Top 100 Golf Courses Europe 2015
Bratislava, Slovakia | Par 72 | 6,853 yards
CB Two very strong courses here but this is the one I preferred. The Legend is consistently jaw-dropping but the Heritage charms more. Some classic traditional design features in a course that has the best back nine on the property.
GW VERDICT The youngest of the courses at Penati is the first to debut in the Top 100, and what's more the one without the superstar name on the design deeds.
Algarve, Portugal | Par 72 | 7,215 yards
CB Part of the Amendoeira resort, this stringent Faldo design is a well-conditioned, well-designed test. But the seriously undulating back nine is no place to be battling on a steamy Algarve day. PBe Wide fairways and I find low excitement.
GW VERDICT Patently a 'proper' course but this list broadly favours enjoyment over challenge.
Winston Golf (Champ)
Schwerin, Germany | Par 72 | 7,194 yards
H-JW Winston is really something special, albeit very artificial. It is not up there with your Kingsbarns or Castle Stuart but it is quite an adventure, a completely artificial links with some dramatic contours, sometimes exaggerated.
GW VERDICT Built on the old vegetable fields of King Ludwig XIV. One to say 'I played there'.
Landes, France | Par 71 | 6,750 yards
PG Long walks between holes, but worth it. Definitely a Top 100 course.
CB A rarity on the Continent in that it possesses holes we would recognise as being genuinely links in character. Decent inland sections too.
GW VERDICT The handful of holes over sandy linksland by the sea are absolutely terrific.
Holstebro, Denmark | Par 72 | 6,464 yards
TV A truly testing course where every hole is beautifully surrounded by trees.
GW VERDICT Holds its position in the 80s after debuting in 2011 as a result of the tranquility of this woodland-heathland layout in the north west corner of Denmark. An enjoyable, neat layout by Eric Schnack.
Tallinn, Estonia | Par 73 | 7,006 yards
TT Deserves a Top 100 spot but now under threat as the No.1 in Estonia from a new course.
GW VERDICT Unfortunate to stand still but only does so because of sparkling new entries and that others have risen so markedly. Opened in 2005 it enjoys a majestic forest/coast setting.
Costa Navarino (Dunes)
Messinia, Greece | Par 72 | 6,800 yards
CB A top-drawer resort – just make sure you fly to Kalamata (45 minutes away) from Gatwick or it is a three-hour drive from Athens. That aside, it is wonderful, and the Dunes is the pick of the two courses... although the Bay would also be worthy too.
GW VERDICT The toughest and arguably best holes at this 36-hole resort are on the Dunes' front nine. Fabulous views of Navarino Bay.
St Nom La Breteche (Red)
Paris, France | 6,850 yards
CB Routed through mature trees and over rolling parkland in 1959, there are many elevated tees to aid enjoyment of the wooded countryside. Longtime host of the Lancome Trophy as well as the last Seve Trophy.
GW VERDICT Delightful undulating parkland and woodland track on the western suburbs of Paris.
Murhof, Austria | Par 72 | 6,918 yards
CB Rather like Crans-sur-Sierre, the setting of 'Murhof – an hour's drive north of Graz – is everything, a breathtaking mountain backdrop beyond the trees.
GW Laid out in 1963 by Dr von Limburger, a refresh by Michael Pinner ensured this gorgeous setting has got the strategic course it merits.
Kytaja (South East)
Hyvinkää, Finland | Par 71 | 6,965 yards
TT Represents modern North American golf course architecture at its best. Wide fairways, allencompassing shaping of surface areas, and the strong contrasts in the overall colour scheme make each round a vivid experience.
GW VERDICT Always naturally beautiful, now resisting northern weather conditions all year.