Golf royalty: The 25 best international LPGA Tour venues you can play

The schedule of tournaments on the LPGA Tour is more international than ever.

The influx of South Koreans -- spurred on by Se Ri Pak -- has opened up a whole new continent of women's golf fans.

The 2017 schedule on the LPGA Tour has ballooned to 35 events, four of them new, and 13 of them outside of North America. The season opened in the Bahamas, Australia, Thailand and Singapore and is close to heading stateside to Arizona in mid-March.

Many of the international courses are great destination courses worth visiting*. I've scoured the LPGA Tour record books to find the 25 best international courses to ever host an LPGA Tour event. All of them offer some sort of public access, so dust off that passport and get ready to play:

United Kingdom and Ireland

Kingsbarns Golf Links, Fife, Scotland

Tournament: 2017 Ricoh Women's British Open.
Comment: Kyle Phillips crafted Kingsbarns upon the windswept cliffs where golf has been played since 1793. Wide fairways and big, perplexing greens ensure it remains enjoyable in big winds off the North Sea. The dramatic, dogleg, par-5 12th hole and the peninsula green at the par-3 15th hole are the showstoppers on the sea.

Dundonald Links, North Ayrshire, Scotland

Tournament: 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.
Comment: Dundonald Links -- host of one of the new events -- might be young compared to its historic neighbors, but the site does have some interesting history. There was an early course named the Dundonald Golf Club from 1911-1936 before the land was taken over by the military. Phillips brought golf back to the mostly flat site, creating a 7,100-yard modern links that opened in 2003.

Old course at St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland

Tournaments: 2007/2013 RICOH Women's British Open (Lorena Ochoa/Stacey Lewis).
Comment: Playing The Old course, generally credited to Old Tom Morris, is like solving a complex puzzle, given the double greens, hidden bunkers and wind off the water.

Tournaments: 2002 Weetabix/2015 RICOH Women's British Open (Webb/Inbee Park).
Comment: After the 2015 tournament, new owner Donald Trump closed the course for an extensive modernization by Martin Ebert, who altered the coastline holes in spectacular fashion. The iconic lighthouse is now a halfway house home to two luxury suites upstairs.

The new par-3 11th hole on the Ailsa Course at Trump Turnberry Resort has been pushed closer to the rocky coastline.

Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry Resort

Tournament: 2011 RICOH Women's British Open (Yani Tseng).
Comment: The links they call "Carnasty" was actually pretty tame for the ladies as Tseng shot 16-under in a runaway win. This fearsome links will host its eighth Open Championship in 2018.

Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Wirral, England

Tournament: 2012 RICOH Women's British Open (Jiyai Shin).
Comment: The club called "Hoylake" has hosted 12 Open Championships, so the ladies were thrilled to get their lone shot in 2012. The four-hole stretch starting at No. 9 plays along England's "golf coast."

Woburn Golf & Country Club, Milton Keynes, England

Tournaments: 1984 Hitachi Ladies British Open. 1990-96 and 1999 Weetabix Women's British Open. 2016 RICOH Women's British Open.
Comment: No course has hosted the women's British Open more times (nine) than Woburn's Duke's course, a parkland classic lined with heather, gorse and pine, silver birch and chestnut trees.

Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, Lancashire, England

Tournaments: 2000 Weetabix (Sophie Gustafson) and 2005/2010/2014 RICOH Women's British Open (Jeong Jang/Yani Tseng/Mo Martin).
Comment: The club's 10th Open Championship comes this year. Birkdale also has two Ryder Cups under its belt.

Tournaments: 1998/2003/2006 Weetabix Women's British Open (Sherri Steinhauer/Annika Sorenstam/Steinhauer) and 2009 RICOH Women's British Open (Catriona Matthew).
Comment: Despite a lack of length, more than 200 bunkers make this links one of the most challenging of the Open venues. It has hosted more modern men's and women's Opens combined (15) than every links except the Old course at St. Andrews.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes' clubhouse has a dormy house, where golfers can stay overnight on site during their visit to the links.

Royal Lytham & St. Annes' clubhouse

Tournament: 1997/2004/2008 Weetabix/RICOH Women's British Open (Karrie Webb/Karen Stupples/Jiyai Shin).
Comment: This exclusive club outside London does allow visitor bookings Monday through Thursday. Willie Park Jr. laid out the original routing in 1901 before club secretary Harry Colt made key changes (Colt designed the New course in 1922).

Tournament: 1996 Solheim Cup (U.S. wins, 17-11).
Comment: The original Ken Cotton design from 1961 received an upgrade in 2008. It roams around an 11-acre lake. Towering trees, including a 400-year-old chestnut on the second hole, line the fairways. The signature moment is the tee shot over water on the 236-yard par 3 at No. 18.

Killeen Castle, County Meath, Ireland

Tournament: 2011 The Solheim Cup (Europe wins, 15-13).
Comment: This Jack Nicklaus course, which opened in 2009, provided endless theater in an amazing European comeback. The sheer majesty and mystique of the 12th-century Killeen Castle hovering over the property helps the golf course stand out among other parkland layouts around Dublin.

The 18th hole sits in the shadow of Killeen Castle.

Killeen Castle

The Caribbean

Tournament: 2010 The Mojo 6 Jamaica LPGA Invitational (Anna Nordqvist).
Comment: There's such variety on Cinnamon Hill -- from two glorious ocean holes at the par-4 fifth and par-3 sixth to a back nine of jungle holes, ending with risk-reward par 5s at No. 17 and No. 18.

The Tryall Club, Sandy Bay, Jamaica

Tournaments: 1985-87 Mazda Champions. 1989-91 Jamaica Classic.

Comment: The Mazda paired PGA Tour Champions players and LPGA Tour players in two-person teams against one another before the LPGA Tour ran its own event from 1989-91. The PGA Tour moved in for the Johnnie Walker World Championship from 1991-95, proving the worth of this gorgeous seaside course near Montego Bay.

Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas

Tournaments: 2013-present Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Comment: This season-opening event tends to be blustery as the course sits exposed on the ocean. Tom Weiskopf did a masterful job designing wide holes to fit the windy conditions.

The Ocean Club, on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, tests the LPGA players' ability to play in the wind at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

The Ocean Club on Paradise Island

Mid Ocean Club, Bermuda

Tournaments: 1998-99 Gillette Tour Challenge Championship (Michelle McGann/Lee Trevino/Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper/Graham Marsh/Tom Watson).
Comment: This short-lived, silly-season team event paired a top pro from the three tours against one another on this world top 100 gem in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Each player earned qualifying points during the regular season and at unique six-hole exhibition matches.


Tournaments: 2012/2015 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open (Jessica Korda/Lydia Ko).
Comment: Royal Melbourne has a long history of hosting the men during the World Cup of Golf in 1959, 1972, 1988 and 2013 and the 1998 and 2011 Presidents Cup, which will return in 2019. Twelve holes from the West course and six from the East -- both Alister MacKenzie designs -- create the Composite course used for tournaments.

Links golf in Australia can be found on the courses around sandy Melbourne at historic plays such as Royal Melbourne.

Royal Melbourne Golf Club

Victoria Golf Club, Melbourne, Australia

Tournaments: 1974-75 Colgate Far East Open (Sandra Post/Pat Bradley). 2014 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open (Karrie Webb).
Comment: Another MacKenzie gem in the Australia sandbelt, Victoria sometimes gets overshadowed by neighbors Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath, but it is every bit the bucket-list course.

Tournament: 2017 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open.
Comment: Limited opportunities do exist for overseas golfers visiting Adelaide who wish to play the challenging links layout.

Tournaments: 2006-08 Women's World Cup of Golf.
Comment: This walker-friendly course, built in an extinct volcanic crater, also hosts the annual Nedbank Golf Challenge of the European Tour. It's one of South Africa's premier resort courses.

The Links at Fancourt, George, South Africa

Tournaments: 2005 Women's World Cup of Golf (Japan's Ai Miyazato/Rui Kitada).
Comment: This walkers-only paradise, a Player design that hosted the 2003 Presidents Cup, is simply mesmerizing. The wet weather in South Africa's "Garden Route" doesn't stop the turf from being crisp and bouncy like a links. There's more water than there should be for a faux links but it all works.

Tournament: 2001 Bank of Montreal Canadian Women's Open (Annika Sorenstam).
Comment: Host of the 2002 Canadian Open, the South course re-opened in 2015 after a $6 million renovation by the firm of MacKenzie & Ebert. It's a target course with lots of water and cross hazards.

Glen Abbey Golf Club, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Tournament: 1997 du Maurier Classic (Colleen Walker).
Comment: This famous Jack Nicklaus design that has hosted 27 Canadian Opens has been given a reprieve (at least for the moment) from being redeveloped into housing. The club is also the headquarters of Golf Canada, the Canadian Golf Museum and Hall of Fame, and a TaylorMade Performance Lab.

Glen Arbour Golf Course, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Tournament: 2005 BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open (Meena Lee).
Comment: This scenic Graham Cooke design hosted the inaugural Wayne Gretzky and Friends Invitational in 2000 and a 2012 Telus Skins Game.

Evian Golf Club, Evian-les-Baines, France

Tournament: 2000-present Evian Masters/Championship
Comment: The 6,700-yard course (6,120 meters) overlooks the shores of Lake Geneva near the Swiss-French border. Seventeen years and counting is among the longest current streaks on the LPGA Tour. The tournament became an official major in 2013.

* Several tournament venues in Asia and elsewhere were not considered, simply because so few American golfers travel to such places to play golf.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed and photographed more than 1,000 courses and written about golf destinations in 20 countries for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfpass and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Golf royalty: The 25 best international LPGA Tour venues you can play