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Top 100 Golf Courses "BiteSize" - September 2016

As the protracted Ryder Cup build-up approaches the opening tee shot at Hazeltine National in Minnesota today, the last few days of September have seen the sad passing of a golfing icon – the world's first $1m golfer – and a young Northern Irishman pocketing $11.5m after winning the FedExCup and the Tour Championship. Professional golf will be forever indebted to Arnold Palmer and Rory McIlroy led the tributes to “The King”, the pioneer of sports marketing.

We can’t compete with these headlines, but in this month’s Top 100 BiteSize we present updated rankings for the Land of the Rising Sun and the diminutive isthmus that links Central and South America, which has exciting golf as well as a famous canal. Our Editor also previews Scotland’s latest golf course development on the Inner Hebridean island of Jura.

Top 30 Golf Courses of Japan 2017

Japanese golf has come a long way since the game was first introduced to the country at the start of the twentieth century by English merchant Arthur Groom and a few of his friends. Thanks to Masa Nishijima, our International Consultant, we’ve been able to gradually increase our coverage of golf courses in Japan and we now present our fourth biennial update where the venerable Hirono remains firmly lodged at the top of the table.

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Nine "Must Play" golf courses in Panama

Dave Finn, our Canadian Correspondent, visited Panama on two separate occasions this year to sample the best courses on offer at the lower end of the continental divide that separates North and South America. He joined a group of golf travel writers and tour operators and played eight of Panama’s golf courses and then returned to play a gem, located in the tropical highlands.

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An impressive new course takes shape on the Isle of Jura’s Ardfin Estate

With vast tracts of the island covered in blanket bog, Jura is divided into seven estates. One of these, Ardfin, is located in the south of the island, within one of forty designated National Scenic Areas in Scotland. Retired Australian hedge fund manager Greg Coffey acquired the estate in 2010 and he embarked on a long-term redevelopment project to restore the semi-derelict C-listed Jura House to its former glory and construct a top class golf course.

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Plainfield – review by Steve

On a chilly November day a few years ago, Scott Paris’s phone rang. On the other end was Gil Hanse. “You have to come out to the eighth green,” the architect told Plainfield’s Director of Golf. “I’ve just uncovered a Donald Ross bunker.” Hired in 1999 to restore the course, the then unknown Hanse proceeded slowly at first, recognizing that the changes (starting with tree removal that eventually resulted in 1,200 fewer trees) would be controversial.

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Portmarnock (Championship) – review by Tom

Portmarnock is pure traditional links, sat on a spit of land and surrounded by water on three sides and is everything you want from this form of golf. It doesn’t scream for attention like some of the other Irish links, more stoic and self assured in its ability to thrill.

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Aquiraz Riviera – review by Alex

Built on a huge sand dune this is one of the most beautiful golf courses in Brazil. What makes the scenery so special was the architect’s ability to carve the holes in a way that you can see the sea or part of it from eleven of the eighteen holes. Forget about a pleasant and calm day, this course is tough and on a normal day the wind is going to be a HUGE factor…

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Pukekohe – review by Matt

I had a spare afternoon in the Auckland area, and I wanted to pick somewhere off the beaten track. Tossing up between South Head and Pukekohe, my interest was piqued by the drone video on Pukekohe’s website, although viewing Google Earth made me wonder if I was going to get some standard Kiwi tree-lined parkland tedium… But no … pleasantly surprised.

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Le Géant – review by Dave

“Par Excellence” is a French phrase loosely meaning “the best of its kind” and the first thing I thought of when describing this mountain marvel. With spectacular views of Tremblant Village and the surrounding ski hills, Le Géant takes full advantage of the natural terrain. The well forested sweeping fairways are actually wider than they appear but the uneven lies, rocky outcroppings, and large deceptive greens definitely up the ante.

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Old Silo – review by Ethan

As difficult as it is to give this course this poor of a review, I'm afraid I must. The design and layout of Old Silo is fantastic; there's absolutely no doubt about it. Unfortunately, the course has been maintained just terribly and takes away from what could be an unforgettable experience.

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Penati (Heritage) – review by James

Nestled in the stately and established pine forests one hour north of beautiful Bratislava, near the town of Senica, they have carved the fabulous 36-hole complex of Penati Golf Resort. I was only able to play one of the courses (the Slovakian amateur open was on) but I have resolved to return for the Slovakian Amateur Open to be held again next August. Seriously consider making the trip. You will thank me.

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Have you downloaded our Scottish publication yet?

Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland 2016-2017 was recently published in Kindle format, which can be enjoyed on any device with Kindle’s free App. This latest title in the Top 100 series is jam-packed full of previously unreleased material and it includes an insight from our Editor and Scottish Correspondent, Jim McCann, who has played every layout in the Scottish hundred.

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Recent Player Reviews

Have you played any Top Golf Courses recently?

If so, we'd love to hear from you, so why not post a review and share your experience? If you took a great photo during your visit, email it to info@top100golfcourses.co.uk and we'll include it within your review. Don't forget you can now have your own personalised Reviewers page on the Top 100 website.