What’s it like playing the 100 best courses in the world? 3 of our raters share their secrets
Welcome to Road Rules, a GOLF.com series in which we pick the brains of expert golf travelers, ranging from professional golfers and caddies to globetrotting course raters and teachers. We’ll unlock their must-have travel items, go-to airline tips and more to inform you for your next golf excursion.
Meet a trio of GOLF Magazine’s course raters who’ve played our entire Top 100 Courses in the World list — and lived to tell the late. Better yet, learn from their years of experience and tips.
Hometown: Pinehurst, N.C.
Occupation: Retired businessman
Most courses knocked off on a single trip: “27.5 in 25 days, in GB&I and continental Europe.”
Most underrated course: “Palmetto GC. It’s superb and simple, challenging, fair and great fun — those are the toughest things to do simultaneously in golf architecture.”
Hardest course to check off the list: “Ellerston, because it’s on a family estate in a foreign country [Australia], making it hard to find connections. I finally got it done in 2016 through a friend.”
Best travel tip: “Be flexible and always have a backup plan because things do go wrong.”
I never travel without my: “Fiber One cereal. I’ve bought it in something like 45 countries.”
How you keep your spouse supportive of your quest: “Simple — pick the right one.”
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
Occupation: Retired radiologist
Most underrated course: “Banff and Jasper Park in Canada. They’re Stanley Thompson designs, and he’s brilliant. They’re both scenic, well-routed, and Banff, in particular, is done in a big, rugged style that matches the mountainous environment.”
Favorite moment on the journey: “The first time I played Dornoch. My wife and I arrived after 9 p.m. I was so taken by the look that I decided to play it then and there. I finished sometime after midnight, with the rabbits running around. That was pretty unique.”
I never travel without my: “I never travel with a watch. On that same Dornoch trip, my sleep got discombobulated. I played North Berwick, and when I finished I learned it was 5:25 in the morning. I had no idea.”
Keys for making friends in high places: “Send thank-you gifts and reciprocate.”
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Occupation: CEO, American Flag Football League
Most courses knocked off on a single trip: “I put 1,000 miles on a rental car without leaving England — Woodhall Spa, Ganton, Deal, Royal St. George’s, Rye.”
Hardest course to check off the list: “Augusta, as it’s the only course one cannot try to play — you simply have to wait for an invitation. But shuffling off for a day on my honeymoon to play Durban CC was a neat trick too!”
Best travel tip: “Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be over-golfed when you’re experiencing the world’s best courses. Take your time and consider playing some more than once. There’s always another trip.”
I never travel without my: “Rainsuit and rain gloves. Buy the really expensive stuff — then it never rains.”
How you keep your spouse supportive of your quest: “Again: Don’t overdo it.”
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