Golf In 2021 – Best Golf Courses

Golf In 2021 – Best Golf Courses: A summary of some of the best courses we've covered this year, at home and abroad

Best Golf Courses
Royal County Down
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Best Golf Courses - The number of golfers hitting fairways across Europe and further afield has risen during the pandemic and many of us are more appreciative the quality and beauty of the courses we play on. Here we run through some of the very best courses we’ve covered this year at home and abroad.

Related: Golf in 2021 - A Review Of The Year

Golf in 2021

Royal County Down topped Golf Monthly's Top 100 Courses Ranking

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Golf Monthly released the highly respected Top 100 Golf Courses UK and Ireland 2021/22. Once again, we played, reviewed and ranked the top 100 golf courses in the UK and Ireland and there were some interesting movers and shakers.

The stunning links at Royal County Down in Newcastle on the County Down coast climbed to Number 1 on Golf Monthly’s Top 100 Courses in the UK and Ireland list for the first time. RCD is one of the most photographed tracks in the world and recent changes, including new bunkering and new championship tees on the 12th and 16th holes, means it now represents the very pinnacle of golfing quality in these isles.

Dumbarnie

The stunning Dumbarnie Links

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Dumbarnie Links went straight in to the Top 100 at Number 40, a tremendous addition to the rich golfing opportunities on the Fife coast. And with the opening of a new clubhouse, the offering at Dumbarnie was further enhanced.

Princes

An aerial view of Princes GC

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With significant recent renovations and improvements to the links, the Shore and Himalayas course at Princes in Kent climbed into the Top 100 at 76. 

Portmarnock

Portmarnock

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Just behind the top-100, we also ran through the next 100 courses in the UK and Ireland.

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers - A bucket list course

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Including some from the UK and others from all over the world, we went on a tour of 15 bucket list courses you have to play.

Ferndown

Ferndown

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We also shortlisted 25 courses everyone can play that will make your friends jealous.

Thracian Cliffs

Thracian Cliffs

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Looking further afield, we considered 10 of the world’s most extreme golf courses.

Royal Ashdown Forest

Royal Ashdown Forest

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Turning inland we ran through 45 of the best heathland courses

Sunningdale

Sunningdale

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Staying with those great heathland tracks, Elliott Heath wrote a fabulous love letter to Sunningdale.

Navarino Hills Jose Maria Olazabel Q&A

Navarino Hills

(Image credit: olazabaldesign)

In Europe, one of the big new developments on the horizon, scheduled to open next year is Jose Maria Olazabal’s stunning new project at Navarino Hills.

Turnberry

The magnificent Ailsa course at Turnberry

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Fergus Bisset and Jeremy Ellwood considered what they would do if they had £250 to spend on green fees

St Andrews 17th

The iconic 17th at St Andrews

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... And Fergus considered the best 18 hole eclectic course on the Open rota.

Praia D'El Rey

Praia D'El Rey

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As we reach the end of the season and the weather has turned for the worst, we considered the 10 best winter sun breaks on offer right now.

Fergus Bisset
Fergus Bisset

Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?