Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Courses in Continental Europe – 75-51

Published:

What are the best golf courses in continental Europe? The Golf World Top 100 reveals all.

From Ryder Cup courses and European Tour hosts to layouts that many of you may never have heard off, this is the definitive and revered list of the finest golf courses continental Europe has to offer. 

You can find out who is on the panel that ranks the courses and the criteria we use to mark them, along with answers to the FAQs we receive around the Golf World Top 100s and the courses that were in the running for the continental Europe list by clicking here.

And before you start planning your tour of the continent to play these amazing golf courses, be sure to check out our guides to Europe's best new golf courses and the continent's best golf resorts to ensure your incredible round is followed by an incredible stay.

Of course, if you're not much of a traveller (and who has been for the last 18 months?!), we've also got your covered with rankings of the best courses in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, along with the most fun courses on these shores, the best courses you can play £60 and less and the best golf resorts in Great Britain and Ireland.

But for now, let's continue our countdown of continental Europe's best golf courses.

<<< Click here to view the courses ranked 100th-76th <<<

Golf World Top 100 Courses in Continental Europe: 75th-51st

75. Holstebro (Skovbanen)

Brandsbjergvej, Denmark
UP 14 PLACES
Design 28 Setting 9 Memorability 9 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 67

Holstebro's Skovbanen is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

“A round here is a peaceful and interesting experience. Exactly drawn dog-legs must be considered on the tee shot,” says one panellist. This Erik Schnack design has been in the list for years and we can’t wait to get back to Denmark in 2022 – arguably Europe’s most secretly brilliant destination.

74. Penati (Heritage)

Bratislava, Slovakia
UP FIVE PLACES
Design 27 Setting 9 Memorability 9 Playability 9 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 67

The Heritage at Penati is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Englishman Jonathan Davison has made a real impression in this part of Europe and this is his showpiece design. He made a fine job of working a decent site to create a course of rare interest and variety. His old-school architectural preferences are enjoyed on a rolling property decorated with pines. The Heritage's sister course, a Nicklaus Design, coupled with some neat villas, see Penati into our ranking of the continent's best golf resorts.

73. Royal Antwerp

Antwerp, Belgium
NEW ENTRY
Design 27 Setting 10 Memorability 9 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 67

Royal Antwerp is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

We have always liked Royal Antwerp, but this enhanced position is testament to the tree clearance which has let its attractions breathe. This woodland-heathland by Willie Park Jnr and then Tom Simpson has delightful green complexes. “A great old lady!” enthuses one panellist.

72. PGA National (Links)

Malmo, Sweden
NEW ENTRY
Design 26 Setting 10 Memorability 8 Playability 9 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 67

The Links at PGA National in Sweden is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe,

This is comfortably the better of the two golf courses at this Swedish resort (44th in our Top 100 resorts). Kyle Phillips did both, but the Links is a different class to the Lakes in our view. It sits on undulating ground that resembles linksland when it gets firm and brown in summer, even if it is not fescue grass. Thoroughly enjoyable.

71. Las Brisas

Sotogrande, Spain
DOWN 12 PLACES
Design 27 Setting 9 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 67

Las Brisas is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Las Brisas was heading out of the ranking a few years ago until this well-heeled club realised they needed to polish their Robert Trent Jones Snr original. RTJ acolyte Kyle Phillips was brought in to refurb nine holes – such was its success they just kept going. A showcase of the best in Spanish golf.

70. El Prat (Rosa)

Terrassa, Spain
NON-MOVER
Design 29 Setting 10 Memorability 9 Playability 6 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 68

The Rosa at El Prat is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

El Prat, 19th in our Top 100 resorts, has been in this ranking for decades – both its original course near the airport and this new one by Greg Norman north of Barcelona. There are five loops (one is for practice really), but we rate the Rosa as marginally the best option. Woodland golf of a high and demanding standard.

69. Swinkelsche (Championship)

Someren, Netherlands
NEW ENTRY
Design 27 Setting 9 Memorability 9 Playability 9 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 68

The Championship course at Swinkelsche is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Frank Pont’s name appears in this ranking several times for his skilful restoration of classic courses. Here he demonstrates he is also adept at creating fine new courses. The site did not do him many favours, but Pont has produced a thoughtful and engaging experience in an unfussy manner.

68. Sand Valley

Gdansk, Poland
UP 10 PLACES
Design 28 Setting 10 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 68

Sand Valley is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

This design by Lassi Pekka Tilander, with later input from Tony Ristola, is now a fixture in our Top 100. Some of Ristola’s greens are funky to say the least, but we love the routing and the old-style architecture of Poland’s No.1. The 2nd hole would sit among the elite of this list. 

67. Las Colinas

Alicante, Spain
DOWN TWO PLACES
Design 26 Setting 10 Memorability 9 Playability 10 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 68

Las Colinas is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Clever Cabell Robinson design, which had the mid-handicapper in mind more than the tour pro. Sits on at times undulating land with the residences set well back from the play. In good condition and with excellent consistency, it is a good all-rounder. Well bunkered and with several water hazards. Sits 41st in our Top 100 resort in continental Europe.

66. Seignosse

Landes, France
NEW ENTRY
Design 28 Setting 10 Memorability 12 Playability 5 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 69

Seignosse is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Robert von Hagge didn’t really design easy courses, but even by his standard Seignosse pushes the envelope at times. It is seriously exacting on a handful of holes, but you can’t help but love the whole experience. It’s just so exciting. Set down on undulating land and populated by hundreds of trees and water.

65. Golf du Medoc (Vignes)

Bordeaux, France
UP 10 PLACES
Design 28 Setting 10 Memorability 9 Playability 9 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 69

Vignes at Golf du Medoc is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Rod Whitman has been the feted Bill Coore’s trusted lieutenant for many years and he was given the chance to design the second course at Pian de Medoc. “Lovely – just keep off the fruit of the vignes until you’ve finished!” says one panellist. A first-class second course with heathland hues at this superb Top 100 resort.

64. Royal Park (Trent Jones)

Turin, Italy
DOWN FOUR PLACES
Design 27 Setting 10 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 8 Total 69

The Trent Jones at Royal Park is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

This Robert Trent Jones Snr design is set within the Parco Regionale della Mandria, the former private grounds of Count Carlo Emanuele II of Savoy, with the Alps as its backdrop. It travels through phases of open parkland as well as tighter woodland – hence its nickname: ‘i roveri’, the oaks.

63. Kongsvinger

Granli, Norway
DOWN 11 PLACES
Design 27 Setting 11 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 69

Kongsvinger is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Very different from our other Norwegian entry; whereas Lofoten sits on the edge of the sea and is surrounded by mountains, Kongsvinger gains its breathtaking beauty from holes that sweep between, and are framed by, towering pines. Excellent variety of holes and very few weaker ones.

62. PGA National (Sultan)

Belek, Turkey
UP SEVEN PLACES
Design 27 Setting 10 Memorability 11 Playability 5 Consistency 7 Presentation 9 Total 69

The Sultan Course at PGA National is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

The first course to get the big names to Turkey... and for a reason. It is a serious test and even Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were pushed by the Sultan, formerly Antalya GC. Water hazards, sand and trees make this a formidable test – and there are few better-conditioned courses in Europe. A Top 15 continental Europe resort.

61. Ravenstein

Brussels, Belgium
DOWN FOUR PLACES
Design 28 Setting 10 Memorability 9 Playability 9 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 70

Ravenstein is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

A proper step back in time in every sense. The Royal Club of Belgium is a bit like Swinley Forest in terms of ambiance. And while the course is cute, it is more woodland-parkland than heathland. Tranquil, playable (it’s short) and impossible not to be charmed by.

60. Penha Longa (Atlantico)

Lisbon, Portugal
UP 20 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 10 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 70

The Atlantico at Penha Longa is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Robert Trent Jones Snr has the name on the deeds, but it was the nous of Kyle Phillips that made the Atlantico the Top 100 course it is. He used the dramatic elevation change to his advantage when it could have been so easily a slog. Especially good when it is firm underfoot and plenty of memorable holes. In the top 10 in both our Top 100 Courses in Portugal and best resorts in Portugal rankings and the top 25 of our Top 100 continental Europe resorts.

59. La Reserva Club

Sotogrande, Spain
UP 13 PLACES
Design 27 Setting 11 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 9 Total 70

La Reserva Club is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Another course that benefited from the skill of Cabell Robinson in routing over severe terrain that could have compromised the final quality. Instead, there are some standout holes, epic downhill drives and Mediterranean views – and you won’t find many in better condition. Sits in the top 30 of our Top 100 continental Europe resorts.

58. Son Gual

Mallorca, Spain
DOWN 12 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 8 Memorability 10 Playability 6 Consistency 8 Presentation 9 Total 70

Son Gual is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

This Thomas Himmel design is the epitome of modern championship golf. It sits under the flight path to Palma Airport and while you find that noticeable to begin, it soon becomes little more than background noise. Groomed to perfection and tests all parts of your game, especially the long game.

57. Sand

Bankeryd, Sweden
UP 16 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 10 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 70

Sand is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Sand has been a consistent presence in the middle of this ranking for many years now, our panel finding a course that engages. “I really shouldn’t have liked it, but I did – it surprised me like some of Mike Stranz’s work in America with its daring,” said one panellist. Not perfect, but very good and comfortably one of the top 60 golf courses in continental Europe.

56. Bernardus

Cromvoirt, Netherlands
NEW ENTRY
Design 29 Setting 10 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 70

Bernardus is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

A magnificent piece of work by Kyle Phillips on what we know was an average piece of land. Phillips – who has the two at Verdura plus significant work at Valderrama, Penha Longha and Hilversumsche to his name on the continent – has really worked some magic here to produce a course already rated so highly by us.

Bernardus has a wonderful landscape character. In time, it could develop into a proper heathland and is well on the way already. The grasses and textures are wonderful, and the course plays as hard as it looks. The setting and climate are different, obviously, but it is a lot like Yas Links in the challenge it sets. A notable new entry to this seriously competitive list of continental Europe's best golf courses.

55. Finca Cortesin

Casares, Spain
DOWN 15 PLACES
Design 28 Setting 10 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 9 Total 70

Finca Cortesin is one of the best golf courses and golf resorts in continental Europe.

You will struggle to find better greens than those at this Andalucian course. If putting surfaces that are slick and true blow you away, put Finca on your list immediately. Cabell Robinson made an extremely good job of routing this modern course over what was a very difficult site. Will host Europe's Solheim Cup defence in 2023 and is 11th in our top 100 continental Europe resorts.

54. La Moraleja (No.3)

Madrid, Spain
NEW ENTRY
Design 29 Setting 10 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 7 Presentation 7 Total 71

La Moraleja's No.3 course is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

This parkland can stretch over 7,500 yards off the back tees yet it manages the elusive skill of being long and tough enough to test elite players, but also provide a pleasant round for higher handicappers. That is down to wide fairways and greens that offer a large target Three huge lakes are often a factor.

53. Puerta de Hierro (Arriba)

Madrid, Spain
DOWN TWO PLACES
Design 30 Setting 10 Memorability 10 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 8 Total 71

Puerta de Hierro's Arriba is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Let’s start with the architects involved... Simpson, Colt, Phillips. That’s what gives the Arriba such a superb routing in addition to a fine portfolio of par 3s and an excellent set of greens on undulating land. Renowned for its condition and benefitting from a restoration by Frank Pont.

52. Pedrena

Pedrena, Spain
NEW ENTRY
Design 29 Setting 12 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 6 Total 71

Pedrena is one of the best golf courses in continental Europe.

Seve Ballesteros' home and a Harry Colt design. Sold already? Well, there are also strong short holes typical of Colt, while the par-4 14th asks for a drive into oblivion and a stunning view across to Santander when you crest the hill. The beautiful 8th also hugs a chasm. With tree removal, this could be a top 50 golf course.

51. Verdura (West)

Sicily, Italy
UP 40 PLACES
Design 29 Setting 12 Memorability 11 Playability 7 Consistency 6 Presentation 7 Total 72

The West at Verdura is one of continental Europe's best golf courses.

We would love to have been out to Sicily to assess the new-look West before finalising this ranking, sadly the pandemic had other ideas. So, this is based largely on what we knew of it before the freak flood that meant Kyle Phillips had to return to make changes. We expect him to have made a good job and can’t wait to get back out there, especially having seen the most recent images! Verdura was No.7 in our most recent ranking of the Top 100 Resorts in continental Europe.

>>> The Best Golf Courses in Continental Europe: 50th-26th >>>

About the Author

Golf World Top 100 Courses and Resorts editor Chris Bertram.

Chris Bertram is the Golf World Top 100 Editor.
He was born and brought up in Dumfriesshire and has been a sports journalist since 1996, initially as a junior writer with National Club Golfer magazine.
Chris then spent four years writing about football and rugby union for the Press Association but returned to be Editor and then Publisher of NCG before joining Golf World and Today's Golfer as Senior Production Editor.
He has been freelance since 2010 and when he is not playing and writing about the world's finest golf courses, he works for BBC Sport.
A keen all-round sportsman, Chris plays off 11 - which could be a little better if it wasn't for hilariously poor lag putting which has to be seen to be believed.