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Dunluce Links’ 14th hole.
Donald Ford

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Brandel Chamblee
courtesy golf channel
Brandel Chamblee
Former PGA Tour player and lead analyst for the Golf Channel

Domestic
Pinehurst No. 2
Pinehurst, N.C.
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Legendary architect Donald Ross designed hundreds of courses. But, as Chamblee says, “When you think Ross, the first course you think of is Pinehurst 2.” More than a century old, the iconic course recently underwent a sweeping restoration to return it to the way Ross originally intended. “The green complexes are so unbelievably subtle and challenging,” Chamblee says. “The experience just imprints itself in your mind.” Green fees: $329 to $410, (800) 487-4653, Visit Website

International
Kingsbarns Golf Links*
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
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Just up the road from the Old Course at St Andrews lies a classic links that feels as if it’s been around for eons. “You’d be hard-pressed to find a more spectacular setting,” Chamblee says. “It’s just stunning, overlooking the firth. And after the round, you sit in this understated clubhouse looking out at your surroundings. It’s the perfect place for fish-and-chips 
and beer.”  Green fees: $303, 011-44-1334-460860, Visit Website
(*Advance booking recommended)

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David Wood
Brad Kevelin
David Wood
Author, Around the World in 80 Rounds

Domestic
Chambers Bay
University Place, Wash.
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About 15 minutes outside of Tacoma, this site with humble roots (it used to be a gravel mine) has given rise to a municipal course of such acclaim that it’s been chosen to host the 2015 U.S. Open. “It’s in the Pacific Northwest, but it feels like the kind of true links-style course you’d find in the British Isles,” Wood says. “It’s joyous to play.”
Green fees: $69 to $205, (877) 295-4657, Visit Website

International
Weiskopf Course at Vista Vallarta
Puerta Vallarta, Mexico
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Deep ravines and tangled jungle define the edges of this Tom Weiskopf design as it dips and lifts through a hilly landscape. Though the course is set back from the ocean, its layout, with a lofty elevation, offers postcard views of the coastline along Puerto Vallarta. And there’s plenty of beauty in the course itself. “Outside of Augusta, with its dogwoods and azaleas, I can’t think of a course that’s filled with a greater quantity and variety of flowers.” Green fees: $136 to $196,  Visit Website

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Gary McCord
Monty Brinton/CBS
Gary McCord
Former PGA Tour player, on-course commentator, CBS Sports

Domestic
Pacific Dunes Course
Bandon, Ore.
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For a mix of quality and quantity, nothing comes close to Bandon Dunes Resort, a coastal Oregon retreat with four 18-hole courses, all ranked among the top 20 in the world. (A fifth layout, a par-3 course, opens next year.) “Going to Bandon Dunes isn’t like going to one concert,” McCord says. “It’s like going to a venue where a bunch of great bands are playing. They’ve got four courses, and they’re all spectacular. But for the combination of scenery and shotmaking, you can’t top Pacific Dunes.” Green fees: $75 to $225, (888) 345-6008, Visit Website

International
Kauri Cliffs Golf Course
Matauri Bay, Northland, New Zealand
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Financial titan Julian Robertson could have built a golf course almost anywhere. So, he chose a stirring oceanside site on the North Island for the site of the sister course to dramatic Cape Kidnappers. “You step onto the first tee here, and your heart skips a beat,” McCord says. “You almost can’t believe the setting is real.” Green fees: $221 to $316, 011-64-9-407-0060, Visit Website

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Tom Weiskopf
Tom Weiskopf
Former British Open champion, golf-course architect

Domestic
Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort
Hilton Head, S.C.
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So many modern courses try to beat you with brute length. Not this Pete Dye triumph and regular tour venue. It’s an examination based on subtlety. “It’s a shame that we don’t see more courses like this,” Weiskopf says. “It defines strategic demands hole after hole, and it doesn’t even reach 7,000 yards.” Green fees: $210 to $260, (800) 732-7463, Visit Website

International
Championship Links at Royal County Down Golf Club
Newcastle, County Down, Northern Ireland
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The Mountains of Mourne, a soaring backdrop for Royal County Down, served as inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, which is fitting given that the beauty of the course is otherworldly. Weiskopf loves the setting and the layout, which routinely ranks among the top five in the world. He also loves the ever-shifting conditions. “The back and front nine have entirely different characters,” Weiskopf says. “Given the way the wind works across the course and the changes in direction of the design, it never plays the same way twice.” Green fees: $82 to $295, 011-44-28-4372-2419, Visit Website

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Marty Kaufmann
tracy wilcox/golfweek
Marty Kaufmann
Travel editor, Golfweek magazine

Domestic
Wolf Creek Golf Club
Mesquite, Nev.
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This exhilarating course 90 minutes north of Las Vegas cuts through a desert badlands of stark sandstone formations. Throw in a slew of dramatic elevation changes (the second tee, for instance, stands roughly 11 stories above the desert floor), and you’ve got a unique montage of arresting looks. “It’s perhaps the most unusual golf landscape in the country,” Kaufmann says, “but don’t take that to mean it’s gimmicky. It’s difficult to think of another course that presents players with the chance to hit so many memorable shots.” Green fees: $85 to $195, (866) 252-4653, Visit Website

International
Laucala Island
Fiji
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“If money is no object,” Kaufmann says, “this is an experience you’ll never forget.” He’s referring to a far-flung course carved through the dense jungle of a South Pacific island, where turquoise waters wash up against sugary white beaches. The views are breathtaking, and, depending on your bankroll, so are the prices. You’ve got to stay there to play there, and one-bedroom suites start at $3,800. Green fees are included, along with meals, a spa treatment and range of island activities. 011-679-888-0077, Visit Website