Water has been an essential element of golf ever since the game’s birth in Scotland more than six centuries ago. The first courses were laid out on so-called “links land,” rugged ground of limited agriculture value that linked fertile farmland to the sea. Those sites lent beauty and drama to the nascent sport, especially when early designers fashioned tees on the wind-whipped dunes overlooking expansive firths and bays and built greens at the water’s edge. Those tracks also compelled players to be canny and creative with their shot making, and to work with whatever the land — and the weather — presented them on a given day.
All these years later, golfers continue to be drawn to coastal courses. The vistas are part of the allure, and so are the exhilarating walks they provide and the ways they allow players to enjoy the game in its purest and most traditional form.
Having had the pleasure of playing on many fine seaside courses over the years, I am pleased to offer a list of what I consider the top 15 in the world, in no particular order.