In strict geographical terms, Continental Europe excludes the Mediterranean islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta,Cyprusand the Balearics but we include all of these golfing hot spots in our Continental Europe grouping. For good measure, we also include a number of other islands: out in the Atlantic, we have the Azoresand the Canaries, whilst up at the top of the world, we take in Icelandand Greenland. Turkey and Russia are sometimes listed within the Asian continent but we take the more conventional approach of including them in our mainland Europe ranking charts.
We cover almost a hundred courses in Central Europe, maintaining a Top 30 for Germany, a Top 20 for the Czech Republic, a Top 15 for Austriaand a Top 10 for both Polandand Switzerland. With nearly one hundred and fifty layouts showcased from the Nordic region of Europe, we feature a Top 20 for Norway, a Top 30 for Finlandand Denmark, and a Top 50 for Sweden. We also profile over two hundred courses in the Mediterranean region, where we support the following major ranking charts: an ItalianTop 30, a Frenchand PortugueseTop 40 and a Spanish Top 100.
The current Continental Europe Top 100lists only the very best courses from the near five hundred that we promote in mainland Europe. Within the upper echelons of this chart, France rules supreme as four of its top tracks appear in the Top 10, led by the wonderful old Tom Simpson design of Morfontaineat number 1. Some might be surprised at the prominent positions held by Benelux courses – where a couple of Dutch links (Noordwijkseat number 2 and Koninklijke Haagscheat number 9) and Belgium’s Royal Zoute(at number 8) – occupy Top 10 spots; nonetheless, we think these largely undiscovered golfing nations might just be a couple of Europe’s best kept golfing secrets.
A recent R&A report entitled “Golf around the World 2015” identified an interesting new golfing trend in Europe, where new development appears to be based on short, compact public courses comprising of six, nine or twelve holes. Europe, with nearly three hundred 6-hole golf courses and twenty eight 12-hole courses in operation, had another sixty-six 9-hole courses under development at the end of 2014. To see the full report, click this R&A linkthen download the appropriate free publication.
The Stadium course at the PGA Catalunya Resort is the culmination of more than a decade of planning and design by the European Tour. They wanted to build their own Players Championship course to rival the PGA's Sawgrass course.