Royal Lytham & St. Annes
Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, England / 7,118 yards, Par 70
Perhaps the least dramatic-looking links in The Open rota, mainly because it's surrounded by houses and a rail line, with the seacoast being hundreds of yards distant and never in sight. Lytham boasts over 200 bunkers, most built a century ago, when the club was heralded as a pioneer of natural bunkering. Its par-3 first hole is unusual, while its finish, six straight par 4s, is a terrific challenge that was, in 2011, the downfall of Adam Scott and a triumph for Ernie Els. Royal Lytham next hosts the 2015 Walker Cup.
Sheshan G.C.


Songjiang, Shanghai, China / 7,143 yards, Par 72
Also called Sheshan International, this layout at the base of Sheshan Mountain is considered by some to be the Augusta National of China because of its opulent conditioning. The stylistic design, by Canadian Neil Haworth and his late partner Robin Nelson, incorporates a small forest, a canal, several manmade ponds and a small, deep stone quarry, over which both the drivable par-4 16th and long par-3 17th play. Sheshan hosted the World Golf Championship's HSBC event six times, most recently in 2013, won by Dustin Johnson.
Portmarnock G.C.


Portmarnock, Co. Dublin, Ireland / 7,365 yards, Par 72
A true links in rolling ground with soft rather than dramatic dunes, Portmarnock, on a spit of land in the Irish Sea north of Dublin, is known for its routing, which hasn't been altered in over a hundred years and was revolutionary at the time for constantly changing wind direction with every shot. The links is also known for its fairness, as nearly every feature is plainly in view from tee to green. Which makes its maze of bunkers and subtle greens all the more testing.
Leopard Creek C.C.


Malelane, Mpumalanga, South Africa / 7,288 yards, Par 72
Malelane, Mpumalanga, South Africa/ 7,288 yards, Par 72 Intended to merge with its Bushvelt environs, what with Kruger National Park and the Crocodile River on the north and west, the Gary Player-designed Leopard Creek is really more akin to a polished, immaculate American layout, with a manmade stream diagonally slashing in front of first and 14th greens, the fifth, 15th 16th and 18th greens guarded by stone-bulkheaded ponds and the par-5 ninth green on an island. But no course in America has views of giraffes, hippos and crocs in the wild.
Casa de Campo
La Romana, Dominican Republic / 7,471 yards, Par 72
The Dominican Republic is now a major golf destination. Teeth of the Dog started it all back in 1971. The earliest international masterpiece by Pete Dye, it's been periodically rebuilt and updated by Dye following repeated hurricane damage. The routing is stunning, a clockwise front 9, counterclockwise back 9, with seven holes hunkered down on the ocean, no more than 20 feet above the surf. The sea is on the left on holes five through eight, on the right on holes 15 through 17. Every hole is unique and scenic.
Garden City G.C.
Garden City, N.Y., U.S.A. / 6,911 yards, Par 73
Minimalist in its design (you can still see the faint traces of old roadbeds over which the course was routed) and natural in its upkeep, Garden City G.C. is one of the great early tournament venues in the U.S. Before the 1908 U.S. Amateur, Walter Travis remodeled the course into what it is today, its strategies dictated by many deep pot bunkers. Travis installed them to promote "thinking golf," but one player soon dubbed Garden City the home of the "God-fearing approach shot."
Castle Stuart G.C.


Inverness, Invernessshire, Scotland / 7,009 yards, Par 72
Once he completed Kingsbarns (No. 50), owner Mark Parsinen found another ideal venue farther north, on the shores of the Moray Firth. Golf architect Gil Hanse and associate Jim Wagner hand-built Castle Stuart, with Parsinen involved on every hole. Each nine opens with holes framed by the coastline on one side and a high bluff on the other. Then each nine moves to a mezzanine level where the views are spectacular and several "infinity greens" seem perched on cliffs directly over the sea. Castle Stuart has hosted several Scottish Opens. Parsinen's dream is to host a British Open.
Woodhall Spa G.C.


Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, England / 7,080 yards, Par 73
Named for obscure architect S.V. Hotchkin, who purchased the club in the early 1920s and remodeled the course, which consisted of a 1905 nine by Harry Vardon and a 1912 nine by H.S. Colt. Hotchkin tinkered with the lovely, ground-hugging heathland layout until his death in 1953, producing what some call the most ferocious bunkers in Great Britain. Some are hidden from view, others are steep and deep and some are ringed with heather.
TPC Sawgrass
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., U.S.A. / 7,215 yards, Par 72 
TPC's stadium concept was the idea of then-PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman. The 1980 design was pure Pete Dye, who set out to test the world's best golfers by mixing demands of precision with target golf. Most greens are ringed by random lumps, bumps and hollows, what Dye calls his "grenade attack architecture." His ultimate target hole is the heart-pounding sink-or-swim island green 17th, which offers no bailout, perhaps unfairly in windy Atlantic coast conditions. The 17th has spawned over a hundred imitation island greens in the past 30 years.
Loch Lomond G.C.


Luss, Dunbartonshire, Scotland / 7,100 yards, Par 71
Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf were the first American architects to work in Scotland, not on the coast but west of Glasgow on the shore of Loch Lomond. The design is mostly Weiskopf, who lived on site supervising construction while Morrish recovered from a heart attack at home. Opened in 1992, it's a graceful layout, the third, sixth, seventh and 18th holes touching the shoreline, others winding through inland hazards of oaks, sculptured bunkers, streams, marsh and a pond. There are a pair of reachable par 4s, the ninth and 14th, a favorite of Weiskopf.
Sunningdale G.C.


Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire, England / 6,729 yards, Par 70
H.S. Colt, who was the club's secretary from 1901 to 1913, laid out the New Course in 1923, after he'd established his reputation as a grand golf architect. It's considered by most to be tougher than No. 41 Sunningdale Old, mainly because Colt's greens are smaller, with subtle contours that nudge balls toward bunkers hard along the collars. It's a toss-up as to which course is prettier. Both have fields of heather, gorse, Scotch broom and clusters of pine, oak and silver birch.
Spring City Golf


Kunming, Yunnan Province, China / 7,204 yards, Par 72
This Robert Trent Jones Jr. design on the shoreline of Yang Zong Hai Lake (as gorgeous as Lake Tahoe) opened a year after the club's Mountain Course, ranked No. 100. Holes are benched along a tumbling slope leading down to the lake, the opening and closing holes at the highest location, a spectacular trio down on the water's edge: the par-3 eighth, plunging 100 feet down to a peninsula green, the par-5 ninth with the lake hard against the right edge and the par-3 10th, over a lake cove to a clifftop green.
Waterville G. Links


Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland / 7,355 yards, Par 72
Waterville has some superb dunes holes, next to the Ballinskellligs Bay, and several laid out in former potato fields. Original owner John Mulcahy and 1947 Masters champion Claude Harmon (Butch's dad) collaborated with Irish golf architect Eddie Hackett on the early 1970s design. A decade ago, Tom Fazio added new par-3 sixth & par-4 seventh holes and altered 13 others, adding new tees, greens and much-needed humps and bumps to the flattish front nine.
Victoria G.C.


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia / 6,865 yards, Par 72
Located kitty-corner across a road from Royal Melbourne, Victoria G.C., home course of stars Peter Thomson and Geoff Ogilvy, was designed originally by a couple of club founders. Alister MacKenzie made bunkering suggestions during a 1926 visit, changes later implemented by Alex Russell. Victoria has smaller greens than at other prominent Melbourne courses, and the bunkers hard against the collars make them play even tighter. Once heavily forested, consulting architect Michael Clayton is slowly removing many trees.
The Honors Course
Ooltewah, Tenn., U.S.A. / 7,450 yards, Par 72
Considered radical in the early 1980s because of its acres of tall, native-grass rough, unusual Zoysiagrass fairways and terrifying greens perched atop bulkheads of rock, today The Honors Course is considered a well-preserved example of Pete Dye's death-or-glory architecture. Other than reducing the contours in a couple of greens (particularly the 18th) in the late 1990s, Dye has left the course alone. One suspects he might return someday to perform some updates.
Walton Heath G.C.


Tadworth, Surrey, England / 7,462 yards, Par 72
Herbert Fowler's earliest design, done in 1904, is an out-and-back routing with rippling fairways, tight turf, cross bunkers, ground-hugging greens and fields of heather, all borrowed from coastal links.  One writer has suggested Walton Heath ranks with Pine Valley as the best neophyte design in golf. It opens with a par-3, closes with five stern holes, including the par-5 16th, which is played as a long 4 for tournaments. Donald Steel altered holes and added length early in this century.
Baltusrol G.C.
Springfield, N.J., U.S.A. / 7,400 yards, Par 72
Jack Nicklaus won two U.S. Opens on it, setting a tournament record each time. Phil Mickelson won a PGA on it. But Baltusrol Lower's most historic event was the ace by architect Robert Trent Jones in 1954 on the par-3 fourth, instantly squelching complaints of critical club members who felt Trent's redesign made it too hard. Trent's younger son Rees has been Baltusrol's consulting architect in recent decades. An avowed A.W. Tillinghast fan, he's lightly retouched the Lower's design for its next major, the 2016 PGA Championship.
Hamilton G.&C.C.


Ancaster, Ontario, Canada / 6,928 yards, Par 70
A fascinating H.S. Colt layout, with holes routed in clusters of triangles, traversing the hilly landscape both face-on and diagonally, with meandering creeks winding across fairway landing areas. Tom Clark, consulting architect for over 25 years, has rebuilt greens and bunkers and quietly removed many trees to provide playing room and showcase land contours. Hamilton has hosted the Canadian Open three times since 2003. Its tough par-4 18th is a grand amphitheater for such events.
St. Enodoc G.C.


Wadebridge, England / 6,547 yards, Par 69
A rollicking James Braid design on the southwest toe of England, lengthened in the past decade but still short and odd enough to be a cult favorite. It features plenty of blind shots and greens atop dunes, almost no level lies. The par-4 sixth contains the awesome Himalayas Bunker, 80 feet tall, blocking view of fairway and green from the tee. The par-4 10th finishes beside a cemetery and namesake church that dates from the 13th century.
Spring City Golf


Kunming, Yunnan Province, China / 7,453 yards, Par 72
Opened in 1998, a year before Spring City's Lake Course (No. 92), the Mountain Course occupies a plateau at 7,000 feet, ringed by mountains. The layout looks like a prototypical Jack Nicklaus design, big and bold, with fairways twisting around fanciful bunkers, forced carries over ponds and canyons and roughs of native brush dotted with pines and rock outcroppings. But it has no homesites. Moderate year-round climate makes for ideal turf conditions.
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