11 of the Most Scenic Golf Courses in the World

It’s no coincidence that golf courses offer spectacular scenery. Course designers select a locale based in large part on its natural beauty. Then they work with Mother Nature’s gifts, enhancing, preserving, and showing them at their best.

Most golfers will tell you they can simultaneously adore and despise the game. They would also agree that even when things are not going their way, they are still fortunate to be playing in some of the most beautiful places in the world. They enjoy landscapes and views that others may never even get to see.

Part of the fun of the game is experiencing new and different courses. At the same time, golf travel creates opportunities to explore new cities and countries with a magnificent golf course as the starting point of a memorable trip.

The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula: Wanning Hainan, South China

- Ryan Pyle/Getty Images
Ryan Pyle/Getty Images

This seaside links-style course in China’s southernmost area blends 36 holes into the rugged coastal sand dunes. Rolling hills and stunning boulder formations take advantage of the peninsula’s unique beauty.

Cape Kidnappers Golf Course: Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

- Phil Walter/Getty Images
Phil Walter/Getty Images

Set high above the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, this unique course is built on a ridge and valley landscape that features deep canyons, rolling hills, dramatic cliffs, and spectacular views.

Whistling Straits at Kohler: Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

- Peter Ptschelinzew/Getty Images
Peter Ptschelinzew/Getty Images

The Straits Course, set along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, offers open, rugged terrain reminiscent of Ireland’s links courses. The challenging course, one of two at Whistling Straits, will host the 2020 Ryder Cup.

Old Head: Kinsale, Ireland

- David Cannon/Getty Images
David Cannon/Getty Images

Built on a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, this course is framed by cliffs and crashing waves below. Lush green fairways, ocean breezes, the famous lighthouse, and stunning views in every direction make this a memorable experience.

Manele Golf Course: Four Seasons Lanai, Hawaii

- Ron Dahlquist/Getty Images
Ron Dahlquist/Getty Images

Spectacular views of the Pacific from its setting high above Hulopoe Bay on Lanai’s southern coast are the course’s signature. Native vegetation, lava rock, natural ravines, and seaside cliffs create a challenging but fair layout.

Quivira Golf Club: Cabo San Lucas, Baja Mexico

- Courtesy of The Quivira Golf Club
Courtesy of The Quivira Golf Club

Views of the Pacific from all 18 holes create its scenic beauty; its cliffs, canyons, dunes, desert surroundings, and elevation changes create its challenges. A historic lighthouse, dramatic shoreline rock formations, and pounding waves add to the thrill of playing the course.

Kingsbarns Golf Links: St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

- Courtesy of Kingsbarns Golf Links
Courtesy of Kingsbarns Golf Links

A links course in the Scottish tradition set along nearly two miles of North Sea coastline, Kingsbarns is picturesque, challenging, and bracingly close to the sea. Just seven miles from St. Andrews historic Old Course, Kingsbarns should be part of a golfer’s dream visit to the area.

Barnbougle Dunes Golf Course: Tasmania, Australia

- Andrew Bain/Getty Images
Andrew Bain/Getty Images

This links course is set on the rugged northeast coast of Tasmania, and its holes roll in and out of the coastal sand dunes following the natural layout of the stunning landscape. Lost Farm at Barnbougle also plays along sand dunes with coastal views and inland holes.

Cypress Point: Pebble Beach, California

- Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Winding through dunes along the Pacific with views of rugged coastline and crashing waves, the course includes the Del Monte Forest for stunning views of varied landscapes. Nearby Pebble Beach Golf Links can also be found on every list of spectacular golf courses.

Fishers Island Club: Fishers Island, New York

- K Ireland/Shutterstock
K Ireland/Shutterstock

On a small island in the Long Island Sound, this private course is known for panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean and New England shoreline across the Sound. Elevated greens, beachside slopes, and mature landscaping add to the beauty of the course.

Dinosaur Mountain: Gold Canyon, Arizona

- Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images
Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images

Views of the Superstition Mountains and the rugged rocks of Dinosaur Mountain, along with dramatic elevation changes and abundant wildlife in their natural habitats, make this a scenic and interesting course.