The Golfy Brand Logo

25 Golf Courses That Should Be on Every Golfer’s Bucket List

25 Golf Courses That Should Be on Every Golfer’s Bucket List

I’ll never forget playing at Hampton Cove in Huntsville, Alabama for the first time. It’s one of the most iconic stops on the Robert Trent Jones golf trail, and the view from each tee box looks like a postcard.

After my first round at the Cove, it was clear that serious golfers need a bucket list. However, it can be difficult to know which courses you should add to your bucket list.

There are over 38,000 golf courses in the world, so it’s tough to know which ones to choose. Our goal is to assist you in this.

Here are 25 golf courses that should be on every golfer’s bucket list.


1. The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland

No. The No. 1 spot on our list should be a no-brainer. Saint Andrews is the place that gave birth to golf over 600 years before. That’s why so many people travel from all corners of the globe to play at this beautiful venue. The Old Course was opened in 1850, and is often home to The Open Championship.

  • Iconic MomentsBobby Jones became the first Amateur golfer in 1927 to win back-toback Open Championship titles. Here, Seve Ballesteros defeated Bernhard Langer and Tom Watson at the 1984 Open Championship. Jack Nicklaus was the 2005 Open Champion at St. Andrews.
  • Cost: Around $300 Per Round
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayWinter (November-March)


2. Augusta National Golf Club (Augusta Georgia)

Even casual golf fans won’t be surprised to see Augusta National near the top of our bucket list golf courses. Bobby Jones designed the course that hosts the Masters golf tournament. It’s hard to get a tee time at this exquisite golf course, but it’s worth visiting even if you can’t find a way to play it.

  • Iconic MomentsArnold Palmer, the late great Arnold Palmer, birdied holes 17-18 in 1960 to win his second of 4 green jackets. Jack Nicklaus (known to the world as The Golden Bear) won his 5th Masters title by nailing a 40 foot putt on hole 16. Nicklaus narrowly defeated Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf and Tom Weiskopf by that clutch putt.
  • Cost:You must be a member to receive a $20,000-$40,000,000. If you are a friend of a August National member, you can pay a $40 per round guest fee.
  • Best Time to Play:Every tee-time you can!


3. Muirfield Village Golf Club, Columbus, Ohio

You should visit Muirfield Village to see The Golden Bear. Many avid golfers believe that this course is slightly behind Augusta National as the most beautiful in the US. The Memorial Tournament is an annual stop on the PGA Tour at this course.

  • Iconic MomentsTiger Woods made an almost impossible flop shot that got Nicklaus fired up in 2012. Woods secured his 5th title at The Memorial with this iconic shot. Here, Nicklaus won his 1977 tournament.
  • Cost:$175 per round (Must have a member).
  • Best Time to Play:July through October


4. TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)

Since we’re making a list of the best golf courses in the world, we have to mention TPC Sawgrass, which hosts The Players Championship each year. Pete Dye, the legendary golf architect, designed Sawgrass. This means that you’ll get one of the greatest challenges of your golfing life by trying to navigate tons of water and sand.

  • Iconic MomentsIn 2000, Tiger Woods was defeated on the last hole by Hal Sutton. He made a stunning approach shot into the green using a 6-iron and won the tournament. Woods got his revenge, however, when he birdied hole 17 and won his first Players Championship. Rickie Fowler came from 5 shots down to beat Kevin Kisner and Sergio Garcia at The Players in 2015, one of the best come-from-behind wins in the tournament’s history.
  • Cost:$450 (June through August); $600 September through May
  • Best Time of the Year to PlaySummer if the $150 per-round discounted rate is what you want


5. Bethpage Black Course (Farmingdale New York)

Are you a skilled low-handicapper looking for a challenge? Bethpage Black is a great option! This challenging course is consistently ranked among the most difficult in the world due to its numerous deep bunkers.

  • Iconic MomentsLucas Glover defeated Ricky Barnes and Mike Weir to win the 2009 US Open in Bethpage Black. Glover shot an amazing 64 during Round 2, to bring him within one shot from Barnes.
  • Cost:$70 for New York Residents, $140 for Non-Residents
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayOctober or November


6. Pebble Beach (California).

pebble beach golf

Pebble Beach is an essential part of any golf course bucket-list. If you’re a hardcore golfer who also likes being a beach bum after your round, this place is heaven on earth. It costs a pretty penny to play at Pebble, but it’s one of those unique experiences you can share with your grandkids one day.

  • Iconic MomentsTom Watson wins his US Open title with a remarkable chip shot on hole 17. This helped him to defeat Jack Nicklaus. Johnny Miller captured his third AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 1994 at 46 years old.
  • Cost: $635
  • Best Time to Play:September and October


7. Pinehurst Resort No. 2 Course (North Carolina).

Pinehurst Resort course

Here’s another ideal bucket list spot, especially if you’re looking for a location that has multiple courses. Pinehurst is home to 10 wonderful golf courses. But, the best is No. 2. It was designed and built by Donald Ross in 1907, and then restored by Ben Crenshaw (2010).

  • Iconic MomentsPayne Stewart putted a 15-foot putt on hole 18 of Couse No. 2. Pinehurst added a bronze statue of the event to his collection, which patrons visit quite often for photos.
  • Cost:$329 to 389
  • Best Time to Play:September to November


8. Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades (California)

We travel west to find our next selection at Riviera Country Club. As part of its West Coast swing, the PGA Tour stops at this location every year. Avid golfers will adore hole 10, which is a par 4 for low-handicappers.

  • Iconic MomentsBen Hogan won the 1948 US Open title at Riviera. Tiger Woods made his PGA Tour debut here in 1992, when he was 16 years old.
  • Cost:$350 (plus tip and caddie fees) and you must be a member.
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayAnytime


9. Kiawah Island Ocean Course, South Carolina

Kiawah Island course

Here’s an ideal choice for golfers who want to book a vacation near the Atlantic Ocean. Pete Dye designed this beautiful course. Each hole will be challenging, but beautiful. Come prepared to deal with some serious wind coming off the ocean’s shore.

  • Iconic Moments The Ocean Course is most famous for hosting the 1991 Ryder Cup, which is known as the “War on the Shore.” It was at this prestigious event that Team USA ended an 8-year Ryder Cup drought when Bernhard Langer surprisingly missed a six-foot putt on hole 18.
  • Cost: $383
  • Best Time to Play:Summer


10. Whistling Straights (Kohler, Wisconsin)

whistling straights golf

Whistling Straights is a well-known name among golfers who live near Lake Michigan. Pete Dye designed 2 courses in this small Wisconsin town, and they’re both incredible! For a unique experience in links golf, the Straights Course or Irish Course are your best options.

  • Iconic MomentsAlthough this course has seen many memorable moments, none compares to the 2015 PGA Championship. That’s where Jason Day carded a -20 score to take down Jordan Spieth by 3 shots.
  • Cost: $555
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayJune through October


11. Royal St. George’s Golf Club (Sandwich, Kent, England)

Here’s one of the best international golf courses in the world. Royal St. George has hosted 14 Open Championships. In typical links course fashion, golfers will be challenged with crazy dunes, deep bunkers, and roughs that’ll make you cuss.

  • Iconic MomentsGreg Norman won this course’s 1993 Open Championship. It was The Shark’s second career major title. Norman shot an inexplicably low 64 in round three to barely beat Nick Faldo by just two strokes.
  • Cost: $347
  • Best Time to Play:March through May


12. Kapalua Resort Plantation Course (Maui, Hawaii)

This is the course to play if you ever have the chance to vacation in Hawaii. Golfers will be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and West Maui Mountains. Each tee shot offers breathtaking views, and fairways are large enough to accommodate even high handicappers.

  • Iconic MomentsErnie Els won this course with a remarkable score -31 in the 2003 tournament. Jonathan Byrd hit the PGA Tour’s first 400-yard drive at this course in that same tournament.
  • Cost: $395
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayWinter


13. Loch Lomond Golf Club (Glasgow, Scotland)

Did you know that Scotland offers much more than just a links-style experience for golfers? This club is extremely exclusive so it may be difficult to get a time. However, those who have the privilege to play at Loch Lomond will receive 5-star service in a clubhouse that is reminiscent of a castle.

  • Iconic MomentsFrom 2001 through 2010, the Scottish Open was hosted here. For that event, Ernie Els, Martin Kaymer and Retief Goosen were among the PGA Tour’s top players.
  • Cost:Varies (Must be a member or participate in a charity event)
  • Best Time to Play: Anytime You Can


14. Fancourt Resort (South Africa).

You probably think of South Africa more as exotic safaris than amazing golf courses when you think about South Africa. The resort actually has three pristine courses. Gary Player and Phil Jacobs created the Links Course.

  • Iconic MomentsIn 2003, the Presidents Cup was held at the Links Course. The event ended in a tie, as Tiger Woods was dead and Ernie Els was still alive after three playoff holes.
  • Cost:$478 (Must have a Member or Stay at Resort)
  • Best Time of the Year to Play Spring


15. Bandon Dunes (Oregon)

Are you looking for a true links experience that doesn’t require international travel? Bandon Dunes is a great place to add to your bucket list! You’ll get challenging hole locations, rugged terrain, and some breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean!

  • Iconic MomentsSince 2006, the USGA hosts amateur tournaments. The 2022 US Junior Amateur was the most recent. One day, perhaps the PGA Tour will stop at one of these courses.
  • Cost:$295 (Summer), $100 (Winter).
  • Best Time to Play:September


16. Championship at Royal County Down, Northern Ireland

For an incredibly gorgeous links experience, you can’t leave out Northern Ireland. The Championship Links is situated in the heart of Mourne Mountains. You should bring your camera as each hole makes a wonderful postcard.

  • Iconic MomentsFrom 2000 to 2002 the Senior Open Championship was held on the course. These events were attended by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer, all members of the PGA Tour Hall of Fame.
  • Cost: $322
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayApril through October


17. Merion Golf Club (Ardmore in Pennsylvania)

Do you like shorter Par 4 holes? What golfer doesn’t? Merion is a hidden gem in the USA. It has both challenging holes and scoring opportunities that are fun.

  • Iconic MomentsBobby Jones won the 1930 US Amateur in Merion to complete his Grand Slam. Ben Hogan won at Merion the 1950 US Open, one of his most recognizable victories.
  • Cost:$525 (Must Know a Member)
  • Best Time to Play:Spring or Fall


18. Royal Melbourne (Australia)

You can book a bucket-list vacation and play at one of the most beautiful courses on the planet. Most golfers are wooed by Royal Melbourne’s outstanding course layout. This course has been a top choice in Australia since its construction in 1931.

  • Iconic MomentsThis course hosted 1998 Presidents Cup. It was the first time that the event was held outside the USA. Ernie Els shot a 60 at the Heineken Classic on this course in 2004.
  • Cost:$350 (Must be a member)
  • Best Time to Play:September to May


19. Championship Course at Carnoustie, Scotland

This course is a top-rated one in the UK and should be on your golf bucket list. PGA Tour star Padraig Harrington calls it “one of the best in the world.” It’s also known as “Golf’s Greatest Test”.

  • Iconic MomentsThis course has been home to The Open Championship on eight occasions. Francesco Molinari won 2018 Open Championship. He became the first player from Italy ever to win a major.
  • Cost: $322
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayApril through October


20. Cape Kidnappers (New Zealand)

Here’s another bucket list golf course that offers stunning views on every hole. The facilities are excellent and the water holes can be quite challenging.

  • Iconic MomentsThis one-of-a kind golfing experience was created in honor of Tom Doak, an architect legend. The secluded 500-foot cliff overlooking paradise is a magnet for golfers from all walks of the globe.
  • Cost: $429
  • Best Time of the Year to PlaySpring or Fall


21. Royal Troon (Scotland).

Royal Troon has been serving Scotland’s golf community since 1878. Visitors can choose to play the Old Course or Portland Course. No matter which you wind up playing, you’ll deal with the whipping wind, rugged terrain, and deep roughs that make links golf both maddening and exhilarating.

  • Iconic MomentsGreg Norman, Wayne Grady and Mark Calcavecchia were in a playoff at this particular course during the 1989 Open Championship. “Calc” went on to capture his only major title that day and took home the grand prize of $128,000.
  • Cost: $378 (Old Course), $126 (Portland)
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayApril through September


22. National Golf Links of America, Southhampton, NY

Are you planning to vacation in the Hamptons in future? If so, you will need to find a way of getting a tee-time at NGLA. It’s one of the top places in the US to enjoy a true links golf experience.

  • Iconic MomentsBobby Jones played a round of golf on this course back in 1924. Though he shot a 73, he told General Dwight D. Eisenhower that it was the most satisfying round of golf he’d ever played. For a legendary icon like Jones, that’s saying something!
  • Cost:$350 (Must be a member)
  • Best Time to Play:Summer


23. Quivira Golf Club (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico)

Quivira doesn’t get a ton of hype, but it’s definitely a bucket-list-worthy course if you’re ever on vacation in Cabo San Lucas. You’ll be amazed at the way some holes are located near the ocean, while others are nestled in between mountains.

  • Iconic MomentsQuivira is yet to host professional golf. Don’t let that deter you, though. Jack Nicklaus designed this course, and it’s one of the top resort locations in the world.
  • Cost:$233-$380 (Must be a member or stay at resort)
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayFall


24. Peachtree Golf Club (Atlanta, Georgia)

Augusta National is the most popular course in Georgia. This exclusive Atlanta course is a must-see for any golfer. Bobby Jones and a few friends created this course.

  • Iconic Moments You’ll have to create your own. This exclusive club has never been visited by the PGA Tour.
  • Cost:Not publically available (Must be invited)
  • Best Time of the Year to PlaySpring or Fall


25. Valderrama Golf Club (Sotogrande, Spain)

This royal golf course in South Spain is breathtaking! It’s lovingly referred to as the “Augusta of Europe”. Valderrama is consistently ranked among the Top 100 golf courses worldwide.

  • Iconic MomentsThis stunning course hosted 1997 Ryder Cup. Europe won the event with a final score 14.5 to 13.5. Team Europe’s Colin Montgomerie was the winner with 3.5 points.
  • Cost: $292
  • Best Time of the Year to PlayFebruary through July