In this blog post we explore what is LIV Golf, but more importantly we look at the best LIV Golf Courses in 2023.

LIV golf has rocked the golfing world and split what was a fragile but stable system into two. 

On one side you have the old guard, the PGA Tour and what was the European Tour, now known as the DP World Tour. On the other, the new kid on the block, the young pretender called LIV Golf.

What is LIV Golf?

LIV Golf Invitational Series, formerly known as the Super Golf League, is a new golf tour funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. 

In 2032 there are twelve tournaments including a raft of pros who have been invited to take part. Granted a sizable sum of money was involved and this has attracted some of the best golfers in the world including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Bryson DeChambeau. 

Why is it called LIV Golf?

The series has taken the name of LIV Golf, based on the fact the Roman numeral for 54 is LIV. The number 54 in golf is synonymous with scoring a birdie on every hole on a par-72 course. 

But it doesn’t stop there. 54 is also the number of holes played in a LIV Golf tournament. Unlike the traditional 4-day format, LIV Golf tournaments last only 3 days. So with 18-holes played each day, again this equates to 54 instead of 72.

How does LIV Golf differ from the PGA Tour?

LIV Golf differs in a number of ways which we’ll look at below. Firstly the number of holes which are played, being 54 and not 72. These are played over 3 days and not 4 like traditional golf tournaments.

There is also a shotgun start. This means all the golfers tee off on a different hole of the course and all start at the same time. This means the same conditions for everyone. For the crowd this is a novel change as wherever they are on the course, there will always be golf being played. 

The format is also team based, whereas traditionally each golfer is playing for themselves. 12 teams compete over the 3-days introducing a team aspect to add to the outright leader. 

Best LIV Golf Courses 2023

RankGolf Course
1Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, USA
2Valderrama Golf, Spain
3Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore
4El Camaleon (Mayakoba), Mexico
5Trump National Doral (Blue Monster), USA
6Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, Saudi Arabia
7The Grange (West), Australia
8Rich Harvest Farms, USA
9Centurion Golf Club, England
10Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Witch Hollow & Ghost Creek composite), USA
11The International, USA
12Stonehill, Thailand
Table showing the best LIV Golf Courses 2023

1. Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, New Jersey, USA

In the Garden State, about an hour’s drive out of New York City, is this remarkable facility. Gorgeous historic grounds with an elegant backdrop of the Somerset Hills.

There are two championship courses at Bedminster, the Old and the New. It was on the more celebrated Old Course that the LIV Golf Invitational was played.

It first came to life in 2004 and was designed by the prolific and hugely respected Tom Fazio. There was a very simple objective when designing the course and that was to ensure it could host high profile and top tier events.

To date some of the more high profile tournaments include the USGA’s Women Open as well as Junior Amateur Championships. It was earmarked to host the 2022 PGA Championship. But after the incident at Congress in 2021, it was decided by the PGA to move the event elsewhere.

As to be expected with a Trump course, the conditioning is second-to-none. Every small detail has been meticulously considered. 

Fazio’s design hones in on difficulty. There are long carries over water and at times ravines. Fairways are wide but there is little respite if you miss them. Long penal rough makes wayward shots near impossible to find. 

Water comes into play on many holes and the greens are large and demanding. The elegant 1939 Georgian Revival clubhouse does a good job of framing the site.

There are some stunning golf courses in New Jersey. And this is without doubt one of the finest courses on the LIV Golf rota.

See also: What are the best golf courses in New Jersey?

2. Valderrama Golf, Costa del Sol, Spain

Consistently voted as one of the greatest golf courses in Continental Europe year after year, Valderrama is a special place. 

There are some who would argue there are better golf courses in Europe. But let’s be honest, this is all subjective and what is undeniable is that Valderrama is one of the best golf courses in the world. It is also a great addition to the LIV Golf Courses series for 2023. 

The club is located on Spain’s southern coastline, close to the town of Sotogrande, north of Gibraltar. 

See also: What are the best golf courses in the Costa del Sol?

The course was designed by the venerable Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1974. Trent Jones Sr. has designed hundreds of golf courses around the world.

Many are based in Europe, including Real Club Sotogrande, another of Spain’s best. The phenomenal, yet uber-exclusive Golf de Vidauban in France. And of course, who can forget the hugely ambitious and bold Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama. 

See also: The ultimate guide to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

Yet Valderrama has to be one of his best. The course has significant tournament pedigree having over the years hosted the Spanish Open, the Volvo Masters and of course the Ryder Cup in 1997.

The course is renowned for its condition, bettered only by Augusta. Coincidentally it is called the ‘Augusta of Europe’. 

Elegant fairways are bordered by majestic cork trees. A number of elevation changes keep things interesting with water on play on a handful of holes. This is a sensational golf course.

3. Sentosa Golf Club (Serrapong), Singapore

Sentosa Golf Club 1

Sentosa Golf Club is widely accepted as being Singapore’s best golf club. 

It has a prime position on Sentosa Island, south of the Singapore mainland. As such the club is blessed with stunning views back across the strait. 

There are two outstanding courses onsite, the Serapong and the Tanjong, both of which are acknowledged as being the two best golf courses in Singapore. 

The Tanjong opened first and was designed by Frank Pennick back in 1974. But it is the Serapong which gets the plaudits and over-shadows its sister course.

It was designed by Ronald Fream, an American architect with bags of experience having designed golf courses worldwide. Serapong is quite simply, top class.

Building the course wasn’t easy though. 

It was in 1982 that Fream was engaged to propose the routing for the Serapong. But with little available land, they ambitiously decided to use sand dredged from the shipping canals to build holes in what was open sea water. A handful of holes were previously mangrove swamps!

The course is pristine and is no longer member-only, meaning it is now fully accessible to the public. This is the host venue to the Singapore Open and is tournament ready regardless of the time of the year.

Playing here is an experience within itself. But being right next to one of the main shipping lanes to Sandy Island, just makes this even more sensational and mind-blowing. 

4. El Camaleón, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

El Camaleón is the first PGA Tour golf course in Latin America. And for a first, they’ve really smashed it out the park. And as far as locations go, this is sensational. 

Mayakoba is located right on the coastline, south of Cancun and is stunning. Dense tropical jungles, mangrove forests and open beachsides…this golf course has everything. 

It was designed by Greg Norman, who being CEO of LIV Golf at the time, may have helped slightly in its bid to be on the circuit. But regardless of who designed it, El Camaleón is deserving of being on the LIV Golf rota. 

Considered in the top 5 best golf courses of Mexico, Norman’s routing takes full advantage of the endemic landscape. As well as the features mentioned above, there are also a number of underground caverns which come into play including on the 1st hole. 

But there are also man-made hazards, including lagoons which come into play on most holes. 

The two par 3s, the 7th and the 15th are the signature holes. Both run parallel to the Caribbean Sea and offer superb ocean views. 

If you’re going to visit Mayakoba, there are a number of luxury hotels to choose from, all situated within the 620 acre site. This is a great addition to the LIV Golf Courses in 2023.

5. Trump National Doral (Blue Monster), Miami, USA

Trump Golf Resort Doral, Miami, Florida

The next course in our list of LIV Golf Courses 2023 is the ‘Blue Monster’. Even in the name you know this golf course is going to be epic. 

Trump’s resort in Miami is a celebration of golf, with four fantastic championship layouts. The Blue Monster is however the alpha male course and the one LIV Golf chose to host their season ending team championship.

The origins of the course go way back, to the late 1950s. Throughout the ensuing decades, many of the greatest golf architects exerted their influence on the course. 

But most recently Gil Hanse, of Streamsong Black fame, was brought in to inject the layout with a new lease of life. Not just a new lease of life, but as Trump claimed, to ‘blow up’ the course. 

This was a huge rebuild, where fourteen of the eighteen holes were completely modified. Aside from the famous eighteenth hole, pretty much most holes were tweaked in some way shape or form.

The Blue Monster has previous in hosting major tournaments. For many years it hosted the World Golf Championships, a regular tournament on the PGA Tour. 

6. Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Royal Greens 16th - Saudi Arabia, LIV Golf

Considered the best golf course in Saudi Arabia and one of the best in the Middle East, Royal Greens is a fine addition to the LIV Golf rota.

It was designed by the highly regarded European Golf Design. With a C.V. including some of the most awe-inspiring courses across Europe, it was an obvious choice. 

Amongst their many projects include the 2010 Course at the Celtic Manor and PGA Catalunya near Barcelona. As well as many high-profile redesigns including the 2018 Ryder Cup host venue Le Golf National. 

The course was constructed in the King Abdullah Economic City, some 70 or so miles north of Jeddah. Clearly this is desert golf, although expect tee boxes, fairways and greens to be in immaculate condition. 

The routing was cleverly arranged to ensure there was ample variety and choice when playing. Expect plenty of risk-and-reward opportunities. Two of the holes run right up next to the Red Sea, and arguably that is one of the only disappointments that there aren’t more.

But this is a superb course. It isn’t the longest but with many of the greens being multi-tiered, length isn’t everything. Even in its short existence, it has been a regular on the European Tour schedule. And now it counts LIV Golf as another major tournament to be held here.

7. The Grange (West), Adelaide, Australia

The city of Adelaide in southern Australia is home to some great golf clubs. These include the iconic Royal Adelaide as well as Kooyonga and Glenelg. 

Amongst that elite group of clubs is The Grange with its two outstanding 18-hole championship courses, the West and the East.

Records suggest golf was played on this site right back in 1910. Yet we’re talking the most rudimentary form of golf on just a handful of holes. Both courses organically came to life over the following decades, with various architects being involved to some degree. 

The first major renovation of the 18-hole West course came in the mid-50s, led by Vern Morcom, a local architect. The East course was constructed a decade or so later in 1967, again by Morcom.

It was actually on the East Course, where a young Greg Norman shot to fame. The year was 1976 and the course was hosting the West Lakes Classic. Norman was just 21 years old, nothing but an unheralded outsider who no one really knew. 

18-holes later and Norman has smashed the course record with a 64. This was his first tournament win and by some margin!

Both courses epitomize the Australian sand-belt layouts. This sandy terrain wasn’t even suitable for crops, but clearly perfect for golf. The conditioning is perfect and it plays as a relatively traditional parkland track.

It measures over 6,800 yards from the back markers and is highly playable. 

Both courses are highly rated with neither really out-ranking the other. The West course has on more than one occasion hosted the Australian Women’s Open. And soon LIV Golf will be visiting town.

8. Rich Harvest Farms, Chicago, USA

Rich Harvest Farms, Illinois, USA

There aren’t too many courses which are effectively built for the pleasure of one man. Yes there are a huge number of exclusive courses with limited memberships. But Rich Harvest Farms was built purely for the amusement of one man, Jerry Rich. 

Rich is clearly a wealthy man. He built a fortune developing a computer program to allow stockbrokers to view multiple stock exchange software on one screen. 

With his wealth he purchased a number of farms around Sugar Grove, a village 50 miles west of Chicago. And it is here the origins of Rich Harvest Farm began.

Although Rich had been hooked on golf from a young age, it was after visiting Augusta National and realizing he would never be admitted as a member, that his thirst for building his own course began. 

In 1989, construction began on an initial six holes, or more precisely, six greens. These had multiple tee positions and fairways so they could be played as an 18 hole course. The layout was designed by Rich himself.

But eventually in 1998, architect Greg Martin was called in to develop this into a full 18-hole championship course. One which was immediately recognised by Golf Digest as one of the best new private courses.

As for the layout itself, from the backs it stretches to a whooping 7,400 yards. Hilly, with dense woodland flanking many holes, this is no walk in the park. Quite the opposite, this is a really tough layout and one which should pose a good challenge to the pros.

9. Centurion Golf Club, London, England

Centurion Golf Club, Hertfordshire, England

The exclusive Centurion Club to the north of London is a fantastic course. 

The club is halfway between both Luton and Watford and occupies a quaint parcel of land. Part woodland, part undulating hills, there is great variety on offer. 

It opened in the summer of 2013 and was designed by the relatively unknown designer Simon Gidman. Fortunately reputations don’t maketh the individual, and Gidman excelled himself at Centurion. 

The first five holes all run through a pine woodland giving the relatively young course a mature feel. From there on, it takes a far more expansive approach using the undulating terrain to maximum effect. 

Dramatic views, strategically placed hazards and some great shot-making ensure the middle half holds its own. As you head back towards the clubhouse, the closing stretch of holes really puts up a fight. 

Sixteen is a long par 4 where a good drive is critical to attacking the dropped green. A short par 3 follows albeit with water ominously lurking behind the green. And finally eighteen is a beast of a par 5 where navigating across the water to the green ensures you concentrate to the last minute!

10. Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Witch Hollow & Ghost Creek composite), Portland, USA

Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Portland, Oregon, Permission Given - reisez

Just 20 miles west of Portland is the semi-private Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. The club is located on pristine farmland scattered with dense patches of oak, fir and maple trees. 

There are two superb 18-hole courses onsite, the semi-private Ghost Creek and member’s only Witch Hollow. 

It is the latter which receives most of the plaudits. It is also the one to have been chosen to host many USGA events. For the LIV Golf Courses 2022 Invitational, a composite layout including holes from both courses was used. 

The club came into existence based on the ambition of the three founding members. Their desire was to build a private member’s club and golf course which would host future major tournaments. With the financial support of their Japanese investors, Ghost Creek was the first to open in 1992. 

Shortly after, Witch Hollow opened for play and within just mere months of opening, Pumpkin Hollow was chosen to host the 1996 US Amateurs. 

Both were designed by Bob Cupp and the trenchant at the time was to build challenging courses. Both will push the best out there to be on top of their game. 

The site is wondrous and dense vegetation native to the northwest gives a serene backdrop. This is a popular golf club and you can see why.

11. The International, Boston, USA

Located in Greater Boston is the elegant club of The International. Two outstanding championship courses, one designed by Tom Fazio and the other considered the longest golf course in the world. This is an impressive setup and one reacquainting itself hosting major tournaments.

So pretty crazy to think that only 18 months prior to hosting the LIV Golf event in September 2022, it was bankrupt. 

The International has a fascinating history. So much so, it had a different name (Runaway Brook Golf Club) and was only a 9 hole course. It came to life in 1899 and for 50 odd years remained a 9 hole layout.

It transitioned into an 18 hole course in the early 1950s and became known as the Pines Course. From the back tees it measured a mind-blowing 8,040 yards. It was officially the longest golf course in the world.

Thinking it could get no longer, Robert Trent Jones then extended it to 8,325 yards in the 1970s. 

But it is the completely renovated Oaks course, opened in 2001, upon which the LIV Golf series was played. Originally designed by Tom Fazio, a complete restoration was led by the esteemed Tripp Davis.

Bunkers were rebuilt to have a visual and strategic impact. Tee boxes were completely stripped and relaid. Fairways reshaped, this was literally open-heart surgery on a golf course. 

But the end-result is truly majestic and it won’t be long before The International gets the attention it deserves. This is a state rich in quality golf, well add another to the list.

12. Stonehill, Bangkok, Thailand

And to round off our list of best LIV Golf courses 2023, we head to Stonehill in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Very little has been written about Stonehill, most likely because it is brand new. And when I say brand new, it literally opened in August 2022. Therefore very few if any people have officially played the course.

However it already has a designer pedigree. Two heavyweights of golf course architecture, Kyle Phillips and Timothy Slattery of Hart Howerton led the project. Phillips is notable for a number of outstanding projects around the globe, both original designs and renovations.

This is, however, his first golf course project in Thailand and one they’ve not held back on. From the backs it stretches to over 7,800 yards making full use of the 376 acre plot. 

As for the course itself, the design is reputed to being inspired by the neoclassical era, mixing old and new influences. 

I think I speak for a lot of people in saying I’m incredibly eager to see the new course. But more importantly, how it stands up to the demands of hosting a pro golf tournament. And not any meager tournament, but one of the last legs of the LIV Golf  Invitational Series.

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