Valencia, Spain | Par 72 | 7,095 yards
PBe Only half of it is true links but those holes are great. Woodland holes not of the same class.
BL A fantastic and beautiful course. Top 12.
GW Not in the immaculate condition of others in the top 10 but still good enough to hold onto its position by virtue of a terrifi c design by the sea from Javier Arana. Super views to the Med too.
Leiden, Netherlands | Par 72 | 6,908 yards
CB Always enjoyable, whether on the excellent links sections that dominate Noordwijkse or in the dense woodland phase. Although if you spray it in the woods it can be quite miserable, given its narrow corridors of mature trees.
GW The sandy soil that off ers such terrifi c turf is a highlight of a high-calibre links-woodland.
Paris, France | Par 72 | 6,642 yards
CB A nice rise into the top 10 for this wonderful heathland-woodland on the south-east outskirts of Paris. Only our No.1 is defi nitively better in France in my view.
GW VERDICT Absolutely oozes with class, this Tom Simpson legacy will never disappoint visitors with its quality and variety of both hole and landscape. Has top fi ve potential.
Cadiespad, Belgium | Par 72 | 6,749 yards
NB 'Knokke' is home to a links that ranks with the greats of Europe. The 'Outer' layout is inland from the beach and although it lacks amazing sea views, open areas of good-sized dunes, as well as pockets of pine trees, are found.
GW VERDICT Seaside course between pine and birch and boasts undulating greens.
The Hague, NL | Par 72 | 6,771 yards
CB Colt's parting shot to the Netherlands, but in reality this was a Alison-Morrison eff ort. Does not lack for much despite Colt's absence and Pont's reworking has been a big success.
GW Huge sandy blowouts as well as hundreds of deciduous and evergreens trees; characterising Royal Hague is diffi cult but rating it highly is not.
Sotogrande, Spain | Par 71 | 6,951 yards
CB Famously tricky experience among umbrella pines, but I love Valderrama; as much fun as you can have on an inland championship course as you manufacture so many shots. In my top 3.
GW With conditioning back to its peerless best, Valderrama was easy to move up. It is probably 'the' experience of Continental golf. Magnificent.
PGA Catalunya (Stadium)
Girona, Spain | Par 72 | 7,204 yards
PG Deserves a place in the top fi ve, although for the average player it's a formidable prospect: long, hilly in places and with some awkward angles into devilishly sloping greens.
GW VERDICT 2022 Ryder Cup hopeful is a modern championship course whose changes in elevation off er some spectacular tee shots.
Utrecht de Pan
Utrecht, Netherlands | Par 72 | 6,651 yards
CB One of the nicest surprises I've enjoyed on a golf course. I knew it was good – as per a mid-20s ranking in 2013 – but not this good. A heathland to rival ours and comfortably the Netherlands' best course in my view.
GW VERDICT 'De Pan' rose nine spots last time and 23 this time. It could very easily have been nine and 25. It would be a very worthy No.1 and it is diffi cult to imagine a scenario when it is out of the top three. Exquisite.
Orleans, France | Par 72 | 7,008 yards
HJW I cannot think of a more diffi cult course. But it is of course outstanding too. I had much fun and the greens are out of this world. Great.
CB A special place; as diffi cult as it is beguiling and as immaculate as it is hazardous.
GW A class apart along with our new No.1, classy Utrecht and possibly a resurgent Valderrama.
Paris, France | Par 72 | 6,633 yards
CB It does not take long to realise Morfontaine is mesmerising. Pines, wide fairways lined by heather and old-fashioned bunkering give this course on the northern outskirts of Paris an aristocratic feel to match its thatched-roof clubhouse that screams 'this place is all about the course'. Morfontaine doesn't just deserve a place alongside stellar names, it usurps many of them.
GW VERDICT The first time Morfontaine has reached No.1. Rather like Royal County Down, which only reached the top spot in 2012, it feels as if this could be a fixture rather than a fleeting fancy. Morfontaine is comfortably better than all but perhaps two or three others. Oh, and the nine-hole Valliere is fabulous too.