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Readers list their must-play courses

By Staff

Inspired by the BBC's popular "50 Things To Do Before You Die" program, an England-based man has decided to attempt all 50 experiences before the end of next year. Included on the to-do list (besides swimming with sharks and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro): A round of golf at Augusta National in the United States.

Assuming money was no object (and you had unlimited access), where would Augusta National rank on your top 10 courses to play before you die? Let us know what you think and we'll print a few selected responses below.

Oh, the places you'll go

Places I have golfed over the past few years include Pinehurst, Pebble Beach, Blackwolf Run, Scotland and Ireland. But here is my top ten list of courses I have yet to play: 1) Cypress Point
2) Kauri Cliffs
3) Old Head
4) Pine Valley
5) Royal Melbourne
6) Augusta National
7) Royal Dornoch
8) Valderrama
9) Pacific (Bandon) Dunes
10) Banff Springs.

Art Miller, via email

Ode to St. Andrews

Oh, can you imagine before they place me down?

The course I'd like to tee it up... to play just one more round.

The verdant greens at Pebble Beach?

Is the privacy of Augusta beyond my reach?

I say to you Oh linkster fine

To tour Old St.Andrews 'twould be sublime.

The Royal & Ancient is the one for me to set my ball on the golden tee.

After 18 greens of earthly heaven, I'll collect my bet and call it even and head over to the 19th hole and lay to rest my immortal soul thanking all the gods of golf above for this great game that I truly love.

Jim Yach, Golf Coach, Ft. Lauderdale High School

Around the world in 80 days

I read your commentary about favorite places to play before you die and the Englishman who wants to play Augusta and would like to make a few comments and observations.

I am on a round the world golf mission and have recently finished playing career course No. 496. My travels have taken me through 26 different U.S. states, Australia, New Zealand, British Columbia, Alberta, The Yukon, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia. I have knocked off 179 courses in Southern Africa alone.

I am presently working on a book detailing my travel golf experiences and would like to share any info or data. My favorite and best courses are as follows, Top 3 All Time (in no order because they offer different features): Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Sparrebosch Golf Estates (South Africa).

My regional or local favorites are:
Australia - St. Michaels, Sydney,
New Zealand -Waireki International,
New York Area - The Creek Club, and Yale (both CB MacDonald designs)
Southern US - TPC at Myrtle Beach and Capital Hill (RTJ Golf Trail, ALA)
Western US - Reflection Bay, Steele Canyon (San Diego), Semi-ah-moo (Washington), Old Works (Montana).

In the past 18 months I have taken golf vacations to the Robert Trent Jones Trail, The Bear Trace, San Francisco to Pebble Beach, Ocean City (Maryland) and twice to southern Africa where I served on a golf course ratings panel for the Compleat Golfer Magazine.

Rich Suozzo, via email

Augusta checks in at No. 7

Top 10 remaining on my lifetime list:

1) PineValley
2) Cypress Point
3) Muirfield
4) Ballybunion
5) Pebble Beach
6) Royal Troon
7) Augusta National
8) Royal County Down
9) Valderrama
10) St George's -Islington

R. Sutton, via email

One to avoid

As a former embalmer and retired INS Special Agent, I have always seen the "questionable" side of life. So, if anyone is interested in the "worst golf course" to play before they die, try Air Sofia (outside Sofia, Bulgaria).

It is a former cow pasture with fourteen tees, sixteen greens, no visible fairways, and a Sri Lankan golf pro who does not speak any Bulgarian or English. The name "Air Sofia" is derived from the fact the clubhouse is made from half of a crashed Russian jetliner!

You can have Augusta, Pebble and St. Andrews - I'll take Air Sofia before I go!

Neville Cramer, Immigration Enforcement Solutions

G'day to Royal Melbourne

Ten Courses to Play before I depart:

1) Royal Melbourne
2) Sand Hills
3) Pine Valley
4) National Golf Links
5) Dornoch
6) Ballybunion
7) Black Mesa
8) Oakmont
9) Friar's Head
10) Painswick

Mike, Foregolf Communications

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Top 5 retirement havens.

    Lyle Koch wrote on: Aug 14, 2016

    Although the places you featured are probably great places I find it hard to see how most folks could retire there and afford to play golf regularly. Have you ever considered an article on The Villages where there are over 600 holes of golf and all the executive courses are free. There are also 12 championship courses including the Arnold Palmer and Nancy Lopez signature ones. To go along with all the golf there are recreation centers, many pools and everything you need for living along entertainment each night at all 3 squares. This is all available with your golf cart. It is an interesting place and you might consider featuring it someday. The best part it is all very affordable for us regular folks.


  • driver testers

    penny parisi wrote on: Feb 13, 2016

    Tell me why all your testers are men?
    Women love golf and want to be represented....


  • club testers

    Paul wrote on: Jun 7, 2014

    Speaking for all subscribers who live and play golf outside the U.S., why can't some of the testers be non American? It never fails that all testers are U.S. citizens.


      • RE: Tom Watson's political opinion

        Rob wrote on: Sep 2, 2014

        In the September issue I read the letters about Tom's political opinions. I happen to agree with Tom's reviews and was very annoyed by these peoples letters. These people have no idea how much Tom knows about politics or the economy.
        And I think that time will prove that Tom s opinions were correct.


          • RE: RE: Tom Watson's political opinion

            chris hastings wrote on: Sep 8, 2014

            i agree with you completly and wonder if those liberals compain much when air head Hollwood stars make their stupid political statements


  • September issue, Golf Magazine

    Frank Larson wrote on: Aug 8, 2013

    Sorry, but Sept. was a wasted issue. Just my opinion, but I think the supermajority of your readers could not---or would not---play any of your Top 100 Courses. If you want to connect with the majority of your readers, do a review of the Top 100 AFFORDABLE Courses.
    Cordially, Frank Larson


  • The Amazing Bulgaria

    Schmit Kurdtschwagger wrote on: Jul 22, 2007

    Golf Club?! Come on! It's a f*****g nightmare, for Pete's sake!!!
    More like a green field of misery, fourteen tees, sixteen greens and Bulgarians trying to suck every single cent out of your pockets for their miserable “services”. The most annoying part was a Sri Lankan golf instructor who was speaking a weird language that no one could understand. Thanks God, we met some civilized British guys, who were there to watch the match between their favorite FC Chelsea and Bulgarian second division team Lefsky, whatever…
    Those guys were kind enough to wait with us till the Sri Lankan golf instructor left the club. We were lucky to catch the guy near by a bus stop where we could settle our differences. The best part of story was the arrival of four local policemen, who tried to arrest us for beating this Sri Lankan insect. They found his wallet in my pocket, but I insisted that it was my wallet and they gave it back to me, as they couldn’t understand the guy. Then I checked the cash inside, 80 levas, which is equivalent to 35 euro or something and 400 euros. And you won’t believe what happened!!! The cops took the 80 levas and drove us downtown like a taxi cab!!! Amazing!
    Anyway the golf course was awful, but I like the rest of my journey in Bulgaria.
    It is a nice country with great landscapes and a beautiful sea, except for the sea cities, which all look like freak circuses villages.


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