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Planet Golf: Top 100 Courses Outside the U.S.

7/22/2009

• Golf Digest: Top courses in 184 countries

Have clubs, will travel. You can anyway, now that you're armed with Planet Golf, our biennial look at places to play around the globe.

For the first time we've compiled a ranking of the top 100 courses outside the U.S., a list that encompasses 25 countries (Canada and Scotland are represented the most, with 13 courses apiece). In past years we also published rankings for 100 countries. This year we expanded our coverage to include practically every place where golf is played, 184 nations and territories in all. In short, this is the biggest survey of our planet's golf courses ever undertaken.

We made plenty of fascinating discoveries along the way. Like how great it must be to live on Christmas Island, which has only one golf course but a total population of just 396, most of whom don't play. Or Bermuda, which has nine courses packed into just 20 square miles. Some other findings:

• Approximate number of golf courses in the world: 31,857.
• Proportion of humans who are golfers: 0.94 percent.
• Countries with the most courses per capita (minimum 500,000 population): Scotland (9,379 people per course), New Zealand (10,374), Australia (11,063), Republic of Ireland (14,127), Northern Ireland (14,353), Canada (15,480), Wales (18,321), United States (18,514), Sweden (21,295), England (27,725).
• Countries with the highest density of courses (minimum 500,000 population): Singapore (one course every 10 square miles), England (27), Northern Ireland (40), Wales (50), Scotland (56), Japan (59), Netherlands (75), Mauritius (87), Republic of Ireland (95), Denmark (117).
• Most populous countries where we could find no evidence of golf: Ukraine (population 47,732,079), Sudan (39,148,162), Yemen (20,024,867), Mali (11,956,788), Belarus (10,310,520).
• Most northerly course: Sondie Arctic Desert G. Cse., Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.
• Most southerly: Ushuaia G.C., Argentina.
• Most easterly: Tonga G.C., Nukualofa, Tonga.
• Most westerly: Faleata C.C., Apia, Samoa.
• Ratio of courses in the U.S. to courses in the African continent: 20 to 1.
• Amount of earth's land mass devoted to golf courses: 0.014 percent.

Perhaps what we discovered most of all is that it really is a small world. Although not if you have to mow it.

http://sports.espn.go.com/travel/gallery/gallery?id=3189100Text provided by Golf Digest.