8 Best Golf Courses Around the Globe
Move over Tiger, Rory, and Phil—the Bryan brothers are here, and they’re taking the golf world by storm. Siobhan Reid sat down with the sport’s favorite trick shot artists to talk tournament travel, glow-in-the-dark golf, and Richard Branson’s private island. Plus, the bros chip in on 8 of their favorite international tracks.
What does golf stardom look like in 2015? (Hint: it doesn’t necessarily entail flashy endorsement deals or green jacket-clad Sports Illustrated covers.)
Meet golf’s most beloved trick shot masters, George IV and Wesley Bryan (AKA the Bryan brothers), who became household names after their YouTube trick shot video went viral in April 2014.
Since then, their YouTube channel scored them serious social media cred, with total views exceeding eight million, and an online following eclipsing the population of several European countries.
When they’re not trying their hand at glow-in-the-dark trick shots or filming Golf Channel’s Big Break reality show, the former South Carolina Gamecocks golfers are competing on “mini tours” across America, in hopes of one day earning a berth on a PGA Tour.
“Since we’ve turned pro, we’ve been on the road every other week,” says Wesley, the younger of the brothers. “With the trick-shot thing, our travel has increased dramatically, and it’s taken us all across the world.”
Having recently returned from Scotland, where the duo played the historic St Andrews Old Course, in Fife, Scotland, the brothers are already teeing up for their next great golf adventure: the Necker Open at the legendary Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia—a five-day Pro-Am tournament with top PGA Tour talent including Greg Norman that ends on Richard Branson’s private British Virgin Island, Necker.
Though stoked to meet Branson and Norman, a golfer whose game he has always strived to emulate, Wesley admits he’s most excited for the course’s dramatic coastal views: “The best part about Sea Island is the holes by the water. I’m a sucker for ocean views.”
Adds George, “Sea Island has a great variety of holes and each one has a challenging aspect, which makes for good golf all around.”
For the chance to meet the Bryan brothers and to play on Sea Island’s award-winning links book here.
Best Course to Play with Friends
“The Members Club at Woodcreek, which is our home golf course in Elgin, South Carolina. It’s a course we play every day … a place where we love taking our buddies out and teeing it up. I love the staff out there because they make us feel welcome. The course itself is not too difficult, so you can shoot low numbers. But there are also challenging holes that make you think a little bit,“ says George.
Most Challenging Course
“The hardest course I’ve ever played is Chambers Bay, in Washington, which is where the U.S. Open is this year. It was firm and fast and you had to hit perfect shots to get close to the holes and make pars and birdies. You really couldn’t miss a single shot,” says George. According to Wesley, it’s Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “That place was really hard. The fairways were firm, and slanted one way or the other. If you hit the ball down the middle it would either miss the fairway left or right, so you really had to curve the ball and have a solid drive.”
“Cypress Point Club out in California. That’s been on my bucket list for a long time. We’re a sucker for water views, and there is this par 3 set against the rocky shore—it looks like you’re hitting off a cliff. I’ve always wanted to play there because of that one hole,” says George.
Most Scenic Course
“We’d both agree it’s the Kingsbarn Golf Links in Scotland. It was incredible. It was right on the ocean, and from each hole, you could see a lot of the golf course and the water. The layout was beautiful. I remember teeing off at 4pm and playing until 8:30pm,” says George.
Course with the Nicest Clubhouse
“TPC at Sawgrass (The Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass), in Florida, has a ridiculous clubhouse. It’s the biggest, craziest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s something like 70,000 square-feet,” says George. “Sea Island, Georgia, has the most perfect men’s locker room,” says Wesley. “It has a lounge area, a bar, and a place you can eat inside. And the showers are literally the best showers in the world. It’s what I look forward to after a round golf there,” says Wesley.
Best Pro Shop
“Augusta National, in Georgia. It sells all of the Masters stuff, which is the merchandise you can’t get unless you actually go to the pro shop. It’s cool to have stuff with the Augusta National Golf Club on it instead of just the traditional Masters Logo,” says George.
Course You'll Never Get Tired of Playing
“St Andrews, a links course in Scotland. It’s where the game of golf started, so for me it’s got the combination of history and the sport itself. It’s not too difficult of a golf course, but there are some challenging holes,” says George. “I’m in awe on every course.”
Best Resort Course
“PGA National Resort & Spa, in Florida. It has 5 or 6 golf courses, and the resort is unbelievable. It’s known for its “Bear Trap”—that fun 3 or 4 hole stretch that finishes right at the clubhouse. Also, the pool is fantastic for post-game dips.”