Golf

How Machrihanish cracked our newest Top 100 Courses in the World list

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Machrihanish in Campbeltown, Scotland, ranks 97th on our Top 100 Courses in the World list.
Gary Lisbon
GOLF released its latest ranking of the Top 100 Courses in the World (2023-24), and while Pine Valley again took the top spot, there were eight newcomers that found their way into the ranking. Here, we’ll introduce you to them.
Location: Campbeltown, Scotland
Play: Semi-Private
Architect: Old Tom Morris, 1879; J.H. Taylor, 1914; Guy Campbell, 1940s
Machrihanish is a worthy re-entry into the Top 100, thanks in part to a spectacular front nine that snakes through the most majestic dunes on the west coast of Scotland. But it’s the greens that are really worth the trip. Putting surfaces that tilt and tumble make the challenge wildly entertaining. The drive to the course might seem off-putting, but in an age when the world seems smaller all the time, Machrihanish is one of golf’s last true adventures. — Tim Gallant
You can view Machrihanish’s Top 100 Course page here.
On the Mull of Kintyre, the course makes the most of its romantic setting, starting with the opening tee shot set on a diagonal across the beach. One panelist considers the 3rd as an ideal links hole, writing: “The tee ball is blind over a heaving dune, which creates a sense of adventure as you aim your ball into the unknown. Then, as you crest the hill, a view of the Irish Sea emerges in the distance, with the beautifully situated green in the foreground, sunken in its own natural amphitheater.” The rumpled fairways never let up and serve up the awkward stances that complicate playing in the wind. But the real star is the set of greens. The surfaces from 12 through 16 are all brilliant and highlight that the best links holes aren’t necessarily confined to those closest to the sea. It’s always a delight to find a course that poses so many questions, all while measuring under 6,500 yards. — Ran Morrissett

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at joshua_berhow@golf.com.
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