Posted by & filed under Debates.

The article below was written by Steve Carroll of National Club Golfer.

With drivers upwards of £500 and iron sets passing £1,000, the price of new equipment is a constant debate for club golfers. On The NCG Golf Podcast, Hannah Holden put the figures into context.

New drivers, irons, putters: the big equipment brands are launching their latest products in droves and the prices may not be for the faint-hearted.

It doesn’t matter how you dress it up, £500 is a chunk of change for a new driver and a through-the-bag set will now likely run to thousands.

What goes into the pricing? Is it all about profit or is the technology, research, and effort that goes into making new clubs worthy of our investment?

On a recent episode of The NCG Golf Podcast, Hannah Holden was asked the $64,000 question that all club golfers have about new gear.

Why does it cost so much?


“Price points are really interesting because, obviously, you pick up a driver for £500 and that is a lot of money,” she said. “It is an expensive product.

“But I’ve also been in the R&D facilities and the manufacturing facilities where they make this stuff and there is seriously expensive kit in there and a lot of technology going into making these clubs.

“I don’t think they are overpriced but that doesn’t mean they’re not expensive. I think it’s quite a hard debate. Manufacturers are spending millions of pounds just on machinery to build stuff, never mind the costs and spending on developing new technologies.”

With most modern drivers looking to the untrained eye like a hollowed-out shell, compared with the more solid structures in the past, Hannah was also asked to explain the technology that went into making a new driver and whether that contributed to rising costs.


Golf equipment costs: ‘Get rid of the equipment rules for amateurs’

Hannah added: “It’d be a lot cheaper to just get a block of wood and cut it into the shape of a driver. It’s tough to get your head around because there is less there but that’s a lot harder to build.

“With TaylorMade’s driver this year (Qi10), the full face is carbon, the full top line and the crown is carbon. Some of the intricacies and the cost of that is being able to manufacture it – to get it to fit together – with so few materials.

“The problem with the solid block of wood idea is that you’ve got a lot of weight in places where you don’t want it. So much of driver performance is about centre of gravity relative to loft.

“Say you need to hit it higher, you’ve got to have the centre of gravity low. With a block of woods, there is loads of weight high up in the head. It’s giving you a lot more spin and you’re hitting the ball lower.

“Think of the old hickory, it’s a lot harder to flight it and most people need the weight low and back. To get forgiveness, you also need weight on the perimeters, which doesn’t help with speed at all. It’s completely counterintuitive.

“Once you’ve got the weight where you need it, you’ve got to change the whole shaping to be able to swing it at a speed that allows you to get some distance.

“There are so many trade-offs to balance in the clubhead when you try to make that balance between speed and forgiveness but you’re having to do so much in terms of shaving material.

“A lot of the research and development and the cost ends up being in researching materials. I keep using TaylorMade as an example but they spent 20 years trying with carbon to get the face to work so it’s lighter and they’re saving weight there.

“That’s 20 years of cost to put into one driver, and then someone’s annoyed because it’s £30 more. What was funding that 20 years’ of research?”

Asked to explain the steep rise in prices in recent years, outside of inflation and the cost-of-living, with some clubs having near doubled over the past decade, Hannah said it was partly the cost of innovation.

“It gets harder for manufacturers to make the products better because of legal limits and rules which are forcing what they can do.

“They’ve got to look at more complicated ways to get around the rules that are in place and limiting things. You have to go for more expensive materials, and different things like that, which then drives the price up.

“Maybe you should be saying to the R&A, ‘we’ll get rid of the equipment rules for amateurs’. We can have cheaper solutions to make our drivers perform better and maybe that will drive the prices down.”

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

Eighteen holes of golf will always throw up various different tests and situations. The ability to play different golf shot shapes—from tucked away pins to simply finding the middle of the green—is a huge benefit.

In this guide, we speak to PGA Pro Barney Puttick about some of the most common golf shot shapes and how best to play them.

We’ve broken it down into the four golf shot shapes you’re most likely to find on the course and how you can practise each one.


What are the most common golf shot shapes?

golf shot shapes


Table of contents

1. The Low Shot
2. The High Shot
3. The Fade
4. The Draw


1. The Low Shot

golf shot shapes

Barney says…

What I get my students to do is narrow their stance and then move the ball back towards the middle of the stance.

I think the best way to learn how to hit it ‘low’ is to get a 7 or 8-iron and start with 30-yard chip shots. That way, you’ll start to get the feeling of keeping your hands in front, but you’ll also be practising hip rotation to get the right synchronisation.  

A common mistake golfers often make is they stick their hands just in front and then just prod them forward without any lower half movement. So, instead, try playing a chip and then expand it to 60-70 yards. The art for me, then, is truncating the swing on either side of the ball, so you go chest-high to chest-high, and because you have the slightly narrower stance and the ball positioned a bit further back, you can retain the angle through the impact zone. Then, you get that nice trapping sort of shot, and it takes off from there.

If you rehearse a few throwing movements, that will start to give you the synchronisation with the lower half. An underarm or side throw, similar to throwing a cricket ball or playing a forehand shot in tennis, for example, is good for understanding the feeling of movement in the hips.


2. The High Shot

golf shot shapes

Barney says…

Most golfers don’t struggle too much with getting the ball up as their angle of attack is quite steep. Here, it’s all about moving the ball further forward in the stance—normally, with a 6-iron, you’d be halfway between the left heel and middle of the stance—almost where you would normally put your driver. The theory, then, is that you’ll increase your hand action and start to get that desired elevation. 

You’ll be more level with the ball rather than in front of it this time, and that’s what starts to pop it up. Obviously, you don’t want to flick it, but I’ve always told golfers to start clipping a few balls with their feet together because that helps to accentuate the swing path, and you can really start to feel your hands releasing.

With your feet together, you have to release your hands so that when you put the ball forward in the stance, you can retain the same feeling in your hand action. It takes a bit of practice, but you’ll start to see a positive release.

To encourage a steeper takeaway, I usually start with something simple. I get golfers to hold their left hand where it would be at set-up, then take their right hand away as though they’re making a swing, and clap the left.  It’s quite interesting to watch, as no one ever whips their right hand inside—instead, they’ll always take it back on a normal path, so I think that’s good.  

Another method is using a medicine ball or a weight. I get golfers to take their normal posture and make a move away to simulate a throw. Body logic often takes over here, and you can see that with a weight, you’d never whip your arms across your body because it wouldn’t make for an efficient movement. Essentially, you are trying to make it so that it’s less of a fight to get it back on plane. 

I may also get golfers to put the club in the perfect position, halfway back, and make a turn from there before swinging through. Nine times out of ten, most of the damage is done by waist-high.


3. The Fade

golf shot shapes

Barney says…

I’m a bit ‘old school’. I always work in impact factors, so I’ll get golfers into good impact positions—i.e. hips cleared, hands forward, and do the drills to help with that.

I’ve worked with many good golfers, trying to get them to hold off shots with some fade to stop them from dropping it back on the inside. They’ve often ended up with a pretty straight shot with nothing on it.

Fade shots are very different now compared to 30-40 years ago. They’re often a safety thing, and if a good player loses five yards, who cares? If you’re talking about a deliberate fade, I’d aim the body where you want the ball to start and put the clubface down in line with the target.

Obviously, better golfers will feel it a little more in the downswing.  If you were to stand behind Max Homa, for example, he wouldn’t appear to be aiming that far left—certainly not like back in the day with Lee Trevino or Colin Montgomerie (Monty)—it’s very minute.  

Monty would often take out one side of the course. He knew there was never a danger of him losing it left, and I’ve seen him on right-to-left holes just plonking it over the corner, hitting it to where someone else would have just started it right and drawn it back in.  

The stock shot is an underrated one. People talk about Tiger hitting nine different golf shot shapes, but for most people, that’s the worst thing they could do. Golf is tough enough to be learning one shot never mind nine. With Monty, it was all about hitting this shot under pressure, and it was a nice, simple thing to go back to. And, of course, he was blessed with unbelievable rhythm—he didn’t look any different from the range to the practice ground.  

When people marvel at somebody getting over 60% accuracy with a driver on tour, it’s easy to forget that Monty was often in the high 70s and even 80s. He was repeatedly playing from the short stuff, and that is huge.


4. The Draw

Barney says…

The big thing for me here is making sure you get the club back on plane. In an attempt to hit a draw shot, people often end up whipping the club too far on the inside, thinking they’ve got to get around the body—but, of course, there’s no room for the club to shallow out on the way down.  

So, step one of hitting a draw is to make sure you’re coiling on plane, because it’s easy to get too tight to the body, and leave yourself nowhere else to go but over the top. 

Let’s use tennis theory—if you really want to draw it, hit it like a top hand. Then, pull your right foot back and hit it.

Golfers always want to swing around their feet. That’s always the ‘conundrum’, but they can see that even if they start to make a forehand move, like a top-spin, it comes inside but not right around. There is some shape for that shallowing movement to make.

The number one error I find with golfers trying to draw it is they aim too far right and get flatter and flatter on the backswing. Then, they wonder why they’ve ended up with a ‘low blocky’ one because they’ve got to come over the top on the way down.


About Barney Puttick

Barney turned professional in 1979 and worked under Ian Connelly, best known as Sir Nick Faldo’s original coach. He was once tied for third with Greg Norman in a 36-hole tournament in Cannes, behind Corey Pavin.

He has been the head professional at Mid Herts GC since 2000, and is a Golf Monthly Top 50 coach. He was recently made an Honorary Member of Hertfordshire Golf.

Posted by & filed under Golf Equipment.

Although some golfers play throughout winter, spring is often a time when many come out of ‘hibernation’, and golf courses gradually start getting busier again.

However, don’t be fooled by the springtime sun—it’s likely to still be quite chilly out there on the greens, so now is the perfect time to invest in a new golf jumper.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the best golf jumpers currently on the market—and these days, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Whether it be lambswool, merino, a quarter-zip, half-zip, mid-layer, or fleece, the beauty of modern golf jumpers (especially the best golf jumpers) is that they’re constructed with technologically advanced fabrics to ensure they’re stretchy, warm, water-repellent, and durable.

Put simply, a good golf jumper is an essential piece of golf clothing. So, which one will you choose? Let’s take a closer look at some of the best golf jumpers on the market.


The best golf jumpers (2024)


FootJoy Chill-Out Xtreme Pullover

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Fleece lining
  • Heat retention
  • Easy-care fabric

Nothing quite beats the feel of a soft fleece on a cold day, especially when the wind is whipping across the fairways—and this is one of the best golf jumpers for just that.

As well as a fleece lining that offers body heat retention, this performance sweater allows plenty of movement throughout the golf swing. Meanwhile, engineered woven panels on the chest and rear yoke provide further abrasion protection.


Ping Nordic Half-Zip Fleece

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Water-resistant
  • Made from 100% polyester
  • Lightweight

The Ping Nordic Half-Zip is another excellent choice when the courses are chilly. What’s great about this golf jumper is that it keeps you warm while not hampering your swing at all.

Ping stretch binding at the hem and cuffs ensures maximum comfort, while the grid fabric is nice and lightweight, so the jumper doesn’t feel too heavy or restrictive on the upper body.

The stylish look and feel make this jumper suitable for the course and clubhouse.


Under Armour Storm Evolution Daytona Half-Zip Pullover

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Loose fit
  • Breathable insulation
  • Repels water

A jumper that repels water is worth its weight in gold, especially with the changeable weather that comes with spring in the UK.

But this jumper is a match for any April shower, cleverly adapting to whatever the weather’s doing—ensuring you keep warm on colder days while allowing excess heat to escape when it gets warmer.

Designed with a slick, contemporary style, it’s wonderfully light, breathable, and looks great off the course.


Galvin Green Dwight Pullover

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • INSULA technology
  • Stretchy fit
  • Maximum breathability

This half-zip golf jumper from Galvin Green features INSULA technology, meaning the fabric has built-in air chambers, warmed by your body heat to provide effective and long-lasting thermal insulation.

The soft, stretchy material fits to your upper body shape for enhanced comfort, and the chest pocket is ideal for your phone or scorecard. Galvin Green branding on the pocket adds a touch of extra style.


Sunderland Aspen Mid-Layer

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Adjustable drawcord
  • Teflon-coated finish
  • Lightweight

The Sunderland Aspen Mid Layer is one of the most premium and professional-looking golf jumpers you’ll find. It provides plenty of warmth without compromising any breathability.

Coated in a Teflon finish, the jumper is weatherproof, so it’s a good one to have in your golf wardrobe all-year-round, not just for the spring.

Some really smart colours are available in the range, but the blue/black (pictured) gets the nod from us. It’ll certainly help inject a bit of colour into your playing attire!


Stuburt Enhance Half-Zip Fleece

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • DRI-back moisture transfer technology
  • Waist pockets
  • Elasticated drawstring at hem

This highly versatile and stylish golf jumper can be worn as an outer layer or even as a mid-layer when it’s especially cold.

It’s made from a breathable, soft, stretchy fabric to aid your swing movement, while the soft brushed material on the inside helps you retain body heat.

DRI-back moisture technology helps regulate your body temperature further while also repelling water if you’re caught in a shower.


Mizuno Windproof Lined Sweater

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Lined detailing on the waistband, neck and cuffs
  • Regular fit
  • Lightweight

Sometimes, a classic is best. This quarter-zip jumper may be from Mizumo’s AW20 range, but it still strikes a chord today.

This timeless piece has you well covered, offering protection against the wind and plenty of warmth when the temperature drops.

Lined detailing on the waistband, neck and cuffs adds a touch of class to the overall look and feel, making this jumper just as smart off the course as it is on it.


Callaway Full-Zip Waffle Jacket

best golf jumpers

Key features

  • Opti-Dri moisture moving technology
  • 95% polyester / 5% spandex
  • Stretch fabric

It might be referred to as a jacket, but the soft fleece material here really makes this more of a jumper.

Let’s call it a hybrid—either way, Callaway’s Opti-Dri moisture moving technology draws moisture away from your body, meaning you stay comfortable and dry, while the stretch fabric ensures your freedom of movement in the swing.

It’s lightweight, trendy, and a favourite amongst many of Callaway’s Tour players—and it’s not hard to see why!


Glenmuir Lomond V-Neck Lambswool Golf Sweater

Key features

  • Glenmuir signature performance finish
  • 100% lambswool
  • Elastic shape retention

We think every golfer should own a premium quality knitted garment. And if you’re only going to have one, you can’t go too far wrong with a Glenmuir Lomond V-neck.

This stylish golf jumper combines tasteful modern design with premium quality, inspired by Glenmuir’s rich legacy. Made from 100% premium lambswool, it provides maximum comfort and freedom of movement.

And with plenty of colours to choose from in the range, why not choose a couple to mix things up?!


adidas Core Heather Quarter-Zip Sweater

Key features

  • 100% recycled polyester
  • UPF 50+ protection
  • Moisture-wicking properties

Part of the adidas Golf ‘Tour’ clothing range, this jumper features a fleece fabric for extra warmth and a moisture-wicking finish for comfort.

The stand collar, heather detail, and adidas logo on the left chest really add to the style, but it’s the sporty look that makes this golf jumper such a popular choice among Tour pros.

What’s more—it’s also got a UPF 50+ Protection rating: the maximum sun protective rating achievable for fabrics.


Oscar Jacobson Loke Quarter-Zip Sweater

Key features

  • Innovative cut lines
  • Stretch fabric
  • Warmth-locking

This modern and versatile golf jumper is the perfect mid-layer choice, and because of its full-stretch technical fabric, it won’t bulk up if you need to wear it underneath a waterproof jacket—win-win!

It’s easy to put on and take off, with soft, secure cuffs and hems aiding the overall fitted feel.

A colour-contrast Oscar Jacobson logo on the right shoulder helps finish the style nicely.

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

The article below was written by Jack Backhouse of National Club Golfer.

How you stand to the ball has a massive effect how you you then swing and hit it. PGA pro Jack Backhouse explains how to set up for success.

Standing to the ball with good posture is not complicated but is often overlooked by golfers when it comes to trying to improve. It is easy to get lost in the complex components of the swing, like swing plane, club path, wrist angles and so on and miss something easy like posture. In this video, what the 3 easy steps to perfect golf posture are.

Why is posture so important?

Getting into a good posture requires no skill and no athleticism and is the low-hanging fruit of golf technique. A golfer in a bad posture cannot make a big turn, create speed, or swing in balance, so starting in a good stance is important. Just like a goalkeeper waiting to save a penalty, standing too much on the heel or toes, too upright or bent over, it is very difficult to react and create speed and power when standing poorly.


What does poor posture look like?

There are generally two different ways golfers get their posture wrong. The first is standing too far away and reaching for the ball too much. When this happens, the golfer will generally be forced to move their weight too much to the balls of the feet and is off balance, or bend their knees a lot and sit down too much. In both of these instances, the golfer will stand up out of their bad posture, early extend and generally will have issues with fat and thin contact.

The second common mistake golfers make in their posture is arching their back too much, creating too much tension in the hamstring and lower to mid back. Although this might feel athletic, a flat or even arched back creates stiffness that stops a golfer from being able to turn and pivot correctly and, in the end, reduces club head speed and overall freedom throughout the golf swing.


Step 1

Step one is standing in a good golf posture with a correct spine angle. The way to do this is:

  • stand up straight with the club parallel to the ground
  • softly bend the knees
  • round the upper back down until the club gets to the ground

The key here is not to over-hinge from the hips; this creates tension in the muscles on the back of the body that we don’t need. We want muscles to be loose when the golfer begins the swing to hit the ball. This may feel too relaxed or unathletic, but that is the correct feeling.


Step 2

Step two is standing the correct distance from the ball. Most amateur golfers stand too far from the ball. To know you are in the right position is:

  • Stand in posture to the ball
  • Let the trail hand relax off the club and let it hang freely
  • Your hand should hang level with the part of the grip the trail hand holds
  • If the hand swings inside the club you are too far away


Step 3

Step three is setting up with the correct spine tilt. Depending on the club used, the spine should angle away from the target in various amounts. to know the correct spine tilt:

  • Get into golf posture
  • Hold the club down your sternum
  • Tilt away from the target until the golf club touches the lead leg
  • The wider the stance (longer the club), the more tilt is required to set up

It is worth checking your posture every month to ensure you have all three of these points covered and give yourself the best chance of making good swings and hitting the ball well.

If you are interested in seeking further information from Jack that is more specific to your golf game, you can book an in-person or online golf lesson by clicking here.

Posted by & filed under Playing Tips.

A drop in golf is often a misunderstood concept, so if you’ve ever asked the question How does a drop work in golf?, you certainly won’t be alone.

However, in this blog, we’ll answer that question so you can drop with confidence.


How does a drop work in golf?

Firstly, when taking relief, you must drop your ball, whether under penalty or not. If you have a caddy, they can’t drop your ball for you—that’s your responsibility.

Since 2019, the rules now state that when dropping, you have to do so from knee height. Prior to the change, dropping was instead done from shoulder height.

When the rules changed at the beginning of 2019, it was initially met with criticism regarding how silly it looked to drop the ball from knee height—but there was, in fact, some sound thinking behind it.


Dropping from knee height

At the time of the rule change, the USGA’s Thomas Pagel explained: “It’s not just a drop from knee height, but now it’s a focus on the relief area. People say that dropping from shoulder height is simple, and it is, but under the old rules, there were nine different times you had to re-drop. We wanted to eliminate all those complications.

“In order to focus on that new relief area, we said, ‘Let’s get the player closer to the ground, and if you drop it from knee height, that ball is going to bounce a little less.’”

When dropping, the ball must first strike the ground and stay within the relief area. If it lands inside and rolls out, or vice versa, then you need to drop the ball again.

To better understand where to drop your ball, though, you need to understand where your reference point is, and these differ depending on the type of relief you’re getting.


Knowing your reference point

how does a drop work in golf
  • If your ball is unplayable, the reference point is where the ball lies

  • If your ball is in a penalty area (for example, a body of water or an area which has been defined as unplayable or where a ball is often lost), the reference point is where the ball crossed the edge of the penalty area

  • If you’re taking back-on-the-line relief, the reference point is where the ball first hits the ground when dropped

  • If your ball comes to rest in ‘abnormal course conditions’, such as temporary water, ground under repair, cart paths, or sprinkler heads, the reference point is the nearest point to where your ball lies. However, this can’t be nearer to the hole and is the spot where you can play your next shot with no interference from where you are dropping

You may stand either inside or outside the relief area when dropping your ball.

As of 2019, the term ‘penalty area’ has superseded ‘water hazard’. You can play the ball as it lies in a penalty area, and you can ground your club.

Golfers have three options if taking relief…


1. Stroke-and-distance relief

If you’re certain that your ball is in a penalty area, you can return to where your last shot was played from, drop your ball within one-club length, and play it with a one-shot penalty. If it was a tee shot, you can play it from any area of the tee.


2. Back-on-the-line relief

Locate where your ball last crossed the penalty area, and you can go back as far as you want on a line that keeps that point between you and the hole. You can now drop your ball, and it can move in any direction from that spot.


3. Lateral relief

Here, you can measure a relief area of two club lengths (not nearer the hole) from your reference point of crossing the penalty area and drop it in this relief area. The penalty, again, is one stroke.

Another key point to understand is the size of the relief area from your reference point. If you’re dropping from some abnormal course conditions, it’s one-club length, and if you’re dropping from an unplayable ball or a ball in a red penalty area, it’s two-clubs length.

If the ball doesn’t stay in the relief area, simply drop it again. If this happens for a second time, place the ball where the ball landed when you re-dropped it.

Another rule change also stipulates that the longest club in your bag cannot be your putter, so anyone using an extended putter can’t gain an advantage.

Interestingly, you can leave the headcover on your driver when measuring, but the extra length does not count.


How does a drop work in golf?

how does a drop work in golf

Points to remember

* Before lifting your ball, you must mark the spot. You can use a ball marker behind or next to the ball or hold a club on the ground right behind or right next to your ball. If you fail to do either of these, you will receive one penalty stroke.

* You can clean your ball when it is on the putting green or when you’re taking free relief or a penalty drop. However, you CAN NOT clean your ball when:

  • checking to see if it’s cut or cracked

  • lifting it to identify it—though you can clean mud away to do so 

  • it is interfering with another player away from the green

  • checking to see if it has settled into an indentation—however, if you take relief from an embedded ball, you are then allowed to clean it


If you fail to comply with the above, you will be penalised one stroke. 

Dropping in golf can take a while to get the hang of, particularly if you’re new to the game. However, read up on the rules mentioned above and refer to this guide the next time you need to take a drop. You’ll be dropping with confidence in no time.

Posted by & filed under Golf Courses.

Trying to define the best golf courses in the world is clearly a difficult and subjective task.

However, in this blog, we’ve tried to help ourselves a bit by breaking it down into different sub-categories—from the most historic and beautiful courses to bucket list-type trips and everything else in between.

Need a bit of inspiration? Read on…


The best golf courses in the world

best golf courses in the world

Skip to:

  1. Most historic golf courses
  2. Most beautiful golf courses
  3. Bucket list visits
  4. Best overall experiences
  5. Best course designs
  6. Best golf resorts
  7. Best new golf courses
  8. The world’s best cheap golf course


Most historic golf courses

There really is nowhere else to start but the Old Course at St Andrews. The original and, many believe, still the best.

The Old Course might not dazzle with scenery or drama, but it’s packed with a challenge so nuanced and subtle that it sometimes takes multiple plays to fully appreciate it.

The legendary Bobby Jones was famously not a fan initially—but eventually came to love it.

It’s the only course where you’ll hear the usually cynical, clinical Tour pros routinely state how they have hairs on the back of their neck standing up on the first tee.

Also in this category sit Prestwick, scene of the first 24 Opens, and Musselburgh Old, another part of Open folklore.

Meanwhile, Royal North Devon is England’s answer to St Andrews.


Most beautiful golf courses

One of the best things about golf is that its stages take you to beautiful locations you might otherwise never visit.

Do football, rugby, tennis or F1 venues take your breath away? Not really. Cricket sometimes does, to be fair, but golf often does.

The most spectacular course in the UK, in our opinion, is Turnberry’s Ailsa in Scotland, with a third of its holes set along the water.

Over in Ireland, step forward Old Head, a clifftop golf course of quite staggering drama.

In continental Europe, Lofoten Links is the easy winner. Set within the North Pole, this spectacular Norwegian course lies where the mountains meet the sea. Epic.

In the US, California’s Pebble Beach puts a huge tick in the beautiful box. Pacific views come as standard here—and as one of the big-name American courses open to the general public, it’s a must-visit if you’re ever lucky enough to visit this part of the world.

South Cape in South Korea and Japan’s Kawana Fuji are solid representatives for Asia in this category, while down under in Australia, Cape Wickham could be described as a fusion of Turnberry and Old Head—check that one out, too.


Bucket list visits

These are the courses that most encourage you to say, “Oh, I’d love to play there!”. We’ve got four for you, in fact.

Top of the list for most golfers is surely Augusta National.

The annual host of the Masters has ‘emulate-the-stars’ moments on every hole—some of which are the most thrilling, risk-reward you’ll ever face. The course is in bewilderingly good condition, too, of course.

Pine Valley in New Jersey is often the connoisseur’s choice for the world’s best golf course title. It’s uber-private, so few actually get to play it, but you never hear a disappointed verdict. Colin Montgomerie, in fact, rates it as his #1 course.

Spain’s Real Club Valderrama has the sense of mystique you’d expect from a €500 green fee and the hosting of a mythical Ryder Cup in 1997 (the first time the tournament had ever been held outside of either the UK or the US). And you’ll not find a blade of grass out of place, either.

A perhaps less obvious bucket list golf course, but no less spectacular, is the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club in Dubai.

You’ve watched the Tour pros hit THAT tee shot towards the skyscrapers; now it’s your turn.


Best overall experiences

South Africa has many fine golf courses, but the big lure of playing here is that at the likes of Sun City, for example, you take on a superb challenge while also taking in a ‘Big Five’ game safari.

Or, how about staying at the epic beachside JW Marriott Resort in Mauritius, playing at Tamarina Golf, and climbing Le Morne for Insta-worthy pictures at the top?

Midnight golf, anyone? Back at Lofoten, and also at the likes of Iceland’s Brautarholt, Westman Island, and Keilir, you can play through the night during the summer months.

If you’ve ever thought about skiing and playing golf in the same day, visit the beautiful nation of Georgia, and you can do just that. Start with a morning on the mountain slopes before an afternoon drive down to the capital to play Tbilisi Hills.


Best course designs

‘Best course design’ is a potentially contentious category, but a few courses are worthy of inclusion nonetheless, not least Muirfield in Scotland.

This seasoned host of The Open lacks the sea views of other links but is nevertheless an unremitting challenge. Its frequent changes in direction mean you constantly have to calculate and work with the wind.

We mentioned it right at the beginning, but the Old Course at St Andrews deserves another mention here, too, as do the glorious Harry Colt heathlands of Sunningdale and Swinley Forest.

Over in Australia, Dr Alister Mackenzie’s principles of playable-but-strategic golf are in full view at Royal Melbourne’s East Course.


Best golf resorts

You could say that Bandon Dunes is the only definitive answer when debating the best in any category of golf.

It has four courses ranked by Golf World in its World Top 100 public access list, all within 600 yards of each other on-site. Just imagine that—four of the best golf courses in the world in the same resort. Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails and Sheep Ranch are all comfortably on that list, and a fifth—Old Macdonald—is just outside it.

Streamsong also has three World Top 100 entries, while Pinehurst opens its 10th course in April 2024. None of its other nine are anything other than excellent.

We can’t not mention St Andrews again, either. The Old, New, Castle, Eden, Jubilee, Strathtyrum,and Balgove courses make this undoubtedly one of the oldest (and most historic) golf resorts.

The King’s, Queen’s, and Centenary courses at Gleneagles make the list, too, while Ireland’s Rosapenna, with a new Tom Doak course to add to its two great existing links, also deserves a mention.


Best new golf courses

Here are a couple of golf courses that have only recently opened.

In New Zealand, Te Arai has two courses, one by Doak and the other by Coore-Crenshaw, that look stunning and play just as well.

Coore-Crenshaw also have a brand-new design opening at Cabot St Lucia that images and early feedback suggest is epic.


BONUS: The world’s best cheap golf course

As an added bonus to round off our list of the best golf courses in the world, we’re suggesting Shiskine on the island of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland.

It’s only 12 holes, but still riotous fun among glorious seaside scenery, too.

What’s more—it’s yours for a truly astonishing £32*.

See you there soon?

*Based on 2023 visitor green fees. Price shown for an adult 12-hole round Monday to Friday.