland, this exclusive golf course, designed by Tom Doak, has a genuine other worldly feel to it. It boasts breathtaking sea views, while the course itself is sat on what was once a heavily forested site right on the water’s edge. The only problem is it’s a little too exclusive, making it nearly impossible to play. 

21. Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, USA

Returning to the US now, we have another classic. Golf fans know all about Whistling Straits, famously designed by legendary course design power couple Pete and Alice Dye. Perhaps because the name is so memorable, the Wisconsin course is undoubtedly one of the most famous courses in the world, while it’s also one of the best. 

The best players in the game have all played at Whistling Straits, which has hosted several top-level competitions, hosting the PGA Championship on three occasions, as well as the 2007 US Open, plus the 2021 Ryder Cup. 

22. Thracian Cliffs, Bozhurets, Bulgaria

  • Location: Bozhurets, Bulgaria
  • Fee: Approx $120 per player if staying outside of the resort, or approx $90 if staying at the resort.
  • Website: https://thraciancliffs.com/golf/

Perhaps not a course that every golf fan will know, Thracian Cliffs is something of a hidden gem that is rapidly becoming more and more popular among those searching for the perfect golf destination in Europe. 

This clifftop course is wonderfully designed, boasting terribly tough golf holes and unbelievable views in equal measure. Fit for the best players in the world, everyone who has played there cannot speak highly enough of the Bulgarian beauty, which was designed by Gary Player. This is a course that you’ll be hearing more about in years to come, mark my words. 

23. Le Golf National, France

It would be wrong to have a list of 25 courses without including something from France, for the French golf scene is not to be ignored. There are some stunning courses in France, but the most famous is without a doubt Le Golf National. 

Located near Paris, this course is open to the public, which is great because it’s such a good course that should be enjoyed by any golf enthusiast lucky enough to be nearby. Le Golf National has hosted big-name tournaments such as the Open de France, while it famously welcomed the biggest names in the sport when hosting the 2018 Ryder Cup. 

Le Golf National is set for further fame in 2024, when it will host the Golf tournament at the 2024 Olympics. 

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24. Valderrama, Andalusia, Spain

Widely known as the best golf course in Spain, Valderrama is a real parkland gem. It has hosted many top events on the European Tour, such as the Andalucía Masters and the Volvo Masters. 

Back in 2000, Valderrama, designed by Robert Trent Jones, also hosted the WGC-American Express Championship, while in 1997, the best players in the game descended on the Andalusian venue for the Ryder Cup. 

Valderrama is also a hugely popular golfing destination for traveling golfers, especially those from the United Kingdom, many of whom fly over to Spain on a yearly basis to sample this outstanding golf course. 

25. Wentworth, Surrey, England

Last on the list we have another English jewel. The United Kingdom is primarily known for its links courses, but among a handful of seaside beauties, we have this parkland course, which is truly superb. 

Lined with luscious trees in all directions, Wentworth is a real test of accuracy, as many of the best players ever to play the game have found out, such as Seve Bellesteros, Rory McIlroy, Nick Faldo, and Bernhard Langer, who of whom have won at the Surrey venue. Wentworth hosts the DP World Tour’s biggest yearly event, which is the BMW PGA Championship, while it was also home to the 1953 Ryder Cup. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Phil Mickelson’s Favorite Golf Course?

Asked multiple times, Phil Mickelson has often said that Augusta National is his favorite golf course. 

Is Pine Valley better than Augusta National?

The only real answer here is that it’s down to personal preference. Personally, I’d rather play at Augusta, as for me, it’s the most iconic course in all of America. Others may prefer to play at Pine Valley. The bottom line is that they’re both among the best golf courses in the world, and anyone would be hugely fortunate to play at either. 

Can anyone play TPC Scottsdale?

Absolutely. Many TPC courses are open to the paying public, and TPC Scottsdale is one of them. To play at TPC Scottsdale you must contact the course and book a tee time

What is the best course on the PGA Tour?

There are some truly outstanding golf courses that feature on the PGA Tour on a yearly basis, but it is the home of the Masters, August National, that rates as the best course on the PGA Tour.

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Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
Our golf instructor team brings it all to you, so enjoy!

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