The best golf courses in South Africa vs the world

The Golf Digest has published its prestigious list of the World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, which features three courses located in South Africa.

The publication noted that that the dominant theme of its new ranking is proximity to the sea – with 46 of the top 100 seaside venues, including the new No. 1, Royal County Down in Northern Ireland.

Top 10 best golf courses in the world

2016# 2015# Course Location Country
1 4 Royal County Down G.C Newcastle, County Down Northern Ireland
2 3 Augusta National (Ga.) G.C Augusta, Ga. United States
3 1 Pine Valley (N.J.) G.C Pine Valley, N.J. United States
4 2 Cypress Point Club Pebble Beach, Calif. United States
5 6 Royal Dornoch G.C. (Championship) Dornoch, Sutherland Scotland
6 9 Royal Melbourne G.C. (West) Melbourne, Victoria Australia
7 5 Shinnecock Hills G.C. Southampton, N.Y. United States
8 7 The Old Course at St. Andrews Links St. Andrews, Fife Scotland
9 8 Muirfield Gullane, East Lothian Scotland
10 14 Merion G.C. (East) Ardmore, Pa. United States

The top three courses in South Africa

43rd – The Links at Fancourt – George, Western Cape

Gary Player and then-associate Phil Jacobs built Fancourt from a dead flat airfield, with more than 760,000 cubic yards of earth churned and piled to create the first faux links in South Africa.

“They used cool-season grasses to promote bounce-and-roll on their topsy-turvy fairways. Greens—mostly long and thin or wide and shallow—are guarded by revetted pot bunkers,” noted the Golf Digest.

Fancourt hosted the 2003 Presidents Cup as well as the 2005 South African Open and 2012 Volvo Golf Champions on the European Tour.

Fancourt Estate

88th – Leopard Creek C.C. – Malelane, Mpumalanga

“Intended to merge with its Bushvelt environs, with Kruger National Park and the Crocodile River on the north and west, the Gary Player-designed Leopard Creek is really more akin to a polished, immaculate American layout,” Golf Digest said.

“But no course in America has views of giraffes, hippos and crocs in the wild,” it added.


99th – Gary Player C.C – Sun City, North West Province

“It’s thoroughly American in its design, with huge flowery bunkers and massive greens,” the magazine said of the most recognisable course in the country thanks to the annual Nedbank ‘Million Dollar’ event at Sun City.

Gary Player and South African designer Phil Jacobs revised the course in 2010 by removing massive sand pits around certain greens and creating an island green on the par-4 ninth.


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The best golf courses in South Africa vs the world