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The most authoritative ranking by the most widely-travelled panel.




Cover image: Carya, Belek.


Murcia · Spain

If there is one thing that defines La Manga Club, it is our unparalleled sports facilities. Covering an area of around 1,400 acres, the resort’s award-winning facilities include three 18-hole golf courses, a 28-court tennis centre, eight FIFA-approved football pitches and modern cricket amenities. If that wasn’t enough, La Manga Club boasts an array of four and five-star accommodation, a luxury spa and more than 15 bars and restaurants – plus one of the best climates in Europe to enjoy.



Tel. +34 968 17 5577 reservas@lamangaclub.com lamangaclub.com NORTH COURSE


WELCOME This ranking of the Top 100 Continental courses thoroughly reflects the changing landscape in golf tourism. As a result of the geographical diversity of the nine new entries, it contains courses from 20 countries spread as far apart as the Arctic Circle to the Aegean Sea. And be assured not a single one has been included for novelty value or commercial reasons. In fact, we believe this is the most astute, impartial and most thoroughly-researched Continental ranking we’ve ever produced. Helping us to feel confident about the ranking’s merit is our most widelytravelled panel ever. I thank them all sincerely for the time spent giving me their assessments of the courses. Their efforts are all equally valuable, but Hans-Joachim Walter was especially comprehensive, as he played then assessed 94 of the 100. I have personally travelled to 88 of the

The start of the seaside closing stretch at Parnu Bay in Estonia.

Top 100 and over half of the Next 100. The ability to compare courses across so many different countries rather than merely within their own borders is what makes me believe this ranking is the most accurate representation to date of what are the best golf courses on the continent. It is why I am hopeful this ranking will make sense to you whenever you visit a course in it – and that is my No.1 objective. So, you really shouldn’t play one of the 100 (or one not in) and think it is wrongly ranked by 50 places or more. If you do, I’d genuinely love to hear why... Perhaps the biggest challenge of a ranking is in settling on what kind of golfer we are doing it for. After all, there is a big difference in the taste between the staunch architectural connoisseur and the holidaymaker who is impressed most by dramatic holes in breathtaking scenery. I believe our wide-ranging panel of readers and the methodology we use (an

explanation of which I’d urge you to read overleaf) help to make this a well-rounded ranking. It might be true to say it now favours the classics slightly more than it has in the past, but there are plenty of modern courses in the top 30 plus new entries whose strength is aesthetic appeal. I hope our process elevates the best of the various different types of course; classic and modern, subtle and brash, seaside and inland, aesthetic and more prosaic. The marks we allocate each course highlight their strengths and weaknesses, and means I believe there is something for all types of golfer to salivate over in the next 60 pages.

Chris Bertram Top 100 Editor



MEET THE PANEL Chris Bertram GW’s Courses editor has played 88 of the 100 and over half of the Next 100.

Introducing our methodology and the unrivalled panel that decided the 2017 Continental European ranking. This Top 100 follows the format of the GB&I, Scottish, English and Irish equivalents from 2016 and earlier this year. Here’s a recap of how we created this ranking of the continent’s elite. The readers’ panel

We are confident that the readers’ panels we started three years ago is the best method of ranking courses. Of course, it is still acutely subjective, but we believe the cross-section of views we get from golfers – of all tastes and abilities – who have travelled so widely, is priceless. The fact they have paid their own way to play these great courses and are thus not beholden to any club, is in our view a key advantage. Why each course is ‘marked’

We believe the marks clearly explain

Joerg Beringer German is a travel industry professional and has played over 60 of the 100.

how we arrived at our decisions and highlight each course’s strengths and weaknesses. We feel it adds integrity, authority and accuracy to the ranking. We publish the marks to illustrate what type of course it is – and whether it’s for the connoisseur or thrill seeker.

Peter Bjerkeseth The Norwegian is a Scandinavian expert but travels widely south too. Nigel Butler (& Suzanne) Brussels-based duo run Where2Golf.com and have played over 70 of the 100.

A few points of order

• Value plays no part in our ranking – you can work that out easily by Googling green fees and comparing them against respective positions! • Off-course facilities, service or tournament-hosting history are irrelevant to our ranking. • When a course has been significantly renovated, only panellists who have been since the work are considered. • A panellist cannot submit marks for the course at which they are a member.

Peter Gammie Now based in France, he is an expert on its courses and also those in Iberia. Borje Laurinsson With wife Gunnel, the Swedes have played 91 of the 100, and many besides! Hans-Joachim Walter German has played 94 of the 100 and voraciously documents his verdicts. n In addition to the panel, we collected

country-by-country verdicts to ensure we weren’t missing a unheralded classic from: Spain, Alfonso Erhardt; Denmark, Thomas Vennekilde; France, Jean-Francois Bosse; Sweden, Olle Dahlgren; Germany, Heinz Knebel; Netherlands, Foeke Collet; Finland, Teemu Tyru; Portugal, JV Pereira; Switzerland, Franco Carabelli.


n Parklands form the majority of the 100,

but distinctive courses have done notably well. Courses that offer something different from the norm – without being ‘gimmicky’ – have definitely found favour. n Classic, old courses have prospered... but lose out if they live off reputations. So rigorous renovations are worth doing. n We’ll admit a previous error and rank a course correctly than persist with a falsity.

Visby, Sweden.

THE RANKING CRITERIA EXPLAINED Every golf course is graded using the following six categories: Design






Does it flow nicely? Is there good variety, are holes cleverly designed, and good shots rewarded? Is the routing astute? Points available: 25

The aesthetic value of the outward-looking views and of the course itself. Its overall ‘atmosphere’ is a part of this (not the club’s). Points available: 20

The condition of tees, fairways, bunkers and greens, ignoring temporary inconveniences or seasonal work. Points available: 20

The playability across the 18 holes. Is it just too tough, possibly even unfair, for even strong players? Or is it enjoyable for all? Points available: 15

How easy is to recall holes? Do they linger in the memory? A sense of its ‘wow’ factor. [We term it ‘Holes’ in the marks.] Points available: 10

An assessment of the quality across all 18 holes. Is it strong from start to finish or is a great layout let down by some poor holes? Points available: 10

4 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

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ave you ever dreamt of playing golf as the midnight sun bathes the beautiful landscape of Finland? Then playing on Linna Golf’s stunning forest course is a dream come true. With a golf season that starts in spring and extends ‘til mid-October, you can experience nature’s full palette of colours in style. Linna Golf enjoys a convenient location in southern Finland, about an hour’s drive from Helsinki-Vantaa and Tampere-Pirkkala airports. The well-appointed resort facilities, in the city of Hämeenlinna, include Hotel Vanajanlinna and its high-quality restaurants, gym, and day spa. The venue caters well for golfers, who can stay in on-site hotel rooms, apartments, and even golf suites named after famous courses all over the world. You don’t need to worry about a thing – this resort is well known for its service standards. Be assured you can leave your worries at

home: ‘Here at Linna Golf, we provide only the best for our guests’ is the motto. A broad spectrum of quality services are all enjoyed with an unforgettable backdrop, so it is the ideal setting for parties, weddings, and romantic weekend getaways. Linna Golf also works with Hotel Vanajanlinna to offer a perfect venue for conferences and meetings as business and pleasure go hand in hand. Linna Golf is run by experienced staff who top up the overall quality with an impeccable service. The venue meets European Tour standards, and has hosted many professional tournaments. It was the venue for the 2017 European Tour Properties Senior Classic, the European Challenge Tour’s SK Golf Challenge in 2009, and the European Golf Association’s European Amateur Championship and European Amateur Team Championship. The course itself, unveiled in 2005, was designed by Tim Lobb in collaboration with


European Golf Design. It borders a scenic lake, Katuma, which winds along the historic Vanajanlinna Manor grounds for 7km, offering varied vistas and a rich topography. The landscape also takes full advantage of the splendid old woods in the area. They lend a further sense of timelessness to the long summer evenings here. Adding further atmosphere, one of the estate’s outbuildings – which dates from the dawn of the 20th century – has been fully renovated into a comfortable clubhouse. It features a restaurant, changing rooms and sauna facilities, a pro shop, and service offices. Ever since it first appeared on the map, it has received praise for both its design and immaculate presentation, with many reviews ranking it as the best course in Finland and among the most luxurious resorts in the whole of northern Europe. For instance, it was recognised as the country’s best course at the inaugural World Golf Awards, in 2014. More recently, Golf World listed Linna Golf as one of Continental Europe’s Top 100 golf courses in 2015 and Top 100 golf resorts in 2016. It was the only venue in Finland to receive this distinction. ■

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CREATE YOUR OWN EUROPEAN TOUR EXPERIENCE European Tour Properties is a global network of 25 world class golf venues, nine of which host European Tour and Senior Tour events in 2017. With all offering golf travellers a stamp of tournament quality, where will your European Tour take you?


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7 Jumeirah Golf Estates

Location: Dubai, UAE Tournament hosted: DP World Tour Championship Venue: Jumeirah Golf Estates has provided the fitting climax of the European Tour’s Race To Dubai since 2009 and features two Greg Norman-designed courses, the Earth and Fire. In addition, the venue also encompasses a luxury residential golf community, a state-of-the-art clubhouse and the first European Tour Performance Institute in the Middle East, which boasts world class training facilities for elite professional and amateur golfers alike. WEBSITE: www.jumeirahgolfestates.com



3 2 4 The Dutch Le Golf National

Location: Paris, France Tournament hosted: HNA Open de France, Paris Legends Championship (Senior Tour) Venue: Le Golf National, venue of The 2018 Ryder Cup and 25-time host of the Open de France, is home to the Albatros course, a globally recognised and impressive stadium design which is consistently ranked among the world’s Top 100 courses. Complemented by the 18-hole L’Aigle (Eagle) and the nine-hole L’Oiselet (Sparrow) courses, Le Golf National is perfectly located for a combined weekend of golf and sightseeing in Paris and Versailles. WEBSITE: www.le-golf-national.com

Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands Tournament hosted: KLM Open, Dutch Senior Masters (Senior Tour) Venue: The Dutch is an exclusive 18-hole inland links-style course open to members and their guests. The Colin Montgomerie Signature course, constructed in partnership with European Golf Design, was created with elite tournament hosting in mind and features a dramatic and undulating landscape with rolling fairways framed by imposing, gorse-clad mounds. The venue enjoys a central location in the heart of The Netherlands, not far from the country’s most prominent cities and airports. WEBSITE: www.thedutch.nl

Linna Golf

Location: Linna, Finland Tournament hosted: European Tour Properties Senior Classic (Senior Tour) Venue: Finland’s Linna Golf hosted the inaugural European Tour Properties Senior Classic in 2017. The venue, 100km north of Helsinki, is an all-encompassing resort for golfers, boasting a historic castle hotel – the only one of its kind in Finland – a sympathetically renovated clubhouse, golf villas, and the compulsory spa and sauna. WEBSITE: www.linnagolf.fi



Saujana Golf & Country Club

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tournament hosted: Maybank Championship Venue: Venue of the Maybank Championship, Saujana Golf & Country Club features two courses cut through a former palm and rubber plantation, including Bunga Raya, voted the 69th best course of the world outside of the USA, by Golf Digest magazine. Regularly voted Malaysia’s No. 1 golf club, Saujana has hosted the Malaysian Open on nine previous occasions and is ranked among the 100 Best Golf Resorts in the World by Golf Magazine USA. WEBSITE: www.saujana.com.my


Constance Belle Mare Plage

Location: Mauritius Tournament hosted: MCB Tour Championship (Senior Tour) Venue: Constance Belle Mare Plage has been the host of the European Senior Tour’s season-ending MCB Tour Championship since 2009 and features two 18-hole courses, the Legend – which has recently been reshaped and hosts the Senior Tour event – and the Links. The venue also offers a range of luxury accommodation options, numerous restaurants and bars, four swimming pools and an array of sporting and leisure activities. WEBSITE: www.constancehotels.com


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Verdura Resort

Diamond Country Club Albatross Golf Resort

Location: Prague, Czech Republic Tournament hosted: D+D REAL Czech Masters Venue: Albatross Golf Resort has hosted the D+D REAL Czech Masters since 2014, with its Albatross course receiving high praise from European Tour professionals ever since. Over half of the holes feature water hazards, around a layout that has been ranked the Czech Republic’s No. 1. Situated near Prague, Albatross Golf Resort offers contemporary, state-of-theart facilities against the backdrop of a historic and culturally rich city. WEBSITE: www.albatross.cz

Location: Vienna, Austria Tournament hosted: Lyoness Open powered by ORGANIC+ Venue: Set in the beautiful Austrian countryside, Diamond Country Club’s championship layout, the Diamond Course, recently saw some of its holes remodelled by European Tour fan favourite Miguel Angel Jimenez. The course, having played host to the Austrian Open on seven previous occasions, provides a stern test to any golfer and culminates in the picturesque water-lined par-3 18th hole. The nearby historic city of Vienna offers a rich and cultural depth to any golfing trip. WEBSITE: www.countryclub.at

Location: Sicily, Italy Tournament hosted: The Rocco Forte Open Venue: Verdura Resort is a new addition to the European Tour roster in 2017, but no stranger to tournament golf, having previously hosted the 2012 Sicilian Open. Situated on the south coast of the isle of Sicily, Verdura Resort is one of the most breathtaking and scenic stops on the tour, with the final six holes running alongside the magnificent backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. WEBSITE: www.roccofortehotels.com

A STAMP OF TOURNAMENT QUALITY Having hosted the world’s top players at iconic golfing events, European Tour Properties’ global network of world class golf venues delivers tournament-quality experiences to all.

Black Mountain Golf Club

Bom Sucesso

Kungsängen Golf Club

Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort

London Golf Club

PGA Catalunya Resort

Quinta Do Lago

Rossington Hall

Location: Stockholm, Sweden Venue: Kungsängen’s Kings Course, surrounded by undulating pine forests and natural water features, has hosted the Scandinavian Masters on four occasions. The neighbouring Queens Course provides a stimulating contrast with tight, twisting fairways and small, testing greens. Tournaments hosted: Volvo Scandinavian Masters (1998, 2000, 2002 (pictured), 2005) Website: http://kungsangengolf.se/sv

Location: Girona, Spain Venue: Host of three Spanish Opens and home to Spain’s No.1 course, PGA Catalunya Resort is ranked #3 in Golf World’s Top 100 Resorts in Continental Europe. Its golfing credentials are complemented by its five-star Hotel Camiral, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Tournaments hosted: Spanish Open (2000, 2009, 2014 (pictured)) Website: www.pgacatalunya.com

Location: Hua Hin, Thailand Venue: Thailand’s only course to feature in Golf Digest’s Best 100 Courses outside the United States, the course at Black Mountain Golf Club features interconnected waterways and undulating fairways, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Burmese mountains. Tournaments hosted: True Thailand Classic (2015, 2016 (pictured)) Website: www.blackmountainhuahin.com

Location: Cape Kaliakra, Bulgaria Venue: With a ‘links’ style layout, the at Lighthouse Golf & Spa Resort crowns the towering cliffs overlooking the Black Sea and features picturesque holes, many of which wind through woodland. The resort also features a 5-star hotel and spa, complete with four swimming pools, four restaurants and its own sandy beach. Website: www.lighthousegolfresort.com

Location: Algarve, Portugal Venue: Located within 2,000 acres of the Ria Formosa natural park, the golf courses at Quinta Do Lago have been expertly designed to complement the resort’s natural surroundings and present players with a series of unique challenges. Tournaments hosted: Portuguese Open (1976, 1984-86, 1988-90, 2001) Website: www.quintadolago.com

Location: Óbidos, Portugal Venue: Bom Sucesso is a unique resort, north of Lisbon, where modern design and architecture blend with the natural beauty of the Óbidos lagoon. The 18-hole Donald Steel-design rides the region’s rugged slopes and offers striking sea views. A five-star hotel, with an extensive range of leisure facilities and services including a luxury spa, is currently under development. Website: www.guardiangolf.net

Location: Kent, England Venue: This venue hosted the 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championship and is reputed for outstanding service. The two championship courses, designed by Jack Nicklaus and his team, are noted for their fast and true greens. Tournaments hosted: Volvo World Matchplay Championship (2014 (pictured)), European Open (2008, 2009) Website: www.londongolf.co.uk

Location: Doncaster, UK Venue: The Yorkshire at Rossington Hall is being brought to life by the Rossington Hall Golf Developments consortium. The venue will offer a tournament quality 18-hole golf course – designed by former Ryder Cup legend Neil Coles, an additional 9-hole layout, as well as a clubhouse, leisure facilities and 500 aspirational homes set alongside the course. Website: www.rossingtonhall.co.uk


Estonian Golf & Country Club

Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa

Golf Club St. Leon-Rot

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

Maxx Royal Belek Golf Resort

Mount Juliet Estate

Location: Tallinn, Estonia Venue: With views of the Gulf of Finland and situated in a rural coastal environment beside the Baltic Sea, Estonian Golf & Country Club is home to two courses, with the Sea Course rated among the Top 100 Courses in Europe by Golf World magazine. Tournaments hosted: OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup European Qualifier (2009) Website: www.egcc.ee

Location: Rome, Italy Venue: Located 10 miles from the centre of Rome, Marco Simone Golf & Country Club boasts an 18-hole championship course – set to be remodelled ahead of The 2022 Ryder Cup – a nine-hole layout and a stunning 11th century castle. Tournaments hosted: Tisettanta Italian Open (1994) Website: www.golfmarcosimone.com

Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort

Location: Provence, France Venue: It boasts Golf World’s Best Golf Resort in Continental Europe, plus two championship courses, inspired by the natural beauty of the Provençal landscape, which frames this member of The Leading Hotels of the World. Tournaments hosted: French Riviera Masters – Senior Tour (2012-14, 2015) Website: www.en.terre-blanche.com

Location: Marbella, Spain Venue: Located in the rolling hills of southern Spain, Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa is a threetime host of the Volvo World Match Play Championship. Its acclaimed 18-hole course, designed by American Cabell Robinson, is regularly ranked among the best layouts in Spain. Tournaments hosted: Volvo World Matchplay Championship (2009, 2011 (pictured), 2012) Website: www.fincacortesin.com

Location: Belek, Turkey Venue: Host to three Turkish Airlines Opens, the course lays within a picturesque pine forest and features large lakes and strategic greens. The venue, which also features a 5-star Maxx Royal Resorts hotel, offers outstanding practice facilities, including a fully-floodlit back nine. Tournaments hosted: Turkish Airlines Open (2013, 2014, 2015 (pictured)) Website: www.montgomeriemaxxroyal.com

Tróia Resort

Location: Tróia, Portugal Venue: Located south of Lisbon, Tróia Resort is home to a Robert Trent Jones Snr golf course cut between pines and sand hills, with striking sea views. Ranked among Golf World’s Top 100 European courses, this former Portuguese Open host boasts 5* and 4* hotels and a growing real estate development. Tournaments hosted: Portuguese Open (1983) Website: troiaresort.pt

Location: Heidelberg, Germany Venue: Golf Club St. Leon-Rot is home to two championship courses, a nine-hole academy layout and a five-hole Bambini course, all of which have received numerous accolades and awards including the ‘Most Popular Golf Course in Germany’ on multiple occasions. Tournaments hosted: Deutsche Bank – SAP Open (1999, 2001, 2002 (pictured), 2004) Website: www.gc-slr.de

Location: County Kilkenny, Ireland Venue: Set amid rolling pastures and woodland, the Jack Nicklaus course at Mount Juliet Estate opened in 1991 and has played host to a trio of Irish Opens and the 2002 and 2004 WGC American Express Championship. Tournaments hosted: Irish Open 1993-1995, WGC American Express Championship (2002, 2004) Website: www.mountjuliet.ie

Follow in the footsteps of the world’s leading players by taking to the fairways of these iconic global golf destinations for an unforgettable experience.

www.europeantour.com/ destinations Follow us @ET_Destinations



By Thomas Pieters

100 Aroeira (No.1) (


Lisbon, Portugal. Frank Pennink.

99 La Manga (West) ( ▼ 6) Cartagena, Spain. Dave Thomas.

Design 18.1 Setting 15.8 Playability 12.8 Holes 7.0 Presentation 14.0 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 74.9

Design 18.9 Setting 15.8 Playability 12.0 Holes 7.6 Presentation 14.1 Consistency 6.6 TOTAL 75.0

CB A delightful round among towering pines. Not sure why it is talked about so little, because it is a classy woodland with plenty to like. GW VERDICT Often under-rated, but not by us: stays in the 100 for a second consecutive list and this pedigree course slithering between Woburnesque timber will not disappoint any visitors.

PB Should be further up the list; it is much more exciting and challenging than other courses among the 50-100 of the ranking. CB Real personality. Sits on raunchy terrain. GW VERDICT The surprise entry of 2015 stays in. Not even the best known in its own resort...but we like the distinctive test of this woodland.

98 Pedrena NEW ENTRY

97 Royal Ostend NEW ENTRY

Design 19.3 Setting 16.6 Playability 12.6 Holes 7.2 Presentation 13.1 Consistency 6.6 TOTAL 75.4

Design 18.2 Setting 17.6 Playability 12.6 Holes 7.8 Presentation 13.2 Consistency 6.0 TOTAL 75.4

AE A Colt gem. Par 3s shine and lack of length is made up by clever bunkering. Fabulous views. PG Conditioning very good, but very fast greens don’t work with some of the slopes. GW VERDICT Short holes are strong – typical of Colt and the par-4 8th and 14th are excellent. An astute renovation could see it as high as the 60s.

CB Fifth to 10th is as close to a GB&I links than anywhere else I’ve seen on the continent. JB A varied and fun links experience. XC The only real links in Belgium. GW VERDICT Parkland start and finish has been opened up through tree removal. Road crossings not ideal but it has a mesmeric seaside section.

96 Linna ( ▼ 2)

94 Royal Waterloo (La Marache) (▲ 1)

Design 18.8 Setting 14.9 Playability 12.0 Holes 6.9 Presentation 15.8 Consistency 7.1 TOTAL 75.5

Design 19.7 Setting 14.0 Playability 12.9 Holes 7.2 Presentation 14.7 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 75.7

H-JW A journey through Finland: trees, water, colourful houses, rich grass and a tranquil calm. CB A stout woodland over undulating terrain and just enough finesse to keep its place in the 100. GW VERDICT Neat course and well-routed among mature trees, Linna is so peaceful you can hear your ball drop on the green.

XC Belgium’s number four in my view. H-JW A thorough revision by Martin Hawtree in 2005 brings this course into the Top 100. But even the layout of his father Fred was impressive. GW VERDICT Soothing parkland consolidates its place in the 100 after entering for the first time in 2015. Unspectacular but solid mature course.

Pedrena, Spain. Colt, Williams.

Hameenlinna, Finland. Tim Lobb/EGD.

10 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Ostend, Belgium. S Dunn, M Hawtree.

Brussels, Belgium. Fred Hawtree.

Limburg is my favourite. It’s a shame it’s not a bit longer so we could possibly have a tournament there. It’s in a nature reserve so you can’t change anything about it. It’s a beautiful course with purple heather in the summer. It has lots of lovely holes – some great short holes, and strong long holes. Royal Antwerp is where I play, and it’s good for my game because it is tight, so I have to be good to hit the fairways. They’ve changed the greens and bunkers a little and it is always in great condition as it is very private. In the summer it is good to practise there. The nine extra holes are nice too. Royal Zoute I like too, although it is a bit short for us these days – but for amateurs it is great. Royal Waterloo I am less a fan of as it is a bit too hilly. Ravenstein is beautiful, way too short for us, but beautiful; we used to have a lot of competitions there when I was younger. My favourite in the world is Pebble Beach. It is the only course where I remember every hole. The views there are just amazing. And I also really like Butler National in Chicago because it is the hardest course I’ve ever played. It is almost 8,000 yards off the tips. Ridiculous, but good preparation for a US Open. I prefer links courses generally – I really liked Troon, but didn’t get the right experience [weather] for Royal County Down when we were there. It was a shame because it looked amazing. n Thomas Pieters starred

in the 2016 Ryder Cup.



The National

Belek, Turkey. David Jones, David Feherty.

Design 18.6 Setting 14.1 Playability 12.6 Holes 6.8 Presentation 16.6 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 75.7

CB Really not sure why The National has not been either in the Top 100 before or flies so much under the radar. My second favourite of the Belek courses and in my top 70 on the continent. JB The second best course in Belek behind only its sister course Carya. GW VERDICT The original course in Belek finally makes it into the Top 100! We admit we should not have taken so long to realise its quality, but now it is there, this classy parkland is likely to drop anchor.

WHY BELEK’S ORIGINAL FINALLY MADE IT INTO THE TOP 100 This is one of those occasions when we simply must admit we have previously assessed a course incorrectly. To pretend otherwise is a

nonsense. While Belek has always been well represented in Top 100s, The National has never made the cut. And while it has further improved its

conditioning of late, it is a course that ought to have graced the Top 100 at some point before – especially when you see some of the names that

have. Quite why it is so under-rated – and not just by us, it must be said – is a mystery. This is one of Belek’s best-designed courses, full of variety to

its holes and lots of interest round the greens. Indeed, you could easily play it and sister course Carya for a week and not be close to being bored.


93 Quinta do Lago (North) ( ▼ 1)

92 Thracian Cliffs ( ▼ 12)

91 Visby NEW ENTRY

Design 17.5 Setting 13.3 Playability 14.3 Holes 6.9 Presentation 16.7 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 75.7

Design 14.9 Setting 18.8 Playability 12.8 Holes 8.5 Presentation 13.3 Consistency 7.4 TOTAL 75.7

Design 15.8 Setting 17.2 Playability 13.6 Holes 7.7 Presentation 14.1 Consistency 7.3 TOTAL 75.7

CB A course for this era. It now rewards good shots but doesn’t spell disaster for poor ones. One of the list’s most forgiving courses and this template will be copied elsewhere. Terrific nick. GW VERDICT Stays in the 90s after entering the Top 100 following its big 2014 makeover. Visually appealing as well as highly playable.

H-JW One of the most spectacular in Europe. Some holes seem to lie in the sea (the par-3 6th), others sit higher with spectacular views. GW VERDICT Continental Europe’s answer to Old Head of Kinsale in Ireland. Compromises in the design as a result of the skittish property... but its drama and scenery have few global peers.

H-JW A must for those who care for aesthetics. Pine, birch and heather plus a real links feel. BL Very beautiful. From most of the holes you can see and feel the sea. GW VERDICT On our radar in 2015 but its exposed location saw it suffer with its greens. Happily now healthy, it deservedly enters the list.

89 Amendoeira (Faldo) (

88 Crans sur Sierre ( ▼ 11)

Almancil, Portugal. Welling/McGinley.

90 Cornelia (Prince) ( ▼ 16)

Kavarna, Bulgaria. Gary Player.

Visby, Sweden. Pierre Fulke/Adam Mednick.


Belek, Turkey. Sir Nick Faldo.

Silves, Portugal. Sir Nick Faldo.

Design 18.6 Setting 14.7 Playability 12.6 Holes 6.9 Presentation 15.7 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 75.7

Design 18.6 Setting 15.4 Playability 11.1 Holes 7.0 Presentation 16.6 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 75.9

Design 15.9 Setting 17.8 Playability 12.8 Holes 7.7 Presentation 15.3 Consistency 6.4 TOTAL 75.9

H-JW Sir Nick has used the dense forest here as a strategic target and makes a comparatively short course tricky with its greens. GW VERDICT Excellent conditioning and some sporty par 4s keep this Belek course – formed by combining the Gaius and Tiberius nines at this 27-hole resort – in the list.

H-JW Mental strength and playing technique were the key to Nick Faldo’s playing success. The same is needed in this super-modern facility. CB Part of a swish Oceanico resort, this is every inch the robust modern championship course. GW VERDICT Elevation changes characterise a bold course among the Algarve’s orange rocks.

H-JW For decades, the host of the Swiss Open at around 1,600 meters altitude above the Rhone Valley yet amazingly flat over long distances. GW VERDICT The setting is everything, and surpassed by few in this list. But there isn’t enough technical merit for our panel to stop this iconic Tour venue falling into the 80s.

86 Holstebro (Forest) (

85 PGA National (Lakes) ( ▼ 44)

87 Moliets (



Crans-Montana, Switz. Nicholson, Ballesteros.

Biarritz, France. Trent Jones Snr.

Brandsbjergvej, Denmark. Eric Schnack.

Design 17.5 Setting 15.8 Playability 13.3 Holes 7.8 Presentation 15.3 Consistency 6.2 TOTAL 75.9

Design 18.2 Setting 14.8 Playability 13.0 Holes 6.9 Presentation 15.9 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 76.0

Design 18.4 Setting 14.9 Playability 13.1 Holes 6.7 Presentation 15.9 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 76.0

PG The holes out by the shore are the most enjoyable. Some vast distances between green and tee distances are a drawback. H-JW Beautiful mix of links and pine course. Best holes are located on the beach on the way back. GW VERDICT Its beachside holes on the back nine are some of the best in this entire list.

H-JW A round here is a peaceful and interesting experience. Precisely drawn tee shots are required to negotiate the dog-legs. BL A woodland-heathland course with a lot of good holes, especially on the last nine. One of the strengths is a great feeling of space. GW VERDICT Solid, low-profile Top 100 fixture.

H-JW The better of the two courses from the hand of new star designer Kyle Phillips. CB In excellent condition, has some memorable holes, but I much preferred its sister course... GW VERDICT Very solid parkland routed around the clubhouse and hotel that makes this, along with the Links, a fantastic play-and-stay option.

12 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Malmo, Sweden. Kyle Phillips.

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The National was the first course in Belek and is now part of a world-class resort.

pened in 1994, the National Golf Club was designed by Ryder Cup Player David Feherty and Senior Tour player David Jones. It was the first course to be built in Belek, and was so well-received that it began the incredible popularity enjoyed by the area ever since. And while the many courses built since have added to Belek’s depth – including highly-regarded sister course Carya – The National remains one of the finest.


It now boasts an impressive 27 holes, with the nine-hole Ada course being added to the existing Irmak and Tuna nines. The most naturallooking golf course in the area, The National hosted Turkey’s first international professional golf tournament in 1996 – a European Senior Tour event. In addition, it has staged six Ladies European Tour events, including the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open, as well as several Challenge Tour events. As a home of golf in Turkey,

When The National came under the Regnum umbrella, it not only meant it now had a world-class sister course (Carya) – it also paired it with

luxury accommodation too. Regnum Carya is one of the finest of the amazing hotels in Belek. It boasts opulence and amenities wherever you look,

National has produced 70 per cent of the Turkish national team. With its homely ‘lived in’ Britishstyle clubhouse and over 100 members, National is the only the course where you can feel a ‘club’ atmosphere. There is also a 40-bay driving range, TaylorMade equipment to hire and PGA Pros on hand to give advice. Q CONTACT DETAILS

t: +90 242 725 46 20 w: nationalturkey.com e: info@nationalturkey.com

from pools to sports facilities, from its own private beach and pier to an organic spa, and peerless kid’s club to five-star restaurants.


Sand Valley

Gdansk, Poland. Tilander/Ristola. Design 18.9 Setting 14.3 Playability 14.4 Holes 7.7 Presentation 13.9 Consistency 7.4 TOTAL 76.6

CB A real surprise. Ok, its name does suggest a sandy experience, and you do get that firm, fast-running experience. But the crazy greens, the width that makes angles so interesting, and the variety of holes is all a pleasant eyebrow-raising experience. In Poland! GW VERDICT The only aspect of Sand Valley that we aren’t absolutely sure everyone will love are the greens. They are funky... seriously funky. And if you hated the originals at St Andrews’ Castle, you’ll not relish many of these. We enjoyed them thogh, and think others would too. This is a seriously high-calibre course.

‘IT BLEW ME AWAY’ Sand Valley is a remarkable sand-based inland links. It is unlike anything else I’ve witnessed in the United Kingdom. It blew me away with its lunar-like landscape of wide fairways, vast waste bunkers and bewitching greens. I loved so many shots on so many of the memorable holes.” – Golf writer and author Kevin Markham



I am a Harry Colt enthusiast so love anything by him – as far afield as Saint Germain near Paris. Colt created courses 100 years ago when travelling was obviously much harder – but he did it, and has left some tremendous continental courses. I love those traditional courses, and we used to play a lot on tour. I won at Knokke (Royal Zoute) in 1993 when I beat Nick Faldo, Seve and so on – that is a great seaside course, even if it is not quite a links like Portrush. Utrecht in the Netherlands, where Colt was prolific, is good and so is The Kennemer, I’ve always liked it there. El Saler in Spain is brilliant – an absolutely superb design by Javier Arana – and if that is not in any continental top 10 there is something wrong. I think that’s my favourite in Spain. Les Bordes is awesome in France – Von Hagge is crazy! That is a tough course but it is also quite fair in that you can make life easy or difficult for yourself. Off the backs, it is a beast though, but I love it. I played Fontainebleau in a corporate day and it was really good – but I’ve not been to Morfontaine, which I know is supposed to be excellent. In Portugal I enjoyed Oitavos Dunes but really loved Troia. That is a proper course! n Darren Clarke won the

2011 Open and was 2016 Ryder Cup captain.

84 Costa Navarino (Dunes) (

Messinia, Greece. B Langer/R McMurray.


83 Castelconturbia (Blue/Yellow) ( ▼ 14) Borgomanero, Italy. Trent Jones Snr.

Design 17.2 Setting 18.1 Playability 14.0 Holes 6.7 Presentation 13.9 Consistency 6.7 TOTAL 76.6

Design 18.9 Setting 14.6 Playability 13.3 Holes 7.3 Presentation 14.9 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 76.6

H-JW It convinced with its natural feel, precise sense of proportions and fabulous sea views. JB Good without being absolutely great; the Bay may be more spectacular but a little ‘gimmicky’. GW VERDICT Its wonderful location helps (as it does for sister course the Bay) make this Langer and European Golf Design creation sparkle.

H-JW An early design Trent Jones in Europe with all its cleverness and inventiveness. Three loops of nine holes can be combined as desired. GW VERDICT Part of an easy-to-enjoy quiet resort, it has more charm around the green complexes than others of this era and ilk – and that helps keep it in the 100.

81 Kytaja (South East) (

80 Royal Antwerp (▲ 16)


Hyvinkää, Finland. Thomas McBroom.

Antwerp, Belgium. Willie Park/Tom Simpson.

Design 18.0 Setting 17.9 Playability 13.4 Holes 7.6 Presentation 13.3 Consistency 6.4 TOTAL 76.6

Design 20.0 Setting 14.2 Playability 13.3 Holes 7.2 Presentation 14.7 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 76.6

H-JW Typical of the country’s landscape; the first nine holes run through dense forests before during the route for home lake Kytäjä is in play. CB Looks pretty but has plenty of bite, especially on some of the uphill holes on the front nine. GW VERDICT Beautiful environment but it’s not just very pretty – plenty of good holes here too.

XC A great old lady of Belgian golf. H-JW Flat, but interesting with heather and ferns like Surrey. Europe’s best clubhouse food! GW VERDICT Willie Park and Tom Simpson’s work is still discernible through the routing and green complexes. A big leap – but rigourous tree management would easily get it even higher.

79 Winston (Championship) (▲ 11)

78 Fontana ( ▼ 5)

Design 18.1 Setting 16.0 Playability 13.1 Holes 7.9 Presentation 15.1 Consistency 6.5 TOTAL 76.7

Design 18.5 Setting 15.7 Playability 13.6 Holes 7.2 Presentation 15.1 Consistency 6.6 TOTAL 76.7

XC Far too low in the list. Hyper spectacular… H-JW Germany’s latest superstar! Tumultuous dunes from the 1st to the 18th. A canyon serves several holes and the fairways bounce with joy. Greens are exciting and amazing maintenance. GW VERDICT Manufactured, yes, but this distinctive new course really excited the panel.

H-JW Austria’s No.1 and a piece of Florida just outside Vienna. The final two holes are the best that Europe has to offer. GW VERDICT This Doug Carrick and HansGeorg Erhardt design is in superb condition and enjoys a fine setting. Only really falls because others around it in 2015 have risen markedly.

Schwerin, Germany. David Krause.

Oberwaltersdorf, Austria. Carrick/Erhardt.

Top 100 Continental Europe Golf World 15


NEW ENTRY Saint Emilionnais Bordeaux, France. Tom Doak.

77 76 La Reserva de Sotogrande (

Design 20.1 Setting 14.2 Playability 13.5 Holes 7.6 Presentation 13.8 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 76.7 PG Nicely routed in a valley lined by centenary oak trees with vineyards around the perimeter. Really nice flow to the routing and appears as if little earth was moved to achieve this. GW VERDICT Doak has worked relatively modest land predictably cleverly to produce a course that is always delightful. Here to stay.

75 Vasatorps (Tour) ( ▼ 6)

74 Penati (Heritage) (▲ 16)

Design 19.0 Setting 15.1 Playability 13.3 Holes 7.4 Presentation 15.3 Consistency 6.6 TOTAL 76.7

Design 18.9 Setting 13.8 Playability 13.4 Holes 7.0 Presentation 16.5 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 76.8

Design 20.0 Setting 15.0 Playability 13.8 Holes 7.3 Presentation 13.5 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 76.8

AE A showcase of modern Spanish golf: severe terrain which compromises the quality of the golf course, despite some standout holes. H-JW Large course with 16 downhill drives and enormous differences in elevation. GW VERDICT Beautiful views of the Mediterranean from a well-designed course on a difficult site.

BL Modern tournament course with a links feel. H-JW One of the best examples of an inland links. Dune-like rough and deep bunkers, plus fast fairways, reinforce this impression. GW VERDICT This big club has 45 holes and this is the premier 18, the absolute epitome of a robust modern parkland.

CB Davison made a super job of turning a good site into Slovakia’s only Top 100 course to date. Lots of lovely design touches among the pines. GW VERDICT We surprised many when the Heritage and not sister course the Nicklaus entered the list in 2015. This rise indicates we are confident we were correct with our boldness.

73 Chiberta ( ▼ 2)

72 Esbjerg (Marbæk) ( ▼ 10)

71 Santander ( ▼ 23)

Design 20.8 Setting 14.8 Playability 13.2 Holes 7.6 Presentation 13.8 Consistency 6.6 TOTAL 76.8

Design 18.9 Setting 14.8 Playability 13.5 Holes 7.4 Presentation 15.4 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 77.0

Design 18.9 Setting 13.6 Playability 13.0 Holes 7.0 Presentation 16.9 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 77.0

CB Simpson was a master at sympathetically using the land’s ebb and flow, as seen on the 7th. Great use of pots to protect the 4th and 5th. GW VERDICT Typical Simpson interest and a nice mix of sea holes and forest at the end. A little green and soft given the sandy site, but bunkering and width are admirable.

BL A beautiful heath and woodland course, usually in good condition. The North Sea is not so far away so the wind can be interesting. GW VERDICT Moved in 1975 to its current location of Marbæk, when this championship course was created by Frederik Dreyer. Winds attractively between pines and fescue rough.

AE A fine course, but with a very repetitive theme on greens (all with a spine in the middle) and holes (many cape-style dog legs). H-JW The first work by Rees Jones, the youngest son of ‘Old Robert’, in Europe. GW VERDICT Pleasant Madrid parkland but doesn’t hit the heights of the reshaped top 50.

Sotogrande, Spain. Cabell Robinson.


Biarritz, France. Tom Simpson.

16 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Helsingborg, Sweden. Hills & Forrest.

Jutland, Denmark. Frederik Dreyer.

Bratislava, Slovakia. Jonathan Davison.

Madrid, Spain. Rees Jones.




There are seven Dutch courses in the top 30 – but are they ranked correctly? A Tour winner advises...


think your selection of the best 30 courses is excellent, but the order of the Dutch courses is not quite how I would have it. My favourites are Hilversumsche, Noordwijkse and The Kennemer. The Hague is up there as well but it’s not quite to my taste compared to those others. So that tells you I don’t think you have your ranking quite right! Comparing Hilversumsche and De Pan illustrates why that is. De Pan to my mind has never improved in the past 20-30 years. It is great for pictures but playing wise it is short; it is a par 72 but plays like a 68. There are no real par 5s on the course any more and they haven’t really tried to adapt it to the modern game whereas Hilversumsche, perhaps because they had the Dutch Open, have changed and adapted through new tees and greens. It is how it should be; the game has changed whether you like or not, so you had better change with it. That is what Hilversumsche has done. De Pan is great for higher handicappers but not as challenging as it should be for singlefigure players. It is lovely, but not as good as it could be. A golf course should have everything in it, which means driving the ball well and having to shape it... draws, fades, high, low. That is what you need at Hilversumsche, as well as Kennemer and Noordwijkse to some degree. Eindhoven is good, but I’ve never loved it and it is a bit like De Pan as it hasn’t changed a lot. Harry Colt was a great designer who made a big impact in my country, but the game is so different now. This is of course a discussion for the club itself. Do they need to change it? The members are happy so maybe not if there’s no big tournament. But... single-figure handicappers can actually hit the ball quite a long way now, whereas in the early days it was only the pros who could hit a long way. Now with modern technology many more people can do that. Even a single or 15-handicap can hit it 300 yards! It is hard for architects, though, and perhaps almost impossible today to design a course for tournament play that also accommodates high-handicap amateurs. Of the other courses in my country,

18 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe


‘I like that you are elevating Rosendaelsche higher in your list – it’s my fourth favourite’ Rosendaelsche is a fantastic course that has held the Dutch Open but had not developed until recently into a more modern course. So I would say it is a better course than De Pan and Eindhoven because it is a little bit longer and they have made two new holes and really good practise facilities – so they are willing to change. I like that you are elevating it higher and higher in your list; it is my fourth favourite after Noordwijkse, Kennemer and Hilversumsche Noordwijkse and Kennemer are fairer than The Hague, which I don’t feel is that fair. They’ve changed the greens a little and I feel they have more variation now. The Kennemer has 27 holes although the composite course used for the Dutch Open is the best. The holes in the trees at Noordwijske make you think a little bit more; I like that it makes you think between a driver or maybe a two-iron. But Noordwijkse never plays like a real links to my mind – although they are trying to change it a bit now and make it a bit firmer with more roll-off areas around the greens – but it is quite green and soft. When people say “you have fantastic

links courses in your country” I disagree, because they are too soft to be a links in my opinion. They are fantastic and are in dunes and close to the sea but it is not a links course like you have in Britain, where you hit an 8-iron on to the green and it just bounces through the back! I don’t know why it is so soft... it rains as much in Britain as in the Netherlands. Maybe they use sprinklers more? The Dutch and the International are pretty good courses for the modern game and held the Dutch Open. They are not courses I come off and think “yes I need to go back as soon as possible” but they are both very solid. The International’s condition completely changes the way it plays but it has a lot of good holes. The Dutch has some good holes, some long holes and some variety but they are not quite as special as the older courses. You get what you see. Laage Vursche is a good but should have been 15 not 18 holes. Then it might belong to the top 10 in Holland. n Robert-Jan won the Dutch Amateur four times and beat Ernie Els to the ’03 Dubai Desert Classic


Unquestionably already the No.1 experience in Portugal – and soon to be much more…


et in over 1,000 acres of glorious countryside in Portugal’s unspoilt Eastern Algarve, Monte Rei Golf & Country Club is firmly established as one of the jewels in the crown of European golf. The centrepiece of Monte Rei’s attractions is its first Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Each hole is an individual design triumph, blending effortlessly into the natural canvas; from its ingeniously shaped and sculptured bunkers, to the attention to detail which makes every hole as remarkable as the next.

A fixture in any credible ranking of the Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe, Monte Rei has steadily made its way up Golf World’s definitive biennial list and has consistently been praised for the quality of its design, pristine conditioning, tranquil environment and service excellence both on and off the course. Monte Rei’s practice facilities are similarly impressive: pyramids of complimentary, top-quality balls await to help you loosen up before playing while there are unrivalled teaching facilities for members, guests and visitors to use.

The standard of service is unmistakably excellent and intervals between tee times are a generous 12 minutes so there is always time for you to fully appreciate this worldclass course. Monte Rei has secured a place of its own within the golf world. The North Course – the only Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in Portugal – will soon be joined by a second, also a Jack Nicklaus Signature. When the South Course opens for play in 2020, it will make this resort a true world-class golfing destination. Additional facilities including a new restaurant with

Advertorial Feature

The iconic clubhouse.


Poolside at Veranda.

The course that Jack built.

spectacular sea views will compliment the existing iconic clubhouse with its lounges, leisure facility and three restaurants to choose from. In fact, gastronomy is something that is taken very seriously at Monte Rei, with the resort’s cuisine overseen by Michelin-starred chef Albano Lourenço, one of the most respected chefs on the Portuguese culinary scene. Vistas, the resort’s signature restaurant, offers a complete gourmet experience, providing the ultimate in gastronomic delights paired with Portugal’s finest vintages from the impressive cellar created by the resident sommelier. As well as the forthcoming South Course, personally designed by Jack Nicklaus, the resort is also designing a new beach club, an idyllic and restful retreat on the nearby coast. Generously sized plots are available

Fine dining al-fresco

for sale, where owners can design their own private villa overlooking the stunning fairways of the North Course. Also available are very spacious, high specification linked and detached villas just a short walk from the clubhouse. And new for 2017 are the Clubhouse Residences, a collection of luxurious twobedroom apartments and three-bedroom penthouses with private terraces and farreaching views across the Jack Nicklaus North Course and the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon. Monte Rei offers a wide range of accommodation options for holiday and short-stay rentals for up to eight guests, from one-bedroom villas to four-bedroom villas with their own private pool. The operation offers services equal to those of a five-star hotel, including in-villa dining,

Special Golf World readers’ offer – the best way to enjoy all the special features of the Monte Rei: Q Three nights’ stay in a Luxury Linked Villa with two bedrooms. Q Daily breakfast. Q Three rounds of golf at Monte Rei including shared buggy and full VIP treatment. Q Signature Grill three-course dinner inclusive of Monte Rei selected drinks. Q Fine dining degustation menu at ‘Vistas’ including sommeliers’ wine pairing. Q Private Airport transfer each way. Q Travel from 15 November 2017 to 14 March 2018 for €895 per person based on four guests sharing. To make a reservation, email reservas@monterei.com

hotel-style housekeeping and turndown service, luxury toiletries from Molton Brown and a dedicated concierge service. The villas are just a few steps away from Veranda, the social focal point of the village, which houses a restaurant and bar, and features tennis courts and swimming pools, fully-equipped gym and spa facilities. Situated only 35 minutes from Faro Airport and 90 minutes from Seville Airport, Monte Rei is easily accessible and benefits from the Algarve’s wonderful yearround climate. Q


00 351 281 950 950




70 Biella ( ▼ 15)

69 Domaine Imperial ( ▼ 18)

Design 18.9 Setting 15.9 Playability 14.0 Holes 7.6 Presentation 13.7 Consistency 6.9 TOTAL 77.0

Design 18.8 Setting 14.9 Playability 13.7 Holes 7.7 Presentation 15.0 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 77.1

H-JW One of my favourite places. In the dense birch grove, it is located in a world of its own CB Tranquil, scenic and with several terrific holes after a twisting journey up the mountain. GW VERDICT Conditioning has a rustic hue and it would benefit from serious tree management, but still a very attractive, historic course.

H-JW By far the best Swiss course. Great location right on the lake’s shore. JB A little over-rated in my view; not as many memorable holes as there could be. GW VERDICT Typically extravagant Dye design with large bunkers and tricky greens, but didn’t catch the panel’s imagination as it has previously.

Ivrea, Italy. John Morrison.

Geneva, Switzerland. Pete Dye.

El Saler is the one that comes into my mind straight away. It is a great course because it makes you think and hit great shots, but it is also very beautiful. Then I would also say Sotogrande, a traditional Trent Jones design, and maybe Las Brisas, which has just had a lot of work carried out on it. It’s very good for any standard. Valderrama must be mentioned. It is also in amazing condition always. Always. Seville is nice too, and not many people talk about it. Santander is my favourite in Madrid. n Miguel Angel Jimenez

is a multiple Ryder Cup player and Tour winner.

68 Antalya (PGA Sultan) ( ▼ 12)

67 Barseback (Masters) ( ▼ 18)


Design 18.8 Setting 14.0 Playability 11.8 Holes 7.1 Presentation 17.9 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 77.1

Design 18.2 Setting 15.4 Playability 13.1 Holes 8.1 Presentation 15.2 Consistency 7.1 TOTAL 77.1

By Henrik Stenson

CB One of the list’s most challenging courses. A proper test for anyone (as it proved with Rory et al), so you need to choose your tees wisely. GW VERDICT One of the best-conditioned courses in the Top 100. Really solid resort golf of tree-lined fairways, water hazards and big bankers. This is championship-standard golf.

PB The ‘links’ holes along the shore are not that exciting and the level of strategic value on the rest is not high enough to be in the top 50. H-JW Superbly located in a seaside pine forest. GW VERDICT Moves out of the top 50 with some reluctance because its pines-seaside mix is hardly unappealing – so well worth the visit.

66 Royal Obidos ( ▼ 9)

64 Halmstad (North) ( ▼ 1)

Design 18.8 Setting 14.5 Playability 13.0 Holes 7.7 Presentation 15.4 Consistency 7.7 TOTAL 77.1

Design 19.9 Setting 13.2 Playability 13.0 Holes 7.8 Presentation 15.5 Consistency 7.8 TOTAL 77.2

H-JW A memorable round on Seve’s last design with nearly 10 large or small lakes and sometimes magnificent views of the Atlantic. GW VERDICT Hasn’t caught the imagination as it might, and has a new superstar (West Cliffs) on its doorstep now too. But a perfectly enjoyable modern course on rolling terrain.

PB A nice old-fashioned parkland course, without being really, really special. BL A classic forest course on sand. Every hole has its own space among high pine trees. Hole 16, a lovely par 3, is a fine signature here. GW VERDICT Pedigree parkland does well to stay in the top 70 as others of this ilk are falling.

Belek, Turkey. David Jones/EGD.

Obidos, Portugal. Seve Ballesteros.

22 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Lund, Sweden. Ture Bruce.

Halmstad, Sweden. Sundblom, Skold, Pennink.


There is one proper links course in Sweden and that is Falsterbo, which is really lovely. There are actually three courses down on a little peninsular there, with Ljunghusens and Flommens too. They are all really enjoyable – although Falsterbo is the best because of the holes in the sand dunes. I grew up close to Barseback so of course I am going to love that – it’s a mix of woodland and seaside. Bro Hof near Stockholm has a lovely setting, and is a strong modern course. There are lots of other good courses all over Sweden but those would be the strongest in my mind. n Henrik Stenson won the

2016 Open.


Lofoten Links


Lofoten Island, Norway. Jeremy Turner.

Design 15.8 Setting 19.6 Playability 12.0 Holes 9.5 Presentation 13.2 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 77.1

CB By some distance the most incredible location for a course I’ve played – and among many, many others I’ve played Old Head, Turnberry, Nefyn, Bro Hof Slott, Kiawah Island and Cape Kidknappers. Three all-world holes along the coast start it off and while there are some quieter moments, it is largely breathtaking stuff. Utterly spellbinding and will continue to improve. GW VERDICT It is no exaggeration to say if we placed Lofoten 40 places higher in this list and you went there knowing that, you wouldn’t think we’d lost our minds. It’s true that some will go and think it isn’t quite right, that while the setting is awesome the course is compromised excessively. But we are fairly confident the vast majority would go here and think we’ve been conservative with this entry position. It enters now, even though it’s been open for several years, because the full 18-hole course is now finished and settled down, thanks to Herculean efforts from Ballybunion native Jerry Mulvihill, the head greenkeeper. Go for yourself and give us your verdict...

‘IT IS BETTER AND MORE FUN THAN MOST MODERN COURSES’ Lofoten is so remote and such an experience to get to that the narrow fairways and odd design

features are somewhat forgiven. But more than that, there are a number of really excellent holes

and really excellent green complexes. With a little more polish (and give me three design mulligans) it

could rate up there with Europe’s best. Not quite there yet, but better and more fun than the vast

majority of modern courses in Europe. – Renowned architect and writer Darius Oliver


63 Las Brisas (▲ 16)

Marbella, Spain. Trent Jones, Kyle Phillips.

Malmo, Sweden. Kyle Phillips.

62 PGA National (Links) ( ▼ 7)

61 Verdura (East) (

Design 20.5 Setting 12.0 Playability 13.6 Holes 7.8 Presentation 15.5 Consistency 7.8 TOTAL 77.2

Design 19.8 Setting 13.6 Playability 13.2 Holes 7.8 Presentation 15.2 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 77.2

Design 16.4 Setting 18.5 Playability 13.5 Holes 8.1 Presentation 14.2 Consistency 6.6 TOTAL 77.3

AE The new Las Brisas I liked quite a lot. It has improved a lot, especially on the second nine. H-JW Compact, impressive championship track. GW VERDICT Significant rise for this prestigious name in Spanish golf after a thorough restoration under the eye of Kyle Phillips. We will document its upgrade in more detail over the winter.

XC Better than the Lakes in my opinion. PB More exciting, aesthetically pleasing and challenging then the Lakes course. GW VERDICT A correction to the 2015 ranking sees the Links comfortably leapfrog the Lakes. We are now sure this inland course on rumpled fairways is in a different class to its solid sister.

XC Great location for this modern course. H-JW Superbly located on the sea with detailed and meticulous work by Kyle Phillips. JB Both courses good, the setting magnificent. GW VERDICT Its spectacular location – with views to Malta – sees it hold steady in the early 60s. Verdura’s West could so easily be in too.

60 Lykia Links ( ▼ 17)

59 Sand ( ▼ 6)

58 El Prat (Rosa) ( ▼ 22)

Design 16.2 Setting 18.7 Playability 13.6 Holes 8.6 Presentation 13.2 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 77.3

Design 19.5 Setting 13.2 Playability 13.7 Holes 7.9 Presentation 15.2 Consistency 7.8 TOTAL 77.3

Design 20.4 Setting 13.6 Playability 11.8 Holes 7.9 Presentation 16.6 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 77.3

H-JW Probably the only classic links in the Mediterranean away from bustly and busy Belek. CB Offers something totally different from Belek and indeed elsewhere. Well worth getting here. GW VERDICT Distinctive seaside course with some crazy greens, memorable holes and worldclass Mediterranean views.

PB Some holes are built on sand dunes and look like some great links even ‘though it is inland. H-JW An inland links in tumultuous dunes, with deep bunkers and gaping dips in the fairways. GW VERDICT Tactically demanding holes on a sweeping inland course that found more favour than other better-known Swedish tracks.

AE Relentless test. Narrow fairways, abundant bunkering and small greens flowing through a mature pine forest. Excellent maintenance. PG Far too many bunkers spoilt it a little for me. GW VERDICT Make no mistake, this is a fine course (a combination of the five loops) but it was deemed to be a little overly taxing.

57 Sperone ( ▼ 17)

56 Quinta do Lago (South) (▲ 2)

55 Las Colinas (▲ 23)

Design 16.7 Setting 18.7 Playability 13.4 Holes 8.3 Presentation 13.4 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 77.5

Design 18.9 Setting 14.0 Playability 13.5 Holes 7.9 Presentation 16.4 Consistency 6.8 TOTAL 77.5

Design 19.0 Setting 13.7 Playability 14.0 Holes 7.7 Presentation 15.6 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 77.5

H-JW Breathtaking place at the southern tip of the island. It smells of flowers and your eyes can not get enough of the Mediterranean’s beauty. JB I would have scored it 25 out of 20 for setting if I could. GW VERDICT Location, as even this small image shows, is everything for this Corsican beauty.

H-JW Revisions to the South have been especially good. Some nice views too. CB It’s true there are a couple of weaker holes but otherwise this is very strong resort golf. GW VERDICT An interesting climb for the classic resort fare of the South, which has held off its sister the revamped North as QdL’s No.1.

H-JW Slightly hilly with lakes and charming bunkers. Residences are kept at a distance. JB Under-rated… Cabell Robinson at his best. GW VERDICT A big jump for a modern course astutely laid out by Robinson to suit club golfers not tour pros. We ranked it too low in 2015 and, also flawlessly presented, it deserves a key rise.

Belek, Turkey. Perry Dye.

Corsica, France. Trent Jones Snr.

24 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Jönköping, Sweden. Hills & Forrest.

Almancil, Portugal. William Mitchell.

Sicily, Italy. Kyle Phillips.


Barcelona, Spain. Greg Norman.

Alicante, Spain. Cabell Robinson.




châteaux course

vignes course

Bill Coore (USA) - 1989

Rod Whitman (CAN) - 1991

w w w . g o l f d u m e d o c r e s o r t . c o m ENGLAND’S CONTINENTAL EUROPE’S


TOP 100 COURSES COURSES2015/16 2015

TOP 100 COURSES COURSES2015/16 2015




training center Bernard Pascassio


Situated among the vineyards of the MÈdoc between Bordeaux and the spectacular Atlantic coast beaches, Golf du Medocís 36-hole resort offers access to some of the ˋQHVW JROI DQG ZLQH WRXUV LQ VRXWK west France. Only 20 minutes from Bordeaux Merignac international airport, the resortís elegant hotel is merely yards from the 1st tee of both highlyregarded courses. For golf, gastronomy and wine tasting, a visit to Golf du Medoc Resort on the wine route is a must.




Chemin de Courmateau - 33290 Le Pian MÈdoc T. 33 (0)5 56 70 31 31 - F. 33(0)5 56 70 78 78 contact@golfdumedocresort.com

wine tasting


54 Neguri (▲ 13)

53 Kongsvinger (▲ 6)

52 Golf du Medoc (Vignes) (

Design 20.7 Setting 13.3 Playability 13.8 Holes 7.7 Presentation 14.6 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 77.6

Design 20.2 Setting 13.1 Playability 13.0 Holes 8.1 Presentation 15.4 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 77.8

Design 20.3 Setting 13.9 Playability 13.0 Holes 8.0 Presentation 15.3 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 78.0

AE Brilliant, compact routing which flows really well makes it a perennial favourite. Intriguing green complexes and a very tough set of par 5s. H-JW Javier Arana designed only good courses in his short life. GW VERDICT A lot of affection for this clever coastal course on the outskirts of Bilbao.

PB Beautiful, challenging and exciting course with a very high aesthetic value. Wide variety of good holes and at least 15 of them any course would be proud of calling their signature. BL Follows land among the pine forest very well. GW VERDICT Entered the list as a surprise in 2013 but has risen in both rankings since then.

PG Lovely – just keep off the fruit of the vignes until you’ve finished! CB In my top 50. High-class sand-based golf. GW VERDICT A high new entry in 2015, it maintains that position two years on. Simply, don’t visit Golf du Médoc (which is highly recommended) and miss its ‘second’ course.

51 Seignosse ( ▼ 5)

Biarritz, France. Robert von Hagge.

50 Puerto de Hierro (Arriba) (▲20) Madrid, Spain. Simpson, Colt, Phillips.

49 Ravenstein (Old) ( ▼ 14)

Design 21.0 Setting 13.6 Playability 12.0 Holes 8.2 Presentation 15.4 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 78.2

Design 21.4 Setting 12.7 Playability 14.0 Holes 7.8 Presentation 14.8 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 78.3

Design 19.1 Setting 15.8 Playability 14.1 Holes 7.5 Presentation 14.7 Consistency 7.1 TOTAL 78.3

PG Who said golf was meant to be fair? XC Some splendid holes at this challenging course in dense forest. JB Good variety of holes, and tough. PB One of my favorite parklands in Europe. GW VERDICT Well designed, tough, and spacious with several seriously exciting holes.

AE Fabulous routing, great par 3s and an excellent set of greens on an undulating site. GW VERDICT The most private club in Spain is home to an historic and cerebral woodland course touched by masterful designers Simpson, Colt and Phillips. This is a widely-touted rise. Could easily be joined by sister course the Abajo.

XC King Leopold II’s wonderful playgarden. H-JW Delightful parkland course in the exclusive Brussels suburb of Tervuren. GW VERDICT A real treat to play this exclusive clever parkland with tremendous architectural history. A little overgrown now and didn’t excite the panel sufficiently to avoid a fall though.

48 Royal Bled (▲ 17)

47 Royal Park (Trent Jones) ( ▼ 7)

46 Son Gual ( ▼ 4)

Design 17.5 Setting 17.6 Playability 14.0 Holes 7.2 Presentation 14.9 Consistency 7.1 TOTAL 78.3

Design 18.1 Setting 16.0 Playability 12.5 Holes 7.4 Presentation 17.2 Consistency 7.1 TOTAL 78.3

Design 18.0 Setting 15.2 Playability 12.5 Holes 7.4 Presentation 18.4 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 78.5

H-JW Stunning views of the Julian Alps. CB Recent heavy investment has transformed it into one of the continent’s elite again. GW VERDICT A significant rise after a thorough renovation, the top 30 is not beyond it as it settles down. A full assessment of Royal Bled will appear in the magazine in the next few months.

BL The holes are interesting and varied with nice ones near the lakes around the clubhouse. CB Italian Open venue is every inch the modern championship course. Immaculate and testing. GW VERDICT Really strong modern course that has phases of open parkland as well as tighter woodland, hence its moniker I Roveri, ‘the oaks’.

H-JW Visitors can expect an atmospheric and technical challenge. Outstanding maintenance. CB At few venues in Europe do you think a Tour event could be staged as easily tomorrow if it had to than here. GW VERDICT A robust championship course characterised by water and sand.

Bilbao, Spain. Javier Arana.

Bled, Slovenia. Donald Harradine, Swan.

26 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Granli, Norway. Peter Nordwall.

Turin, Italy. Trent Jones Snr.

Bordeaux, France. Rod Whitman.


Brussels, Belgium. Tom Dunn, Tom Simpson.

Majorca, Spain. Thomas Himmel.


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Parnu Bay

Parnu, Estonia. Lassi Pekka Tilander. Design 18.0 Setting 17.0 Playability 13.5 Holes 8.1 Presentation 15.4 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 79.2 CB My affection for Parnu Bay began as I drove past the enticing Par 3 course next to the entrance – which is absolutely gorgeous – and the main course did not disappoint. A bit like another new entry, Sand Valley (another with Pekka Tilander influence), the greens are funky, but they fit into the minimalist feel. Sandy fairways run between tall pines for the most part, before a seaside stretch to finish. There are memorable hole from start to finish. GW VERDICT In any of the previous three Continental Top 100s we have compiled, this would be the highest new entry. It just happens to have opened in the same period as an instant superstar. Parnu Bay will become a bucket list Continental European destination too – and could easily be a top-30 course before the decade is out.

WHY ESTONIA’S SPECTACULAR NEW ENTRY IS THE REAL DEAL The aerial images that you see of Parnu Bay are indubitably breathtaking – but in my view are not necessary to make this new course enticing.

Aerial photography in low dawn or dusk light gives average courses an appeal they simply wouldn’t otherwise have. At Parnu Bay, I believe

28 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

they actually underplay what has been created here. Parnu Bay is certainly spectacular and its closing seaside stretch invigorating, but the

reason it has got so high so early in this Top 100 is because it also has a serious side; this is not a golf Disneyland, it is a proper, cleverly-designed

championship course with bags of nuance and charm, challenge and playability, strategic value... and fun. – Chris Bertram



‘MY PLAN FOR QUINTA NORTH’ Myself and Beau [Welling] wanted people to enjoy the whole experience on the North course at Quinta do Lago. We all know how difficult this game is and while we didn’t want to change the template or the routing that has been there for 40-odd years we wanted to keep that but upgrade it and bring it into the modern world. We feel we’ve done that with the renovation that opened in 2014. We’ve increased landing areas so that balls gather onto the fairways rather than run off the sides of them into rough. Also we’ve made it as ‘visual’ as possible, so you can see where you are going. The 18th is a great example; before, the green was tucked away upon the hill and all you could see was the top of the flag. Now we have brought the green down and you can see 85 per cent of that green. You could see zero per cent of the green before and we have tried to something similar throughout the North course. This kind of thing, we hope, brings people back to the course. We want people to enjoy the challenge, feel they’ve left a few shots out there and want to come back and try it again some time. n Paul McGinley was the

2014 Ryder Cup captain and re-designed Quinta do Lago’s North course with American architect Beau Welling.

44 Sevilla ( ▼ 18)

43 Sporting Club (Faldo) ( ▼ 13)

Design 17.9 Setting 15.8 Playability 13.7 Holes 7.6 Presentation 16.6 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 79.2

Design 18.3 Setting 15.4 Playability 13.0 Holes 8.2 Presentation 16.8 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 79.2

AE Perfectly good, but a little uninspired with not as many exciting holes as you would want. H-JW The course is as colourful and cheerful as the city of Seville itself. GW VERDICT Solid rather than spectacular placing for this Olazabal design that didn’t get the panel’s pulse racing to keep it in the top 30.

HJ–W An open course with 133 pot bunkers; it is considered one of the hardest in Germany. JB Perfectly good, but not sure the Palmer course here isn’t actually better! GW VERDICT Well-built modern course that is part of a 54-hole resort one hour east of Berlin. The pick of the bunch is the commanding Faldo.

42 Finca Cortesin ( ▼ 12)

41 Vilamoura (Old) (▲ 3)

Design 17.9 Setting 15.7 Playability 13.2 Holes 8.2 Presentation 16.7 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 79.2

Design 18.7 Setting 16.7 Playability 13.2 Holes 8.4 Presentation 14.8 Consistency 7.7 TOTAL 79.5

AE An excellent piece of design in that property. CB Tremendous effort by the under-rated Robinson to get an awkward site into the top 50. GW VERDICT Leapfrogged by some high risers rather than not being well regarded by us. A dramatic course and expensive recent work on the greens will enhance its conditioning further.

CB I love it here. It is tight between the pines but choose your tees wisely and it allows you to select with freedom the club you hit your drives with – and thus enjoy the tasteful experience. GW VERDICT Notable little rise for the Grand Old Lady of the Algarve, whose enduring class has repelled most of the area’s modern courses.

Seville, Spain. Jose Maria Olazabal.

Malaga, Spain. Cabell Robinson.

40 Royal Limburg (▲ 22)

Schamutzelsee, Germany. Sir Nick Faldo.

Vilamoura, Portugal. Pennink/Hawtree.

39 Penha Longa (Atlantico) ( ▼ 7)

Houthalen, Belgium. Fred Hawtree.

Estoril, Portugal. Trent Jones Snr/Phillips.

Design 18.8 Setting 16.9 Playability 13.5 Holes 8.4 Presentation 14.8 Consistency 7.1 TOTAL 79.5

Design 18.9 Setting 16.9 Playability 12.8 Holes 8.2 Presentation 14.8 Consistency 7.9 TOTAL 79.5

XC Far to low in the 2015 ranking. Very good. JB Could be even better with more variety. GW VERDICT Royal Limburg, as it is now known given it’s now 50 years old, deserves this notable rise. A classy heathland of tall pines, heather and firm fairways, it has a super site and a touch more variety would make it a top-20 contender.

PG You would think that with such a hilly course, the designer would spare you further pain when you reach the greens... not Trent Jones! PB The best course in the Lisbon area. GW VERDICT Great challenge on most holes. Variations in the notably undulating landscape demand good tactics and ball striking.

Top 100 Continental Europe Golf World 29

Advertorial Feature

THE UNDISCOVERED GEM OF SCANDINAVIA Why Estonia’s Parnu Bay can become one of the superstars of Continental European golf.


ärnu Bay Golf Links is a new Estonian course, recognised as the country’s best by the World Golf Awards 2016. It is a links course in the true sense of the word: a coastal stretch of land with sandy soil and fescue grasses… a true test of golfer’s ability. The course was designed by Finnish architect Lassi Pekka Tilander with Mick McShane – best know as the lead shaper for St Andrews Links Castle Course and Kingsbarns Golf Links – as the lead shaper.

The par-72 course plays from 4,950 yards to 6,820 yards and is a beguiling mixture of sandy fairways, towering pines, rough-edged bunkers and sea views. The course is one enterprise of the Trading House Scandinavia Ltd group owned by Estonian-Swedish businessman and passionate golfer Peter Hunt. In his opinion, the coastal area at Tahkuranna, on the shore of Pärnu Bay, was perfect for constructing such a golf course. There are no similar golf courses in the

Baltic countries, and only a very few comparable ones exist throughout the Nordic countries. In addition to the prime attraction – the 18-hole course – there is also a Par 3 course of five holes, as well as practice bunkers, putting and chipping greens. A modern clubhouse takes inspiration from a ball on a tee and sits atop the highest point on the course, offering breathtaking 360˚ views. Diners may enjoy views of the sea, forest or the golf course – or all three

with just turn of the head. The clubhouse accommodates a sauna for golfers, a pro shop selling golf equipment and clothing, a lounge café and the ‘Eagle’ restaurant that is open to golfers and non-golfers. The restaurant offers a tribute to Scotland – the Home of Golf – with a menu based on European-Scottish food, but with a Nordic twist. Lighter meals can be ordered at the cozy lounge café on the first floor of the clubhouse. The panoramic terrace is ideal for drinks or dinner.

The amount of investment into the golf complex – around €10million – has been made with a serious intention to create an environment for golfers that compares with the best golf courses in the world. “The feedback and reactions from wellknown golf journalists and players have already given us some proof of it,” says CEO of the course Peter Johan Nyberg, who recently joined the company. He is a former MD of Sweden’s #1 course Bro Hof, among other things a five-

time host of the European Tour. “We are very happy to have Peter Nyberg onboard. With 30+ years of golf club management experience under his belt, he will become a valuable player in our team,” says Hunt. Pärnu Bay Golf Links sits in glorious tranquility, but it is within 10 minutes of the resort of Pärnu, with its lovely restaurants, hotels spas and outstanding white-sand beach. So a trip to play one of Europe’s most distinctive courses can be part of a fantastic long-weekend break. Q

FURTHER DETAILS t: 00 372 443 3030 w: www.parnubay.com e: info@parnubay.com


38 Villa d’Este (▲ 11)

37 The Scandinavian (Old) ( ▼ 3)

36 Sotogrande (▲ 1)

Design 20.4 Setting 15.5 Playability 13.2 Holes 8.0 Presentation 15.0 Consistency 7.5 TOTAL 79.6

Design 19.4 Setting 15.2 Playability 13.0 Holes 7.8 Presentation 16.5 Consistency 7.7 TOTAL 79.6

Design 19.6 Setting 15.0 Playability 12.4 Holes 8.0 Presentation 16.7 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 79.7

XC Italian class overlooking Lake Montorfano. H-JW Short and tricky course that I liked. CB Bags of charm and pedigree among pines on a rumbling property. Very, very easy to love. GW VERDICT Becomes Italy’s No.1 by virtue of its old school, cleverly-designed and varied holes plus cool green complexes that offer such fun.

CB Half of one of Europe’s great golf complexes. The Old is tranquil, immaculate and playable, yet off the backs can test the strongest players. BL The best golf course in Denmark. GW VERDICT Usurped this time by its slightly younger sibling but this modern woodland course comfortably remains in the top 40.

AE Many like it better than Valderrama. Very good front nine, although the run from 11 to 14 feels disconnected to the rest of the course. PB A lovely course oozing tradition and quality. It should be among the top 40. GW VERDICT A small rise following a rigorous overhaul for one of Spanish golf’s great names.

Como, Italy. Peter Gannon.

The Scandinavian (New)

Farum, Denmark. Trent Jones Jnr.

Farum, Denmark. Trent Jones Jnr.

Sotogrande, Spain. Trent Jones Snr.


Design 19.4 Setting 15.2 Playability 12.8 Holes 8.0 Presentation 16.5 Consistency 7.8 TOTAL 79.7 CB My preference as this club’s premier course... by a very small margin. It’s commendably playable but certainly not easy, and has a tremendous palate of holes – from sporty par 4s to reachable par 5s as well as an exquisite par 3 at the 9th that headlines the short holes. GW VERDICT Moves above its sister, but only just – and that is an admission by us that we got its last ranking incorrect; there simply should not be 15 places between these fine modern courses, as there was in 2015. Outstanding conditioning given its northerly location.

32 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe




Re s e r v a t i o n s : + 3 5 1 2 1 9 2 4 9 0 1 1 o r resort.penhalonga@penhalonga.com

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The American architect worked on eight of the Top 100. He reflects on his legacy… and the future. Can you believe you’ve been so prolific in Europe since first working here?

I don’t think I’ve been prolific. At the end of my career with Robert Trent Jones in the mid-1980s we were involved in too many projects in my opinion. I was losing control over them and decided when I left that I’d never get that big. I like to be more intimately involved in what I do. I’ll never have a great name like a Nicklaus but I’ve never strived to have that. My son thinks I have no ambition and he’s right in a way, but I’m a happy camper. I’ve never sat down and made a list but I think I’ve done 20 or 25 courses. I’m passionate about it while I’m doing it but I’m not too wrapped up in my work and I have a lot of other interests outside of golf course design. Which Continental European courses impressed you that you didn’t work on?

I haven’t seen any of the links in Holland but I’m sure I’d like them. There are nice older courses around northern Italy too. A lot of the courses of the last 20 years are American designs so there’s nothing really different from some of the work I do. It’s a shame Ryder Cups in Europe are now played on American designs. It’s ridiculous, but they have the money to buy it. There are so many greater courses in Britain and Ireland that should host it. Is there a site you’ve seen in Europe that you’d love to work on?

Probably several! Any linksland would be great. But in Europe it’s become so difficult by law to get anywhere close to the sea. In most of Continental Europe I don’t think you can get within 250 yards of high tide. That eliminates every potential Pebble Beach from pretty much all of Continental Europe. I lost a project near Biarritz in France. Three holes went through the dunes, which they admitted protected the dunes – but they wouldn’t let us build it. We can still do that kind of stuff in America. I understand the European rules to a point but in France we were doing more to protect the landscape from blowing away than if we left it alone. Every architect loves to work

34 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Praia D’el Rey.

in sand dunes. In sand you can go up, go down, but you always have good drainage. If you work in clay, you’ve got to go up. In Germany it can be very restrictive in terms of how many trees you can put in certain areas and how much dirt you can move, so it’s a very difficult country to work in. So to answer the question, my favourite sites are mostly the ones you can’t build on!

CAN YOU CHOOSE A FAVOURITE SON? No architect can say “this is the best course I’ve ever done”, because every other client will get in a knot and say “what’s wrong with the course you did for me?” So we say courses are like our children – we love them all! But Las Colinas is one of my favourites. It’s not saying it’s my best or favourite, but it’s among them.

One of your designs, Las Colinas, is going to do well in the Top 100 – is there one thing that makes it stand out?

The owner’s appreciation that good is always better in the long run; the willingness to spend that little bit extra to keep it looking good. When I looked around when I last visited I thought, “Well, somebody here is making me look good!” Not every course in Spain is willing to do that. Having a good Golf & Operations Director such as Sean [Corte-Real] is an important thing too. Can you compare your work at Las Colinas with others in Spain?

They are all quite different, but they’ve all been on fairly rugged terrain that dictates how it’s laid out, how it plays, etc. La Reserva, Valderrama and Las Colinas are all very different in character but mostly American-style courses. Is there a hole at Las Colinas you wish you’d done differently…

The 10th. We had a nice little par 4 in there but had to change plans because we couldn’t take out certain trees. It’s not a bad little par 3 now, it’s just that one doesn’t start a nine with a par 3. Lytham starts with a par 3 but it’s not a 60,000-rounds-a-year resort course... n

Advertorial feature The Cornelia Sir Nick Faldo Championship course.

The 9th & 18th greens of the Sultan course, and clubhouse of the Antalya Golf Club.

Cornelia Deluxe main building and pool at night.

Sirene Golf Hotel main building and pool at night.

Beachside Sirene & Kempinski hotels with the Antalya Golf Club Pasha & Sultan courses behind.

Tiger Woods plays the inaugural Turkish Airlines World Final in 2012 at the Sultan course.

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Belek are ranked among the best 200 in Europe! It shows the quality of the product here. Bilyana Golf Holidays is a golf resort specialist and has been organising flight- inclusive hotel and golf packages since 1996. In 2016, we celebrated our 20th year in the Golf Industry and we continue to celebrate our status as the number one provider of Belek golf holidays to date. Belek in Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, USA, Bulgaria, Egypt and Cyprus are destinations we cover – with the UK & Ireland coming soon. In Belek, Turkey, our resort services are second to none and you can enjoy VIP transfers, punctual shuttles to the courses, with friendly, professional assistance from our resort

TESTIMONIALS ON BILYANA HOLIDAYS…. Our 9th year in Belek, which I suppose in itself speaks highly, but as an overall package it is impossible to beat. We have used Bilyana for all our visits and your service from the moment you meet us at arrivals to drop off at departures a week later and all between makes the whole trip a joy from an organisers point of view. Jonathan Warne, Devon 7 years ago I got info from Bilyana on an e-mail and now we wouldn’t go anywhere else but Belek. Bilyana have been our trip organisers since day one, the value for money we receive for our package is unbeatable and it’s pure luxury from the minute you get off the bus with your clubs. Many thanks for a wonderful 7 years in Belek. Aaron Traill, Newcastle upon Tyne

I have been using Bilyana for the last 11 years. I can honestly say I have not been disappointed in any aspect of any of those holidays. The booking process is flawless and the hotels are well chosen, 5 star, and great value. The courses are all first class with good tee times. Bilyana do exactly what the say

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Cornelia Diamond Resort looking over the course and villas.

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experts. When booking a holiday with us, you speak to our Bilyana UK team and book with our UK Office. OUR In the Belek resort, the team is still Bilyana CALL T EAM looking after you for the duration of your stay. SALES r email The communication between the two offices is 800 110 o on 01625 golf. a n a y il seamless and no other company can provide this b @ us on info xcellent e r u fluidity of service. o f o com. All found on e Our UK Office is ABTA and ATOL bonded; b n a c deals ebsite so, your complete holiday with us is financially our our w om protected. We can however anagolf.c www.bily offer golf only, hotel only bookings as well as a complete package if you wish. Q




34 San Lorenzo ( ▼ 6)

33 Lubker (Sky and Sand) ( ▼ 8)

Design 17.0 Setting 18.2 Playability 14.2 Holes 8.2 Presentation 16.0 Consistency 6.2 TOTAL 79.8

Design 19.5 Setting 15.4 Playability 13.2 Holes 7.8 Presentation 16.2 Consistency 7.8 TOTAL 79.9

PG Some heart-stoppingly beautiful holes – and some trees in most annoying places! PB Among the best along the Algarve coast. H-JW The 8th is one the game’s best par 5s. GW VERDICT Slips out of the top 30 but only as others rise, because this extremely popular, very scenic course still largely impressed the panel.

H-JW ‘Sky’, ‘Sand’ and ‘Forest’ are all good nines and offer peace and a first-class design. BL A resort with 27 holes, but it is not a ‘resort’ course. The bunkering style and a lot of wetlands makes the Sky-Sand mixture very interesting. GW VERDICT A slight fall but it remains, with the The Scandinavian duo, the very best of Denmark.

32 Le Golf National (Albatros) (▼15)

31 Le Touquet (La Mer) (▲ 35)

Design 18.9 Setting 14.5 Playability 12.0 Holes 9.0 Presentation 17.5 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 79.9

Design 20.1 Setting 15.4 Playability 13.4 Holes 8.5 Presentation 15.7 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 80.7

H-JW Ideal Ryder Cup host for 2018. The last four holes have more water than grass. NB Regularly spectacular and dramatic. GW VERDICT Might lack the nuance of some higher in the list and the setting is modest, but this is a thrill-a-minute modern course that guarantees a memorable experience.

CB From a tired classic to a potential top 10. GW VERDICT Two years ago nearby Hardelot – also part of Open Club – enjoyed a historic rise after a Pont-Boissonnas renovation. They’ve combined successfully again at this Colt original – but this is just the start of its renaissance, and also its rise. Full verdict on it in a winter issue.

30 Praia d’el Rey (▼ 1 )

28 Rosendaelsche (▲ 17)

Design 18.0 Setting 18.4 Playability 13.2 Holes 8.2 Presentation 15.9 Consistency 7.0 TOTAL 80.7 H-JW There are some splendid inland holes, but the best are those who look the Atlantic in the eye. Would be higher but for the real estate. GW VERDICT Seaside holes are spectacularly good and those among pines inland and are hardly tiresome. Ironically falls one place owing to a spectacular new entry over the page...

Design 20.1 Setting 14.9 Playability 13.6 Holes 8.4 Presentation 15.9 Consistency 7.8 TOTAL 80.7

Almancil, Portugal. Joe Lee.

Paris, France. Chesneau & Von Hagge.

Obidos, Portugal. Cabell Robinson.

38 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Nimtofte, Denmark. Trent Jones Jnr.

Le Touquet, France. Colt, Pont/Boissonnas.

Arnhem, Neth. Von Krimpen/Pennink/Staedler.

CB Fabulous, often under-rated heathland whose will to keep improving – with two excellent new holes opening in 2015 – is admirable. GW VERDICT A new entry at No.45 last time, it now moves up into the top 30. One of the continent’s great undiscovered courses... despite being around since the early 1900s.

I was very glad to accept an invitation to play in the Dutch Open in 2015, after many years of not being able to do so for one reason or another. I’d been asked so many times to go to the Netherlands but since 2000 I’ve only played up to 16 tournaments a year, sometimes 18. So I now choose very carefully – otherwise I’m at home on the ranch. But things worked out in 2015 and the reputation of Kennemer made my decision to play a really easy one. It’s a World Top 100 track and I only hoped my old game was up to the task of playing such a wonderful course. In fact, the course was even better than I expected... and I’d heard a lot of good things about it. Darren Clarke said to me on the Monday morning when I arrived, ‘Tom, you’re going to love this course’. And I did. It’s a great, traditional course – which in this age means short, but if you add a 15-20mph wind, like a British seaside course suddenly it’s not so short. I needed to have really good game management, because Kennemer is not about hitting great distances, but good course management – carefully selecting the best places to land the ball. n Tom Watson has won

eight Majors including five Open titles.




Belek, Turkey. Thomson, Perrett & Lobb. Design 19.4 Setting 15.9 Playability 13.8 Holes 8.5 Presentation 15.9 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 80.7

PB A good course, especially on the front nine. H-JW Carya is my favourite venue in Belek. Very thoughtful design, beautiful snow-white bunkers and pines. Recalls the best heathlands in the Surrey belt. JB The best in Belek, with a British feel. And sister course The National is in my opinion the next best… GW VERDICT This is a rise 24 months in the making. It was poised to climb broadly as highly in 2015 but we noted some conditioning issues as the course was rerouted to give space between it and the sumptuous new hotel. It has all settled down now and this is a joint-high rise that is wholly deserved. A class act.

WHY CARYA HAS CLAIMED BELEK’S HIGHEST-EVER RANKING We are confident that Carya is the finest course in Belek – which again has five entries in our biennial ranking. It sits very comfortably among

the storied company of the top 30, which means it has claimed the highest ranking ever by a course in Belek. That is the esteem in which we hold

a stylish modern course that is routed between towering pines and white-sand bunkers. Its front nine in particular is excellent; top-10 calibre

that offers super hole after super hole, with barely a discernible dip in quality. The inward half has been reworked nicely enough despite the hotel

appearing and Tim Lobb especially can be very pleased with his work here. Carya oozes excellence and elegance. – Chris Bertram

Top 100 Continental Europe Golf World 39


West Cliffs

Obidos, Portugal. Cynthia Dye.

Design 18.9 Setting 18.2 Playability 11.0 Holes 8.4 Presentation 16.2 Consistency 8.2 TOTAL 80.9 JVP It is a new course and it needs to mature a little bit, but the design is fantastic. Instantly in Portugal’s top five, at least. CB A brilliant site has been worked exceptionally well to create a Continental superstar. GW VERDICT The only question mark is over playability for the higher handicapper in a breeze. Otherwise, it is everything a modern course would want to be. Deservedly straight into the top 25.

THE REASON THIS IS OUR HIGHEST NEW ENTRY FOR A DECADE It now takes something exceptional to enter this Top 100 in the top 25. I’m aware in the past courses vaulted into the top 20 (and are in the ranking

now, albeit further down) – but since I’ve overseen the ranking, nothing has come close to doing so. That’s not to say we are now reticent about bold

40 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

decisions – witness this much-changed list with nine new entries – just that for a newcomer to come in so high it has to be phenomenally good.

West Cliffs is exactly that. No more than five courses in the list are as aesthetically pleasing and it is clear Cynthia Dye has put extraordinary effort

into making every hole dramatic yet sensible. As it matures, a top-20 slot feels inevitable, and a top-10 position feasible. – Chris Bertram




By Alex Noren Ullna is one of my favourites – a traditional English-style parkland – and not just because I am a member there now. I also love Visby, where I hang out in the summer. I like it so much I have just bought a house there so I can hang out there a bit more. It’s a links-type course with some trees; it is firm, fast, and tree-lined. It’s so beautiful – you see the sea from every hole. Falsterbo is also good – a beautiful seaside course – but Visby is better I think. Ljunghusens is next door, a heathland a bit like Walton Heath. Fantastic. I still love my old course Haninge, to the south of Stockholm, where I was brought up. It’s a fun course, but is tough enough to have a LET event. It’s a parkland with a lot of dog legs. Bro Hof Slott’s Stadium is very nice. It’s beautiful, and in great condition. The Castle is good fun. n Alex Noren is a world

top 10-ranked player.


27 Eindhoven (▲ 6)

Eindhoven, Netherlands. Harry Colt. Design 21.7 Setting 14.6 Playability 13.0 Holes 8.4 Presentation 15.6 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 80.9 H-JW Another Dutch jewel of Colt and memories of the best of Berkshire or Surrey are alive here. CB Set apart geographically from the other Dutch heathlands, but not in terms of charm and interest. Some of my favourite holes in Europe. GW VERDICT A key rise into the top 30 for a course full of variety and memorable holes.

26 Palmares ( ▼ 5)

Lagos, Portugal. Trent Jones Jnr. Design 18.7 Setting 16.1 Playability 12.5 Holes 8.0 Presentation 17.6 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 80.9 PG The re-design has worked in every way: the location was already superb. PB Now it has become a modern beautiful course in a great setting. Needs more years to mature, but gives challenge and excitement. GW VERDICT All three loops are good, but the Praia is definitely part of the best combination.


ByPabloLarrazabal Valderrama first then El Saler. Valderrama is so tough; I just love how good you have to play to score well there. El Saler has the same challenges as playing on a British links – you need to keep it low out of the wind, and aim for the middle of the greens. You can’t chip and run like you would in Britain but it is usually very firm. It is so well designed. n Pablo Larrazabal is a

multiple Tour winner.

24 Hardelot (Les Pins) (▲ 3)

Hardelot, France. Simpson, Pont/Boissonnas. Design 20.7 Setting 15.0 Playability 13.1 Holes 8.0 Presentation 16.0 Consistency 8.1 TOTAL 80.9 XC Very nice upgrade of a classic old course. CB Proves that investment and nous have value; now one of the must-play courses in Europe. GW VERDICT The highest-ever riser (2015) in Continental Top 100 history nudges up a few more places in this ranking. As it becomes firmer and faster still, it could make the top 20.

Top 100 Continental Europe Golf World 41


23 Hilversumsche ( ▼ 3)

22 Budersand (


21 Oitavos Dunes ( ▼ 3)

Hilversum, Netherlands. Colt, Phillips.

Sylt, Germany. Rolf-Stephan Hansen.

Cascais, Portugal. Arthur Hills.

Design 19.8 Setting 15.6 Playability 11.2 Holes 8.3 Presentation 17.9 Consistency 8.2 TOTAL 81.0

Design 18.1 Setting 17.6 Playability 13.2 Holes 8.0 Presentation 16.0 Consistency 8.1 TOTAL 81.0

Design 18.7 Setting 18.1 Playability 11.5 Holes 8.1 Presentation 16.6 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 81.0

H-JW With Harry Colt, Sir Guy Campbell and Kyle Phillips as designers, you can only expect something first class. So it is at this traditional course, which winds through a venerable forest. GW VERDICT Consolidates its position in the list’s upper reaches after a big rise last time for an updated historic heathland. Tough but pure.

H-JW At the tip of Germany’s most beautiful and exclusive island is something approaching a miracle. Dunes, quick greens and more than 90 pot bunkers – it has shaken up German golf. GW VERDICT Very good design, and a close-toauthentic links on a flat former barracks. Extra variety to the holes and it would be even higher.

PG The setting is the thing here: simply a grand place to play golf. H-JW Slightly hilly course, interspersed with the landscape, between forest and sea. GW VERDICT Magnificent views of the Atlantic and firm seaside turf are the attractions of this aesthetically-pleasing course west of Lisbon.


Bro Hof Slott (Stadium)

Stockholm, Sweden. Trent Jones Snr.


Design 17.1 Setting 18.6 Playability 11.0 Holes 8.8 Presentation 18.6 Consistency 6.9 TOTAL 81.0

PB It is tactical and demanding with all the water, but it does not give me as much excitement playing it as I expected... but it is still probably the best course in Sweden. H-JW Unbelievable course in the picturesque archipelago north of Stockholm on royal grounds. You will have even more pleasure if you can play from the back tees. GW VERDICT A small fall for this truly spectacular lakeside course near Stockholm.

42 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe


19 0 9



Saint Germain


Paris, France. Harry Colt.

Design 21.0 Setting 15.1 Playability 13.0 Holes 8.2 Presentation 16.0 Consistency 7.7 TOTAL 81.0 H-JW Early layout of Harry Colt (1922) that was carved from the forest, with more than 100 bunkers and beautiful undulating fairways. CB One of the best surprises in Continental Europe. A brilliant routing on a relatively flat site. Oozes class. GW VERDICT Moves up to join the top-20 elite for the first time, thanks to Colt’s cerebral routing and par 3s.


Harry Colt touched many of the Top 100 but rarely did he make more of a modest site than on the ‘Grand Parcours’ here. called in when the club moved from its original location near the Seine, he moved as much earth as was feasible but otherwise relied on a flowing routing, clever green complexes and estimable par 3s. It was renovated in-house nicely in the 1990s.

44 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe



By Álvaro Quiros Valderrama and Sotogrande are my two favourites – both are very good. I’d probably pick Valderrama just ahead of Sotogrande as the most competitive, whereas Sotogrande may be more enjoyable. El Saler is still a good course but it is not as good as it was 25 years ago for me, because technology means it is so short for me to play. But it is a very welldesigned course. Las Brisas is newly redone and very nice and I enjoyed Neguri when I was very young. I always thought it was very nice. Of the ones I know in Madrid I like Club de Campo and I know PGA Catalunya well. It is a good course even if it is not one of my biggest favourites. n Alvaro Quiros is a

multiple Tour winner.


Hamburger is a proper old course built among the trees with interesting greens. It is beautiful to play, like one of the traditional old heathland courses you have in England. I also like Sporting Club Berlin, the Faldo course there. Budersand is on your list and is a links I’d like to play – you’ve beaten me to it! Elsewhere in Europe, I really like Paris National – it is very demanding, with the last four holes featuring water. n Marcel has won four

European Tour titles

18 Falsterbo (▲ 6)

Malmo, Swe. Bauer, Nordwall, Chamberlain. Design 19.6 Setting 16.1 Playability 13.5 Holes 8.0 Presentation 16.6 Consistency 7.2 TOTAL 81.0 XC Under-rated – simply a lovely course. PB A good traditional, true links course. CB No doubt in my mind that this is Sweden’s top course. Consistently excellent from the 7th. GW VERDICT Becomes Sweden’s No.1 after a long reign by Bro Hof Slott. Pretty much as close to a proper links as you’ll find in this ranking.

17 Troia (▲ 2)

Lisbon, Portugal. Trent Jones Snr. Design 20.7 Setting 17.9 Playability 10.6 Holes 8.2 Presentation 15.1 Consistency 8.5 TOTAL 81.0 XC Remote but well worth the visit. H-JW Enormously difficult, classical links on a peninsula. Sensational routing by Trent Jones Snr which never loses sight of the sea. GW VERDICT A significant rise for this pinesand-seaside experience south of Lisbon. Extremely challenging but a real class act.

16 Hamburger (▲ 7)

Hamburg, Germany. Colt, Alison, Morrison. Design 21.2 Setting 15.1 Playability 13.0 Holes 8.2 Presentation 16.0 Consistency 7.7 TOTAL 81.2 XC A classic course with technical excellence. H-JW Far and wide I know of no other place which instantly draws you in as it does. JB Old school, like Blackmoor in England. GW VERDICT A notable rise for the historic heathland of ‘Falkenstein’. Germany’s No.1 for the first time, it’s a bona fide future top-10 candidate.

Top 100 Continental Europe Golf World 45




The widely-travelled (and opinionated) golf course architecture writer dissects mainland Europe. Name some clever routings and designs?

Royal des Fagnes. It is a brilliant piece of Tom Simpson design and the more I see of Simpson the more I think ‘you were a clever so and so’. There are lots of things that could be better about Royal Spa but the way it works round the property is beautiful. It is just a lovely, lovely place. Morfontaine. Say no more. And Saint Emilionnais, bearing in mind what Doak had to do in terms of drainage and minimising earth movement. What about an admirable restoration?

There are not many true restorations in Continental Europe but what Frank Pont and Patrice Boissonas are doing at Le Touquet is very impressive. What they have done there is very smart and if they get to re-do 17 that will be a big help. But in reality there is little genuine restoration work. Royal Hague rebuilt the greens, but do we know the extent to which the surfaces are reminiscent of what was there? Not really. Apparently they have taken out a huge number of trees which I haven’t seen yet. I love it as a course – I would have it as my No.2 in Europe – and what Frank did was very good, but was it restoration? Not sure. Where would benefit from a restoration?

Where do I start…?! Royal Fagnes (Spa). The soil isn’t very good but it could be something. I posted a photo on Facebook recently and it showed what the 6th hole looked like, a beautiful par 3... and then I posted a picture of what it looks like now... it has a pond. Fontainebleau. They could spend half a million euros rebuilding their bunkers but it’s not the most urgent thing they need to do. That is their grassing lines – there is too much maintained rough – and tree issues where they can. It’s ‘Morfontaine good’ if they did that. It has the potential to be truly great with a sensitive tweak. Falkenstein would be another candidate. It’s very good, a step below the best Colt/Simpson work in France the Netherlands and Belgium but it is still really good. Researching my Colt book

46 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Penati, Slovakia.

‘Golf du Médoc’s courses feel like a Surrey heathland on really nice low-profile ground’ has been very interesting. I have a chapter about 1913, which I am suggesting is the greatest year ever of golf course design. Colt was at St George’s Hill, Pine Valley, and he was at Puerto de Hierro in Madrid – he was just unbelievable. Puerto de Hierro is a very messed around course on super land; it could be really superb. Where are the Continent’s best settings?

Vidauban, Morfontaine and Fontainebleau in France, West Cliffs in Portugal and Penati in Slovakia – in some ways there’s a world top-20 course waiting to be built in that location because the ground is that good. Lofoten is immense. Which modern courses impress you?

Golf du Médoc, both courses. It feels like a Surrey heathland. Maybe not quite that good, but a really nice low-profile piece of ground with really nice low-profile courses. Not fancy, it doesn’t leap out, but they are fun and relaxing – typical Bill Coore work, and Rod Whitman as well, who shaped Bill’s course when it was built. It’s not post 2000, but I love Vidauban. It is the most relaxing place to be; a Rose

in hand overlooking the course from the terrace is as good as it gets. It is a huge piece of basically French moorland and is absolutely everything you think the countryside of Provence is. It’s a Trent Jones course so has certain characteristics but is remarkably lay of the land for a Jones design. There wasn’t much in the way of earthworks. One of the things I value that is lost in golf design is the landscape environment and a beautiful place to be. Saint Emilionnais, for the reasons previously given. And Budersand, which is a very classic links albeit with unlikely bunkers that are perfect circles. When you are there you realise the whole island of Sylt is a big sandy expanse and while it is thoroughly protected, someone found this old military base and was allowed to build. Sylt is where Hamburg folk head at the weekend; it has a German Scandinavian beach house vibe. Lovely. n Adam Lawrence edits Golf Course Architecture magazine as well as being a golf historian and course design consultant.

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Monte Rei


Tavira, Portugal. Jack Nicklaus. Design 19.9 Setting 15.6 Playability 11.0 Holes 8.4 Presentation 18.7 Consistency 7.9 TOTAL 81.5

PG Isolated, beautiful; a monster off any of the tees! XC Absolutely the number one of Portugal. BL Anyone who visits the Algarve and wants an ‘extra’ experience needs to play it. It is just a must! PB Clearly the best in Portugal. Nicklaus has designed a course typical for him with many strategic bunkers. It is demanding but fair with several risk-and-reward holes and a peaceful setting. GW VERDICT Nestled between the mountains of the Serra do Caldeirao and the Atlantic, this modern classic keeps edging up the list – and is poised to get a baby sister, also created by Jack.

15 Terre Blanche (Chateau) ( ▼ 2)

14 Golf du Medoc (Châteaux) (▲ 1)

12 Noordwijkse ( ▼ 3)

Design 18.4 Setting 17.1 Playability 11.5 Holes 8.0 Presentation 18.6 Consistency 7.6 TOTAL 81.2

Design 20.2 Setting 14.6 Playability 13.9 Holes 8.0 Presentation 16.6 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 81.3

Design 18.7 Setting 18.9 Playability 13.4 Holes 7.9 Presentation 15.8 Consistency 6.9 TOTAL 81.6

XC Spectacular setting and enviroment. PB A jewel close to the Riviera but in a quiet, beautiful setting. Holes demand good tactics. I love the course, atmosphere and setting. GW VERDICT Mediterranean terrain perfectly landscaped into a challenging but easy-to-love modern course. Immaculate conditioning.

PG A delight, and perhaps as close to links golf as you’ll find in the south of France. XC A gem close to the vineyards of Bordeaux. CB It would not look out of place in the top 10. GW VERDICT A huge rise last time, this clever English-feeling heathland is now deservedly established among the top 20.

XC A real links with two lesser holes that cost it some marks. H-JW True links golf, the dunes are so high that you can not see the sea, but can hear it. GW VERDICT Thought (wisely) to be considering a renovation. It has the raw materials, in the trees but especially in the dunes, for a top-10 fixture.

Fayence, France. Dave Thomas.

48 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

Bordeaux, France. Bill Coore.

Leiden, Netherlands. P de Jong.

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11 Chantilly (▲ 1)

10 Royal Zoute ( ▼ 3)

9 El Saler (▲ 1)

Design 20.6 Setting 16.5 Playability 13.9 Holes 7.7 Presentation 16.1 Consistency 6.9 TOTAL 81.7

Design 21.2 Setting 15.8 Playability 12.4 Holes 8.7 Presentation 15.1 Consistency 8.6 TOTAL 81.8

Design 21.6 Setting 17.9 Playability 12.9 Holes 8.6 Presentation 12.7 Consistency 8.3 TOTAL 82.0

XC Very well designed English-feeling course. H-JW Chantilly was Tom Simpson’s first course outside Britain. Elegant and neat. GW VERDICT Might lack the seaside views and heathland splendour of other elite courses, but retains plenty enough design merit to move to the cusp of the top 10 it would elegantly adorn.

H-JW A links in the middle of a charming village. Flat, but technically highly interesting. Early Colt layout when he was Sunningdale secretary. CB Pedigree venue that is tough in a breeze. GW VERDICT A historic club – whose name translate as ‘Salt’ – that allows its rolling seaside course to run pleasingly fast in summer.

AE Excellent use of natural features. Fantastic flow of front-nine holes and marvellous green complexes. Its maintenance could be better. H-JW Scottish golf with a Mediterranean flair. GW VERDICT One for architecture connoisseurs – and its seaside holes offer fantastic views. Conditioned less precisely but still a delight.

Paris, France. Tom Simpson.

The Kennemer (B&C)

Knokke, Belgium. Harry Colt, Col. Allen.

Valencia, Spain. Javier Arana.


Haarlem, Netherlands. Colt, Pennink. Design 20.3 Setting 15.1 Playability 13.5 Holes 8.0 Presentation 17.1 Consistency 8.0 TOTAL 82.0 H-JW Another jewel of Harry S. Colt behind the dunes of Zandvoort. More hilly than some classic links and has some forest sections for a change. GW VERDICT An interesting rise for The Kennemer in what is a much-changed order in and around the top 10. Whereas it had fallen slightly in the previous two rankings, this panel really liked its rolling seaside terrain and its enduring Colt legacy.

50 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe




THE CONTINENT’S ARCHITE Seven leading designers from Continental Europe – all members of the EIGCA – reveal their favourites in mainland Europe.




I have the luxury of having a course just around the corner that is a real treat. Utrechtse (De Pan) is a stunning heathland track on a rather small piece of sandy dunes.

De Pan, Utrecht. Sandy ground, gently rolling terrain. A short course for today thus giving a lot of birdie chances but superbly balanced in punishing poor play.

I unfortunately have not been to the great courses in the Netherlands and Belgium but I would definitely put Morfontaine and Valderrama on top of my list.

The course with the design you admire most?

I’ve really studied Lage Vuursche. It was on rather dull land but Kyle Phillips managed a wonderful routing and all holes are individual challenges.

Terre Blanche’s Chateau course in France. A masterpiece in routing through difficult mountain terrain, in its strategy, variety and shot values.

Morfontaine is a course I very much would have loved to design. The pines, heather and sandy soils create a fantastic theatre. Simpson carved out a masterpiece there.

The course with the most appealing setting?

Noordwijkse (right). Really one of the better natural-looking links courses.

The course you enjoy playing overall?

Les Bordes. Probably the most beautiful walk in a park and around lakes any course has to offer. Wickedly creative design.

Regarding scenery, I don’t think anyone can argue the location of Thracian Cliffs. It is just absolutely spectacular with the drop-offs into the sea.

The course in your home country that you enjoy the most?

Perhaps biased, but Stippelberg is the one I enjoy the most to play. It is so much fun to play this heathland-style course. And it is getting more and more beautiful.

A split decision is between Hamburger and the Garlstedt of Club zur Vahr, Bremen. Totally different but both outstanding in strategy, shotmaking and scenery.

I love the setting at Halmstad. But they have lost a bit of character due to over maintaining grass so most of the heather is gone. It could be one of the best.

The course you would most like to work on?

Tricky question... but maybe Troia in Portugal? More exposed sand, possibly some new seaside holes? It must be really great to work on a site like that!

Krefelder. A former German Open venue and still a sound layout but in the last 30 years it has had patchwork ‘improvements’ without a professional masterplan.

Well I am working at some of the best courses so I guess I’m lucky. But sites such as Valderrama with their climate would of course be highly attractive.

The best modern course (opened since 2000)?

I have not seen them all but having won the GolfIng Award in 2011, I think The Stippelberg could compete with the best! Again, I might be biased as I worked on it!

PGA Catalunya’s Stadium. A great variety of holes, a hard challenge from the standard tees and a brutal test of power and accuracy from the back tees in a breeze.

Tough. Trent Jones’ firm built many good ones in Scandinavia – Bro Hof and The Scandinavian for example. Thracian Cliffs for its scenery. I say Bro Hof!

The course that surprised you most?

I really enjoyed playing Chateau Taulane (Gary Player) in southern France. It inspired me a lot and I thought the routing through difficult terrain was smartly done.

Troia, Portugal. Excellent holes through sand hills covered by a variety of native vegetation.

Harjattula, Finland, is a course that probably a lot of people have never heard of but the course plays fun though raw Finnish countryside.

Rosendaelsche. A mix of heathland and parkland, resembling Sunningdale, and a stern yet fair challenge, requiring every club in your bag.

A course no-one knows about but should?

Kyle Phillips’ work at Las Brisas (left); a pleasing course on a difficult property. Tim Lobb’s work at Carya. I would recommend to head to Sweden and to Visby, Sand or Sölvesborg, which would bring something new and unique to a golfer’s portfolio.

• The European Institute of Golf Course Architects is the professional body for golf course architects working or based in Europe. The EIGCA advances profes

52 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe






The course in Continental Europe which I enjoy playing the most is Utrecht (De Pan). This is an inland links course with sand dunes and pine trees and heather.

Sotogrande is for me a great tourist course. It’s a perfect example of how to combine real estate without reducing the quality of the course and safety.

Most of the links courses – Koninklijke Haagsche (Royal Hague) and Noordwijkse are probably the best.

It is difficult to decide and it depends on how many years we go back. Harry Colt’s De Pan is still a masterpiece. So De Pan, and then in the UK, Kingsbarns.

Alhama Signature, Murcia – a real design school. Every hole is creative. A course to be analysed for architecture students to open their minds in shaping/modelling.

Le Golf National (right) is a very good technical design; not easy. but fair. Varied.

It’s not in mainland Europe... but I say Kingsbarns. The scenery and location... while the atmosphere in and around St Andrews is great.

Alcanada, Mallorca. A beautiful combination of a natural pine forest with outstanding views over the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Mallorca.

Thracian Cliffs. Framed by rugged coastal cliffs, the Gary Player group-designed course is one of the most dramatic golf courses on earth.

On the cliffs facing the Black Sea Gary Player designed the wonderful Thracian Cliffs. Set in amazing scenery, it is also a fine test.

The National Golf Brussels, a new project in Belgium that opened in July this year.

Robert Trent Jones Sr did some great courses in Italy in the early ‘70s, and among these the one at Royal Park is a superb parkland and a fine test.

Noordwijkse, a links close to the sea, is for me the most enjoyable – as a member, I’ve played it many times.

PGA Catalunya’s Stadium (left) great design and setting, so much fun for all levels.

The Links course at Donnafugata Resort in Sicily is a beautiful course that runs up and down among the hills facing the Mediterranean Sea. Magnificent flow in the design and great interpretation of the land; Terre Blanche’s Chateau is my No.1.

This is an interesting question. One that needs a nice restoration is on English soil in Germany just outside of Venlo, on an old airbase after WW2: RAF Bruggen GC.

Neguri, in Bilbao, is one of many old courses with a great potential. Located on the north of Spain near the ocean, so close to the cliffs of the Cantábrico Sea.

All the links courses or all the existing traditional courses in unspoiled nature; make them more playable and enjoyable in the current playing conditions.

I would like to be part of the renovation of a great historic course, of which one of my favourites is the Golf de Chantilly.

The one I would most like to play is the new Trump Aberdeen links. It seems most beautiful to me. I have not played it, but what I hear is that it’s a great experience.

Santander, Madrid. Built in 2005, Santander Bank used a big budget to design and build it... the kind of project any architect hopes to participate in once.

The International, Amsterdam Airport. Opened in 2012 and host (three times) of the Dutch Senior and Dutch Ladies Opens.

I recently enjoyed playing Golf National after the restoration for the Ryder Cup. It was already very good before and after this fine tuning it is even better.

Great surprises can be in a small moment, the scenery, the joy with friends, a fabulous drive. I don’t have one course that surprised me the most. It is lots of small things.

Las Colinas, near Alicante. That course really surprised me in a positive way. Not much marketing or great photos, it lets its design and playability make it attractive.

Thracian Cliffs (right) in Bulgaria.

Texelse is a links on the island Texel, above Holland. You need to take the boat to get there. This means this hidden treasure is still unknown to many people.

Aguilon, in Almeria. A gem in the middle of nowhere in south-east Spain’s desert landscape. A course to be played to get the real feeling of Arizona in Spain.

Utrechtse ‘De Pan’ in the Netherlands is an inland sand- based course in the pine trees, designed by Harry Colt.

Oitavos Dunes on the coast near Lisbon, with its unique setting, great design and fine condition. It really impressed me. Close to the Switzerland-France border, De Prunevelle is an ancient course owned by the Peugeot family. For decades it hosted top amateur events.

ssionalism in golf course design through the provision of continual learning opportunities and making members accountable through a Code of Conduct.

Top 100 Continental Europe Golf World 53


7 PGA Catalunya (Stadium) ( ▼ 3) Girona, Spain. Gallardo & Coles.

Paris, France. Tom Simpson.

6 Fontainebleau (▲ 2)

5 Royal Hague (▲ 1)

Design 18.7 Setting 16.6 Playability 12.4 Holes 8.0 Presentation 18.4 Consistency 8.5 TOTAL 82.6

Design 22.5 Setting 14.8 Playability 13.9 Holes 8.6 Presentation 14.4 Consistency 8.5 TOTAL 82.7

Design 22.3 Setting 15.0 Playability 11.9 Holes 8.6 Presentation 17.9 Consistency 8.5 TOTAL 84.2

XC Super course. Spain’s number one. PB For me, this is the best of all on the list – a beautiful course with a special back nine. It is hard, but gives true pleasure and excitement. GW VERDICT The closeness of the marks illustrate that despite this small fall for the Stadium, it remains one of the continent’s elite.

H-JW Not long – reminds me of Swinley Forest. JB Great variety among the trees and heather. CB It is a little tired and a little overgrown, but this is a level of heathland class rarely witnessed. GW VERDICT Beguiling pine and heather course has now enjoyed two consecutive rises. With a sympathetic restoration, it could be top three.

XC Number one of the Netherlands. H-JW The only Royal course in the Netherlands and one of the few classic Continental links. JB Good variety of holes on this classy links. GW VERDICT A lot of affection from this panel for this stringent seaside examination sees it back in the top five. A robust, deluxe experience.



Sotogrande, Spain. Robert Trent Jones, Kyle Phillips. Design 19.1 Setting 17.5 Playability 12.3 Holes 8.8 Presentation 18.6 Consistency 8.4 TOTAL 84.7 AE The golf experience oozes quality but it is possibly too tough for the average golfer. XC Expensive, but still an experience of a lifetime. GW VERDICT Regains its position as Spain’s No.1, the ‘experience’ factor here cannot be underestimated. Yes, it is tight and exacting, and many visitors will be beaten up by it... yet there is also a good chance they will still absolutely love it. Conditioned to perfection.


54 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

The Hague, Netherlands. Colt, Pont.


Les Bordes


Orleans, France. Von Hagge & Baril. Design 20.9 Setting 17.5 Playability 11.3 Holes 8.6 Presentation 18.3 Consistency 8.5 TOTAL 85.1

JB Very tough, but in my opinion the best in Europe. H-JW Probably the best strategic course in Europe, it is even very difficult for skilled players. CB Very hard, very memorable and very special. A once-in-a-lifetime experience at a very private club. GW VERDICT A small fall for this epic modern classic, which was built to the highest specifications and is a demanding, bucket-list experience.


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56 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

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Utrecht de Pan

Utrecht, Netherlands. Harry Colt.Â


Design 21.5 Setting 18.0 Playability 13.9 Holes 8.9 Presentation 15.0 Consistency 8.5 Total 85.8 H-JW The Royal family is a member, and no wonder. Gorgeous forest course with a touch of inland links. CB The only course that realistically challenges Morfontaine for the top spot in my opinion. GW VERDICT Up to No.2 for this charming heathland. Yes, it lacks the length and challenge of yesteryear but it is heather and pine heaven everyone can adore.


By Alexander Levy OK, I have a top three. I’ll start with Golf National. It is so tough and I love it because of that. You need to hit every shot properly. I like the design and on every tee you say ‘if I make a par it is a good job!’ They changed it a little bit last year and it is now more fair. They can make the greens softer or firmer so can change the difficulty. It can get windy there and will be a fantastic Ryder Cup venue next year. Next, Chantilly. It is a lovely place, a two-ball course and it is a famous club for us Frenchman. When it is prepared properly for a tournament with high rough and firm quick greens it is a serious challenge. Linksy almost, when it is firm but then when it is soft it becomes a parkland. Next, Terre Blanche. I have practised there for the past five years and I really like the quality you have on two different kinds of courses. Le Riou is more about the approach shot and the Chateau more longer shots. I like both. Also there is Vidauban – a really good course. It has 27 members! I went at the start of January and it is very, very nice. Like Les Bordes. Hardelot I really like and I know it is even better so I look forward to going back. Le Touquet too. Morfontaine I love and Fontainebleau is beautiful. For us it was a dream to play there in events like La Mouchy. I love Moliets, the seaside holes are amazing, and also Seignosse in the south west of France. n Alex Levy has won four

European Tour titles.



Paris, France. Tom Simpson.

Design 22.8 Setting 17.9 Playability 13.6 Holes 8.8 Presentation 15.6 Consistency 8.6 TOTAL 87.3

JB Classy, serene heathland. H-JW Tom Simpson at his best! Gorgeous heathland course just outside Paris. But also the most private of France. We hope you find a way to get to the 1st tee! GW VERDICT It is hard to imagine Morfontaine not being No.1 in all honesty. It might seem a little tedious for it to be there again, but we don’t compile rankings to be interesting, we compile them to be accurate guides as to the best courses in each respective area. The ‘Grand Parcours’ (Big Course!) of Morfontaine is, in our considered opinion, the best in Continental Europe.

60 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

THE EXPERTS’ ASSESSMENT OF OUR NO.1... THE ARCHITECT I visited Morfontaine years ago and loved what I saw so when I was travelling through Paris en route to Bordeaux to work on Saint Emilionnais I was always thinking, ‘I need to get back there’ but I never did as I was spending as much time as I could on my job. But I went right after the opening of Saint Emilionnais. I’ve not seen anything in Continental Europe that is better than Morfontaine. It is as close as there is to the great English heathlands. I hadn’t seen the little Vallière ninehole course before – that is amazing, just so much fun. I also like De Pan. The three links courses in the Netherlands are all good and I really like De Pan too. – Tom Doak

THE WRITER It has a mystique few can match. Swinley Forest would be our obvious comparison. If you plonked it in Surrey, where would it rank? A very, very, very good question, and I don’t know the answer – possibly just below the very top tier. So somewhere after Sunningdale and St George’s Hill. I think Kyle’s work on the par-5 12th worked very well too. And the Vallière has some quite amazingly bold greens. Enjoyable though, unless you are a card and pencil man, and then you’ll hate it. Then again, if you are a card and pencil man you are probably not even trying to play there. Your No.2, De Pan, is sort of Woking level, which is seriously high praise. – Adam Lawrence

Top 100 Continental Europe Golf World 61


WHERE TO FIND THE NEW TOP 100 This at-a-glance guide highlights where the pockets of golf are located, so you can start planning a trip to a handful of courses. 1 Morfontaine, France 2 Utrecht de Pan, Netherlands 3 Les Bordes, France 4 Valderrama, Spain 5 Royal Hague, Netherlands 6 Fontainebleau, France 7 PGA Catalunya (Stadium), Spain 8 Kennemer (B&C), Netherlands 9 El Saler, Spain 10 Royal Zoute, Belgium 11 Chantilly, France 12 Noordwijkse, Netherlands 13 Monte Rei, Portugal 14 Golf du Medoc (Châteaux) France 15 Terre Blanche (Chateau) France 16 Hamburger, Germany 17 Troia, Portugal 18 Falsterbo, Sweden 19 Saint Germain, France 20 Bro Hof Slott, Sweden 21 Oitavos Dunes, Portugal 22 Budersand, Germany 23 Hilversumsche, Netherlands 24 Hardelot (Les Pins), France 25 West Cliffs, Portugal 26 Palmares, Portugal 27 Eindhoven, Netherlands 28 Rosendaelsche, Netherlands 29 Carya, Turkey 30 Praia d’El Rey, Portugal 31 Le Touquet (La Mer), France 32 Le Golf National, France 33 Lubker (Sand & Sky), Denmark 34 San Lorenzo, Portugal 35 The Scandinavian (New), Denmark 36 Sotogrande, Spain 37 The Scandinavian (Old), Denmark 38 Villa d’Este, Italy 39 Penha Longa (Atlantico) 40 Royal Limburg, Belgium 41 Vilamoura (Old), Portugal 42 Finca Cortesin, Spain 43 Sporting Club Berlin, Germany 44 Sevilla, Spain 45 Parnu Bay, Estonia 46 Son Gual, Spain 47 Royal Park (Trent Jones), Italy 48 Royal Bled, Slovenia 49 Ravenstein (Old), Belgium 50 Puerto de Hierro (Arriba), Spain

51 Seignosse, France 52 Golf du Medoc (Vignes), France 53 Kongsvinger, Norway 54 Neguri, Spain 55 Las Colinas, Spain 56 Quinta do Lago (South), Portugal 57 Sperone, France 58 El Prat (Rosa), Spain 59 Sand, Sweden 60 Lykia Links, Turkey 61 Verdura (East), Italy 62 PGA National (Links), Sweden 63 Las Brisas, Spain 64 Halmstad (North), Sweden 65 Lofoten Links, Norway 66 Royal Obidos, Portugal 67 Barseback (Masters), Sweden 68 Antalya (PGA Sultan), Turkey 69 Domaine Imperial, Switzerland 70 Biella, Italy 71 Santander, Spain 72 Esbjerg (Marbæk), Denmark 73 Chiberta, France 74 Penati (Heritage), Slovakia 75 Vasatorps (Tour), Sweden 76 La Reserva de Sotogrande, Spain 77 Saint Emillionais, France 78 Fontana, Austria 79 Winston (Championship), Germany 80 Royal Antwerp, Belgium 81 Kytaja (South East), Finland 82 Sand Valley, Poland 83 Castelconturbia (Blue & Yellow), Italy 84 Costa Navarino (Dunes), Greece 85 PGA National (Lakes), Sweden 86 Holstebro (Forest), Denmark 87 Moliets, France 88 Crans sur Sierre, Switzerland 89 Amendoeira (Faldo), Portugal 90 Cornelia (Prince), Turkey 25 66 30 91 Visby, Sweden 92 Thracian Cliffs, Bulgaria 21 39 93 Quinta do Lago (North), Portugal 94 Royal Waterloo (La Marache) 100 95 The National, Turkey 17 96 Linna, Finland 97 Royal Ostend, Belgium 89 26 98 Pedrena, Spain 99 La Manga (West), Spain 41 56 100 Aroeira 1, Portugal


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A high-class century – plus the 15 courses closest to entry to the main ranking highlighted. AUSTRIA Eichenheim Steiermarkischer


Belle Dune

for the Top 100. PG

St Eurach

Royal Copenhagen

Cannes Mougins


Sporting Club (Palmer)



Saint Endreol

Sct Knuds

Chantilly (Longeres)

St Nom La Breteche (Red)

Silkeborg (Forest)


Terre Blanche (Le Riou)


Chateau de Taulane Spectacular, and should be in the Top 100. JB

BELGIUM Royal Des Fagnes It is a much better experience in golf terms than Knokke. JB

Kytäjä (North West)

Sart Tilman

Nordcenter (Fream)

BULGARIA Black Sea Rama



DENMARK Fanø Hvide Klit

FRANCE Barbaroux

Hossegor With reluctance this drops from the main list. It is just so overgrown with trees these days that the essence of the classic Morrison layout has been lost. Otherwise, it’s a fixture. CB

GREECE Costa Navarino (Bay)


Keilir (Hvaleyrarvollur)

Beuberg Bremen

Joyenval (Marly)




Les Aisses The Rouge and Blanc nines by Olivier Brizon in woodland make up one of the strongest contenders

Gut Larchenhof On a par with Falkenstein and better than the other German courses. JB Hubbelrath (East)

ITALY Bogogno (Bonora) Bogogno (del Conte) Castefalfi Donnafugata (Links) Golf Nazionale

Bro Hof’s Castle was No.101 in our thinking.


Noord Brabantse



Swinkelsche Frank Pont is known as a restorer of classic courses but this is proof he can build them too.


The Dutch

La Moraleja No 3.

The International

La Moraleja No 4.

Torino Verdura (West) Does the West suffer from being on the same resort as its sister? Possibly, because it is basically as good. CB



Anfi Tauro Emporda (Forest) Emporda (Links)

La Zagaleta Excellent work by Marc Westenborg has made this spectacular hillside course much more playable. CB Lumine (Hills)

Furnas Oceanico (O’Connor) Palheiro Quinta de Cima Quinta do Lago (Laranjal) Quinta do Peru Ribagolfe Vidago Palace

NETHERLANDS Domburg Hoge Kleij Laage Vuursche

POLAND Modry Las Loads more charm and nuance than you expect, and just as scenic. Poland could so easily have had two entrants. CB

SLOVAKIA Penati Resort (Legend)

PGA Catalunya (Tour) Platja de Pals


SWEDEN Bro Hof Slott (Castle) I might well rate it more highly than its superstar sister course in the top 20. Much more cleverness and subtlety. CB Halmstad (South) Hills Ljunghusens There are 27 holes here – 14 are linksy and the rest heathland – and there really isn’t much to dislike about any of them. CB

Real Sociedad Hípica Club de Campo


Salobre (New) San Roque (New) Villa de Madrid (Black) Clever routing makes


SWITZERLAND Ascona Bad Ragaz

Puerto del Hierro (Abajo) – One of the oldest clubs in Spain and this modern Trent Jones design is a big success. AE

San Roque (Old) SPAIN

good use of severe terrain. Very good set of par 3s and interesting greens. Good maintenance and attention to detail would make it even better.AE

Ullna Jack Nicklaus renovation has added sparkle to this English-feeling course Should be in the 100 [Peter one of several panellists to think this]. PB

Golf Club de Geneva Far, far better than Domaine Imperial or Crans sur Sierre. In fact it is my No.2 in Europe behind Les Bordes! JB

TURKEY Antalya (Pasha) Gloria (Old) Montgomerie Maxx Unlucky to drop out of the main list, this is a beautifully-conditioned Tour-calibre track. CB n Super-private Vidauban in France was not considered as it has not been played by enough panellists.

ad The is a “hidden little gem” of a Golf Resort, around 1 hour from Porto airport and accessible on direct flights from the UK. You will drive alongside the famous Douro Valley and its beautiful green countryside and “experience” a Golf PLUS break that you are unlikely to forget!

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R E S E R V AT I O N S @ V I D A G O PA L A C E . C O M



If this biennial supplement has whetted your appetite for playing the elite courses of Europe, to get you started we offer our verdict on the best areas for seven different kinds of traveller. BEST FOR FAMILIES

Belek We appreciate some may be reticent about a Belek break after incidents in Turkey – but they were thousands of miles away. Belek is as safe as anywhere in Europe. It also has a key presence in this Top 100, with five entries and three in the Next 100. What makes it especially appealing to families though, is that each course is attached to resorts with a bewildering array of facilities. And add in amazing all-inclusive value plus Europe’s best weather and luxury accommodation... BEST FOR CONNOISSEURS

Amsterdam or Paris Whether seaside or heathland courses, Amsterdam oozes class. Only Eindhoven of the seven Dutch courses in the top 30 isn’t reachable on an Amsterdam break. Note well: six of the top 30 are around one city. Only Paris comes close to matching it. Getting on Morfontaine is the key; if you can crack that, and then include Fontainebleau (a little way off to the south-east),

66 Golf World Top 100 Continental Europe

alongside Chantilly and Saint Germain, Paris is majestic. BEST FOR A DRIVING HOLIDAY

Belgium or Northern France Which of these terrific options you choose might depend on where you live in. For those north of Leicester, the P&O ferry from Hull to Zeebrugge makes Belgium ideal. Those further south might prefer the EuroTunnel from Folkestone to Calais to get to Pas de Calais. For the former, you can easily play Belgium’s six entries: Zoute, Ostend, Limburg, Antwerp, Waterloo and Ravenstein – a mix of seaside and inland. In France, play two majestic renovations at Hardelot and Le Touquet and team them with their sister courses as well as Belle Dune and Wimereux. Lots of high-class golf, done very cheaply and with your own clubs, car... and duty free! BEST FOR COUPLES

Northern Italy The area between Milan and Turin has spectacularly good food, fascinating cities, chic resorts and

gorgeous summer weather. Even without golf it is tempting – but there are also lots of high-class courses too in Biella, Bogogno Castelconturbia, Royal Park and Villa d’Este. You might spend three nights and end up playing only twice – not because the golf isn’t good, but because you’ve loved exploring Turin, Lake Como, Milan or Lake Maggiore so much...

pointing out the area’s strength in depth. You might think the Algarve and southern Spain are neck and neck for quality golf but in Monte Rei, Palmares, San Lorenzo, Quinta do Lago North and South, and Oceanico Old and Faldo, Portugal’s south coast dwarfs its Iberian neighbour’s tally. Most of the Algarve courses either rose or held their positions in this ranking too.


Poland Poland has a new entry in the Top 100 and a highlighted entry in the Next 100 – and nowhere in Europe will you enjoy such a high level of golf, accommodation and food & beverage for less money. The quality you can enjoy there for what are budget prices is genuinely staggering. Quirky Sand Valley near Gdansk and serene, manicured Modry Las near Szczecin also both have superb on-site accommodation. BEST FOR A SUNSHINE BREAK

The Algarve An obvious choice, but it’s worth

Lofoten or Estonia & Finland Both are enormous fun...if you don’t mind a planes, trains and automobiles-type experience. Lofoten is just a bucket list destination full stop. Go in the summer for guaranteed midnight golf in an amazing setting or slightly later for the Northern Lights. Estonia is lit up by sensational new entry Parnu Bay but don’t stop there; drive to Tallinn (you can fly to Tallinn or Riga in Latvia, to the south) and get the ferry to Finland to play Linna and another spectacularlylocated course, Kytaja (South East). The North West course there is also really good. n

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