Best Golf Courses in the World to Play as a Member

When playing golf, the environment and course are crucial to an entertaining game. 

As with every other sport, the setting should be designed in such a way that makes the player feel secure, special, and excited about the activity to come. No matter where you’re based in the world, we’ve scoured the Internet for the best golf courses in the world to enjoy a round on the green.

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What makes a golf course the best in the world?

What makes a golf course great? The landscape should contain flowers, long grass, wetland areas, and abundant natural features. This is particularly important as golfers take up the sport to unwind and a peaceful setting helps to clear the mind for the ultimate game.

Many golfers like a challenge. The holes will gradually become harder as you travel around the course and be placed in difficult positions. Professional players in particular judge a hole differently to a newbie, so it is obvious is the golf course is for amateurs or professionals. The green shouldn’t be completely flat in order to challenge a player and make it more difficult. Furrows, ridges and hills make it more interesting to play, as well as surrounding water features.

The activities on site are important when we’ve evaluated the best golf courses in the world. They should have amenities which feature delicious food and drink, as well as a comfortable environment to chill after a fun game. It needs to be the ideal place to relax and socialise after a round of golf.

The Best Golf Courses in the World

Clearly, quite a bit goes into qualifying as one of the best golf courses in the world. Even still, there are plenty of option worldwide. Let’s take a look at our wide selection of golf courses throughout the globe.

1. Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia

The Augusta National Golf Club located in Augusta, Georgia, is one of the best golf courses in the world. Founded in 1934 by Dr. Alister Mackenzie and designed by Bobby Jones, this golf course has seen major golf championships hosted here. The annual Masters Tournament competed here, but paused during WWII.

Golfweek Magazine voted this golf course the number 10 best classic courses in the United States. Augusta has 300 members at one time, and if you’re interested in trying out this club, you can’t apply. Their policy is if you ask to be a member, you’re generally not welcome. The Club invites members and the group often posts tips in sports publications. In 2009, the membership cost was $10,000 annually, but it varies from $10,000-$30,000.

Members here are wealthy and have some kind of status, but wealth alone doesn’t grant you access. The Club keeps it quiet how they choose people to become a member, but occasionally, their policies leak in publications. Some members include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Roger Goodell, Jack Welch and Lynn Swann. These notable members are famous figures who’ve made an impression in their sector. Members can bring up to four guests on the course with them.

2. Cypress Point Club – California 

Cypress Point Club in California is a dream location for avid golf players. Cypress Point Club opened on August 11, 1928 and Dr. Alister Mackenzie, along with golf course architect Robert Hunter designed the course. Until 1991, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am used the course, which didn’t have any black members at the time. There are approximately 275 members with only 30 of these being local and visiting often.

Each member pays the same amount for membership costs regardless of it they actually access the golf course. This is a strategy to divide the operating costs evenly amongst users. The course features a single 18-hole course and is recognized as hosting holes along the Pacific Ocean. The 15th, 16th and 17th holes are some of the best golf holes in the world. The 16th one in particular is close to the ocean.

It’s one of the best golf courses in the world due to its scenery. The course enters the Del Monte forest and is set in coastal dunes, alongside the rocky coastline for the last holes. Hole one plays uphill to a section of large greenery. The second hole points left towards more greenery with beautiful homes lining the second fairway – some of which are owned by members of the golf club.

3. Old Course – St. Andrews, Scotland

Old Course is one of the oldest golf courses in the world and is considered the “home of golf” after opening in the early 15th century. In 1457, golf became increasingly popular in Scotland, although James II of Scotland banned it after he felt that men were playing too much golf instead of archery. It wasn’t until 1502 that King James IV removed the ban after becoming an avid golfer himself.

The golf course influenced golf in the modern day. By 1764, the course created 22 holes and members played the same hole over and over again until this development. Members of the Old Course decided that the current setup was too disinteresting and easy for players. In 1863, Tom Morris separated the 1st green from the 17th green to make the game more enjoyable and complex. Since this date, the Old Course hosted The Open Championship which is the oldest of golf’s major championships. It hosted more events than any other course golf in the world has.

This golf course is made up of large double greens and seven greens shared by two holes each. With a total of 18 holes, it’s become famous amongst golf enthusiasts around the world. The course is unique because you can play the holes in any direction you’d like – whether clockwise or anti-clockwise.

4. Muirfield – East Lothian, Scotland

Also based in Scotland is Muirfield. This golf course is famous and one of the oldest courses in the world with colourful history and culture. This golf course in the current day hosts major championships for amateur to professional players, including men and women. In total, it’s hosted 16 Open Championships and 11 Amateur Championships.

The unique character makes Muirfield one of the best golf courses in the world. In 1936, it experienced some slight changes to its structure and appearance, though still challenges even the world’s greatest golfers. In January this year, the course underwent a project to redevelop how golfers play, and it will finish the mid of next year.

Hole two isn’t that long, but don't underestimated it. This hole comes within 15 feet of the green and the left-hand side of the fairway leaves no more than a well-bunkered contoured greenery. Another hole which stands out is 13 beacuse it is severely bunkered on both sides and drops sharply from the back to the front before falling away to the right. Remain aware of the sand as you can easily fall off balance in it.

5. Royal Birkdale – Liverpool, England

Royal Birkdale has been voted the number one golf course in England, and it continues to remain an established location for golfers. Located in the North-West coast, it’s one of the best golf courses thanks to its finery. Royal Birkdale comfortably sits as one of the top five golf clubs in the UK and positions at the top 35 in the world. Unlike some of the other best golf courses in the world, this particular course provides a warm welcome to all visitors.

It was founded on 30 July 1889 by Messrs George Crowther, R L Worsley, Digby Johnson, John Coney, RG Hayward, and more. What seemed like a daunting task at first ended up becoming one of the most professional and welcoming golf courses in the world. Until 23 December 1889, women weren’t allowed to access the golf course, and the new vote allowed them to enter “on and not exceeding three days each week, but not on a Saturday or Bank Holiday”. The Club continued to develop and change its ways as in 1897, they introduced 18 holes to expand golfers’ range.

The latest news here rests in 2015 when the Boys Amateur Championship hosted here. Thankfully, the climate remained suitable for golfers, but the inconsistent breeze created a challenge towards the complex holes.  With a long history and great course, it's not surprise that this is still one of the best golf courses in the world.

6. Rye Golf Club – East Sussex, England

Rye Golf Club is a private club on the south coast of England, with two courses in a beautiful environment. In the 1890’s, golfers decided that golf club should exist here and the course began its development almost immediately. It wasn’t until 1894 that Rye Golf Club was born. One year later, the first Captain designed 18 holes for the course which became the permanent game structure. To reach out to more visitors, they built a temporary clubhouse on the site to provide accommodations, food, and drink to visitors.

At this point, most of the 250 members came from London, with Lady members enrolling too. Quickly, it became established as one of the leading golf clubs in South England. With its popularity growing, the Rye and Camber Tramway opened to solve people entering and exiting the golf course easily. Unfortunately, the Second World War affected the Rye Golf Club as a flying bomb damaged the clubhouse in 1944. However, the Club didn’t give up and repaired and developed two years later. By 1953, more members than ever enrolled here.

Rye Golf Club has constantly developed from its early days to currently. It’s gone from nine hours to 12 holes lopped in 2014. These alterations helped make this one of the best golf courses in the world.

Where Are Your Favourite Golf Courses?

We hope you enjoyed reading the best golf courses in the world based off of their history, location, membership method, and course structure. If you’re an avid golf player, why not take on a venture of travelling the world to embark on new courses?

Where are your favourite places in the world to golf? Leave your suggestions in the comments to keep this conversation going.

Related Article: The Ten Best Golf Tips for Beginners to Get You on the Green

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