Architects’ Choice: 30-21

Architects’ Choice: 30-21
Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

We’re counting down the Golf Course Architecture Architects’ Choice Top 100 Golf Courses in the World, as voted for by over 240 golf course architects from 28 countries across the globe.

Today we reveal which courses feature in positions 30-21 on our list:

30. Seminole

Florida, USA
Donald Ross, 1929

With the routing taking players into a large sand ridge, the combination of Ross’s trademark crowned greens and strategically placed bunkers, coastal winds and typically very firm and fast playing surfaces define Seminole’s challenge.

29. Cruden Bay
Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Tom Morris, Archie Simpson, Tom Simpson, Herbert Fowler, 1899

The original Morris and Simpson layout was redesigned to the current layout by Tom Simpson and Herbert Fowler in 1929. It’s a unique and unconventional journey among the links with everything from bathtub greens to blind par threes, but never a dull moment.

28. San Francisco
California, USA
AW Tillinghast, 1918

Many consider this Tillinghast’s finest work, and it is the highest rated of his courses in our Top 100. Renaissance Golf Design was commissioned to rebuild the club’s greens in 2001, and at the same time restored Tillinghast’s original thirteenth to fifteenth holes.

27. Royal St George’s
Kent, England
Laidlaw Purves, 1887

14 Open Championships have been hosted on the severely undulating links at Sandwich in south east England. With two loops of nine, rather than the traditional out-and-back links layout, players will typically have to cope with wind from all directions.

26. Royal Birkdale

Merseyside, England
George Lowe, Fred G. Hawtree, JH Taylor, 1897

The original George Lowe links was extensively remodelled by Hawtree and Taylor in the 1930s. Routed between the sand dunes, Birkdale is our architects’ second favourite golf course in England. Jonathan Gaunt says: “Royal Birkdale is a great golfers’ course where, if you play well, you get the favourable bounces. A great variety of holes and shapes.”

25. Kingston Heath
Victoria, Australia
Dan Soutar, Alister MacKenzie, 1925

Established in 1909, Kingston Heath moved from its Elsternwick site to Cheltenham in the mid-1920s. Built to stand the test of time, the then par-82 course was designed by 1905 Australian Open champion Dan Soutar and bunkered by Alister Mackenzie.

24. Carnoustie
Angus, Scotland
Alan Robertson, Tom Morris, James Braid, 1850

David Whelchel says: “Carnoustie gets my top spot as it is a fine layout, wonderful change of direction and the golfer has to hit quality shots to post a good or great score. Having played it many times, each time only gets better and my respect for the course increases with each round and each hole played.”

23. Lahinch (Old)
County Clare, Ireland
Tom Morris, Alister MacKenzie, Martin Hawtree, 1894

“Lahinch is quirky perfection, beautifully restored and maintained,” says David Krause.
“The Martin Hawtree remodel of Lahinch is the only case I know where a classic old links has been significantly improved by modern intervention,” says David Jones.

22. Sunningdale (Old)
Surrey, England
Willie Park Jr, Harry Colt, 1901

The Old course at Sunningdale, laid out by Willie Park Jr, is the highest ranked English course in our Top 100. Club secretary Harry Colt’s redesigned holes were warmly received, and the experience inspired him to develop his career as a golf course designer.

21. Merion (East)
Pennsylvania, USA
Hugh Wilson, 1912

Architects Tom Fazio and Tom Marzolf helped prepare the Merion for the 2013 US Open, demonstrating that there is still a place for historic courses with quirk, character and charm, and without excessive length, at major championships.

A full report of the Top 100 – including the observations of golf course architects – will be sent to Golf Course Architecture monthly e-mail newsletter subscribers on July 12th. Sign up for free by entering your email address in the e-mail newsletter box on the home page of this website.

Architects’ Choice: 100-91| 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | the full report