Best Golf Courses In The World - The Hidden Gems

Written by Jordan Fuller

If you’re a golfer, you most likely have courses near your home that you enjoy playing. Maybe you’re a member of a particular course, or perhaps you jump from course to course depending on your mood. Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a golf estate! If you travel a lot, hopefully, you take the opportunity to play on courses in your destination country, state, or town. Non-golfers may assume a golf course is just a golf course, but the truth is, some are much more of a memorable experience than others!

Here are some of the best-hidden gem golf courses in the world. You won’t find too many golf bloggers gushing about them, but if you find yourself nearby, you’ll kick yourself if you miss a round on them. Unlike others, these are all public courses!

Best Golf Courses in the US

1. Payne’s Valley

Payne’s Valley

This is the first public golf course designed by Tiger Woods, and although that alone should make it wildly popular, it’s within a resort and it’s the 3rd of their courses, so it gets a little lost. Despite being designed by the greatest, it’s made to please the mid-handicapper. Wide fairways and undulating terrain offer a great experience, not to mention the beautiful views of the Ozark mountains.

There’s also a unique 19th hole, which is the perfect end to a spectacular experience. It’s a lot of fun and you certainly won’t forget this round anytime soon.

2. Big Run Golf Club

Big Run Golf Club

With big-name golf clubs nearby, Big Run often gets left out of the equation. It’s a long course—7,000 or so yards—and quite hilly, so walking may not be comfortable here! The elevation changes make it quite exciting to play, and you’ll need to be accurate as the fairways are lined with majestic trees. Lifted greens, bunker guards, and a few water hazards add to the fun. All in all, it’s a course you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be in Chicago.

3. Aspen Lakes

Aspen Lakes

This family-owned public golf course offers some of the most jaw-dropping views you’ll find anywhere in the world. Mountain backdrops and tree-lined fairways make you feel like you’re playing in the forest! One of the unique aspects of the course is the red sand in the bunkers, which gives it an interesting and distinct look! The club is Audubon-approved as well.

Best Golf Courses in Europe

4. Torremirona Resort

Torremirona Resort

Spain’s climate is ideal for golfing, and Torremirona Golf & Spa Resort is a lovely place to spend some time. Nestled between the Gulf of Roses and the Pyrenees Mountains, this club offers spectacular views. It’s designed to offer golfers of all levels an enjoyable experience. The first nine are more hilly, with compact fairways surrounded by trees. The back nine offers wider and flatter fairways, but you’ll have to contend with some interesting hazards and curvy greens.

5. Narvik Golfklubb

Narvik Golfklubb

You’ll find this gem to the north of the Arctic Circle, watched over by a huge and imposing plateau glacier. Despite the general climate of Norway, the course is open for play from May to October. The course winds its way through nature, with natural hazards challenging every shot. Accuracy is key here, as the rough consists of moss, which is tough to play from! By the way, you can even play under the midnight sun in summer. Get your training aids ready, because it’s a different kind of golfing experience!

Best Golf Courses in Ireland & Scotland​

6. Pitlochry Golf

Pitlochry Golf

It wouldn’t be a great list if we didn’t visit the home of golf! Pitlochry Golf Club is often overlooked, but it’s absolutely worth a visit. It’s a highlands-style course with no par-5s, but that doesn’t make it boring or unchallenging. The terrain is undulating and offers a variety of elevation changes, so it’s best for carting and not for walking! Expect zero rolls when he courses wet, which is often in the Scottish weather! It’s also packed with history, so if you’re a golf enthusiast with a passion for the history of the game as well as the play, this is an exceptional course to visit.

7. Waterford Castle Resort

Waterford Castle Resort

This is truly a “hidden” gem, as you have to be ferried across to the private island in order to enjoy this golf course, although it is open to the public. Water surrounds the entire course, but water hazards still come into play as you move through the course. Although you don’t have to be staying at the accompanying hotel, it was named the Golf Hotel of the Year 2020 by the Irish Hotel Awards, so if you’re looking for accommodation and golf, consider this a true gem.

Best Golf Courses In Dubai

8.  Emirates Golf Club

Emirates Golf Club

The Emirates Golf Club is Dubai's oldest and most prestigious golf club. Founded in 1988, it was the first grass course in the Middle East and has since hosted numerous international tournaments, including the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic. The club features two championship courses - the Majlis Course and the Faldo Course - and a world-class clubhouse with views of the city skyline. With its world-renowned facilities and stunning location, the Emirates Golf Club is the perfect place to enjoy a round of golf in Dubai.

Nearby Communities

9. The Montgomerie Dubai

The Montgomerie Dubai

Montgomerie Dubai is one of the most famous golf courses in the city. Situated in the heart of Dubai, the course offers stunning skyline views. Designed by world-renowned golfer Colin Montgomerie, the course is challenging and enjoyable for players of all abilities. The course is an actual test of golf, featuring rolling fairways and undulating greens. However, with multiple tee positions and well-placed hazards, it is also very playable. So whether you are a weekend hacker or a seasoned pro, Montgomerie Dubai is sure to provide an enjoyable round of golf.

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10. The Els Club

The Els Club

The Els Club is yet another excellent option for golfers in Dubai, situated in the heart of Dubailand and features some of the most stunning views in the city. This award-winning course was designed by legendary golfer Ernie Els and offered a unique desert golf experience. The Els Club has two 18-hole championship courses and a state-of-the-art clubhouse with all the amenities you would expect from a world-class resort. So if you're looking for an unforgettable golfing experience, the Els Club is worth a visit.

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About the Author

Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer who has been lucky enough to play on beautiful courses across the world. He also writes handy golf-related how-to and product reviews on his website, Golf Influence.

Furthermore, explore some of the finest properties in London.