19 epic golf courses you have to play before you die

Editor’s Note: Think you’ve played a better course? Share your snaps on social media using the hashtag #CNNLivingGolf

Story highlights

CNN Sport community send their stunning shots of world's best golf courses

Readers top picks include courses in the UAE, New Zealand, Slovenia and Spain

CNN  — 

As any avid golfer knows, there is nothing better than walking towards that first tee on a crisp but sunny morning. Gone is the hustle and bustle of the working week – it’s just you and a couple friends out for a relaxing round of 18.

Sure, we all dream about teeing off on the Old Course at St. Andrews or casually strolling around Augusta National. But for us mere mortals who may not get the chance, we’ve come up with the next best thing – the ultimate golf course bucket list.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve been wading through hundreds of your recommendations and teaming up with some of the most influential golf Instagrammers around – @beautifulgolfcourses, @anything_golf, @golf.addicts – to find the world’s must-play courses.

So whether it’s teeing off into the sun, avoiding goats with your approach to the green or driving towards some of the tallest buildings in the world, take a look at these incredible courses and see how many you can tick off your list.

Channing Benjamin, a 44-year-old general manager for Worldwide Golf Shops, treated us to this snap of this pristine, glass-like lake at the Arnold Palmer Private Course, California.

“Golf is my life,” Benjamin says. “Not only am I a huge fan of the game, but I changed careers to be more a part of it!

“Photography is equally important to me and has become more than a hobby. I shot this particular image with an Android phone while waiting to tee off during a recent game. Cell phone cameras are just amazing these days!”

Benjamin adds: “Living in the moment and capturing it is my way of sharing with the world how I see things; whether it be humorous, serious, playful, profound or just plain creative.”

His eye for a photo or video has even taken him round the world directing music shoots for artists like Justin Timberlake, NSync, Britney Spears and P!nk.

CNN Sport anchor Don Riddell didn’t want to miss out on the fun and and sent us vertigo-inducing throwback from a round at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand.

“One of my favorite locations in all my time at CNN,” he posts. “Feels like you’re standing on the edge of the world – a great course and an unforgettable experience!”

Next up, from New Zealand to Slovenia now where Drago Bilic, a 39-year-old strategic management consultant snapped this photo impulsively during a competition in his home country.

“It was a spur of the moment shot during a tournament,” Bilic explained. “I’m totally addicted to golf. Photography is a hobby, but I like nice panoramic shots, colors and – of course – golf courses.”

“When I got to the tee, I saw the clouds touching the mountain – the variety of beauty that nature offers. If I had waited until the next minute, the shot would looked different.

“I just want to share the benefits of playing golf to my followers and friends. Nature, sport, views and fun with friends all in one package! A splendid way to spend your free time.”

In no particular order, scroll through the gallery above to see what you, the CNN readers, chose as the 19 golf courses to play before you die and see if your entry made the list!