Golf carts on a path at a scenic golf course with clear skies.

Epic Fairways: The Ultimate Golf Courses to Add to Your Bucket List

The world has more than 38,800 golf courses scattered across some of the most exquisite global locations. How many of these mesmerizing places have you visited? It’s time to consider some bucket list golf courses that every seasoned golfer should play in their lifetime.

While the vast majority of epic golf destinations recognized for stunning views are located in the US (over 15,500 courses across the nation), there are worthwhile golf experiences you can discover abroad in countries like Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the UK, Australia, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Argentina, Italy, Thailand, Turkey, and numerous other countries.

This guide will take you through some of the bucket list golf courses that impress with their golf course architecture, scenery, and overall experience. You’ll also find important information on the following:

  • Reasons to consider international golfing destinations
  • The features that make certain golf courses bucket-list worthy
  • The top golf courses in the US
  • Bucket list-worthy golf courses in Europe
  • The best international golf bucket list entries

The Allure of Golf Travel

Your local private golf club feels like home but let’s face it – the experience can become a bit repetitive after a while.

Golfers have a massive itch to travel and discover new incredible locations through their favorite sport. That’s why the golf tourism market has seen exponential growth in the past few years. It’s expected to reach a volume of 36.44 billion US dollars by 2030 – a substantial increase from the 6.5 billion dollars registered in 2021.

The benefits of golf travel include:

  • Creating incredible memories with friends, family members, and fellow golf enthusiasts
  • Getting to discover new cultures and amazing places
  • Connecting with the heritage of golf by visiting some of the places where it originated
  • Enjoying the diversity and challenges stemming from new golf courses you haven’t played before
  • Understanding the exquisite advantages that some of the best golf courses have to offer
  • Learning more about the local people, their life, traditions, cuisine, etc.

Without further ado, here’s our list of courses that enable brilliant golf opportunities while also leaving room for cultural, historic, and touristic exploration.

Let us help you find Your Next Golf Trip Destination

Pebble Beach Golf Links, US

Enjoy the highest American golf standards at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

Located on the Monterey Peninsula, Pebble Beach has hosted multiple U.S. Opens and it’s been ranked the number one public golf course several times. Currently, its popularity exceeds that of famous competitors like National Golf Links and California Golf Club.

This public course is best suited to the needs of highly experienced and skilled golfers. The design incorporates deep bunkers, lovely undulating terrain, and angled greens. Golf Digest calls it “the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf,” while also highlighting the extensiveness of the course. Pebble Beach features nine holes with several publications calling holes five through 11 some of the best in a row anyone would ever get to play.

Learn more about The Importance of Good Golf Design.

St. Andrews Links (Old Course), Scotland

As far as historic courses go, St. Andrews Links Old Course is the one to experience.

There’s a reason for its rich history – St. Andrews is recognized as the oldest golf course in the world. It dates back to the 12th century and the people of the town used it to play golf up till the 1400s. In 1552, an official charter turned St. Andrews into the official “home of golf.”

Obviously, St. Andrews has been modernized and upgraded multiple times since those historic days.

Through some bunker renovation and remodeling, the original old course and its famous Hells Bunker were incorporated into the new one. St. Andrews also has its golf academy and three golf clubs.

Augusta National Golf Club, US

Augusta National Golf Club’s Golf Digest description states that ever since 1934, the course has undergone multiple renovations and improvements to maintain its competitiveness.

This American Golf legendary spot in Georgia is the creation of Alister Mackenzie and Bobby Jones. Recently, Tom Fazio did extensive rebunkering but that hasn’t been the final upgrade. Later on, Augusta National underwent the lengthening of the par-4 fifth, as well as the lengthening of the 11th and 15th holes. In 2023, the course saw the addition of 35 yards to the par-5 13th.

Modern amenities and panoramic views make the golf destination bucket list-worthy. Augusta National has made it to Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest (it’s been constantly featured in their ranking since 1966) and has also been named the ninth-best course in the US in the 2023/24 Golf ranking.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club, Australia

The Royal Melbourne is one of the best golf courses in Australia. It’s yet another Alistair Mackenize masterpiece located in Victoria’s Blackrock.

The generous fairways and firm-faced bunkers are often considered superior to those of Augusta National. Unfortunately, Mackenzie didn’t live to see his masterpiece in its full glory.

It’s a highly reputable private golf club and you need to apply via a written form available on Royal Melbourne’s website. Do that well in advance when planning your trip – the interest is very high and approvals take time.

Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, New Zealand

Cape Kidnappers is one of the fresher additions to our list as it started welcoming golfers only in 2004. The style championship golf course has everything that American golf resorts offer and then some more.

The course is located on top of towering cliffs that oversee the ocean.

It works harmoniously with the landscape, delivering an organic yet challenging experience at the same time. Six of the holes get you moving alongside the cliffs for a bit of scenic adrenaline rush. The inland holes are just as charming, scattered through the tiered greens, forests, and marshes of the region.

Ballybunion Golf Club (Old), Ireland

Ballybunion’s 36 holes on two courses will give you everything you’ve envisioned in your most intricate golf dreams.

Ireland’s gem isn’t as popular as some of the other entries in the list but it’s definitely worth a visit.

Ballybunion is a golf club that charms with pristine dunes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, greens that run right next to the edge of the cliffs, six ocean-side holes, and year-round golfing opportunities.

The Fuji Course, Japan

Japan’s golf treasure is probably one of the most scenic golf courses you’ll ever get to experience.

Fuji Course, as the name suggests, is located right at the foot of Mount Fuji. It’s also very close to Tokyo, providing excellent tourism and sightseeing opportunities.

A historic venue, the course was opened in 1935, and ever since, it has established itself as one of the best places for amateurs and casual golfers. After the first 18 holes that will take you through meticulously maintained Japanese gardens, you can slow down and enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine on the nearby deck that overlooks the entire course.

Get Ready for the Perfect Trip

We recommend researching and planning your trip early enough. Consulting a golf package specialist is also a good idea, especially if you’re seeking the best deal and a curated experience. And don’t forget about good golf etiquette

Also, don’t forget to practice your swing in the months leading up to the trip. The more you commit to the game, the better the experience will be once you travel to one of those legendary destinations.

And don’t forget to bring The Stacker with you! Or at least use it to practice. The Stacker is a great accessory we recommend for smoother and more productive practice sessions. Featuring a variety of sizes and stacking options, it allows for effortless golf ball management and a better focus throughout your practice.