Commentary

Planet Golf: Top 100 Courses Outside the U.S.

Updated: July 22, 2009, 2:34 PM ET
By John Barton | Golf Digest

• Golf Digest: Top courses in 184 countries

Have clubs, will travel. You can anyway, now that you're armed with Planet Golf, our biennial look at places to play around the globe.

For the first time we've compiled a ranking of the top 100 courses outside the U.S., a list that encompasses 25 countries (Canada and Scotland are represented the most, with 13 courses apiece). In past years we also published rankings for 100 countries. This year we expanded our coverage to include practically every place where golf is played, 184 nations and territories in all. In short, this is the biggest survey of our planet's golf courses ever undertaken.

We made plenty of fascinating discoveries along the way. Like how great it must be to live on Christmas Island, which has only one golf course but a total population of just 396, most of whom don't play. Or Bermuda, which has nine courses packed into just 20 square miles. Some other findings:

• Approximate number of golf courses in the world: 31,857.
• Proportion of humans who are golfers: 0.94 percent.
• Countries with the most courses per capita (minimum 500,000 population): Scotland (9,379 people per course), New Zealand (10,374), Australia (11,063), Republic of Ireland (14,127), Northern Ireland (14,353), Canada (15,480), Wales (18,321), United States (18,514), Sweden (21,295), England (27,725).
• Countries with the highest density of courses (minimum 500,000 population): Singapore (one course every 10 square miles), England (27), Northern Ireland (40), Wales (50), Scotland (56), Japan (59), Netherlands (75), Mauritius (87), Republic of Ireland (95), Denmark (117).
• Most populous countries where we could find no evidence of golf: Ukraine (population 47,732,079), Sudan (39,148,162), Yemen (20,024,867), Mali (11,956,788), Belarus (10,310,520).
• Most northerly course: Sondie Arctic Desert G. Cse., Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
• Most southerly: Ushuaia G.C., Argentina.
• Most easterly: Tonga G.C., Nukualofa, Tonga.
• Most westerly: Faleata C.C., Apia, Samoa.
• Ratio of courses in the U.S. to courses in the African continent: 20 to 1.
• Amount of earth's land mass devoted to golf courses: 0.014 percent.

Perhaps what we discovered most of all is that it really is a small world. Although not if you have to mow it.

THE 100 BEST COURSES OUTSIDE THE U.S.

1. St. Andrews (Old) St. Andrews, Scotland
2. Royal Melbourne G.C. (Composite) Black Rock, Australia
3. Royal Portrush G.C. (Dunluce) Portrush, N. Ireland
4. Royal County Down G.C. Newcastle, N. Ireland
5. Royal Dornoch G.C. (Championship) Dornoch, Scotland
6. Muirfield Gullane, Scotland
7. Ballybunion G.C. (Old) Ballybunion, Ireland
8. New South Wales G.C. Sydney, Australia
9. National G.C. Woodbridge, Canada
10. St. George's G. & C.C. Islington, Canada
11. Turnberry (Ailsa) Turnberry, Scotland
12. Carnoustie G.C. (Championship) Carnoustie, Scotland
13. Kingston Heath G.C. Melbourne, Australia
14. Hamilton G. & C.C. Ancaster, Canada
15. Royal Porthcawl G.C. Porthcawl, Wales
16. Royal St. George's G.C. Sandwich, England
17. Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog) La Romana, Dominican Republic
18. Sunningdale G.C. (Old) Sunningdale, England
19. Beacon Hall G.C. Aurora, Canada
20. Kingsbarns G. Links St. Andrews, Scotland
21. Loch Lomond G.C. Luss, Scotland
22. Highlands Links Cape Breton, Canada
23. Swinley Forest G.C. Ascot, England
24. Hirono G.C. Hyogo, Japan
25. Leopard Creek G. Estate & C.C. Malelane, South Africa
26. Royal Birkdale G.C. Southport, England
27. Lahinch G.C. (Old) Lahinch, Ireland
28. Golf de Morfontaine Morfontaine, France
29. Gary Player C.C. Sun City, S. Africa
30. Portmarnock G.C. (Old) Portmarnock, Ireland
31. Royal Westmoreland G. & C.C. St. James, Barbados
32. Royal Adelaide G.C. Adelaide, Australia
33. Le Golf National (L'Albatros) Guyancourt, France
34. Royal Troon G.C. (Old) Troon, Scotland
35. The National G.C. (Moonah) Cape Schanck, Australia
36. Royal Lytham and St. Annes G.C. Lytham St. Annes, England
37. Cruden Bay G.C. Cruden Bay, Scotland
38. San Lorenzo G.C. Almancil, Algarve, Portugal
39. Macrihanish G.C. Campbeltown, Scotland
40. Tokyo G.C. Saitama, Japan
41. Woodhall Spa G.C. (Hotchkin) Woodhall Spa, England
42. Ganton G.C.
Ganton, England
43. Les Bordes Beaugency, France
44. Kasumigaseki C.C. (East) Saitama, Japan
45. Mid Ocean Club Tucker's Town, Bermuda
46. Redtail G. Cse. Port Stanley, Canada
47. Cape Kidnappers G.C. Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
48. Domaine Imperial G.C. Gland, Switzerland
49. Barnbougle Dunes G. Links Bridport, Tasmania, Australia
50. Taman Dayu G.C. Pasuruan, Indonesia
51. Spring City G. & Lake Resort (Lake) Kunming, China
52. Spring City G. & Lake Resort (Mountain) Kunming, China
53. Playa Dorada G. Cse. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
54. Wairakei International G. Cse. Taupo, New Zealand
55. Santa Elena G.C. (RTJ2) Cabuyao, Laguna, Philippines
56. Capilano G.C. West Vancouver, Canada
57. Russley G.C. Christchurch, New Zealand
58. Puerto Azul G.C. Ternate, Cavite, Philippines
59. The Links at Fancourt George, South Africa
60. Paraparaumu Beach G.C. Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand
61. The European Club Brittas Bay, Ireland
62. Durban C.C. Durban, South Africa
63. Cabo del Sol G.C. (Ocean) Los Cabos, Mexico
64. G.C. de Barbaroux Brignoles, France
65. Western Gailes G.C. Irvine, Scotland
66. Metropolitan G.C. Melbourne, Australia
67. Royal St. David's G.C. Harlech, Wales
68. The Lakes G.C. Sydney, Australia
69. Saujana G. & C.C. (Bunga Raya) Selangor, Malaysia
70. The Mines Resort & G.C. Selangor, Malaysia
71. Royal Montreal G.C. (Blue) Ile Bizard, Canada
72. Pinx G.D. Jeju Island, South Korea
73. Royal Liverpool G.C. Hoylake, England
74. Greywolf G.C. Panorama, Canada
75. Valderrama G.C. Sotogrande, Spain
76. The Gulf Harbour C.C. Whangaparaoa, New Zealand
77. Banff Springs G.C. (Stanley Thompson) Banff, Canada
78. Angus Glen G.C. (South) Markham, Canada
79. Lynx at Kingswood Park Fredericton, Canada
80. Aberdovey G.C. Aberdovey, Wales
81. Fox Harb'r G. Resort & Spa Wallace, Canada
82. Buenos Aires G.C. Bella Vista, Buenos Aires, Argentina
83. Shenzhen G.C. Shenzhen, China
84. Vilamoura G.C. (Old) Vilamoura, Portugal
85. Luisita G.C. Tarlac, Philippines
86. North Berwick G.C. North Berwick, Scotland
87. Kawana Hotel G.C. (Fiji) Shizuoka, Japan
88. Yalong Bay G.C. Hainan Island, China
89. Emirates G.C. (Majlis) Dubai, United Arab Emirates
90. Rye G.C. Rye, England
91. Sotogrande G.C. Sotogrande, Spain
92. Waterville G. Links Waterville, Ireland
93. Kauri Cliffs G.C. & Lodge Northland, New Zealand
94. Olivos G.C. Buenos Aires, Argentina
95. Wentworth G.C. (West) Virginia Water, England
96. Mission Hills G.C. (World Cup) Shenzhen, China
97. Jockey Club (Colorada) San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina
98. St. Andrews (New) St. Andrews, Scotland
99. Golf de Fontainebleau Fontainebleau, France
100. Arabella Estate & G.C. Kleinmond, South Africa

http://sports.espn.go.com/travel/gallery/gallery?id=3189100Text provided by Golf Digest.

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