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The Golf Courses That You Most Want to Play

By: | Fri 22 Sep 2023

If you're a golfer, then you can most likely be considered a dreamer. We all have burning hopes and aspirations in this game. Perhaps it's to reach a target handicap or shoot your lowest score. You may even just want to add a few extra yards to your drives. But many of us also long to play certain courses and sample particularly unforgettable experiences.

Like most of you, I also have an internal 'bucket list' of places that I would dearly love to tick off. That was something I recently shared in this feature article: Are These Your Bucket List Golf Courses. I challenged readers to consider their lists to see how they compared to mine. 

But now, taking that idea even further, you can see how your own golfing fantasies contrast with that of the larger Golfshake Community, many of whom have literally submitted their own bucket list venues on our sister service Where I Play Golf.

Over 1,200 people have signed up so far, with approximately 900 different courses being registered on bucket lists. 

But what are the most commonly mentioned - which venues above all the rest are golfers most keen to experience? Well, here are The Golf Courses That You Most Want to Play.

Carnoustie Golf Links

Golfshake Rating: 4.91

Times Mentioned: 51

Detail: There are three courses at this revered facility on Scotland's Angus coastline, but it's the Championship Course that stands above the rest and represents one of the greatest tests in the sport. The Open has been a regular fixture here and winners include Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Tom Watson and Padraig Harrington.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Golfshake Rating: 4.81

Times Mentioned: 44

Detail: Undeniably one of the most iconic layouts in the United States, the magical vistas of Pebble Beach are showcased each year on the PGA Tour, while both Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won US Opens here. It's a genuine dream landscape and it's no surprise that golfers wish to experience it.

St Andrews Links

Golfshake Rating: 4.93

Times Mentioned: 44

Detail: There are many wonderful courses at the Home of Golf, including the New, Jubilee and Eden, but it's the Old that provides most allure. Rich with history and the memories of 30 Open Championships behind it, there is nothing like taking on the Road Hole and striding back into the famous town.

Augusta National Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: N/A

Times Mentioned: 41

Detail: Home of the Masters Tournament, golfers are captivated by this place each April on their TVs, but it's likely that it will forever remain on the bucket list for most of us - but you can always dream!

Wentworth Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.91

Times Mentioned: 41

Detail: The BMW PGA Championship has been here for 40 years, which has afforded Wentworth a status in the minds of golfers that few venues can offer. It's no shock that many of you desire to walk those fairways yourselves!

Royal Birkdale Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.92

Times Mentioned: 41

Detail: For many, this is England's finest Open Championship layout. The game's oldest major will return in 2026 - with memories of previous winners in Southport including Peter Thomson, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Jordan Spieth.

Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 5.00

Times Mentioned: 38

Detail: Another classic Open venue - golfers simply love these places! Ernie Els was the most recent victor in Lancashire, with Seve Ballesteros twice lifting the Claret Jug at Lytham. It was also where Catriona Matthew and Georgia Hall claimed their Women's Open titles.

Royal St George's Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.88

Times Mentioned: 37

Detail: This was England's first Open Championship venue and it remains a regular part of the rotation, having crowned the likes of Harry Vardon, Walter Hagen, Sandy Lyle and Greg Norman. 

Royal Troon Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 5.00

Times Mentioned: 36

Detail: The Open is back at Troon in 2024 - and it's clear that golfers fancy a taste of the Ayrshire coastline too!

The Belfry

Golfshake Rating: 4.84

Times Mentioned: 35

Detail: There are three main courses at The Belfry, but it's the Brabazon, a four-time host of the Ryder Cup that has stayed in the hearts of golf fans who desire to create their own memories here.


Golfshake Rating: 4.86

Times Mentioned: 35

Detail: For some, this is the best of the Open courses in Scotland, and there's no doubt that Muirfield has been the stage for many legendary champions, including Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson. Traditional and classic, the setting here in East Lothian is special.

Royal Portrush Golf Club

Royal Portrush

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Golfshake Rating: 4.90

Times Mentioned: 34

Detail: The Open's return to Northern Ireland in 2019 was such a massive success that it will return to Portrush in 2025, meaning that this is the time to book your own tee time here!

Sunningdale Golf Club


(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Golfshake Rating: 4.94

Times Mentioned: 32

Detail: One of the most famed golf clubs in England, there are two incredible courses here that rank among the best. 36-holes on the Old and New might just be the greatest day that this game can possibly offer!


Golfshake Rating: 4.88

Times Mentioned: 31

Detail: There are three layouts on this remarkable estate in the heart of Perthshire. The PGA Centenary hosted both the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, but it's the historic King's and Queen's that will surely enchant the most.

Turnberry Resort

Golfshake Rating: 4.95

Times Mentioned: 30

Detail: Back to Ayshire and it's Turnberry that resonates with golfers. It's no surprise when you consider that the revamped Ailsa Course is widely rated as being a true masterpiece.

Royal Liverpool Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.93

Times Mentioned: 29

Detail: The Open venue in 2023, Hoylake is a place bursting with history, including its position as being the site of Bobby Jones' Grand Slam in 1930, Peter Thomson's hat-trick of Claret Jugs, and more recent stories etched by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.


Golfshake Rating: 4.50

Times Mentioned: 27

Detail: The 1997 Ryder Cup forever gave Valderrama a place in history, but this layout has been part of European golf for many years. It's considered to be among the most difficult courses on the continent - and that's a test that many of you want to face!

Celtic Manor Resort

Golfshake Rating: 4.50

Times Mentioned: 27

Detail: Likewise, the 2010 Ryder Cup was a thriller and the brilliant experience offered by Celtic Manor and its Twenty Ten Course have been among the most popular on Golfshake.

Woburn Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.95

Times Mentioned: 26

Detail: Located near Milton Keynes, Woburn has three incredible courses and has been a host of the Women's Open, including in 2019 when Japan's Hinako Shibuno lifted the trophy.

TPC at Sawgrass

Golfshake Rating: 4.50

Times Mentioned: 25

Detail: Home of the PGA Tour's Players Championship, TPC Sawgrass has become truly iconic, famed for its par three 17th hole that every golfer will have played once in their dreams!

Trump International Golf Links, Scotland

Golfshake Rating: 4.88

Times Mentioned: 24

Detail: Many consider this course in Aberdeenshire to be a modern classic - and there is no doubt that the views here would stay with anyone fortunate enough to play this layout!

Woodhall Spa Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.90

Times Mentioned: 24

Detail: The home of England Golf, there are two exceptional courses at Woodhall Spa, but it's the Hotchkin that truly stands out as being one of the finest in the land.

Kingsbarns Golf Links


(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Golfshake Rating: 4.96

Times Mentioned: 24

Detail: Located near St Andrews, Kingsbarns is a modern masterpiece that is presented worldwide each year during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. It also hosted the Women's Open in 2017.

Royal County Down Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.96

Times Mentioned: 23

Detail: For some keen students of the game, this is the best golf course on the planet. Clearly - many of you desire to see whether it lives up to that billing!

Hillside Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.93

Times Mentioned: 23

Detail: Part of England's extraordinary North West golf coast, Hillside is sometimes overshadowed by nearby Birkdale, but it's a course that stands among the very best links designs in the British Isles.

Ballybunion Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.97

Times Mentioned: 23

Detail: Among the many astonishing courses in Ireland - the Old at Ballybunion might just be the most legendary. Many golfers across the globe make the pilgrimage here - and it's easy to see why!

Royal Dornoch Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.90

Times Mentioned: 22

Detail: Tucked away in the Scottish Highlands, Royal Dornoch instantly feels special when you arrive, with that mystique also surrounding its brilliantly memorable Championship Course that will stay with you forever.

Pinehurst Resort

Golfshake Rating: 4.32

Times Mentioned: 21

Detail: Considered to be the Home of American Golf, there are soon to be ten courses that are part of this storied venue, but it's No. 2 that is most revered after hosting several US Opens. Originally created by Donald Ross, it was restored by the keen eyes of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

Walton Heath Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.82

Times Mentioned: 20

Detail: The Women's Open was contested at Walton Heath in August 2023, which is just the latest in the long line of tournaments here that also included the Ryder Cup back in 1981.

Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

Golfshake Rating: 4.93

Times Mentioned: 20

Detail: Royal Porthcawl was recently showcased during the 2023 Senior Open and it has long been touted as a possible Open venue of the future. There is no doubt that the golf course is more than up to the task!

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What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

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