Golfweek's Best 2021: Top 50 Modern International Courses

Welcome to the initial Golfweek’s Best Modern International Courses list with the highest-rated courses outside the United States that were built in or after 1960. (Tara Iti in New Zealand is pictured atop this story.)

Each year we publish many lists, with the U.S.-based Top 200 Modern Courses and the accompanying Top 200 Classic Courses lists being the premium offerings. Also extremely popular and significant are the Best Courses You Can Play State by State and Best Private Courses State by State.

This is the first year for this International Modern list, and it is comprised of thousands of individual ratings of courses around the world. We also have published the new Classic Courses version, shining a spotlight on the best international courses built before 1960.

The 800-plus members of our ratings panel continually evaluate courses and rate them based on 10 criteria. They also file a single, overall rating on each course. Those overall ratings on each course are averaged to produce a final rating for each course, which is then ranked against other courses to produce the final lists.

Each course is listed with its average rating next to the name, the location, the year it opened and the designers. After the designers are several designations that note what type of facility it is.

There are a few wonderful courses that don’t appear on this list because they haven’t received enough votes from raters. This most often happens at hard-to-reach private courses that don’t allow much guest play. One such example would be Playa Grande in the Dominican Republic, a stunning Robert Trent Jones Sr. layout that has been renovated by Rees Jones but that hasn’t received enough votes to make this international list. Given time and more votes, it’s entirely possible this seaside layout will make a strong climb into the various course rankings.


r: resort course
d: daily fee
p: private course
t: tour course
re: real estate
* Some international private courses allow limited outside play. Contact the courses indicated for more information on their guest policies.

Nos. 1-10

No. 16 at Cabot Cliffs

Cabot Cliffs (Courtesy of Cabot Cliffs/Evan Schiller)

1. Cabot Cliffs 8.44
Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada; Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw (2015); r

2. Tara Iti 8.36
Mangawhai, New Zealand; Tom Doak (2015); p (pictured atop this story courtesy of Tara Iti/Joann Dost)

3. Barnbougle (Dunes) 8.27
Bridport, Tasmania, Australia; Tom Doak, Michael Clayton (2004); r

4. Cape Kidnappers 8.19
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand; Tom Doak (2004); r

5. Cape Wickham 8.00
King Island, Tasmania, Australia; Mike DeVries (2015); r

6. Trump International Scotland 7.90
Aberdeen, Scotland; Martin Hawtree (2012); r

7. Kingsbarns 7.86
Kingsbarns, Scotland; Kyle Phillips (2000); d

8. Barnbougle (Lost Farm) 7.79
Bridport, Tasmania, Australia; Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw (2010); r

9. Kauri Cliffs 7.78
Matauri Bay, New Zealand; David Harman, Rees Jones (2000); r

10. Cap Cana (Punta Espada) 7.74
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Jack Nicklaus (2006); r, t

Nos. 11-20

Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog (Courtesy of Casa de Campo)

11. Cabot Links 7.69
Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada; Rod Whitman (2012); r

12. Loch Lomond 7.66
Dunbartonshire, Scotland; Jay Morrish, Tom Weiskopf (1993); p

T13. Dunes Course at Diamante 7.64
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Davis Love III (2009); r, re

T13. Castle Stuart 7.64
Inverness, Scotland; Gil Hanse, Mark Parsinen (2009); d

15. Pulpit Club (Paintbrush, formerly Devil’s Paintbrush) 7.61
Caledon East, Ontario, Canada; Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry (1992); p

16. Waterville 7.53
Waterville, Ireland; Eddie Hackett (1973); d

17. Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog) 7.52
La Romana, Dominican Republic; Pete Dye (1971); r, re

18. Mad River 7.42
Creemore, Ontario, Canada; Bob Cupp (1991); p

19. Old Head of Kinsale 7.41
Kinsale, Ireland; Eddie Hackett, Joe Carr, Ron Kirby, Paddy Merrigan, Liam Higgins (1997); d

20. Apes Hill 7.38
Saint James, Barbados; Chris Cole, Jeff Potts, Ron Kirby (2009); p, re

Nos. 21-30

Four Seasons Punta Mita’s Pacifico (Courtesy of Four Seasons)

21. National (Gunnamatta) 7.36
Cape Schanck, Victoria, Australia; Peter Thomson, Ross Perrett, Michael Woolveridge, Tom Doak (2000); p*

T22. Fancourt (Links) 7.35
George, South Africa; Gary Player (2000); p*

T22. Memphrémagog 7.35
Magog, Quebec, Canada; Thomas McBroom (2008); p*

T24. Sagebrush 7.32
Quilchena, British Columbia, Canada; Rod Whitman, Richard Zokol, Armen Suny (2009); r

T24. Coppinwood 7.32
Goodwood, Ontario, Canada; Tom Fazio (2006); p, re

26. Rocky Crest Resort 7.30
MacTier, Ontario, Canada; Thomas McBroom (2000); r

T27. Queenwood 7.28
Ottershaw, England; David McLay Kidd (2001); p

T27. Four Seasons Punta Mita (Pacifico) 7.28
Punta Mita, Mexico; Jack Nicklaus (1999); r

T29. Renaissance Club at Archerfield 7.25
Dirleton, Scotland; Tom Doak (2008); p*

T29. Muskoka Bay Resort 7.25
Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada; Doug Carrick (2007); r

Nos. 31-40

Valderamma (Golfweek files)

31. Bigwin Island 7.24
Baysville, Ontario, Canada; Doug Carrick (2002); r, re

32. Moonah Links (Open) 7.23
Fingal, Victoria, Australia; Peter Thomson (2002); r

33. Beacon Hall 7.22
Aurora, Ontario, Canada; Bob Cupp, Thomas McBroom (1988); p, re

T34. Hogs Head 7.19
Waterville, Ireland; Robert Trent Jones Jr. (2018); r

T34. Sandy Lane (Green Monkey) 7.19
St. James, Barbados; Tom Fazio (2005); r

36. European Club 7.18
Brittas Bay, Ireland; Pat Ruddy (1992); p*

37. Taboo Resort 7.16
Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada; Ron Garl, Alan Chudnovsky (2002); r

38. Valderrama 7.15
Sotogrande, Spain; Robert Trent Jones Sr. (1974); r

39. Puntacana Resort (Corales) 7.14
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Tom Fazio (2010); r, t, re

40. Four Seasons Punta Mita (Bahia) 7.12
Punta Mita, Mexico; Jack Nicklaus (2009); r

Nos. 41-50

The Club at Nine Bridges (Golfweek files)

41. The Club at Nine Bridges 7.11
Jeju Island, South Korea; Ron Fream, David Dale, Steve Wenzloff (2001); p, t

42. Tobiano 7.06
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada; Thomas McBroom (2007); d, re

43. Royal Westmoreland 7.04
St. James, Barbados; Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1994); r, re

T44. Tralee 7.01
Tralee, Ireland; Arnold Palmer (1984); d

T44. Cabo del Sol (Cove Club, formerly the Ocean) 7.01
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Jack Nicklaus (1994); r, re

46. National Golf Club of Canada 6.99
Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada; Tom Fazio, George Fazio (1975); p

47. The Hills 6.97
Arrowtown, New Zealand; John Darby (2007); p*

T48. San Lorenzo 6.96
Almancil, Portugal; Joe Lee (1988); r

T48. Moonah Links (Legends) 6.96
Fingal, Victoria, Australia; Ross Perrett (2003); r

T50. Georgian Bay Club 6.94
Clarksburg, Ontario, Canada; Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry, Jason Straka (2004); p, re

T50. TPC Danzante Bay 6.94
Loreto, Mexico; Rees Jones (2016); r, re

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