We take a look at some courses that should host Majors if they have to be behind closed doors.
20 Courses We’d Love To See Host Majors
As things stand right now the 2020 Open Championship has been cancelled and the other three Majors have been postponed to later this year.
The main reason for this is to stop spreading the Coronavirus which would inevitably occur when thousands of golf fans all over the world congregate in one place.
However the virus seems to be a largely unknown entity at the moment so the possibility of hosting a Major Championship or three behind closed doors could happen.
Instead of taking this realisation negatively, there is one positive that can be drawn from it. Many golf courses around the world are simply not able to host Majors because they do not have the logistical capabilities to welcome hundreds of thousands of fans and everything that comes with them.
But with no fans, theoretically a Major Championship can be hosted anywhere in the world, at any golf course.
2020 host courses Augusta National, Winged Foot and TPC Harding Park are not going to change but a Major Championship going anywhere in the world is a tantalising prospect for the imagination.
Acknowledging this, below we have taken a look at a wide variety of golf courses from the United States, UK&I, as well as layouts from around the world that we think would deliver great tournaments that would not only test the top players, but deliver stunning aesthetics for people watching on television.
20 Courses We’d Love To See Host Majors
It is incredible that Dr Alister MacKenzie managed to design a course more spectacular than Augusta National and Cypress Point on the Monterrey Peninsula is just that.
The course beautifully transitions its way through forest, hillside, sand dunes and coastline to deliver a spectacular 18 holes which peaks with the three hole stretch from the 15th to the 17th.
It would be a privilege to see the best players in the world take on the iconic 16th hole in particular, which is a monster par-3 over a cove of the Pacific Ocean.
Ohoopee Match Club
They were given a site where sand had accumulated for centuries so a blank canvas was their starting point.
The pair looked to build extreme, heroic holes and take more chances with their design and as a result the course delivers in terms of aesthetics, playability and challenging golf.
National Golf Links of America
The pride and joy of Charles Blair MacDonald, the National Golf Links of America was his attempt at creating the best golf course in the United States.
After several trips to the UK, he set about his mission in 1902 and was completed in 1909 to much fanfare.
Many of the holes at the Long Island course are modelled upon holes from other courses around the world like St Andrews, Royal St Georges, North Berwick, and Prestwick. To many, he has improved on the originals which is no mean feat.
The finest work of Seth Raynor, Fisher’s Island is on an enclave in the middle of Long Island Sound and as a result is incredibly beautiful.
The combination of several elevation changes with the water’s edge provide spectacular views sure to look great on television.
Located in the rolling sand hills of Nebraska, the incredible golf course created by Coore and Crenshaw should be near the top of the list for Major venues.
It is no easy task to come up with the perfect routing on land that suggests anything is possible, but the pair have managed to do just that. Weighing in at just over 7,000 yards, it plays to a rather different yardage thanks to vibrant and ever-changing winds that could perplex anyone.
As Tom Doak says; “On a calm day, low scores are there for the taking, but there aren’t too many calm days!”
A stones throw away from Shinnecock Hills sits Friars Head, another Coore-Crenshaw creation that is often regarded as their second best behind Sand Hills.
Once again the pair have managed to put the dunes and ridges to good use as many of the spectacular holes feature them at this ultra-private club.
A legend of a golf course that nobody really seems to know all that much about, Pine Valley regularly tops lists of the best golf courses in the world.
Indeed it is also believed to be one of the toughest too which means it can more than hold its own against top tour players.
Every single hole is dramatic, memorable and difficult in its own way because original designer George Crump wanted a golf course that would test the best players to their limit. No doubt a worthy champion would be found.
United Kingdom & Ireland
Set on a 220-acre promontory in County Cork, Old Head Golf Links provides some of the most spectacular golf anywhere in the British Isles or further afield.
Over half the holes play alongside towering cliffs with the churning Atlantic hundreds of feet below. Many of the holes at Old Head are simply breath-taking and speaking from experience the wind can be punishing.
Debate rages over which course at Sunningdale is superior but the Old has the pedigree and history on it’s side.
One of the finest layouts in the country, the Old is a majestic heathland layout that plays amongst pines and heather to incredibly fast greens. In modern day golf it is a course that puts more emphasis on accuracy and strategy, rather than length.
Many will question whether Lahinch is refined enough for a Major Championship but golf at the Irish course is not supposed to be fair, it is designed to be fun clearly shown by the Klondyke and Dell holes that are the stuff of legend.
A course that has had the hands of Old Tom Morris and Alister MacKenzie worked upon it, Lahinch is a challenging test in the wind and at 6,950 yards off the tips, has more than enough yardage for the modern game.
A private estate course, Ardfin is a fairly unknown but challenging layout built across a rugged landscape of rock.
It is regularly described as one of the most spectacular courses in the United Kingdom but that doesn’t mean it is easy. It gets rather windy in the Inner Hebrides and as a result the 6,800 yardage is anything but easy to navigate.
A course completely off the beaten track, many consider Carne to be the finest work of iconic course architect Eddie Hackett. The size of the dunes here need to be seen to be believed and the pounding Atlantic waves create a true sense of adventure.
Rest of the World
Barnbougle Dunes/Lost Farm
If fans are to be absent it makes sense to go somewhere isolated and beautiful, which means Tasmania should be near the top of the list. There are two world class courses at the Barnbougle Resort to choose from, the Dunes course created by Tom Doak and Mike Clayton, and Lost Farm designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
Both are aesthetically stunning but don’t be fooled because the incredibly high winds and intricate designs make scoring difficult.
Importantly both courses seem to strike the right balance between fun and challenge which would not only create entertaining tournaments for those watching, but test the world’s best players too.
Head east from Tasmania and you come across the North island of New Zealand which is home to the next three selections, chief among which is another Doak layout, Tara-iti.
The course opened in 2015 to much fanfare and when you cast your eyes over the land it is easy to see why. Situated in a pine forest in the middle of nowhere, Tara-iti was carved out of the dunes and once again, the wind acts as the main defence against low scores.
There are not many golf courses in the world that could intimidate the top golfers in the world but Cape Kidnappers could do just that.
Situated in Hawke’s Bay the scale of the land is mind-boggling and the penalty for missing a fairway or green by a significant margin will result in a lost ball as it likely plummets into the waves below.
The 650-yard 15th hole, with a playable area of just 40 yards wide, is the clearest example of how incredible, and penal the course can be.
Alex Russell, the man who often gets overshadowed by design partner Dr Alister MacKenzie, created this fantastic links course which has features that would look at home in the rolling hills of Scotland.
The fairway contours are incredible; random humps and bumps which vary in severity and height create differing lies and new problems for the golfer to solve. The winds of the Kapiti coast are always lurking too.
It would be an outstanding test of golf as shown by Tiger Woods only shooting a few shots under par way back in 2002.
Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog)
Named after the jagged coral rock found on the coastline, Pete Dye described this Dominican Republic layout as his favourite course.
Opened back in 1971 it seems Dye foresaw the advancement in technology and distance as it currently punches in with 7,478 yards which would undoubtedly provide a significant examination.
That being said there are also several incredible par-3’s, with the 176-yard 5th hole being the top dog thanks to a green complex that juts out into the Caribbean.
Often called the Pine Valley of Japan, Hirono is believed to be the best golf course in Japan and the finest work by C.H. Alison.
The design is spectacular thanks to the hilly pine forest dissected by gulley’s, valleys and the occasional green complex perched on top of a ridge. Given Japan’s ever-growing role in the game, a Major would feel right at home at Hirono Golf Club.
Stanley Thompson does not get the recognition he deserves in golf. The unheralded nature of Banff Springs in Alberta, Canada shows that quite clearly.
Set amongst tall trees, huge mountains and along the Bow River, the course is a feast for the eyes with the 4th hole, the Devil’s Cauldron, being the pick of the bunch.
The dramatic scenery creates a visually stimulating experience whilst the 6,938 yards of the course should also provide a tough enough test for Rory and Brooks.
Pretty much on the other side of Canada sits the Cabot resort.
Cabot Links is an excellent design but the Coore/Crenshaw creation, Cabot Cliffs has it licked for amazing aesthetics. It has been compared to Cypress Point, Sand Hills and Pebble Beach so that gives you some indication of how highly regarded the 2015 design is.
It would deliver an immensely entertaining tournament too thanks to six par-3’s, six par-4’s and six par-5’s.
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