Golf World reader Malcolm Baker just completed a golfing odyssey to play our top 100 courses in the world.
Halfway through 2012, Golf World published a list of The World’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play. It was our selection of the finest courses in the world that accept a green fee. For the majority of readers, it constituted a nice piece of inspiration; a chance to look at some stunning golf courses and perhaps plan a trip or two. But for one man, it was a lot more than that. For Malcolm Baker, 55 at the time, it became a raison d’être. A keen golfer and lover of top courses, Malcolm realised he had already played 35 of the 100. Seed firmly planted, he decided he wouldn’t rest until he had ticked off the entire list.
He completed that mission last month, having visited 22 countries and clocked up tens of thousands of air miles along the way. Here’s how he describes the experience:
I finished at Kawana in Japan, as part of a trip to watch the Rugby World Cup. In a way that was actually only my 99th course of the 100; the Prince Course in Hawaii is currently closed indefinitely, although the course is still being maintained. I jumped over the fence and hit a drive off the 5th tee, which was the closest I could get to playing it. I’ve done everything I possibly can to complete the list.
I do most of the trips with my wife, who has been incredibly supportive. She doesn’t play golf but she thinks if it’s a top-100 golf course it’s generally going to be in a nice area, with nice restaurants. My 17-year-old daughter, Rosie, has come on a lot of the trips too. She plays off 24 but has played more of the world’s top 100 courses than the majority of people. She made her first ever par on the 17th at Hilton Head. Not many people can say that !
I’ve played around 500 courses in total. I’ve got friends who have played far more, but I definitely go for quality over quantity. I’ve kept a list of every course I’ve ever played and I buy a ballmarker at every club I visit.
I love traditional, classic courses. Beautiful views, good scenery, good condition, great course architecture. What more could you want? I love Royal County Down, Muirfield and Birkdale. I’d say my favourite course that isn’t on the list would be Cypress Point (top right). I like courses that don’t beat you up. I like courses to be challenging but where you can have an enjoyable round even if you’re not a pro. I probably didn’t break 120 when Iplayed Leopard Creek in South Africa, but I still enjoyed it.
My next objective is to play the Golf World Top 100 in Continental Europe and to play the last 24 courses that have ever featured in the Golf World GB&I Top 100.
I’m a member at East Devon and St Enodoc. I try to play three rounds of golf a week. I play off eight. I’m 62 and I try to walk when I play as much as possible, just to keep myself reasonably fit.
If I had to choose one course for the rest of my life, it would be East Devon (below). I’ve been playing it for 50 years and every round is unique and enjoyable. In the words of Nick Edmund, the editor of the 1995 edition of Following the Fairways: ‘Maybe “exhilarating” is indeed the best word to sum up East Devon. If there is a more splendidly situated and attractive golf course in England, I would like to see it; and if there is a course that offers greater variety and sheer pleasure, I would like to play it.’ That sums up East Devon perfectly. It’s a Harry Colt course and still has the classic Colt features. The views are sensational. It’s just a beautiful place to play golf.
This article has been published courtesy of Golf World - Thank you ! The original article along with photographs may be seen here https://www.golfworldtop100.com/features/the-man-who-played-top-100-courses-world