This is the most authoritative list of the finest courses in mainland Europe, by the most widely-travelled panel. Spanning 19 countries, expect plenty of historic courses with enduring charm, but also some jaw-dropping modern masterpieces

No one will be surprised at the number of countries represented in our Top 100s rundown of the best golf courses in Continental Europe.

Everyone is now aware countries with previously little or no pedigree in the game are now attempting to establish a foothold in golf.

What is notable, though, is how that eclectic mix of countries allied to the blend of modern and historic courses is enhancing the very top end of European golf.

The standard of the top 20 of this ranking is exceptionally high and, even more importantly in my view, full of distinctive, interesting courses.

If you think of Continental European courses as nothing but resort-style parklands, you have a skewed view of what is on offer.

The breadth of knowledge of the panel means that I have played 92 of the 100 and I am not even the best-travelled panellist!

Read the descriptions throughout this Top 100 and you’ll see what I mean.

I’d also say it is probably true that our panel elevate the more characterful and eccentric courses, so in the top 30 you’ll find a lot of traditional old courses as well as more modern courses that embrace the classic design features of the golden age of architecture.

I am very, very confident this is the most widely-researched and therefore authoritative Continental Top 100.

That is as a result of the breadth of knowledge of the panel. I have played 92 of the 100 and I am not even the best-travelled panellist!

As a result, we are confident about our assessments. Because we know credibility and trust is everything in rankings, we don’t like to guess. If you go to a course we’ve ranked highly and discover a very modest offering, you’ll never trust us again.

So we never want to guess how good somewhere is, because we would eventually be tripped up.

That’s why, for example, we don’t have any Moscow courses in our list. They might be brilliant, but only one panellist has been and that’s not enough for us to be confident of our assessment.

That Moscow blind spot apart, though, we are very sure we have the rest of Continental Europe very well covered.

I hope you get that impression as you make your way through this Top 100.

Best golf courses in Continental Europe: The panel

We assembled an exceptional panel with a vast knowledge of Continental Europe’s courses. In addition to this panel, which marked courses across the continent, we also leant on the expertise of experts in all the key countries to ensure we left no stone unturned.

Chris Bertram: Our Top 100s editor has played 92 of the 100 and 12 of the 25 contenders.

Joerg Beringer: German is a travel industry professional and has played over 60 of the 100.

Peter Bjerkeseth: The Norwegian is a Scandinavian expert but travels widely to southern Europe too.

Nigel and Suzanne Butler: Brussels-based duo run Where2Golf.com and have played nearly 80 of the 100.

Peter Gammie: Lives in France and is an expert on its courses in addition to the key contenders in Spain and Portugal.

David Jones: Much-travelled Scotsman has particular expertise in the Dutch and French courses.

Hans-Joachim Walter: German has played 95 of the 100 and documents his verdicts like few others.