Many know golf’s greatest tracks, but few people know them. Of course, every golfer has heard of St. Andrews, Pebble Beach and Augusta National. But few will ever see golf’s greatest treasures (or many of the other 97 courses on GOLF’s Top 100 Courses list) with their own eyes. Of those who do, even fewer can claim to know what it’s like to play them competitively. And of that incredibly small subsection of the population, fewer still can claim to know these courses — their nuance, difficulty and creativity and history — like Jim “Bones” Mackay.
Bones has spent a lifetime learning golf courses. He’s walked their fairways, studied their greens and analyzed their tee boxes. His top 10 courses in the world list reflects not only the intricacy and depth of that knowledge, but also the long hours required to achieve it. Bones has spent hundreds of nights at the Red Roof Inn in his career, but while his digs lack room service, they’re a means to many of the game’s most luxe tracks — a worthwhile tradeoff, if you asked us.
Bones’ Top 10 Courses in the World
1. Cypress Point — Pebble Beach, Calif. — Bones: “Perfection. My favorite course to play by a mile.”
2. St. Andrews — St. Andrews, Scotland — Bones: “How about a Ryder Cup?”
3. Shinnecock — Southampton, N.Y. — Bones: “The best test of golf for top players (not me) in the U.S.”
4. Royal Dornoch — Dornoch, Scotland — Bones: “Northern Scotland has some fantastic courses.”
5. Augusta National — Augusta, Ga. — Bones: “On a late Sunday afternoon in April (or November) a truly amazing place to be.
6. National Golf Links of America — Southampton, N.Y. — Bones: “Golf’s version of Wrigley Field. Old school beauty.”
7. Seminole Golf Club — Palm Beach, Fla. — Bones: “Donald Ross gem. The best locker room in the business. And you can wear shorts, just for starters.”
8. Chicago Golf Club — Wheaton, Ill. — Bones: “Classic course with a classic caddie program. The three young ladies who caddied for us were Evans Scholars at Marquette.”
9. North Berwick Golf Club — North Berwick, Scotland — Bones: “Great course. Great town.”
10. New Smyrna Beach G.C. — New Smyrna Beach, Fla. — Bones: “Thank you so much for giving a kid a chance to fall in love with this great game.