I’m delighted to share Graylyn Loomis’ favourite courses. Over the last few years I have used Graylyn’s site extensively to help plan golf itineraries and it is a constant source of inspiration for trips. Graylyn has played many of the world’s very best courses and has a great eye for what makes a course special.
Graylyn started his website while studying in St Andrews University (and caddying at Kingsbarns) and has gone on to a career in golf course journalism. He is the Digital Editor of LINKS magazine and also co-hosts the LINKS golf podcast. There is a real practicality to Graylyn’s advice when it comes to planning a golf trip and if you want to get lost in the world of great golf writing then you will be well advised to spend a few hours on graylynloomis.com! Over to Graylyn -
I took “favorite” to mean the courses that I most often think about and those that have shaped my love for the game the most. I’ve been fortunate to play many of the “best” courses according to rankings, but these are my favorites.
The order is chronological based on when I played them first (from earliest to most recent), which may show the progression of my game and tastes (or nothing at all!).
BILTMORE FOREST COUNTRY CLUB
This 1922 Donald Ross design is where I learned to play golf with my father. The hilly course in Asheville, North Carolina taught me all aspects of the game and fostered my love for it.
Biltmore Forest, Graylyn Loomis
Another Donald Ross design in North Carolina, Mid Pines is an intimate course in Pinehurst that embodies my favorite aspects of course design. The routing brilliantly maximizes the land and footprint of the course.
Mid Pines Inn, Graylyn Loomis
ST ANDREWS - THE OLD COURSE
Even after hundreds of rounds on the Old Course during my four years at the University of St Andrews I still learn something new every time I play it. The Old taught me subtlety and nuance in design.
UK Golf Guy Review, Scottishgolfhistory.org
NORTH BERWICK - WEST LINKS
A light bulb went off in my head after playing North Berwick. The course is quirky - and sometimes confusing - and at every turn it reminds you golf is meant to be fun.
UK Golf Guy review, Scottish Golf History, Planet Golf
GOLF HOUSE CLUB - ELIE
If I could ever live on a course and walk a few holes every evening, Elie would be my choice. The short links course has charm, jaw-dropping views, history, tradition, and more (not to mention the submarine periscope to check that the first fairway is clear).
Elie Website, Graylyn Loomis
As with so many other Scottish courses, Cruden Bay could never be built today. It has blind shots, quirky features, and some of the most creative and beautiful stretches of golf that I’ve seen. It’s another that reminds you that golf is a game and we should all take it a little less seriously.
Golf Club Atlas, Cruden Bay Website
There are many great historic clubs in the northeast U.S., but Shinnecock is the ultimate. The clubhouse is one of the most iconic and the course perfectly balances major championship-level challenge while still being fun to play.
UK Golf Guy Review, Golf Monthly History, Graylyn Loomis
It may be blasphemy, but I think Australian Sandbelt golf combines the best of Scotland with the best of the U.S. to make the best golf in the world. Any of Melbourne’s Sandbelt courses could have filled this spot, but Kingston Heath ticks every box for me from the club’s vibes to the course.
Kingston Heath Website, Planet Golf, Golf Course Architecture
ST ENODOC - CHURCH COURSE
If England has an equivalent of North Berwick or Cruden Bay, it’s St. Enodoc. The course plays along cliffs in rural southwest England complete with stone walls, buried churches (literally), and design elements you’ll never forget.
St Enodoc Website, Golf Empire, Golf Club Atlas
CALIFORNIA GOLF CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO
I’ve only played Cal Club once, but it has everything I would ever want in a private club. The course shows off tremendous work by Alister MacKenzie and Robert Hunter (and Kyle Phillips in a recent renovation) everywhere, but especially around the greens.
California Golf Club, the fried egg, LINKS magazine