Audre Lorde famously said, "When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." If golf is almost an analogy to a dignified lifestyle, it is but proper to say that a golf course is nothing less than an analogy to life itself.

To swing away orbs with the mastery of skill developed over years of hard work, against the ever-changing winds, and terrains, to reach the flag posts, yet with dignity and grace, all this while, focusing on the milestones, yet soaking in the beauty of the views and surroundings, makes golf the best game to play as a catalyst to the way you live your life.

The gods, by this analogy, in the world of golf, are the legendary artists that are the architects of some of the most stunning golf courses in the world. Tom Doak, Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, Tom Fazio, Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, Dr. Alister MacKenzie, Donald Ross, and many more, are such gods in the world of golf, with their own creation styles and tastes.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of 5 of the top golf courses in the world.

Pine Valley Golf Club
Clementon, New Jersey
Par 70—6,765 yards

Picture an enchanted place, a grown-up’s playground, hidden in a lonesome Pine Barren. What you are looking at is Pine Valley. Any self-respecting golfer, will agree, that hidden in New Jersey, this, difficult to find and thus mysterious course, is among the world's finest golf courses even today. With every hole, almost (if not definitely) a signature hole, George Crump and H. S. Colt, in 1918, created a golfer’s wonderland. With help from A. W. Tillinghast, Thomas Jr. and Walter Travis, it was finally completed by Hugh Wilson. With the involvement of such artists, it is not surprising, the charm this course exudes. The fact that Pine Valley was created from the beautifully sandy pine barrens of the south west of Jersey, makes the art of golf almost poetic, sending an orb flying against the wind, in over six hundred acres of majestic, picturesque virgin woodlands. 

Cypress Point Club
Pebble Beach, California
Mackenzie (1929),
Par 72—6,536 yards

Among the most private places to golf, and so much like a painting on the south of Pebble Beach in California's Big Sur Country, Cypress Point is nothing less than a mysterious magical confectionary factory that opened its gates to the select few deserving enthusiasts who win the Wonka tickets. In an interesting similarity to the book, once, Bob Hope mentioned how almost 20 members were sent away, ironically during a membership drive. 

Dr. Alister Mackenzie, also the architect of Augusta National Golf Course, designed this 18-hole course of rolling fairways, putting his heart in his trademark bunkering. His work of art, delicately embroidered through the sand dunes, the stunning jagged coastline and Cypress, is also, famously called the Sistine Chapel of golf. Instead of running the technological rat race, Cypress point celebrates its original architecture, fully aware of its timelessness.

Muirfield Village Golf Club
Gullane, Scotland, United Kingdom
T. Morris (1889),
Par 71—7,221 yards

The fact that Jack Nicklaus has built and rebuilt this golf course over the years, makes Muirfield Village Golf Club almost a case study in evolving golf culture and history. What adds to this is the fact that Muirfield is the haven to the world’s oldest golfing society. Muirfield opened its gates in 1744 and more than 200 years later, it was here that Jack Nicklaus achieved his first British Open Victory. With an 11-acre driving range and 220 acres of golfing bliss, Muirfield is famously considered the dream and sweat of Jack. Muirfield is considered to be a golf course not for the unskilled. With most of the holes demanding a portrayal of proficiency, vision and ability, some reviewers have actually named a particular few holes, 'just plain evil'. But to the eyes, it is pure sweet heaven.

St. Andrews (Old Course)
St. Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom
Par 72—7,279 yards

Golf had become so extremely popular in Scotland in 1457, that James II of Scotland banned the sport, fearing that young men were playing too much golf instead of practicing their archery. Until in 1502, when King James IV became a golfer himself and removed the ban. So it should come as no surprise that this course is also known as the "home of golf" (the sport was first played here in the early 15th century).

To play the Old Course at St. Andrews, the most famous one in the world, is the dream of any who has the confidence to call himself/herself a golfer. This heathery patch of land on Scotland’s east coast is the quintessential Scottish paradise. The old course is stunningly seeped in history, with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews club house sitting right next to the first tee, even though it is just one of the numerous clubs that have playing privileges on the course, along with the general public. Nestled in the stormy North Sea dunes, the old course puts up a challenge to even the best of golfers.

This course is inclusive of all levels of golfers, catering to the environmental needs of learners as well as legends. There are four more excellent 18-hole courses, one 9-hole course, and a practice centre, along with the old course.

Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta, Georgia
Mackenzie/Jones (1932),
Par 72—6,905 yards

The second shot at the 11th, all of the 12th, and the first two shots at the 13th hole at Augusta were christened "Amen Corner", by author Herbert Warren Wind. Infamous for its membership policies (read sexist and racist), only recently changed, Augusta holds the Masters, America’s most celebrated tournament. With hot-pink azaleas blooming near the 18-hole and 9-hole course, Augusta is home to three of the most infamously tough holes in the game.

Among the most beautiful pieces of human creation at its best, it is also the labour of love of "the good doctor", Dr. Alister Mackenzie and is an absolute treat to the eye.

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