6 Highest New Entries Of All Time In The Golf Monthly Top 100

The six Top 100 highest new entries of all time combine history, reinvention and genius new design to brilliant effect

Top 100 Highest New Entries Of All Time
The spectacular par-3 thirteenth at Trump Aberdeen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Top 100 Highest New Entries Of All Time

The very first Golf Monthly rankings date back to 2005/6, and in order to make them a little different, the original custodians decided that it would be the Top 120 courses in the UK and Ireland.

This gave them the scope to include more courses, something we would love to be able to do as standards rise all the time and there are so many extremely worthy contenders.

The current team took over for the third biennial publication in 2009/10, at which point we set about righting a few minor wrongs and oversights, and reverted to the more traditional Top 100 at the same time as introducing a Next 100. We thought it might be interesting to see which newcomers to the Top 100 have burst onto the scene with the greatest impact - the highest new entries of all time.

Deciding which courses are just inside the Golf Monthly Top 100, those that are in the Next 100, or those that sit just outside, is harder than ever. Most new entries or re-entries, whether a new course or a significant upgrade, understandably come into the list somewhere in the 90s.

There are, of course, a few exceptions. In ascending sequence, our leading six Top 100 new entries of all time are as follows:

Prince's - Shore/Himalayas - 2021

Prince's - Aerial

Looking down over the lovely new par-3 fifth hole on the Shore nine at Prince's

(Image credit: Gary Lisbon)

Prince’s (Shore/Himalayas) - Position 76 (2021/2)

After hosting The Open in 1932, Prince’s Golf Club lived somewhat in the shadows of its neighbours. This was understandable with Royal St. George’s immediately next door and Royal Cinque Ports just down the coast. In the last 12 years, this accessible and friendly club has been transformed both on and off the course.

The Lodge is now an excellent place to stay and socialise, while Martin Ebert has revitalised the golf with his thoughtful revisions and a couple of excellent new par 3s. Everything about Prince’s has stepped up a gear.

Rosapenna (St Patrick’s Links) - 2023

Rosapenna - St Patrick's Links - Hole 2

The second hole on Tom Doak's new design at Rosapenna

(Image credit: Clyde Johnson)

Rosapenna (St Patrick’s Links) - Position 61 (2023/4)

Rosapenna has long been a consummate golfing destination with the Sandy Hills Links an ever-present in the Top 100 and the Old Tom Morris Links a very enjoyable and interesting accompaniment.

The land immediately to the south in Sheephaven Bay had been developed as a 36-hole complex getting on for 30 years ago, was then lost, but has now been transformed by Tom Doak into a new, thrilling and extremely attractive layout - known as the St Patrick's Links - which opened for play in 2021. It has already received rave reviews and is starting to garner a worldwide reputation.

Dumbarnie Links - 2021

Dumbarnie Links General

Dumbarnie Links enjoys a glorious setting on the Fife coastline

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Dumbarnie Links - Position 40 (2021/22)

Just as this wonderful new links opened for play, Covid arrived which meant that most of its booked initial golfers didn’t. Overcoming this hardship, and the difficulty of losing the greens for a spell last year, has been a brilliant achievement from David Scott and his team at this modern links just round the corner from St Andrews on the southern shoreline of Fife.

Running over what was formerly farmland, Dumbarnie Links is full of risk and reward and bunkering that is bold and dramatic.

Cabot Highlands (Castle Stuart Golf Links) - 2011

Cabot Highlands - Castle Stuart - Hole 11

Beautifully sited on two levels overlooking the Moray Firth, Cabot Highlands is an instant classic

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cabot Highlands (Castle Stuart Golf Links) - Position 25 (2011/12)

Recently renamed by its new owners, what was originally Castle Stuart was the genius brainchild of the late Mark Parsinen. Running over an upper and lower level overlooking the Moray Firth, it is a magnificent, scenic and very versatile design that has hosted four Scottish Opens but is playable by all.

With a new Tom Doak course due to open next year, the stock of Cabot Highlands continues to be very much on the up.

The Golf Course at Adare Manor - 2019

Adare Manor - Hole 18

The par-5 closing hole on the Golf Course at Adare Manor

(Image credit: Adare Manor)

The Golf Course at Adare Manor - Position 25 (2019/20)

While the original Robert Trent Jones Senior design was good enough to make it into the early rankings, it fell out a decade ago before what was to become the most comprehensive upgrade in the UK and Ireland.

Without altering the routing, Tom Fazio was given the resources to upgrade every blade of grass, grain of sand and drop of water. The result is that the Golf Course at Adare Manor is the most pristinely manicured and perfectly presented course in Ireland.

Trump International Links, Scotland - 2015

Trump Aberdeen - Hole 14

Every hole at Trump Aberdeen is distinctive and memorable

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Trump International Links, Scotland - Position 14 (2015/6)

Trying to acknowledge politics at the same time as taking into account that this is not a part of the judgement criteria, this was one of the most difficult new entries to place.

However, the course is a stunner, packed with visual impact and full of variety and drama. Designing a new links course with 18 memorable holes is no mean feat, but Martin Hawtree has achieved this here taking full advantage of the magnificent dunes that hug the shore. In 2015, Trump International Golf Links, Scotland became the highest new entry into the Golf Monthly Top 100.

There are new developments and major upgrades under way in various places, and it will be very interesting to see whether any of these can break into the Top 100 with such impact in the future.

Rob Smith
Contributing Editor

Rob Smith has been playing golf for more than 40 years and been a contributing editor for Golf Monthly for over ten years, specialising in course reviews and travel. He has now played more than 1,170 different courses in almost 50 countries. Despite lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2021, he still managed to play 80 different courses during the year, 43 of them for the first time. This included 21 in 13 days on a trip to East Lothian in October. One of Rob's primary roles is helping to prepare the Top 100 and Next 100 Courses of the UK&I, of which he has played all but nine. During the 2021-22 review period, Rob has played 34 of the Golf Monthly Top 200. He is a member of Tandridge Golf Club in Surrey where his handicap hovers around 16. You can contact him at r.smith896@btinternet.com.