5 Courses You Should Play in 2017
5 Courses You Should Play in 2017
By Jonathan Alden
I have always had a hard time comparing the World’s top golf courses, especially when making a recommendation to others. Would they rather play atop the stunning cliffs at Old Head or play the classic links at Portmarnock? When it comes to golf courses, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
There are a few courses, though, that I can confidently say are must-plays in 2017, not because of their natural beauty (although of course they are stunningly beautiful), but because they are set to host some of the golf’s biggest tournaments in the coming years. As a golf fan, there are few things more enjoyable than watching the game’s best players compete on a course I have played. With that being said, try to plan your 2017 golf travel schedule around these five gems:
Carnoustie-Championship Course (Scotland) – Scotland’s next Open Championship host course, Carnoustie is not for the faint of heart. A notoriously trying links, the course is a thinker’s course which will test every club in your bag. Anything within five shots of your handicap is a real triumph around this course, but the challenge is one you will cherish every step of the way. For an added treat, see if you can beat Jean Van de Velde’s championship-losing triple bogey on the par-four 18th.
Le golf nacional (France) – The club’s Albatross course has served as host of the French Open since 1991 and golf’s biggest event will call the course home for three days next year, as the club is set to host the 2018 Ryder Cup. The course incorporates a smorgasbord of design characteristics, creating a great mix of both links and lakeside holes. With the Paris city-center less than an hour away, it fits nicely into the most popular French itineraries. The course’s popularity will continue to escalate as we lead up to the 2018 Ryder Cup so get there soon.
Royal Portrush-Dunluce Course (Northern Ireland) – The Open Championship will finally return the island of Ireland in 2019, as the Dunluce Course, host of Ireland’s only British Open in 1951, will once again take center stage. The Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland is world-renowned for its stunning scenery, and Royal Portrush takes full advantage of the sweeping coastline with several holes that play right along the water’s edge, sometimes precariously so.
Royal Melbourne (Australia) – Melbourne is set to host the 2019 President’s Cup, and while the host course has yet to be named, one can only assume that Royal Melbourne’s West Course, the city’s crown jewel, will get the bid. Nestled inside a golfing paradise in Australia’s sandbelt, the course is widely regarded as the best course in all of Australia. Blind shots off the tee, treacherous putting surfaces, and imposing bunkering are all part of the challenge. Part of designer Alister MacKenzie’s philosophy was that a golf course should grow on you over time, and nowhere is that more true than at Royal Melbourne.
Turnberry-Ailsa Course (Scotland) – Turnberry makes this list not for what is to come (although I’m sure another Open is right around the corner for the four-time host) but rather because of the extensive changes that concluded this past summer. Site of the famous “Duel in the Sun” in which Tom Watson bested Jack Nicklaus in the 1977 British Open, the Ailsa course is perhaps the most scenic of all the courses on the Open rota, and recent changes to the layout have further highlighted this fact. Several of the holes have been moved closer to the water’s edge atop the craggy headland overlooking the Firth of Clyde and the views across to the Isle of Arran are simply astounding. As the Scots like to say, Turnberry is not Scotland’s Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach is America’s Turnberry!