Say hello to the world’s best new golf courses


A few weeks ago, we brought you the news that Greg Norman had designed the world’s best new golf course, in the form of The Bluffs in Vietnam. But that was 2015’s best new golf course. That’s old news now.

These courses are the ones that will be in contention for world’s best new course of 2016. Some are already open for play, others will cut the tape in the next few months. 

They’re spread across the globe, from New Zealand to the Scottish Hebrides, Estonia to Canada, and Australia to Dubai. 

There are, predictably, some big-name designers involved. Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Coore-Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson and Gil Hanse are all featured.

One thing’s for sure: it’s been a long time since so many outstanding courses opened in such a short space of time. Enjoy the visual feast and if you’re booking a tee time, don’t forget your old pal TG…

Parnu Bay, Estonia


This sandy site next to the sea, 75 miles south of Tallinn, is said to be the first links-style course in the Baltics. Funded by Swedish-Estonian businessman Peter Hunt, it was designed by Lassi Pekka Tilander and shaped by the legendary Mick McShane. There will be a par-3 course, and a hotel and spa are in the planning stage.

Cape Wickham, Australia


In the middle of Bass Strait, on the north-west tip of the remote King Island, sits a spectacular site that is unique in Australian golf. Eight holes hug the ocean, two others have greens on the coastline, three have tees overlooking the water and all 18 enjoy views of Bass Strait. The land is gently undulating and interspersed with giant sand dunes and ridges.

Cabot Cliffs, Canada


The Cliffs course joins the widely feted Links Course, by Rod Whitman, at this Nova Scotia resort. The Coore-Crenshaw design, which had a soft opening this summer, has a chance to become “Canada’s best course and a world bucket list addition,” according to Canadian golf writer Jeff Brooke. No two holes are alike and the ocean can be seen from every hole.

Al Zorah, Ajman


Al Zorah, which opened this week, is the United Arab Emirates’ first new championship venue for nearly six years and Ajman’s first golf course. Scuplted by Nicklaus Design across native sandy areas, lakes and one million square metres of mangrove, it’s home to an abundance of natural wildlife, boasts over seven miles of waterfront and a tidal system that alters the dynamics hourly.

Bluejack National


Tiger Woods, in association with professional architect Beau Welling, has designed this 18-hole championship course north of Houston. There is a natural feel and a ‘playable’ emphasis to Woods’ first 18-hole design in America. It has an interesting dress code, too. The course sits on an undulating topography punctuated by rippling lakes and stately pines, and looks more than a little bit like Augusta National, which is no bad thing.

The Olympic course, Brazil


After much controversy, the Olympic course is very nearly ready. Gil Hanse’s design enjoys a low-lying seaside plot on the edge of Rio. 

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