Pebble Beach Golf Links
Evan Schiller

Golf Courses

There’s great satisfaction in jotting “Played” next to a course on one’s golf bucket list, and among readers the afterglow still burns brightest for that Monterey Peninsula beauty, the Pebble Beach Golf Links. But for the second year in a row we have a new leader in the clubhouse on the International side.

TOP 20 U.S.

1. Pebble Beach Golf Links, California
2. Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, Orlando, Florida
3. (tie) Fazio Canyons at Barton Creek Resort and Spa, Austin, Texas
3. (tie) The Challenge at Manele at Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay
5. Bethpage State Park Black Course, Farmingdale, New York
6. South Course at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California
7. Course No. 4 at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, Lemont, Illinois
8. Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
9. Pinehurst No. 2, North Carolina 
10. Mauna Kea Golf Course at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kohala Coast, Hawaii
11. Links/Quarry Courses at Bay Harbor Golf Club at  The Inn at Bay Harbor, Michigan 

12. The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
13. (tie) Caledonia Golf & Fish Club,
Pawleys Island, South Carolina
13. (tie) Cascades Course at The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs, Virginia
15. The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
16. (tie) Bedford Springs Old Course, Bedford, Pennsylvania
16. (tie) Black Mesa Golf Club, La Mesilla, New Mexico
18. (tie) Arcadia Bluffs, Arcadia, Michigan
18. (tie) Bandon Dunes Course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, Oregon
18. (tie) Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina
18. (tie) Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort, Maui, Hawaii

Readers who have already walked the North Carolina masterwork of Donald Ross, Pinehurst No. 2, know what players are up against. The add-on for the 2014 U.S. Open is that, should Phil Mickelson prevail, he’ll complete the career grand slam of majors, at the same Open venue where he memorably finished second to PayneStewart in 1999.

The luster of the King remains undimmed and surely contributes to the appeal of Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, which rose to the runner-up spot this year. Bay Hill is Palmer’s winter headquarters, but he’s far from holed-up here, mingling frequently with guests and still swinging the sticks.

Castle Course at St Andrews Links

Top 20 International 

1. Castle Course at St Andrews Links, landland   
2. Old Course at St Andrews Links, Scotland
3. The Fairmont Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada
4. The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club,  British Columbia, Canada
5. (tie) Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club, County Kerry, Ireland
5. (tie) Corales Golf Club, Puntacana Resort & Club, Dominican Republic
7. Dundonald Links, Ayrshire, Scotland 
8. (tie) Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
8. (tie) Champion Course at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus, Scotland
8. (tie) Doonbeg Golf Club, County Clare, Ireland

11. Barnbougle Dunes, Tasmania, Australia
12. Cruden Bay Golf Club, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
13. European Club, Brittas Bay, County Wicklow, Ireland
14. The Green Monkey at Sandy Lane, Barbados, West Indies
15. (tie) Golf de Morfontaine, France
15. (tie) Highland Links, Nova Scotia, Canada
17. (tie) Banyan Golf Club, Hua Hin, Thailand
17. (tie) The Bay Course at Costa Navarino, Greece
19. Ocean Course, Cabo del Sol, Los Cabos, Mexico
20. (tie) Halmstad Golf Club, Halmstad, Sweden
20. (tie) Muirfield Links, Scotland
20. (tie) Ocean Club Golf Course at One&Only Ocean Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas


While the Doonbeg Golf Club was moving up two notches in the list, Donald Trump was busy buying the resort for more than $20 million and preparing to rename it Trump International Golf Links, Ireland.
Reports are that The Donald is considering giving designer Martin Hawtree the task of remodeling the Greg Norman links course.

Behind the List

On last year’s list, Cape Kidnappers had the youthful cheek to topple the Old Course at St Andrews Links from its seemingly iron grasp on the top slot of our International Platinum List. And though the Old Course is number two, the New Zealand course still sits pretty — figuratively and literally — in the Platinum List top ten and high on the cliffs overlooking Hawke’s Bay.

Now the Old Course merely has to contend with its younger sibling, The Castle Course, which opened in 2008
as the seventh jewel in the St Andrews Links Trust crown and now wears our platinum crown. The David McLay Kidd design was deemed virtually unplayable by many at first, but softening since has made it a visitor favorite. Employ a caddy and all should be well.

The Old Course will host the 144th Open Championship next year, for the 29th time since 1873. And, in 2019, the U.S. Open will return to Pebble Beach Golf Links for the sixth time. 

But this year is all about Pinehurst, where the USGA is conducting the novel experiment of hosting the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open in consecutive weeks this June on the same golf course — Pinehurst No. 2. Biggest controversy:  Should the women have played before the men? Stay tuned.