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
12. The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
FIT FOR A KING
Top 20 International
1. Castle Course at St Andrews Links, landland
11. Barnbougle Dunes, Tasmania, Australia
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.