20+ Iconic Bucket List Golf Courses Every Golfer Should Play

How many Bucket List Golf Courses have you played? If you are a die-hard golfer, you probably have a Bucket List of the famous golf courses from around the world that you must play before you die.

I believe that golf is like pizza, no matter how bad it is, it’s still pretty good. While many golf courses around the world are good enough to satisfy our golf cravings, there are bucket list golf courses that will create an experience you will never forget.

This post is dedicated to those famous golf courses around the world, that need to be played before…well, you know…kick the bucket.

I am not getting any younger, so I decided to compile a list of 20+ most famous golf courses from around the world that I need to add to my bucket list, and you should as well. 

Here’s the list I came up with (in no particular order).

20+ most famous golf courses from around the world - Bucket List

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TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium), FL

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Who hasn’t dreamed about getting a hole in one on the iconic par-three 17th on Sawgrass’s Stadium Course? Mind you, who hasn’t imagined shanking six pro-v1’s off the tee as well?

While the 17th hole gets a lot of attention, the 18th hole on this golf course – a 462-yard, par 4 guarded by water down the left side, is a formidable finishing hole.

This is a truly balanced course. Players find a selection of short, medium and long holes within the categories of par-3s, par-4s and par-5s; both right and left doglegs; and a course routing laid out so no two consecutive holes ever play in the same direction. 

If you are planning on making this Bucket List Golfing Holiday, you should book your accommodations through Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. They often have great stay and play deals that can make this golfing holiday a little cheaper.

Torrey Pines (South), CA

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Located in La Jolla (pronounced “la hoya”), California, Torrey Pines Golf Course sits on the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is recognized as the premier municipal golf course owned and operated by a city. 

It is named after the Torrey Pine, a rare tree that grows in the wild only along this local stretch of the coastline in San Diego County and on Santa Rosa Island. 

It offers two picturesque and, due to its yearly hosting of the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open event, widely recognizable championship 18-hole golf courses. 

Torrey Pines was the site of perhaps the most memorable modern-day U.S. Open Championship, when in 2008, under the typically brutal conditions of this major tournament, injured and hobbling Tiger Woods defeated Rocco Mediate during their sudden-death playoff after 90 grueling holes of exciting golf.

Looking for accommodations for your Torrey Pines Bucket List Golfing Vacation? Try TripAdvisor for the best rates.

Pinehurst Resort (Pinehurst No. 2), NC

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Pinehurst No. 2, the centerpiece of Pinehurst Resort, remains one of the world’s most celebrated golf courses

It has served as the site of more single golf championships than any course in America and hosted back-to-back U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships for the first time in 2014. The U.S. Open will return in 2024.

Opened in 1907, No. 2 was designed by Donald Ross, who called it “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.” Ross was associated with the course for nearly a half-century, improving the course continually until his death in 1948. 

No. 2 is best known for its crowned, undulating greens, which are some of the most complex and widely hailed in the world. Ross believed in providing golfers with strategic choices, and Pinehurst No. 2 was intended to epitomize that philosophy.

Looking for accommodations for your Pinehurst Golfing Vacation? Try TripAdvisor for the best rates.

Kapalua (Plantation), HI

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Consistently ranked as the #1 golf course in Hawaii, playing The Plantation Course is sure to be on every bucket list.

Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the course was designed on a grand scale in keeping with its location on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains and offers dramatic ocean views from almost every hole.

Its lengthy 7,411-yard par 73 layout challenges the pros but itʼs wide fairways and generous greens make it very playable for the average golfer.

With dramatic elevation changes, this course offers plenty of downhill tee shots. Youʼll feel like one of the pros when – with the aid of the aggressive slope of the 18th fairway – you will enjoy hitting one of the longest drives of your life.

Looking for accommodations for your Kapalua Golfing Vacation? Try TripAdvisor for the best rates.

PGA WEST (Stadium Course), CA

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The PGA West Stadium Course was designed by Pete Dye and is viewed as the sequel to the TPC at Sawgrass. It was inspired by the Scottish links-style courses and at one point was considered one of Golf Digest’s Top 100 Courses in America.

This course is a must play to experience a true professional course and #17 Alcatraz the water hole will test your mettle. Be sure to have your cameras ready!!

PGA West Stadium Course is one of the most unique golf courses you will ever play.

Looking for accommodations for your Palm Springs Golfing Vacation? Try TripAdvisor for the best rates.

Bethpage State Park (The Black Course), NY

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Bethpage Golf Course is one of the most popular and cherished golf courses in the nation.

Located in suburban Long Island in close proximity to New York City, Bethpage is a mecca for public golf featuring five 18-hole regulation golf courses, including the world-renowned Bethpage Black.

In addition to Bethpage Black hosting the United States Open Championships it will also host two Barclays PGA Tour events, The PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup.

Looking for accommodations for your Bethpage Black Golfing Vacation? Try TripAdvisor for the best rates.

Bandon Dunes (Pacific Dunes), OR

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“Bandon Dunes is true to the spirit of Scotland’s ancient links.  

Here, players immerse themselves in the traditions of a timeless game and the grandeur of Oregon’s rugged coast. Sweeping, untamed shores stretch for miles. Primeval grassy dunes roll to the sea.  

Five distinctly different courses have been conceived in harmony with the natural environment.

They combine with all the essential elements to reveal a new golf experience every time you play. The soul of the game resides here. Players walk. And at the end of the day, gracious hospitality comforts each guest like a warm, friendly embrace.

This is Bandon Dunes. This is golf as it was meant to be.” – Bandon Dunes Website

Looking for accommodations for your Bandon Dunes Golfing Vacation? Try TripAdvisor for the best rates.

Pelican Hill Golf Club – Newport Coast, CA

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When jaw-dropping scenery is par for the course, youʼll need to remind yourself to keep your eye on the ball.

But once you find your focus, players of every skill level are rewarded with 36 holes that test your mettle, quicken your pulse and stir your soul. Pelican Hill Golf Club is more than just a round of golf.

Itʼs a two-course feast to make you feel as if golf is your sole reason for being.

With a quarter century of accolades and accomplishments on the scorecard, itʼs no wonder these two courses are described as some of the most spectacular in golf.

This is why Pelican Hill Golf Club is on my bucket list of golf resorts around the world.

Looking for accommodations for your Newport Beach Golfing Vacation? Click Here For Great Rates At Booking.com

Pebble Beach Golf Links – Pebble Beach, CA

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Is Pebble Beach A Public Course?

Pebble Beach isnʼt just the No. 1 public course in America. Pebble Beach is the No. 1 Golf Resort in America.

With three Top 50 public courses canvasing the spectacular coastline that wraps around Californiaʼs Monterey Peninsula, golf at Pebble Beach Resorts is a truly unforgettable experience. 

When you think of golf, these famous golf courses are usually on any bucket list for any golfer.

Whether you are skirting the scenic sand dunes at Spanish Bay, threading the towering pines of Spyglass Hill, or challenging the cliff-swept shoreline at Pebble Beach, a golf trip to Pebble Beach Resorts is full of memorable thrills.

Looking for accommodations for your Pebble Beach Golfing Vacation? Click Here To Book Your Pebble Beach Adventure

The Coeur dʼAlene Resort – ID

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Itʼs one of the best-known icons in golf, the Famous 14th Hole at The Coeur dʼAlene, The Floating Green.

There is nothing ordinary about a round of golf at The Coeur dʼAlene. Arrive in a custom mahogany lake shuttle and greeted by a personal forecaddie.

The breathtaking lake views from nearly every hole ease the tension of the formidable challenge presented by the floating green. The award-winning expertly groomed course aesthetics to complement the experience.

The experts at Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Conde Nast Traveler agree this is one of the worldʼs most memorable golf experiences.

Discover one of the coolest golf courses out there, and why it’s a golf experience like no other.

Looking for accommodations for your Coeur d’Alene Golfing Vacation? Click Here For Great Rates At TripAdvisor.com

The Greenbrier (Old White TPC) - WV

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The Greenbrier course was designed by Seth Raynor, a close associate of Charles Blair Macdonald and one of the great architects of early American golf, and opened for play in 1924.

It was later redesigned in 1977 by Jack Nicklaus in preparation for the 1979 Ryder Cup. 

The heavily wooded course encourages and rewards shot shaping off the tee and precise approach shots into the greens. The well-bunkered and terraced greens require talent, touch, and creativity on and around the greens.

Planning On Playing Greenbrier? Click Here To Book Hotels At Tripadvisor.com

Whistling Straits (The Straits), WI

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What Are The Top 10 Golf Courses In The World? If The Straits instead one of them, there has to be a mistake.

Open, rugged and windswept terrain defines the walking-only, links- style Straits course sculpted along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

A masterpiece in the world of golf created by Pete Dye, The Straits at Whistling Straits was ranked #4 in Golf Digestʼs 2017/2018 and home to the 2020 Ryder Cup!

One most famous golf courses in USA that any golfer needs to play.

Planning On Playing Whistling Straits? Click Here To Book Hotels At Tripadvisor.com

Harbour Town Golf Links, SC

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Featuring a collection of par threes ranked amongst the worldʼs finest and a par-4 18th hole considered one of the most feared in all of golf.

Harbour Town Golf Links has undergone many recent enhancements, including new Celebration Bermuda grass for the fairways, new TifEagle Bermuda grass for the greens and a new irrigation system. 

Since 1969, itʼs also been the home of the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, which continues to attract the worldʼs top golfers and thousands of spectators. 

Definitely, one of the top courses in the world to play.

Planning On Playing Harbor Town? Click Here To Book Hotels At Tripadvisor.com

Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Ocean Course), SC

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The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort hosted the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA Championships, and one of the most popular golf courses in the US.

It will also host the 2021 PGA. The Ocean Course is the fourth course to have hosted each of the PGA of Americaʼs major championships

Probably no other golf course in the world outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland is affected as much by the wind. From one round to the next, a player can experience up to an 8-club difference on holes depending upon the direction and strength of the wind

Built-in 1991 by Pete Dye, there are no prevailing winds on the course. Dye took this into account when designing the course. In fact, he designed two courses into one for an easterly wind and one for a westerly wind. 

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Oh, and let’s not forget Turtle Point!

Rated 48th on Golf Digestʼs 100 Greatest Public Golf Course List, Turtle Point is a low-profile golf course that delivers a high caliber golfing experience.

Jack Nicklaus once said that his number one goal in golf course design was to make the player use his mind ahead of his muscles to control his emotions sufficiently to really think through his options before drawing a club from the bag.

Turtle Point Golf Club at Kiawah Island Golf Resort is one of Jackʼs early designs.

Planning On Playing Kiawah Island Golf Resort? Click Here To Book Hotels At Tripadvisor.com

Trump National Doral Miami (Blue Monster), FL

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Known as a bucket list golf destination, the world-renowned Trump National Doral Miami is a golferʼs haven. And today, more so than ever, guests will find it is one of the pre-eminent luxury golf resorts in Florida

This Doral golf resort is home to four uniquely designed courses, including one of golfʼs iconic Blue Monster Course.

With the most recent course transformations of The Red Tiger, The Golden Palmand, The Silver Fox, Trump National Doral Miami sets itself apart from all others by offering distinct and exciting Doral golf experiences all at one property.

Forget about politics; the blue monster should be reason enough to be on every list of golf resorts.

Planning On Making Doral Your Next Bucket List Golf Vacation? Click Here To Book With Booking.com

Cabot Links Golf Course – Inverness, NS

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Set against a breathtaking landscape and designed by gifted Canadian golf course architect, Rod Whitman, this is golf as it was meant to be.

A place that speaks to golfʼs elemental and undeniable truth: that to truly play links golf is to experience the game in its most visceral sense. 

An 18-hole invitation to take the road less traveled, with the freedom of unfamiliar terrain beneath your feet and uncommon beauty as far as the eye can see.

Designed by legendary course designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Cabot Cliffs should be part of your bucket list of golf resorts. And carved out of the Cape Breton coastline, from high cliffs to rolling dunes. 

Planning On Playing Cabot Cliffs? Click Here To Book Hotels At Tripadvisor.com

Fairmont Banff Springs – Banff, AB


Renowned for its panoramic beauty, The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course in Alberta, Canada is a captivating and challenging layout set in the heart of Canadaʼs Rocky Mountains.

This Alberta golf course offers just two simple things for the perfect golf vacation.

First, a breathtaking view in every direction and second, a magnificent layout that thrills every golfer fortunate enough to spend a day here.

From the actual hole design to the optical illusions created by the surrounding mountains, this Alberta golf course will delight and tempt you.

A definite course for the bucket list of golf resorts.

Planning On Playing Banff Springs? Click Here To Book Hotels At Fairmont.com

Old Course – St Andrews, UK

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St Andrews is The Home of Golf with no less than 10 courses in the immediate area and more than 30 within a half-hourʼs drive.

The 10 courses in town, which suit all player levels, make St Andrews the largest golf complex in Europe and the worldʼs leading golf destination.

The Old Course should be part of a bucket list of golf resorts for your future, because it’s the most famous golf course in the world.

I have walked the historic golf course, and it looks easy to play, but the 20mph winds might tell a different story.

This is probably the first golf course complex that comes to mind when it comes to a bucket list golf courses list.

Click Here To Book Your Old Course Resort Vacation With Booking.com

Trump Turnberry Resort – Turnberry, UK

Home of four Open Championships, the legendary Ailsa course has hosted some of the most iconic names in golf.

Reborn in June 2016 at the hands of renowned architect, Martin Ebert, the transformation makes the Ailsa the number one ranked golf course in the UK & Ireland.

Set alongside the glorious Ayrshire coastline, with Arran and Ailsa Craig as a stunning backdrop, it is one of the finest golfing destinations in the world.

The Ailsa is one of the world’s most loved golf courses and has had the privilege of hosting the Open Championship four times, including the unforgettable 1977 Duel in the Sun.  

Since acquiring the resort in 2014, The Trump Organization and famed golf course architects Mackenzie & Ebert have completed a meticulous historic study and modern day review of the Ailsa course, creating a true masterpiece.

Click Here To Book Your Turnberry Resort Vacation With Booking.com

Chambers Bay, WA

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On almost a thousand acres along the shoreline of the Puget Sound, Chambers Bay is a true links course amidst sand dunes and seaside grasses. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and built-in 2007. Chambers Bay will host the U.S. Open Championship in 2015.

During the 2015 U.S. Open, Chambers Bay was subject to criticism for its bumpy greens, unfair course design, and poor accessibility for spectators

Nine-time major champion Gary Player called it “the worst golf course I might’ve ever seen in the 63 years as a professional golfer,” and Henrik Stenson said that the greens were like “putting on broccoli.”

I mean how can you not want to play a course designed specifically for the U.S. Open, and be torn apart by the PGA players themselves.

Planning On Playing Chambers Bay? Click Here To Book Hotels At Tripadvisor.com

Shadow Creek - NV

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Every hole at Shadow Creek has characteristics that make a score of par an achievement.

On the short and majestic 17th hole, for instance, the green has three times the width than the depth, so yardage control becomes of paramount importance.

Like the 12th at Augusta, any tee shot allowing use of a putter for a second shot is an accomplishment.

Tom Fazio
Shadow Creek is without a doubt one of the most unique golf course experiences in the world. After watching Tiger Vs. Phil, this is one of those must play golf courses that should be on any bucket list.

Old Head Golf Links – Kinsale, Ireland

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The last of my bucket list of golf resorts is the Old Head Golf Links. Built on a 220-acre diamond of land jutting out over two miles into the Atlantic Ocean.

The promontory is almost an island with numerous caves running beneath your feet as you play thecourse. Also, with the surrounding views, it would be one of the best bucket list golf experiences you will ever have.

The links and practice area occupy 180 acres and the remaining 40 acres of unspoiled cliff frame the course.

It is a piece of golf real estate like no other. Golfers and visitors pinch themselves as they drive through theancient gateway with the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean some 300 feet below.

The sensory overload does not stop there with the journey along the fragrant Hydrangea and Rosa Rugosa lining the Old Head driveway providing stunning vistas across the superbly manicured golf course, with the powerful ocean on both sides and beyond the famous lighthouse that lies in front.

Click Here To Learn More On Trip Advisor.com


Do you know where you are going? I know I do. I hope my suggestions for the Best Of Golf Courses To Add Your Bucket List From Around helps your planning.

If you havenʼt thought about planning a golf holiday, click on the links on this page to find out which one is next for you. Enjoy!

Is there a course missing from the list that is on your bucket list? Feel free to comment below.

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2 thoughts on “20+ Iconic Bucket List Golf Courses Every Golfer Should Play”

    • Thank you for reading my post. Sometimes when life moves fast, playing golf can be a great way to take in the scenery. Just have to keep it straight on the fairways.


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