Darius Oliver's Favourite Golf Courses

The second of our series on ‘Favourite Golf Courses’ brings us Darius Oliver’s selection

planet golf darius oliver

Oliver is the author of the famous ‘Planet’ series of books which can be found in the country’s finest golf clubhouses and on the most discerning golfers’ bookshelves. He has visited over 1,500 golf courses and his Planet Golf website is the internet’s go-to resource for top end golf course reviews and historical course rankings. He is also a co-author of the authoritative Confidential series of books.

Not content with just visiting and writing about golf courses, Oliver is also a golf course designer. His much-acclaimed creation at Cape Wickham sits at number 40 in the Ultimate Top 100 course ranking.

Here is Darius’ list of his favourite courses, with some reasons for his selections. I’ve added some links to help you explore the courses a little more.

The first course I played in the UK, and the one I don’t think I could ever play too often. Impossible to experience without a smile. 
UK Golf Guy review, Scottish Golf History, Planet Golf

Personal bias perhaps, but I think it has the most exciting, most spectacular collection of holes on any modern course. And it still has improvement in it. 
Australian Golf Digest, Youtube

Hole for hole my favourite course anywhere outside of Cape Wickham. 
UK Golf Guy Review, Golf Digest Feature

With a links pass and without the crowds, this would probably be my #1.
UK Golf Guy Review 

Charming, quirky, beautiful old golf club with one of my all-time favourite holes (the 3rd). 
Golf Club Atlas Photo Tour, Planet Golf

Like North Berwick, I adore Prestwick and am almost depressed walking off 18 that the fun has to end.
Golf Club Atlas feature, Planet Golf

Opens in December and is about the most gorgeous par three course anywhere in the world. Can be played quickly, at various lengths and with only a handful of clubs if necessary. 
Planet Golf, Mountain Scene

Lovely club all around, but I’m particularly obsessed by their short course. I wish it were in Australia. 
UK Golf Guy review, Top100golf blog, Geoff Shackleford Article

No explanation needed, surely? 
Graylyn Loomis, Golf Digest, Playing the Top 100

I love Heathland golf outside the winter months and could happily play out my golfing days here.
Woking Website, Golf Club Atlas

Darius added: ‘There are differences between what I regard as the best courses, and those that are my favourite. For example, I’m involved in a new par three project at the Hills in Queenstown, New Zealand which makes my Top 10 as it’s one of those rare courses I could happily play every day for the rest of my life.

The others on my list would fit that same criteria, being courses that would never bore me and that I could enjoy even as I got older and my game (hopefully not) deteriorated. Most are in the UK and Australia, just because of the nature of the clubs, the grasses and the fact that the game is much more interesting when the ball bounces and rolls.

In terms of the list, I regard Royal Melbourne (West) as the premier golf course in Australia. I’m not a big fan of Legend couch fairways, however, so it doesn’t make my list as I find it less enjoyable off the tee now than in the past. Royal Adelaide makes the list as the private club in Australia I would join if they were all equal distance from my home.

The courses most unlucky to miss out are Royal Dornoch, Royal Melbourne (West), Somerset Hills, Sand Hills, Sunningdale, Bandon Trails, Friar’s Head and Kingston Heath.’

Many thanks to Darius for putting his list together. Few humans have seen more golf courses than Darius so he brings a really interesting perspective.

Next time we have the top 10 choices from probably the world’s leading golf writer, Alan Shipnuck.