What are the best golf resorts in the world? The Golf World Top 100 panel ranks and rates the best golfing getaways on planet earth in our inaugural list.
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.
Of course, if you’re not much of a traveller (and who has been for the last two years), we’ve also got your covered with rankings of the best courses in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, along with the best links, most fun courses, best courses you can play £60 and less and the best golf resorts in Great Britain and Ireland.
But for now, let’s reveal which world golf resorts rank from 25th to 11th.
Golf World Top 100: Best Golf Resorts in the World – 25-11
25. Sand Valley
Courses 37 Accommodation 16 Amenities 14 Setting 17 Total 84
Two courses in our World Top 100 – Sand Valley by Coore-Crenshaw (2017) and Mammoth Dunes by David McLay Kidd (2018), plus The Sandbox, a 17-hole short course. There are stylish Lodge rooms and cottages, two restaurants, porch dining, food truck and tennis. One for the connoisseur.
24. Fairmont Banff Springs
Course 32 Accommodation 18 Amenities 17 Setting 18 Total 85
Located in Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 757-room Banff Springs hotel – Canada’s ‘Castle in the Rockies – is a landmark in the eponymous alpine town. The Stanley Thompson course, No.78 in our World Top 100, is complemented by a spa, bowling, fitness and a kids’ club.
23. Belle Mare Plage
Pointe De Flacq, Mauritius
Courses 31 Accommodation 18 Amenities 18 Setting 19 Total 86
Two courses and a five-star hotel located on the edge of the Indian Ocean. The Links, by Peter Alliss and Rodney Wright, opened in 2002 while the Legend was designed by former European Tour player Hugh Baiocchi in 1994. The hotel is a delight, and packed with amenities, the setting is dreamy.
Courses 37 Accommodation 17 Amenities 14 Setting 18 Total 86
The brand-new St Patrick’s Links by Tom Doak is a game changer for Rosapenna (read our world exclusive first play review). Certain to be in our next World Top 100 Courses, combined with the existing Sandy Hills and Old Tom Morris, it makes it one of the strongest golf offerings in the world. Limited amenities, but a large hotel.
Courses 33 Accommodation 19 Amenities 19 Setting 16 Total 87
Two continental European Top 100 courses (Carya and The National) are backed up by the wonderful Regnum Carya hotel, which is luxurious, stylish and is beaten by very few in this ranking in terms of non-golf amenities – everything from a water park to bowling alley. Amazing for families.
20. The American Club
Courses 36 Accommodation 18 Amenities 15 Setting 18 Total 87
All under the Kohler umbrella, the AC has 2021 Ryder Cup course Whistling Straits, its sister Irish, as well as Blackwolf Run’s River and Meadow Valleys and a par 3 course. Two hotels, four cabins, seven restaurants, pools, tennis, fitness, hiking/biking… but it loses a Setting mark for a 10-minute transfer.
Courses 33 Accommodation 19 Amenities 16 Setting 19 Total 87
Kyle Phillips-designed golf courses and a Rocco Forte hotel sounds like it should be pretty impressive – and the reality truly is. Add in a cliff-edge and beachside setting and Verdura’s allure is pretty obvious.
The two courses have actually changed significantly in the past year after a freak storm required redesign work by Phillips. Once very equal in status as far as we were concerned, the West just pipping the East, now the latter is clearly superior. And it is really, really good.
Phillips is one of the world’s great architects and he has made the most of the cliff-edge stretch while creating memorable holes on the less dramatic ground inland.
The hotel more than matches the golf, with accommodation set down in a succession of low-rise apartments, all with course or sea views. It is all done incredibly tastefully, as luxury meets elegance and comfort at every turn.
The amenities start with an infinity pool that is just yards from the gorgeous white sand beach and continue with the water sports available in the azure Med. There is also a superb gym and spa, plus a kids’ club.
There is an appealing, relaxed vibe to Verdura, illustrated by the fact you get about the resort on vintage cycles. And guess what, it’s Italy, so the restaurants serve food to die for.
18. PGA Catalunya
Courses 32 Accommodation 19 Amenities 19 Setting 17 Total 87
A top-20 continental European course, the Stadium, that is complemented by a very good No.2, the Tour. Both are beautifully presented. There are two hotels, the Camiral and the Lavida, plus villas to rent. The Camiral is absolutely gorgeous with plenty of facilities. A terrific all-rounder.
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17. Sandy Lane
St James, Barbados
Courses 32 Accommodation 19 Amenities 18 Setting 18 Total 87
The famous Green Monkey – the Tom Fazio layout carved from an old stone quarry which is exclusive to Sandy Lane guests – plus The Old Nine and The Country Club are lush, immaculate parklands. The high-end villas and suites make you feel like you have the resort to yourself. Exceptional spa.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Courses 33 Accommodation 18 Amenities 17 Setting 19 Total 87
Headlined by Davis Love’s The Dunes, a World Top 100 course that weaves through Pacific dunes with views of beach and ocean from nearly every hole. There’s also Tiger Woods’ El Cardonal design, luxury studios and villas, a 10-acre saltwater lagoon for water sports, plus a spa and fitness centre.
15. Sun City
Johannesburg, South Africa
Courses 32 Accommodation 19 Amenities 20 Setting 17 Total 88
Home to two 18-hole courses designed by Gary Player – Lost City and Gary Player –complemented by an incredible array of five-star accommodation, from the exquisitely designed The Palace to the chic Cabanas. Amenities range from a world-class water park and nightlife to Big 5 safari.
14. Adare Manor
Course 32 Accommodation 20 Amenities 19 Setting 17 Total 88
Adare can celebrate being the World’s No.1 single-course golf resort. It’s a serious honour… just look at the awesome multi-course resorts beneath it. A hugely improved course is allied to accommodation that has no peer in this list – that’s saying something. Just an incredibly special place.
George, South Africa
Courses 34 Accommodation 18 Amenities 18 Setting 18 Total 88
This super-resort lies on 613 hectares of lush countryside, sheltered by the Outeniqua Mountains. There are three Gary Player-designed courses including one in our World Top 100, The Links, which is backed up by Outeniqua and Montagu as well as the six-hole Bramble. The Fancourt Hotel offers 115 luxurious rooms and suites while the Spa boasts an indoor heated Roman Bath and wellness treatments. The Leisure Centre has an array of facilities, while there is a Kidz Club, teen lounge, gym, cinema, indoor heated and outdoor swimming pool. Tennis, running and walking trails, bird watching and fishing complete the scene.
12. Casa De Campo
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Courses 34 Accommodation 18 Amenities 18 Setting 18 Total 88
Three brilliant courses – Teeth of the Dog (World Top 100 entry), Dye Fore and The Links – all by Pete Dye. A Caribbean setting that is medicine for the eyes. A variety of rooms and suites as well as luxury villas – some oceanfront. A spa, pools, and a wealth of sports such as tennis and water sports.
11. Costa Navarino
Courses 32 Accommodation 19 Amenities 19 Setting 18 Total 88
Another entry from Continental Europe, this one with two courses in our Top 100 mainland Europe ranking – the technical Dunes by Bernhard Langer/Ross McMurray, and the scenic Bay by Robert Trent Jones Jnr. Two wonderful hotels and amenities that include a mini water park.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.