Best ocean side golf courses around the world

By Alistair July 1, 2024 16:53

There’s an unparalleled allure to teeing off with the expansive ocean as your backdrop. From the gentle roar of waves crashing against the shore to the cool sea breeze providing a refreshing respite on a sunny day, oceanfront golf courses offer a unique blend of challenge and serenity.

For the avid golfer, combining the sport they love with the stunning views of the ocean is akin to a dream come true.

In this article, we delve into some of the most breathtaking ocean-side golf courses around the world and how they’re maintained to preserve their natural beauty.

1. The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Nestled in South Carolina, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island offers golfers an exhilarating experience with ten oceanfront holes, more than any other course worldwide. Players are treated to breathtaking panoramic sea views, making each round as visually stunning as it is demanding. Renowned for its challenging play, the course features unpredictable winds, slick greens, and numerous water hazards.

Maintaining the course involves special attention to the sea spray’s salinity, which can affect the grass. Regular aerification and irrigation are essential to keeping the turf in top condition. Enhanced drainage systems ensure the greens remain playable even after heavy coastal rains.

Designed by Pete Dye, it has hosted the Ryder Cup and PGA Championship, cementing its status among the elite. In 2021, Phil Mickelson mastered the Ocean Course to become the oldest player to win a major championship at 50 years old. It was also the home to Rory McIlroy’s first PGA Championship in 2012 when he dominated the competition, winning by eight strokes.

2. Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo

Teeth of the Dog at Casa de Campo is an iconic course designed by Pete Dye and located in the Dominican Republic. Frequently hailed as the Caribbean’s premier golf destination, this course is famous for its seven oceanfront holes that seamlessly blend into the natural beauty of the turquoise waters.

With peninsula greens and tees extending out into the sea, it offers a unique and challenging golfing experience. Dye himself humorously remarked, “I created 11 holes, and God created seven,” highlighting the course’s extraordinary layout and breathtaking scenery.

The salty ocean spray and tropical humidity demand rigorous upkeep protocols. Frequent mowing schedules, attentive pest control, and salt-resistant grass types are utilized to preserve the health and playability of the greens and fairways. Moreover, advanced irrigation systems help mitigate the salt impacts on the course’s manicured turf.

3. The Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Resort

Recognized as Hawaii’s premier golf course for 15 years by Golfweek, The Plantation Course at Kapalua is a marvel.

Situated in Lahaina, Hawaii, this Coore and Crenshaw design is carved into the magnificent slopes of the Maui Mountains. The layout features wide, rolling fairways, contoured greens, and dramatic elevation changes, all offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

The lush, tropical setting requires dedicated attention. Turf managers focus on disease prevention and soil health to combat the frequent rainfall and high humidity. Organic fertilizers and sustainable practices ensure that the course remains eco-friendly while preserving its natural beauty.

Moreover, this world-renowned course is a PGA TOUR stop, hosting the prestigious Sentry Tournament of Champions each January, drawing elite golfers who relish its beauty and challenge.

Image by Freepik

4. Old Head Golf Links

Perched atop the dramatic cliffs of Kinsale, County Cork, Old Head Golf Links is a par 72 masterpiece covering 220 acres, almost entirely encircled by the Atlantic Ocean. Golfers are treated to spectacular ocean views from every hole, enhancing the exhilarating experience.

The iconic Old Head Lighthouse adds to the course’s unique charm. Renowned for its challenging layout, Old Head is as much a test of skill as it is a feast for the eyes, making it a must-visit destination for golf enthusiasts seeking both beauty and challenge.

Maintaining this mountaintop location involves addressing erosion control and managing native grasses that thrive in the salt-laden air. Strong winds necessitate robust root systems and regular overseeding to ensure the turf remains resilient and playable.

5. Pebble Beach Golf Links

In Pebble Beach, Calif., you can find this iconic course, continuously ranked as the No. 1 public golf course in the United States. Pebble Beach Golf Links offers stunning ocean views, providing a unique and unforgettable golfing experience.

The course has been a prestigious venue for numerous professional tournaments, including six US Open Championships and the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. With its challenging design and spectacular surroundings, Pebble Beach is a bucket-list destination for any avid golfer.

Maintaining the storied layout involves vigilant attention to the fairway and green conditions. Daily watering, precise mowing routines, and integrated pest management are vital to keeping the course tournament-ready.

6. Royal Dornoch

Nestled in Dornoch, Scotland, Royal Dornoch offers two magnificent courses: the Championship Course and the Struie Course. The Championship Course, in particular, is revered for its classic links layout, dramatic coastal views, and challenging holes that navigate through rugged dunes and blooming gorse. Its strategic design demands precision, rewarding those who master its unique contours and natural hazards.

The Struie Course, while slightly friendlier, still presents a formidable test with equally stunning scenery. Playing at Royal Dornoch is a pilgrimage for any golfer, providing a truly unforgettable experience amidst the historical heart of the sport.

Maintaining these historic courses involves managing the indigenous grasses, which can be both a blessing and a challenge. Meticulous grooming of the rough, sustainable water use and erosion prevention are critical to preserving Royal Dornoch’s timeless charm.

By Alistair July 1, 2024 16:53

Follow us on social media

Join Our Mailing List

Advertise with Greenkeeping

For editorial enquiries in the magazine or online, contact:

For advertising enquiries in the magazine or online, contact: