10 Top Courses on the DP World Tour

Though Europe gave the world the game of golf, for the past 75 years or so, professional golf on the continent has lived in the shadow of its brasher and younger American counterpart. The European Tour kicked off without much fanfare in 1972 with the Open de España at Pals Golf Club in Girona, Spain. But as more and more sponsors and destinations warmed to the idea of hosting events, and more top players signed up to play them, the European Tour’s stature grew. In 1982, it staged its first event outside of Europe—the Tunisian Open at El Kantaoui Golf Club in Tunisia—which was step one toward its dream of becoming a truly global tour.

Today, that dream is every bit a reality. The 2023–24 DP World Tour season takes competitors to 45 events in 24 countries. For players, that means a lot of traveling around. But it also means that they’ll have the privilege of playing some of the world’s very best golf courses—not just in Europe but in Australia, South Africa, Japan, and more.

Here’s a list of some of the top courses on the 2023-24 DP World Tour schedule. Check your frequent flyer miles and see how many of them you can score a tee time on.

Leopard Creek Country Club (Malelane, South Africa)Alfred Dunhill Championship, Dec. 7–10, 2023 (won by Louis Oosthuizen)

Lots of golf courses are named after animals, but at this one, located on the southern outskirts of Kruger National Park, you may get a chance to see a few. And we’re not talking squirrels. The championship course here was designed by son of South Africa, Gary Player, in and amongst a series of lakes and streams that are populated by crocodiles and hippos—and sometimes visited by other African safari animals, including giraffes. The view from the 13th green, set high above the Crocodile River, is one you’ll remember forever. You’ll need to stay in an affiliated lodge to gain access to Leopard Creek, but if you do, you’ll be warmly welcomed and treated to a challenging round on a course with fast, undulating greens and excellent playing conditions. A bucket-list course, for sure.

Leopard Creek Country Club (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea (Incheon, South Korea)Korea Championship, April 18–21, 2024

If you watched the Presidents Cup in 2015, you’ll be familiar with the urban course Jack Nicklaus created here about an hour from Seoul near the shore of the East China Sea. The two nines are routed through an upscale housing development on land that’s mostly flat—but the course is anything but featureless. Nicklaus included several risk/reward holes in his design (including all the par fives), and more than half the holes feature water hazards of one kind or another, as at the excellent par-four 14th, where the fairway is bisected by a creek. You’ll need to avoid or carry water on all the par threes, too. It’s not the most scenic course the DP Tour pros will play, but its design is one will test and delight players of every ability.

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Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Taiheiyo Club, Gotemba Course (Gotemba, Japan)ISPS HANDA – Championship, April 25–28, 2024

One of 17 courses operated by Japan’s Taiheiyo Club, the Gotemba Course opened in 1977, but was updated in 2018 by Rees Jones and Bryce Swanson, with pro tips supplied by 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama. A hilly, tree-lined course that’s maintained like a garden, Gotemba provides spectacular views of Mount Fuji. But you’d be advised to keep your mind on your game here, as the design team added closely mown areas around many greens, shifted bunkers, and reshaped the putting surfaces to make them more subtle and create more usable hole locations. Every hole has its own personality, and there’s not a weak one in the bunch.

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Taiheiyo Club, Gotemba Course (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Green Eagle Golf Courses, Porsche North Course (Hamburg, Germany)European Open, May 30–June 2, 2024

Green Eagle’s Porsche North Course is widely considered the most difficult course in Germany, and it was created to be just that. Stretching to more than 7,800 yards from the tips, it’s the longest course DP World Tour players will take on in 2024. But there are four sets of tees on each hole, so don’t let its length deter you from visiting. If you go, make sure you bring enough balls, though. There’s water in some form pinching fairways and narrowing greens on 17 holes. Green Eagle has a more player-friendly South Course, too. Play them both—but don’t miss the chance to take on the Porsche North Course. If nothing else, you’ll quickly understand why the winning score by Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin in 2023 was just 9-under-par.

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Green Eagle Golf Course (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Vasatorps Golfklubb, Tournament Course (Helsingborg, Sweden)Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, June 6–9, 2024

Sweden’s Vasatorps Golfklubb is nothing new to championship golf. After its original course opened in 1974, it hosted several European Tour events, which were won by the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman. The Tournament Course that a field of mixed pros will take on in June at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed event is a 2008 redesign consisting of nine holes from the original course and nine new ones, courtesy of Steve Forrest. The two nines are quite different. The front (and older) nine is tree-lined, with fairways routed through tall oaks and pines, while Forrest’s new nine is more open with containment mounds providing definition. It’s a course full of variety and surprises, with water, bunkers, waste areas, and stone walls all coming into play.

The Renaissance Club (North Berwick, Scotland)Genesis Scottish Open, July 11–14, 2024

Who says Americans can’t design great links golf courses? Tom Doak did the honors at The Renaissance Club, which occupies hallowed land just down the lane from Archerfield and adjacent to Muirfield. They had to clear a lot of trees to create this private modern links, and they left a few. But it’s links golf on firm and fast turf, and the original course was made even stronger thanks to a land exchange with Muirfield that allowed the club to add three new seaside holes to its routing. The new 10th, a skinny par four that tiptoes along a cliff, is a particularly dramatic hole when the Scottish Open is played here.

The Renaissance Club (photo by L.C. Lambrecht)

Tahoe Mountain Club, Old Greenwood (Truckee, Calif.)Barracuda Championship, July 18­–21, 2024

It wouldn’t be a true world tour if it didn’t play an event in the United States, right? Technically, the DP World Tour will award points at several U.S. events, including the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and another July event whose location is still TBD. The Barracuda Championship that will be played on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Old Greenwood course at Tahoe Mountain Club is a PGA Tour event that will also award DP World Tour points in 2024. The course is massive—set on 600 acres of pine-covered hills just west of Lake Tahoe—so your day will be spent in the wild. Nicklaus is up to his usual tricks here, with greens set at diagonals, par threes calling for accurate shots over water, risk/reward opportunities that come with high risk, and tiered greens that make you pay if you’re on the wrong tier. Save some strength for the long, uphill finishing hole, which features bunkers both left and right off the tee—and more bunkers in front of and behind the undulating green.

Tahoe Mountain Club (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Belfry, The Brabazon Course (Sutton Coldfield, England)Betfred British Masters hosted by Sir Nick Faldo, Aug. 29–Sept. 1, 2024

The Belfry’s most notable course, The Brabazon, has hosted four Ryder Cups, including in 1985 when Sam Torrance holed Europe’s winning putt and 2002 when Paul McGinley wielded the final dagger. It’s no gem from a golf course design standpoint, but it’s a fun parkland course to play—especially if you’re familiar with the Ryder Cup heroics that took place on so many of its holes. Of these, the 10th is probably the most famous—and the most fun. It’s a reachable (295 yards) par four calling for a soft fade over a pond to a narrow, kidney-shaped green. Both Torrance and Seve Ballesteros drove the green in those 1985 matches; almost every visitor who steps onto the tee tries to do the same.

Royal County Down Golf Club (Newcastle, Northern Ireland)Amgen Irish Open, Sept. 12–15, 2024

Devotees of links golf will know that Royal County Down is one of the most revered links tracks in the world. Its setting in the shadows of Slieve Donard and the Mountains of Mourne, with panoramic views of the Irish Sea from several spots, is dramatic all by itself. But it’s the Old Tom Morris-designed Championship Links (modified by Harry Colt in the 1920s) that’s the real star. When you tee off at the first hole, you set off on an adventure in the dunes, with blind shots, hairy-lipped bunkers, and greens well protected by deep sand pits and sharp runoffs. The 9th hole offers the best view on the course, and it’s one of the course’s finest, with its tee shot over the crest of a hill and second shot past the corner of a sentinel dune to a green protected by bunkers both left and right. People will debate whether Royal Portrush is a better course, but it’s a fool’s discussion. Play them both and count yourself lucky.

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Royal County Down (photo by Evan Schiller)

Yas Links (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)Abu Dhabi Championship, Nov. 7–10, 2024

Widely considered one the best courses in the Middle East (if not the best course in the Middle East), Yas Links is one of those rare tracks that calls itself a links and lives up to its name. The course was designed by Kyle Phillips, creator of Scotland’s Kingsbarns, and it shares many attributes with its Scotland and Ireland forbears. It’s situated near the F1 circuit and Ferrari World theme park on Yas Island, and the course is every bit as exhilarating as they are. It plays like a true links and has the look and feel of a true links, with seven holes along the shore, pot bunkers, fescue grass rough, tumbling fairways, and even a double green akin to those at St. Andrews. Yas Links stretches to over 7,500 yards and its finish is particularly strong, but you’ll know from the outset that you’re in for a special day.

Have you played any of the courses on the 2023–24 DP World Tour schedule? Tell us about your experience in the comment section.