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September 30, 2014updated 27 Jan 2016 6:41pm

Best Golf Courses in the World

By Spear's

We take a look at some of the ultimate courses from around the globe.

From a chance to escape outdoors to an opportunity to unwind after a stressful week, a round of golf offers far more than just a valuable networking opportunity.

Not only that, but many of the world’s best golf courses incorporate natural landscape of incredible beauty and power. Whether you favor the scenic woodland of New Jersey’s Pine Valley or the dramatic windswept coast of Ireland, a round of 18-holes can incorporate some of the most impressive vistas imaginable.

Understandably, many of the world’s best golf courses are also extremely selective affairs. Membership to US clubs such as Augusta or Cypress Point is elusory, with clubhouses where you can expect to find only the country’s best connected players. As the actor Bob Hope once joked: “One year they had a big membership drive at Cypress. They drove out 40 members.”

That said, there are plenty more spectacular international courses, such as The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland, that are open to the public for green fees.

While some courses host an impressive number of pro tournaments, others are notable for their first rate facilities, such as Doonbeg in Ireland. This Trump-owned property not only offers a fantastic course, but outstanding facilities including on site accommodation, restaurants and spa.

From the home of golf in Scotland, to Ireland, the US, Australia and beyond, stunning links courses can be found anywhere there is an impressive coastline. Combining a mix between both the private and the public, here follows Spear’s diverse rundown of some of the best golf courses in the world.

Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia, US

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Augusta 600

Home to The US Masters since 1934, the legendary Augusta National is undoubtedly one of the most famous golf courses in the world.

Access to its spectacular 9-hole and 18-hole courses is notoriously difficult to acquire, and they are considered two of the most challenging and memorable in the game.

Three of the trickiest holes in golfing history can be found here – known collectively as ‘Amen Corner’ – with a chance to walk in the footsteps of the sport’s greatest legends.

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Mbrooks)

Pine Valley Golf Club, New Jersey, US

Pine Valley 600

Another private and highly exclusive US club, New Jersey’s Pine Valley was founded by amateur golfer George Crump back in 1913.

Spanning a total of 623 acres – with 416 acres of virgin woodland – Pine Valley is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscape, with no two consecutive holes played in the same direction.

Although widely considered one of the most impressive golf courses on the planet, the club has never played host to a major international tournament, due to a lack of space to accommodate tens of thousands of spectators.

(Image Credit: Frjlove, Wikipedia)

The Old Course at St Andrews Links, Scotland

St Andrews 600

The Old Course at St Andrews in Fife is widely considered ‘the birthplace of golf’, with the sport first played here back in the early 1400s.

The dune-filled links course, open to the public, has influenced every aspect of the modern game, from the number of holes to the terrain.

Home to the Open Championship, the competition is played here every five years and will next be staged at St Andrews in 2015. The Old Course also features some of the most iconic landmarks of the sport, including the famous 700-year-old Swilcan Bridge, joining the first and eighteenth fairways.

Doonbeg, Ireland

Doonbeg 600

Spanning 1.5 miles of golden sands, Doonbeg on the south-west coast of Ireland was designed by Australian pro golfer Greg Norman and opened back in 2002.

With a layout that follows the natural contours of crescent-shaped Doughmore Bay, the land has been barely altered to accommodate this impressive 18-hole course.

Now owned by Donald Trump, the par-72 site also hosts a resort complex consisting of a 5-star hotel, spa and cottages. In addition, it is situated neatly between the historical clubs of Lahinch and Ballybunion, for those who wish to take in more than one venue during their trip.

Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland

Royal County Down 600

First opened in 1889, Royal County Down Golf Club is one of the oldest in Ireland, with its Championship Course considered one of Europe’s very finest.

Located at the base of the majestic Mourne Mountains, the views here are second-to-none, with a challenging layout that features dramatic bunkers, tricky corners and windswept dunes.

The course, also open to the public, has plenty of famous fans, from Rory McIlroy to former US pro Tom Watson, who is reported to have said that the first nine holes are “the best he has ever played”.

Royal Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

One of Australia’s oldest golf courses and part of Melbourne’s exquisite sandbelt, this private members’ club was originally founded in 1891.

Its current East and West courses were completed in 1932. For tournaments, 18 holes from both combine, featuring the world-class holes of the former and the long drives of the latter.

The sixth hole of the course is legendary, with a green that tilts so steeply from back to front that it tends to require multiple putts, even by the pros.

Cypress Point Club, Pebble Beach, California, US

Cypress Point

One of the most exclusive golf clubs on earth, only an elite group of individuals get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to tee off at Cypress Point.

Designed by Alister MacKenzie, the 18-hole course is set into dramatic clifftops at the base of the Santa Lucia Mountains, jutting out into the Monterey Peninsula.

The sixteenth hole is perhaps its most memorable – as well as tricky – involving a 231-yard drive across the Atlantic to the safety of a modest-sized green.

Shinnecock Hills, Southampton, New York

With the first ever clubhouse in the US, Shinnecock Hills was one of the five founding members of the USGA.

Its current 18-hole course was designed by William Flynn and opened in 1931. Reminiscent of courses along the British coast, this private club benefits from its natural sandy terrain as well as Long Island’s prevailing Atlantic winds; there are only two occasions where consecutive holes run in the same direction.

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