Golf is game that’s played on many different canvases. True, the world’s great links courses – many of them laid out among the sandy, wind-blasted shorelines of Scotland and Ireland – might be the most “famous.” After all, St. Andrews, Scotland is the birthplace of golf! But the game is diverse. Other genres – such as mountain, parkland, heathland, and prairie courses – can be just as rewarding to play.
As a golf writer, golf photographer, and golf professional, I’ve been fortunate to play in many of the world’s best golf destinations; on many of the world’s best “canvases.” Here are five of my favourite places to play in the world.
Bandon Dunes, Oregon: With four amazing courses that parade along the stunning Oregon Coast, Bandon Dunes is a golfing stronghold unlike anything else on the planet. All four championship courses are ranked in Golf Digest’s list of the Top 100 Courses in the United States. In golfdom, it’s a bucket-list destination if there ever was one.
Dominican Republic: With over 30 courses – many of which feature holes right along the wave-smashed shorelines – the Dominican Republic is a top-tier golf destination. Courses such as Pete Dye’s Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog) and Jack Nicklaus’ Punta Espada are the trump cards.
Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada: Speaking of trump cards, Cabot Cliffs in Inverness, Nova Scotia, is a seaside masterpiece. Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, I’d be shocked if this courses didn’t occupy the top-ranked position in Canada for decades to come. However, other courses in Cape Breton, such as the original Cabot Links course (designed by Canadian Rod Whitman) and Cape Breton Highlands, make this gorgeous island one of the best places to play in North America.
Los Cabos, Mexico: It’s not even close, Los Cabos is far and away the best golf destination in Mexico. There are over a dozen courses (more coming) that are postcard-pretty. The Ocean Course, a Nicklaus masterpiece, rules the roost. However, many golf writers I’ve talked to prefer Diamante Dunes, an amazing Davis Love III track that tumbles through dunes along the coast.
Scottsdale, Arizona: Swerving through the Sonoran Desert, the 100, give or take, courses in the Scottsdale area comprise one of the world’s great golf destinations. Throw in the baseball, the resorts, and, yes, the sun, and it’s no wonder thousands of Canadians head to Scottsdale each winter for some respite.