Golf

The world's best golf courses

Updated 1045 GMT (1845 HKT) July 20, 2012
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Hailed by owner Donald Trump as "the world's greatest golf course," the American's new Scottish project mixes breathtaking views from elevated tees with classical links bunkers and wild rough. Dramatic, tall sand dunes frame many of the photogenic holes at Trump International. The true test of the course's standing will be its longevity and whether it matures into a stern test of championship golf. CNN
Consistently ranked as one of the very best, if not the best course on earth, Cypress Point is a small, private club on the tip of the Monterey Peninsula in California. Originally designed by Alister MacKenzie in 1928, several of its picturesque closing holes play alongside and over the Pacific Ocean. Getty Images
Famed for hosting the annual Masters tournament, the exclusive Augusta National was the brainchild of the most successful amateur golfer of all time, Bobby Jones. He recruited MacKenzie to design the course in 1933 after seeing his handiwork at Cypress Point. The result has become one of the world's most recognizable and colorful sporting venues. Getty Images
The first and only course designed by George Crump, Pine Valley is set in relatively featureless New Jersey countryside. Since opening in 1919 it has been considered among the most perfect and varied challenges in golf. CNN
According to historians, a form of golf has been played over the links land outside the quaint Scottish coastal town of St. Andrews since the 12th century. Not necessarily the most dramatic or challenging course, but the natural beauty and history of "The Old Course" make it every golfer's "must play." Getty Images
Set at the feet of Northern Ireland's majestic Mountains of Mourne, Royal County Down opened in 1889 and was given royal patronage almost 30 years later. Exposed to winds from the Irish Sea, the rugged sand dunes are covered by purple heather and yellow gorse. A fierce debate rages over its relative merits versus County Antrim's Royal Portrush. Getty Images
One of few top-ranked courses outside the U.S. and UK, the Royal Melbourne layout was also crafted by MacKenzie. It is the oldest golf club in Australia and famed for its bold bunkers blending into the natural rolling land of the Melbourne Sandbelt. Getty Images
Routed along the crags of Carmel Bay, Pebble Beach opened in 1919 and has hosted five U.S. Opens. Boasting some of the most dramatic panoramic views in golf, it is the most highly-rated U.S. course that accepts public bookings, with fees of $495 per round. Getty Images
Built in 1901, Turnberry is a classic Scottish links, with rolling hills, sandy dunes and strong winds coming off the Ayrshire coast. Made up of three courses, Turnberry has hosted four British Opens on its Ailsa layout, most notably 1977's "Duel in the Sun" between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. Getty Images
The host venue for the 2012 British Open, Royal Lytham & St. Annes is thought to be one of the oldest major's toughest courses. It lies half a mile from the Lancashire coast yet retains the feel of a classic links course, with tall rough grass and 206 bunkers guarding the rolling fairways and greens. Getty Images
Noted for its secluded cliff-top location in New Zealand's Hawke's Bay, Cape Kidnappers is a 20-minute drive from the gate on the nearest public road. Deep gullies dip down to the sea between fairways, which give spectacular panoramic views along the shore and across the nearby wine country. Only eight years old, it is one of the newest courses to consistently feature near the top of world rankings. Getty Images
One of the five founding clubs of the United States Golf Association with the first specifically-designed golf clubhouse in the country, Shinnecock Hills has hosted the U.S. Open four times across three centuries. It occupies links land on Long Island, 90 miles east of New York City, but has been said to possess the windy bleakness of British seaside golf. Getty Images
Muirfield is home to the "The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers" -- the world's oldest golf club, formed in 1744. The design by Old Tom Morris is considered a masterpiece, with two concentric rings of nine holes ensuring that the wind from the North Sea hits you from all angles. Small greens, deep bunkers and thick rough have made the East Lothian course one of the most revered on the British Open circuit. Getty Images