Top 100 Golf Courses Europe 2015
Puerto de Hierro (Arriba)
Madrid, Spain | Par 73 | 6,944 yards
JAL One of the oldest clubs in Spain – and there is a great Trent Jones redesign for the neighbouring 'Abajo' course too.
GW VERDICT A frequent host of the Madrid Open, some prefer the Abajo but the Arriba enjoys more favour with our panel. A classy parkland with enormous pedigree.
Via Suno, Italy | Par 72 | 6,812 yards
NB Set in an undulating woodland environment, this big-dimension roaming layout has several elevated tees looking down on pleasantly treelined fairways. The par-5 9th on the Red is actually arguably the best of the closing holes.
GW Of its 27 holes we select the Blue and Yellow nines for our entry.
Helsingborg, Sweden | Par 72 | 7,369 yards
OD Less than 10 years old, it is a true challenge. Has links character but also with wooded phases. It changes with the seasons and the weather.
TJ The LET visited last year and, like green fee guests, players had only positive things to say.
GW VERDICT Rolling fairways and undulating greens, it is always in good condition.
Algorta, Spain | Par 72 | 6,867 yards
JAL Outstanding Javier Arana design. Exceptional sea views from the Spanish northern coast. One the oldest and more prestigious private clubs in Spain.
GW VERDICT Currently benefiting from Frank Pont's nous, this parkland-clifftop sits on the edge of the Bay of Biscay on Bilbao's outskirts.
Le Touquet (La Mer)
Pas de Calais, France | Par 72 | 6,862 yards
PG Great fun. Work going on to reinstate some holes to original design. Inside top 50 for me.
GW VERDICT Drops signifi cantly and we believe it is a fair assessment of a seaside course that has lost its sparkle... but with Frank Pont and Patrice Boissonnas now overhauling it, we fully expect it to go past its former high of No.51 in 2017.
Bled, Slovenia | Par 73 | 6,841 yards
CB Magical location – one of the best in this list.
GW VERDICT The owners, members of some of the world's fi nest clubs, are determined to make this a truly special place. So the Kings is in fl ux, being totally overhauled by Howard Swan while maintaining the original's integrity. Like No.66 Le Touquet, its 2017 position will be interesting.
Belek, Turkey | Par 72 | 7,186 yards
CB Classy course in Belek that combines heathland phases with those more parkland in nature. It is very much to be hoped the owners maintain the improved conditioning and the heathland sections as they set it apart from everything else in Belek.
GW VERDICT A huge rise... but it could have been bigger. An assessment in 2014 suggested a top-40 slot but a further check in 2015 revealed some alterations to some holes that didn't especially appeal. Still excellent though.
Halmstad, Sweden | Par 72 | 6,908 yards
TJ The host of the 2011 European Championships is a Swedish classic that never has a bad season. PBe OK, but I'm never so fascinated with it.
GW VERDICT The 2007 Solheim Cup host is routed on undulating terrain through mature pines that are close to the coast. A terrifi c fi nish helps it to a position in the low 60s.
Houthalen, Belgium | Par 72 | 6,679 yards
NB Like a classic Surrey-Berkshire heathland, it roams through a mix of mature birch and pines, as well as more open areas, where large expanses of heather wait for wayward drives.
BL Really liked Limburg, a natural layout that reminds one of Sunningdale.
GW VERDICT One of Europe's best heathlands.
Jutland, Denmark | Par 71 | 6,952 yards
TV A challenging seaside course, where the wind will make you work for your score.
GW VERDICT Esbjerg suff ered a little drop in 2013's re-ranking but this heathland-feeling coastal course deserves its spot up slightly to No.61. One of Denmark's best and we look forward to explaining more about it in 2016.