How can such a pipsqueak in the yardage department play so difficult? (-5) Hewn from the remnants of old phosphate mines, Streamsong Blue features a distinctive sand-based canvas that puts an emphasis on ground-game prowess. The PGA Tour has played here since 2010, amid the rolling terrain in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains and players delight in the classic accents, such as the Redan par-3 8th, Punchbowl par-4 9th and Eden par-3 15th. Since then, folks have been scaling the snow-topped Cascades for a chance to duel with this sagebrush-lined, high desert treat that’s dotted with lava rock ridges and juniper trees, notably at the lake-guarded, dogleg-right, 378-yard, par-4 13th. Double bogeys and alligators await any sliced shot. Rolling, tilted, walkable fairways, imaginative green contouring, cactus-covered hillsides and no homes or roads make for a remarkable back-to-nature experience. creation south of San Jose darts through oaks and sycamores and is slashed with ravines and gorgeous sprawls of sand. (5-5) This low-key Jack Nicklaus-designed romp through the salt marshes and 300-year-old oaks of the Lowcountry features soft contouring and mostly level terrain, making for a wonderful walk and quick pace of play.
Along the way are stirring long views of the Pacific and a superb set of wildly different par-3s. Alister Mac Kenzie’s finest public access course first opened in 1929, yet it seldom takes a beating, even at the hands of Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson or Tiger Woods, none of whom has bettered 67. The eye candy commences at the first hole, a par-4 that shares a fairway with the 18th a la St. It boasts his signature characteristics: long tees, propped-up greens protected by yawning traps and man-sized carries over water—notably at the 272-yard, par-3 third hole, which skirts the Pacific Ocean. If your luck runs out at the long, watery, par-4 18th, you can find it again down the street at the Pearl River Resort. The 330-yard, split-fairway, drivable par-4 15th is a standout. With breezes off the lake, tawny fescues and tall sand dunes, the course professes a linksy feel, without being quite as bouncy as a true links, but at least the wide fairways and large greens make for extra playability in the wind. The Greenbrier (Old White TPC) White Sulphur Springs, W. (0-5) Following a sensitive 2007 restoration by Lester George, this 102-year-old C. Macdonald-Seth Raynor effort has charmed the old admirers and wowed the new ones. (-5) This 2004 creation didn’t reach mass appeal until it opened its doors to outside play in 2010. creation that sports the master’s celebrated elevated greens, strategically deployed water hazards and heroic shot values, notably at the vaunted 590-yard, par-5 13th, that doglegs 110 degrees to the right around Lake Singleton. (-5) Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw’s 2006 gem may lack the in-your-face drama of its sibling the Cholla, but its jaw-dropping mountain vistas are no less impressive and its subtle strategies are superior.
This 2003 Gene Bates design also sports a modest green fee that enhances the tranquil ambience.
Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Ghost Creek) North Plains, Ore.
Omni Barton Creek Resort (Fazio Canyons) Austin, Tex.
After the dizzying panorama from the par-4 1st, the next stunner is the 203-yard, par-3 7th that demands a lake carry to a wildly undulating green cocooned in the sandhills. design has been one of the Tour’s hardest layouts for nearly 50 years. ($500) Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn demonstrated in 1990 that with sufficient money and imagination, there’s nothing that couldn’t be accomplished in golf course design. Reynolds Lake Oconee (Great Waters) Greensboro, Ga. This Jack Nicklaus creation, with John Sanford consulting, is a treeless faux-links, complete with dunes and fescue grasses framing the fairways and options around the greens. The green at the par-5 first affords a sweeping panorama of the waters of Spanish Bay, clear out to the spit of land known as Point Joe, which serves as home to the Restless Sea, where ocean and bay currents collide, creating a tumult of foamy, white sea spray. The rugged, high-desert scenery includes Columbia River views and vistas of the snow-capped northern Cascades. The 485-yard, par-4 final hole with water down the entire left side is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most memorable closers. Background photography: Courtesy Reynolds Plantation 51. Contoured greens are often edged by shaved-down chipping areas, putting a premium on short-game creativity. Not as relentlessly tough as Number 2, yet its crowned greens will reject any timid approach. Many holes tee off atop gigantic sand piles and play up, down and around cavernous pits, giant boulders and vast sand waste areas, all at a price tag that’s been chopped to bits by a sharp pickaxe. Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Gold) Williamsburg, Va. ($125) Public access at Linville is limited to guests of the Eseeola Lodge, but it’s well worth the splurge to check out the eye-candy afforded at this 1924 Donald Ross design, situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains an hour northeast of Asheville.
Bay Harbor Golf Club (Links/Quarry) Bay Harbor, Mich. Try rolling terrain that’s crisscrossed by barrancas, slender fairways hemmed in by trees, hordes of deep, artfully sculpted bunkers, Pacific Ocean breezes and nightmarishly quick, canted greens. Tom Doak crafted fairways that cling to the terrain as if they’ve been here for thousands of years. Imaginative green-contouring forces players to think before approaching. Spyglass Hill Golf Course Pebble Beach, Calif ($395-$435) Part of the rotation for the PGA Tour’s Bing Crosby (now AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) since 1967, this Robert Trent Jones Sr. Background photography: Nile Young Reynolds Lake Oconee (Great Waters) Holes 14 & 15 41. ($194-$255) New York City finally has a track to challenge Bethpage Black for public-access state supremacy. ($280-$320) This undeniably gorgeous layout begins at the Pacific Ocean, eases through marshes and dunes, climbs into the forest and finally returns to the sea. ($85-$160) GOLF Magazine’s Best New Course winner of 2014 is a David Mc Lay Kidd design in central Washington that serves up extra-wide, firm fairways that zigzag around massive sand ridges and heavily contoured greens that place significant emphasis on ground game options. ($79-$130) Five times the venue for the LPGA Championship, this beautiful 18-year-old brute from Pete Dye that’s situated 40 minutes north of Baltimore unfolds over rolling, tree-lined terrain for 7,375 yards and enjoys several grin-inducing vistas of Chesapeake Bay. ($295) Past home to the PGA Tour’s Open, and a memorable venue to the 2016 U. You must stay at the 45-room inn to play, but it’s worth it for the Clos La Chance vineyards views alone. ($210-$255) Higher up in the hills than its Fazio-designed sibling, Greg Norman routed his severe, yet stunning holes amid vistas of mountain peaks and ski runs, with dry gulches, hardy scrub oaks and clusters of Alister Mac Kenzie-style bunkers along for the ride. However, you’ll want to linger awhile at the par-3 6th, which traverses Greenleaf Creek, and at the par-3 14th that edges so close to the May River, you could stick your ball retriever in and pull out an oyster lunch. Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club Southern Pines, N. ($85-$235) Owned and operated by legendary LPGA Founder Peggy Kirk Bell, Pine Needles is situated just three miles from Pinehurst, but is a celebrated tournament venue in its own right, having hosted the 1996, 20 U. Women’s Opens, won by Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Christie Kerr, respectively. ($62-$89) From the remains of a rock and sand quarry in an old iron ore mine, architect Jeff Brauer forged a Paul Bunyanesque challenge in the northeastern Minnesota wilderness.
Reynolds Lake Oconee (Great Waters) Greensboro, Ga.
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club (Champion) Orlando, Fla.
Most dramatic is the 208-yard, par-3 16th, a funky, stunning Biarritz hole, with a forced carry over water leading to a green that’s bisected by a massive hollow. To get the ball into the hole, however, you’ll need to master angles, strategy, trajectory and the ground game, making for an Old World links experience second to none in the U. The course pays homage to the design style and template holes of C. Macdonald, American’s pioneer architect, though the most memorable hole is a Doak/Urbina original, the par-4 7th, where the elevated green peers down over the beach. It opens in massive, scrub-covered dunes, then plunges into pine forest and touches linksy meadow before returning to dunesland. (0-2) Par has been shaved from 74 to 70 since Dr. Open, this 7,500-yard, walking-only, Robert Trent Jones II design unfolds atop an old gravel mine at the southeast tip of Puget Sound, 45 minutes south of Seattle. Newly installed teeth in the form of added yardage, altered angles, contoured greens and steeper slopes around the putting surfaces have dramatically altered the layout, strengthening it in every way. Tiger Woods has dominated, with seven wins in the Farmers Insurance Open and one amazing U. Mauna Kea Golf Course Kamuela, Big Island, Hawaii (5-5) Robert Trent Jones lists this 1964 Big Island layout as among his five favorite designs (of more than 500) and it’s easy to see why. (-0) This undulating 1997 Tom Fazio/Jerry Pate design 70 miles northeast of Jackson darts through thick forest for most of its journey, on a canvas ribboned with creeks, wetlands and in springtime, countless azaleas, notably at the par-4 sixth and the par-3 13th, both boasting amphitheater settings. However, numerous rock outcroppings, sagebrush and arroyos remind you that you’ll still in the desert. It’s an hour-plus ride north of Tampa into Nowheresville, but well worth the journey. (-0) Top teacher Rick Smith and design associate Warren Henderson teamed in 1998 to craft this headlands course that peers down at Lake Michigan early and often, inevitably in spectacular fashion. Pronghorn Golf Club and Resort (Nicklaus) Bend, Ore. (0-5) The Dunes is a 1948 Robert Trent Jones Sr.
The uphill, 474-yard, par-4 opener sets the tone, with a drive over water and scrub. (-0) This 2010 Tom Doak/Jim Urbina collaboration features turnpike-wide landing areas and gigantic, heaving greens that are hard to miss. (-0) Unlike its elder Bandon siblings, “Trails” doesn’t cling to cliffs, but it’s no less spectacular. (0-0) An extraordinary makeover from Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner took what had become a tired resort course and turned it into one of the toughest tests on the PGA Tour, a fire-breather that once again lived up to its name. (5-0) Often an afterthought to its sibling, Whistling Straits, Blackwolf Run’s River is a major venue in its own right. Dye’s typically penal hard edges along water hazards, ligament-snapping rough and nasty, steep, grass-faced bunkers are angst-inducing, but memorable holes abound, such as the remarkable short par-4 9th, with three legitimate options off the tee and the handsome, if brutal closing stretch of 16-18 that incorporates a twisting arm of the Sheboygan River. Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson have won Tour events here. At 3,000 feet elevation, the fall color palette is rich. Background photography: Courtesy Omni Homestead Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club Hole 18 31. In 14 appearances, he triumphed five times between 19. More than 50 years later, Rees Jones added new back tees and reworked bunkers and greens to restore the dread in a course nicknamed, “Dubsdread.” 32. (-7) Situated between 6,500 and 7,000 breathtaking feet on the eastern side of the Sandia Mountains, 25 minutes from Albuquerque, Paa-Ko dishes out a series of option-laden desert jewels that tumble through junipers, cedars and pines, forming a surprisingly green backdrop to many holes. (-9) With its forced carries over sandy waste areas and pine-framed, risk/reward holes, Pine Barrens is intended to resemble Pine Valley, but this 1993 Tom Fazio design is more player-friendly and much easier to get onto.
Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club Southern Pines, N.
Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Gold) Williamsburg, Va.
As visually arresting as the Links holes are at water’s edge, the real drama amps up on the Quarry, which must be carried, or considered, on nearly every hole. (0-0) Turn Tom Fazio loose with hotelier Steve Wynn’s imagination and budget and you have the Wynn, with its enviable location on the Las Vegas Strip.