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Welcome to the most prestigious and most definitive ranking of the best golf courses in Great Britain and Ireland.  

1 Royal County Down

Three times at No.2, finally Royal County Down is elevated to the summit of golf in Great Britain & Ireland. Long-term panellists have championed its cause for many years and with more voices talking reverentially about this Northern Irish links, it has moved up two places to land the No.1 title.

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2 Turnberry (Ailsa)

The Ailsa slips from its No.1 spot after six years but it remains a course of outstanding holes, unforgettable memories and legendary landmarks. It is not the most challenging course in the top five and may not require quite as much strategic plotting, but it is impossible not to warm to its charms.

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3 The Royal Birkdale

With a new No.1 some may have expected to see Birkdale rise to the top, but Royal County Down’s “X Factor” saw it leapfrog from third place to the summit.

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4 Muirfield

In preparation for The Open in 2013, Muirfield has made its first notable changes since Harry Colt in the 1930s.

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5 Royal Portrush

A rise to the top five for the first time in eight years for a course which is held in great affection by Northern Ireland’s Major champions Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell.

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6 St Andrews (Old)

The Old Course was edged out of the top five with reluctance. It is the antithesis of Trump International; it may lack the spectacular, but bows to no course in terms of history.

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7 Sunningdale (Old)

Both the club’s courses have had changes to their bunkering with the 9th on the Old having the most work done.

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8 Trump International

Here it is then – the highest new entry in the history of our ranking is a course which, from what our panel have seen, will succeed in the not inconsiderable task of living up to its enormous hype and expectation.

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9 Royal Dornoch

A small but notable rise for Royal Dornoch as this beguiling links is included in the top 10 for, perhaps surprisingly, only the second time in the history of our biennial rankings.

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10 Waterville

A first place in the top 10 for Waterville, which has steadily climbed the rankings since 1988 and is a favourite with many panelists. This modern links, the work of Eddie Hackett and latterly Tom Fazio, on the south-west edge of Ireland continues to improve.

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