Best Tour player designed golf courses
Who better to design a golf course than someone that has spent a large proportion of their time on one. Arnold Palmer, Peter Alliss and Sir Nick Faldo all feature in our top 10, they are the experts after-all.
It isn’t uncommon for a professional to move into golf course architecture at the end of their career, or even during their twilight years, after all, they have spent their lives walking the world’s best fairways.
Take a look at some of the best Tour player designed golf courses, which includes designs by five major winners and Ryder Cup legends that you could find yourself playing on your next golf break.
Arguably one of the most famous golf courses on the PGA Tour schedule, Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a must visit for those heading on a long haul golf holiday to Florida. The Champion and Challenger nines combine to create the PGA Tour course, which sweeps across 270 acres along the shores of the Butler Chain of Lakes. This really is a demanding test of golf. The Charger is a kinder 9-hole course that offers up plenty of fun for all standards of golfer.
Player himself once said, 'you will not find a golf course like this anywhere on the planet', about his own design, so why wouldn’t you want to visit The Signature Course at Thracian Cliffs? The rugged cliffs that line the Black Sea frame this golf course, making it one of the most dramatic and challenging in the world. This will truly be an unforgettable golfing experience on Bulgaria's east coast.
The Brabazon Course at The Belfry needs little introduction thanks to its Ryder Cup hosting past, but few people know it was former professional and now much-loved commentator Peter Alliss who designed the course here. His meticulous design involves tight fairways, perilous bunkers, lakes and fast undulating greens that have challenged the world’s very best.
Winner of the 1973 Open Championship, Tom Weiskopf was a major influence in both the Monument Course and Pinnacle Course designs at Troon North, Scottsdale. The Monument Course is more forgiving than the Pinnacle Course due to fewer elevation changes, but does require great accuracy off the tee. The Pinnacle Course is visually stunning and features tricky undulating greens that even the best putters struggle to figure out.
Complementing the neighbouring Faldo Course, the O’Connor Course at Amendoeira was designed by Ryder Cup hero Christy O’Connor Jnr. Various water features, including lakes, are spread throughout the entire course demanding accuracy if you are to score well. The extensive oasis like surroundings make for a course that is in pristine condition all-year-round.
Jack Nicklaus’ PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles was the scene of the 2014 Ryder Cup, which saw the cream of European and American golf battle it out on Scottish soil for the first time in more than 40-years. Nicklaus described the course as 'the finest parcel of land in the world' that he had ever been given to work with, which makes it no surprise that this is now one of the premier courses in Scotland.
Lough Erne acts as the gateway to North West Ireland and is home to 36-holes of outstanding golf, including the renowned Faldo Course. The course, designed by six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo, measures at a staggering 7,167-yards from the tips and offers stunning views of Castle Hume Lough and Lough Erne. The 'Emerald Isle' 10th hole on the Faldo Course is iconic as its green is surrounded by water on three sides.
With 44 professional wins to his name, the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews (designed by Sam Torrance, of course) is just as impressive as his trophy cabinet. The links measures at a lengthy 7,230-yards and features classic Scottish revetted bunkers and large, undulating greens.
Despite being a relatively new golf course having opened in the late 1990s, it didn’t take long for the course to host professional events, with the Seniors European Tour Scottish Seniors Open based here between 2009 and 2014.
Designed by the great Seve Ballesteros, the course at Alhaurin Golf Club is one of the most spectacular in Spain. Offering delightful views of the Sierra de Mijas and the Mediterranean Sea, the course here is challenging, demanding, original and fun, and can be enjoyed by every standard of golfer. There is even a nine-hole Par-3 course that is great fun for golfers and non-golfers alike.
The Fazio Course at PGA National was designed by both George and Tom Fazio in tribute to five-time PGA Champion Walter Hagen. It saw the reinvention of The Haig Course, PGA National’s original 18-hole layout.
Although the original Florida layout remains intact, improvements include a 70% increase in total green surface grassed with TifEagle on the greens, Bermuda grass on tees and fairways and player-friendly tees that allow the course to be played at 5,100-yards at its shortest and 7,050-yards at its longest.
Golfbreaks Tournament Specialist