Architecture is arguably the most important element in making a golf course truly world class. One only has to think of the immense double greens of the Old course at St Andrews, the unforgiving bunkers at No 2 Pinehurst, or the stunning par-threes at Cypress Point to get some idea as to the importance of having a golf course that is designed to mix the challenging together with the unique.
Perhaps the most important aspect of golf course design relates to the manner in which it fits in with the landscape that surrounds it. Some of the best courses are those which are best set into their environment. This is may be why the Old Course at St Andrews, the worlds oldest golf course, is ranked as being one of the best anywhere on the planet.
Aside from its seemingly effortless ability to blend into the windswept background of the Scottish coast, the beauty of St Andrews is also in part thanks to its sheer difficulty. Being over 600 years old, the course has constantly evolved, having enjoyed improvements and contributions from names such as Old Tom Morris and Dr Alister MacKenzie, making it the course that it is today.
Across the Atlantic, golf courses are understandably a lot younger. However, there are some truly magnificent and exceptional course designs to be found. Cypress Point, designed by St Andrews contributor Dr Alister MacKenzie is often quoted as being the most beautiful course in America. The Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean provide this course with the perfect backdrop against which every golfer cannot fail but to enjoy playing. However, it is the intellect with which this course was designed and therefore with which it must be played, that really sets it apart from the rest, with the 217-yard 17th commonly considered to be the best in the world.
The No 2 Course at Pinehurst is another that has been designed to whet the appetite of many a golfer. Over 100 years ago, Donald Ross managed to suffuse the course with unforgettable small and crowned greens which remain to this day. This means that, despite the course itself being relatively open, golfers are presented with new and unprecedented challenges with each new round they play. If you are unable, not only to hit onto the green but within a 6-foot radius of the flag, your round could be a very long one indeed.
When considering American courses, Jack Neville`s Pebble Beach merits exploration. As with Cypress Point, Pebble beach can be found overlooking the Pacific. However, this is where any design similarities between the two end. Pebble beach stretches along the rocky coastline to make the Ocean into the course`s worst adversary, creating one of the few - and without doubt the most magnificent - links courses to be found in America.
If you are lucky enough to have the chance to play any of these truly incomparable courses, then Callaway golf clubs may go some way towards helping you to do your best to navigate around some of the most thought-provoking course designs to be found anywhere in the world.