What Is the Golf Capital of the World?
When it comes to golf, nothing quite stirs the passions like the perpetual question, what is the golf capital of the world?
Numerous heavy-hitting contenders come to mind. Of course, it depends on whether we're talking about classic destinations with a historical pedigree or some of the up-and-coming behemoths reinventing the sport for an entirely new generation.
Instead of selecting one, we’ve come up with a list of top contenders. Read on and help us nail down which one comes out on top as the world's golf capital.
St Andrews - Scotland
Regal, historical, and in the country that invented the sport—St Andrews is a course where every golfer would die to play. There's something about St Andrews that can be difficult to put into words. It falls into a timeless, effortless class. Despite the emergence of arguably more trendy locations, it continues to be one of the most popular courses on the planet.
Part of its charm is its age, with the first rounds of golf documented there in 1552. St Andrews also provided the blueprint that modern golf courses still follow today.
Playing on this hallowed course will stir the memories of the true greats who once graced its greens—a truly unforgettable experience.
Myrtle Beach, SC - USA
The self-professed ‘golf capital of the world’ certainly doesn't come with the same pedigree and historical grandeur as St Andrews. Still, it does its best to compensate for it with good old-fashioned numbers.
Strung across 60 miles of the gorgeous Carolina coastline, Myrtle Beach offers 80 award-winning golf courses, assuring there’s something to keep even the most avid golfer busy for years to come.
Royal County Down - Northern Ireland
Another course from the UK with a wonderfully storied past and considered Northern Ireland’s best by Golf International President David Brice, Royal County Downs is located in Newcastle. It has been the setting of countless big tournament classics since its opening in 1889.
Royal County Down has taken a step back from major professional tournaments in recent years. Still, it draws thousands each year looking to test their mettle on one of the most beautiful courses in the world. Indeed, it can provide the sternest of golfing tests on one of the famously blustery Irish days.
Augusta, GA - USA
When it comes to classic U.S golf courses, look no further than the Georgian pearl that is Augusta. Opened in 1934, Augusta National began holding the annual Masters Tournament two years later and hasn't looked back. It remains the only course to hold the same major each year, cementing its place as one of the world's true greats.
Considering its insatiable thirst for the Masters, it's no surprise that Augusta has been the setting for some of the sport's most iconic moments: Tiger's triumphant victory in 1997, his remarkable comeback triumph in 2019, or Jack Nicklaus claiming his historic sixth win, a decade after his fifth, in 1986.
Augusta is a place that teems with golfing legends who have left their mark on this beautiful course with a glittering past.
Naples, FL, USA
Naples, Florida is another one that seems to have crowned itself ‘the world's golf capital. With 91 18-hole golf courses in attendance, with around 30 open to the public, golf is great in Naples.
This sleepy yet still ritzy enclave in southwest Florida may not be to everybody's taste, but it's difficult to argue that this isn't a great place to live or visit if you're an avid golf enthusiast.
When it comes to narrowing down the golf capital of the world, the debate is ongoing: Does a place stand out for a single iconic course rich in history or numerous courses that draw millions to them every year?
We're also aware that those outside the UK and the USA might feel aggrieved that only two countries made our list, but it's hard to look anywhere else. Honorable mention goes to the Australian Royal Melbourne, New Zealand's Cape Kidnappers, Japan's Hirono G.C, and Canada's St. George's.
But if we have to choose, it comes down to two names that have come to define golf—one on either side of the Atlantic Ocean. Few would argue that if you were to ask golfers around the world to pick their bucket-list destinations, it would probably be either St Andrews or Augusta. The two courses stand head and shoulders above the rest, with their abundant histories embedded in golfing legend.Whether you're planning a round on one of the courses on our list or your local 18 holes, it's crucial that you come prepared, and there's no better place to do that than at Stitch Golf. As your one-stop shop for all your golfing needs, it may even be the starting point to one of the world's greatest golf courses.