2015-16 Ranking

America's 100 Greatest Public Courses

First established in 1966, the biennial 2015-16 ranking of America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses is ready for its close-up.



(Parentheses indicate previous ranking)

Pebble Beach / 800-654-9300 / pebblebeach.com /Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919) 6,828 yards, Par 72 / Points: 67.6226

Pebble Beach has been the No. 1 course ever since we introduced the 100 Greatest Public in 2003. It's not just the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf, but the most extensive one, too, with nine holes perched immediately above the crashing Pacific surf -- the fourth through the 10th plus the 17th and 18th. Pebble's sixth through eighth are golf's real Amen Corner, with a few Hail Marys thrown in over a ocean cove on eight from atop a 75-foot-high bluff. Pebble will host another U.S. Amateur in 2018, and its sixth U.S. Open in 2019.

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Bandon, Ore. / 888-345-6008 / bandondunesgolf.com Tom Doak (2001) 6,633 yards, Par 71 | Points: 65.1748

The second course built at Bandon Dunes Resort. To best utilize ocean frontage, Tom Doak came up with a unorthodox routing that includes four par 3s on the back nine. Holes seem to emerge from the landscape rather than being superimposed onto it. The rolling greens and rumpled fairways are framed by rugged sand dunes and marvelously grotesque bunkers. The secret is Doak moved a lot of earth to make it look like he moved very little.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 2, 2007-12 & present



Kiawah Island, S.C. / 888-854-2924 / kiawahgolf.com Pete Dye & Alice Dye (1991) 7,356 yards, Par 72 | Points: 64.9282

The first course designed for a specific event -- the 1991 Ryder Cup -- this manufactured linksland-meets-lagoons layout might well be Pete Dye's most diabolical creation. Every hole is edged by sawgrass, every green has tricky slopes, every bunker merges into bordering sand dunes. Strung along nearly three miles of ocean coast, Dye took his wife's advice and perched fairways and greens so golfers can actually view the Atlantic surf. That also exposes shots and putts to ever-present and sometimes fierce coastal winds.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: Present

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Haven, Wis. / 800-344-2838 / whistlingstraits.com Pete Dye (1998) 7,790, Par 72 | Points: 64.7378

Pete Dye transformed a dead flat abandoned army air base along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan into an imitation Ballybunion at Whistling Straits, peppering his rugged fairways and windswept greens with (at last count) 967 bunkers. There are no rakes at Whistling Straits, in keeping with the notion that this is a transplanted Irish links. It has too much rub-of-the-green for the comfort levels of many tour pros, who will tackle the Straits again in the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 2, 2013-14

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Pinehurst, N.C. / 800-487-4653 / pinehurst.com John Dunn Tucker (9 1909) / Donald Ross & Walter Travis (A.9 1907) 7,495 yards, Par 72 | Points: 64.2727

In 2010, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw led a team that descended on Pinehurst No. 2 and killed out all the Bermudagrass rough that had been foolishly planted in the 1970s. Between fairways and tree lines, they established vast bands of native hardpan sand dotted with clumps of wiregrass and scattered pine needles. They reduced the irrigation to mere single rows in fairways to prevent grass from ever returning to the new sandy wastelands. Playing firm and fast, it was a wildly successful fortnight when the 2014 Men's and Women's U.S. Opens were played on consecutive weeks at No. 2. Because of its water reduction, the course was recently awarded a Green Star environmental award by Golf Digest.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 2, 2003-06

North Las Vegas, Nev. / 866-260-0069 / shadowcreek.com / Tom Fazio, with Steve Wynn (1990) 7,560 yards, Par 72 | Points: 63.8509

One of a kind, and maybe Tom Fazio's finest work ever. Shadow Creek plays like a musical composition in three movements, with alternating heavy beats and light moments, building to an resounding crescendo. Every golfer should experience Shadow Creek at least once. Few remember Shadow Creek started out as a private course. It was Golf Digest's Best New Private Course of 1990.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 3, 2005-06

Bandon, Ore. / 888-345-6008 / bandondunesgolf.com David McLay Kidd (1999) 6,732 yards, Par 72 | Points: 63.4556

Maybe not as visually mesmerizing as Whistling Straits (which it beat for Best New Upscale Public Course of 1999), but talented golfers consider Bandon Dunes to be the consummate shotmaker's course, as good a total examination of one's game as there is in America. What's more, the holes are a more natural fit into the windswept terrain than the mammoth-mounded Straits Course. Bandon Dunes is also ranked sixth among our 50 Most Fun Public Courses.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 5, 2011-12



Erin, Wisc. / 866-772-4769 / erinhills.com Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry & Ron Whitten (2006) 7,823 yards, Par 72 | Points: 62.9110

Despite the legend spread by many, Erin Hills wasn't designed specifically to host a U.S. Open. Its original concept was to be a simple, affordable, lay-of-the-land layout that proved Mother Nature is indeed the best golf architect. The concept changed -- some greens moved, one blind par 3 eliminated -- as the quest for a U.S. Open grew. After trial runs hosting the 2008 U.S. Women's Publinks and the 2011 U.S. Amateur, Erin Hills will host the 2017 U.S. Open, the first time the event has ever been in Wisconsin.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: Present

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Photo by Stephen Szurlej
Farmingdale, N.Y. / 516-249-4040 / nysparks.state.ny.us Joseph H. Burbeck & A.W. Tillinghast (1936) 7,366 yards, Par 71 | Points: 62.8630

Gone are its rock hard tees, gravely bunkers, patchy fairways and thatchy greens. Bethpage Black now has the conditioning of a U.S. Open or PGA Tour stop, both of which it has been in recent years. No need to sleep in the parking lot just to get a tee time anymore (just go online), but you may still have to verify your handicap. As a sign on the first tee states, Bethpage Black is an extremely difficult course recommended only for highly skilled players.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 3, 2003-04

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Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. / 904-273-3235 / tpcsawgrass.com / Pete Dye (1980) 7,215 yards, Par 72 | Points: 62.7181

When TPC Sawgrass first opened, most tour pros hated it. (Remember Jack Nicklaus's description of those original greens? Like hitting a 5-iron onto the hood of a Volkswagen, he said.) So Pete Dye ripped up 10 greens to make them fairer.) No need for average players to dread this fantasy come to life. Dye insists he designed the course so high handicappers can shoot their handicap if they'll simply use the appropriate tees and tack their way around the course, ignoring the heroic carries where real disaster awaits.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 9, 2009-14

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Pebble Beach / 800-654-9300 / pebblebeach.com Robert Trent Jones (1966) 6,960 yards, Par 72 | Points: 62.7138

What is surprising to first-time players at Spyglass Hill is how hilly the course is, even on dunes holes like the par-4 second. The Monterey Pines are far taller than they appear in photos, too. But there's an intimacy to some holes, like the tandem par 3s -- 12 and 15 -- with tiny greens fronted by deep pools of water -- and an element of whimsy -- the skinny apostrophe of a green on the fourth.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 5, 2003-04



Bandon, Ore. / 888-345-6008 / bandondunesgolf.com Tom Doak & Jim Urbina, with George Bahto, Bradley Klein, Karl Olson & Mike Keiser (2010) 6,978 yards, Par 71 | Points: 62.4879

When it opened five years ago, we predicted Old Macdonald would eventually become the most popular course at Bandon Dunes Resort, mainly because it has wide fairways and generous greens. At the urging of "Design Fairness proponent" Arthur Little, owner Mike Keiser installed a set of Royal Blue tee markers at 4,258 yards for beginners and older golfers. That should just add to its popularity.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: Present



Arcadia, Mich. / 800-494-8666 / arcadiabluffs.com Rick Smith & Warren Henderson (2000) 7,300 yards, Par 72 | Points: 61.8071

The rugged dunes-like topography of Arcadia Bluffs was always there, just hidden beneath a forest that was removed to construct the course. What also makes this lakefront layout different than say, Whistling Straits or Bay Harbor, are its distinctive stacked-sod bunkers. They're not circular pot holes found at most links. Arcadia's are curvaceous, with vertical faces that bend and roll around both concave and convex corners.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 10, 2005-12

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Stillwater, Okla. / 405-743-1658 / karstencreek.com Tom Fazio (1994) 7,407 yards, Par 72 | Points: 61.5480*

Karsten Creek, winner of Golf Digest's Best New Public Course title in 1994, was developed by Oklahoma State University and thus is also often at the top of rankings of the best collegiate courses in America. Bold in its features and contours, this is Tom Fazio in a surprisingly challenging mood. Karsten Creek is potentially one of the toughest layouts among America's 100 Greatest Public.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 12, 2011-12



Bandon, Ore. / 800-345-6008 / bandondunesgolf.com Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2005) 6,765 yards, Par 71 | Points: 61.5480

Bandon Trails is much like Spyglass Hill on the Monterey Peninsula, not directly adjacent to the Pacific Ocean but still a tremendous romp through coastal terrain. Its opening and finishing holes are in more rugged sand dunes than Spyglass, and while its forest holes might lack the towering drama of the Monterey pines found at Spyglass, the tumbling topography of Bandon Trails provides a majesty all its own.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2007. Highest ranking: No. 14, 2009-12 & present



Kohler, Wis. / 800-344-2838 / blackwolfrun.com Pete Dye (9 1988, A. 9 1990) 7,404 yards, Par 72 | Points: 61.0936

The first of several encounters with the serpentine Sheboygan River on the River Course is from the tee on the gorgeous par-4 fifth, but the water is so far right that it merely frames the picture. It creeps ever closer on the next few holes, always in the slice zone, until we reach the reachable par-4 ninth, where it taunts us to carry it and go directly for the green. The river hugs the next four holes too, then disappears, only to reappear on the last three holes, this time on the left. What a water park.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 11, 2005-06



French Lick, Ind. / 888-936-9360 / frenchlick.com Pete Dye (2009) 8,102 yards, Par 72 | Points: 60.9035

If you're foolish enough to want to play Pete Dye at French Lick from the tips, you'll do a lot of walking back from previous greens to those tees. From the 6,400-yard white markers, however, you'll breeze though an 18. Pete Dye and his companions have twice played the course from those tees in less than three-and-a-half hours, on foot. It's an incredibly easy walk for a mountain course. Pete Dye at French Lick was Golf Digest's Best New Public Course of 2009.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: No. 17, 2013-present

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Streamsong, Fla. / 863-428-1000 / streamsongresort.com / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2012) 7,148 yards, Par 72 | Points: 60.7601

Coore and Crenshaw's Red Course is one half of the hottest golf destination to open in America this decade. (The companion Blue Course, a Tom Doak design, is ranked No. 24.) Built from sand spoils resulting from a massive phosphate strip mine, with some piles formed into dunes reaching 75 feet into the air, the Red has a wonderful mix of bump-and-run links holes and target-like water holes. Some greens are perched like those at Pinehurst, others are massive with multi-levels, like those at St. Andrews. The Bermuda turf is firm and bouncy, and while the routing is sprawling, it's easily walkable.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present

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Hilton Head Island / 800-955-8337 / seapines.com Pete Dye & Jack Nicklaus (1969) 7,101 yards, Par 71 | Points: 60.6388

The 16th at Harbour Town has contributed a term to golf. Back when Pete Dye was building the course, he was asked to dispose of a huge quantity of sewer sludge from housing developments on Hilton Head, so he dug a big pit to the left of the par-4 16th, had it dumped in there, then covered it with acres of sand. The late golf writer Charlie Price, who lived on the island, took one look at it and dubbed it a "waste bunker." Actually, that's the sanitized version of what he called it. But "waste bunker" is the term that stuck.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 10, 2003-04

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Kapalua, Maui, HI/ 877-527-2582 / kapaluamaui.com / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1991) 7,411 yards, Par 73 | Points: 60.5165

Here's a curious fact: Kapalua's Plantation Course, built on old pineapple fields, is irrigated by the same system used a hundred years ago to water pineapples. A century-old stone aqueduct brings water from the top of a rain-soaked volcano down to a pond that sits 800 feet above the course. The pond supplies Kapalua's sprinkler system, which is pressurized solely by gravity.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 17, 2011-12

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Santa Cruz, Calif. / 831-459-9155 / pasatiempo.com Alister Mackenzie & Robert Hunter (1929) 6,500 yards, Par 70 | Points: 60.5110

Pasatiempo is arguably Alister Mackenzie's favorite design. After all, he lived along its sixth fairway during the last years of his life. With its elaborate greens and spectacular bunkering fully restored by Tom Doak, Pasatiempo is a classic example of Mackenzie's art. The back nine, playing repeatedly over deep barrancas, is a test for even the most talented of golfers. Presently dealing with drought conditions that restrict watering, Pasatiempo received a Golf Digest Green Star environmental award in 2014.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 18, 2003-04



Princeville, Kauai, HI / 800-826-1105 / princeville.com / Robert Trent Jones (9 1988, A. 9 1990) 7,378 yards, Par 72 | Points: 60.3330

The Prince is a prince, indeed. It was Golf Digest's Best New Resort Course of 1990 and a member of America's 100 Greatest from 1993 until 2013. It recently underwent a total renovation. The new and improved Prince now has Seashore Paspalum turf and some of the surrounding jungle cut back for playability. The clearing also improved views of both the Pacific surf to the north and jagged volcanic mountains to the south.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 9, 2007-08



Roscommon, Mich. / 939-275-0700 / forestdunesgolf.com Tom Weiskopf (2002) 7,116 yards, Par 72 | Points: 60.2002

Forest Dunes is another course, like Spyglass Hill, that has portions that look like Augusta National (pristine turf, pines and gleaming white sand bunkers) and other portions that look like Pine Valley (rugged holes edged by native sand dunes deposited by the nearby Au Sable River). Forest Dunes has clever greens with subtle contouring, with some treacherous pin positions, just beyond false fronts of steep putting surface or right beside fall-away ear lobes the lead off the sides of greens.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2007. Highest ranking: No. 18, 2009-10



Streamsong, Fla. / 863-428-1000 / streamsongresort.com Tom Doak (2012) 7,176 yards, Par 72 | Points: 60.1842

We suspect many a discussion will occur in Streamsong's 19th hole comparing the merits of both the Tom Doak-designed Blue Course and Coore and Crenshaw-designed Red Course (ranked No. 18). Our take: The Blue starts a bit more dramatically, with the back tee on hole one atop a 75-foot sand dune. It's also a bit more compact, since the Blue sits in the center with the Red Course looping around its outside edges. The Blue definitely has the bolder set of greens, some with massive shelves and dips. Bottom-line: Blue is no little brother. Many may well prefer it.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Bibawik, Minn. / 800-688-7669 / giantsridge.com Jeff Brauer (2003) 7,201 yards, Par 72 | Points: 60.1507

It doesn't get the press that courses like Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Whistling Straits or Arcadia Bluffs, but The Quarry at Giants Ridge plays very links-like with its collection of fairway speed slots, greenside backboards and backstops and reverse camber greens. Its very inventive design also demands some aerial play, too. A standout is its 13th, a drivable par 4 that's nearly as wide as it is long, with three alternate routes to a 100-yard-wide green.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2005. Highest ranking: No. 16, 2005-06 & 2011-12

University Place, Wash. / 253-460-4653 / chambersbaygolf.com Robert Trent Jones, Bruce Charlton & Jay Blasi (2007) 7,585 yards, Par 72 | Points: 59.9397

By the time Golf Digest named Chambers Bay as America's Best New Public Course of 2008, the USGA had already awarded the course the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open. At the Amateur, it proved to be hard, both in the firmness of its dry fescue turf (Jones called the fairways "hardwood floors") and its difficulties around and on the windswept greens. Some greens have been toned down, some fairways have been narrowed and a few new tee angles introduced. A nasty deep bunker now sits in the center of the 18th fairway. The 2015 U.S. Open should be an entertaining experience.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: No. 25, 2011-2014



Kohala Coast, HI / 808-882-5400 / maunakeabeachhotel.com / Robert Trent Jones (1965) 7,370 yards, Par 72 | Points: 59.7646

The immediate thrill at Mauna Kea is its iconic par-3 third, a daunting tee shot over an ocean cove that's a great substitute for those unable to gain an invitation to tackle the 16th at Cypress Point. The remaining holes at Mauna Kea are thrilling, too, with constant views of the ocean, awkward lies on sloping fairways and roughs of crunchy lava rock.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 17, 2003-04



Lanai City, Lanai, HI / 808-565-2222 / golfonlanai.com / Jack Nicklaus (1993) 7,039 yards, Par 72 | Points: 59.7266

If anything, this course, previously called The Challenge at Manele, should be even more popular than Mauna Kea, as it has not one, not two, but three ocean-cove holes, including the par-3 12th and dogleg-right par-4 17th. As it is, it ranks one position below and tiny fraction of a point behind Mauna Kea. Manele is used to being an underdog. It finished seventh in Golf Digest's ranking of Best New Resort Courses of 1994, well behind World Woods' Pine Barrens Course (which ranks No. 66 this year.)

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: Present



White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. / 855-453-4858 / greenbrier.com / C.B. Macdonald (1915) 7,274 yards, Par 70 | Points: 59.5518

C.B. Macdonald's nearly 100-year-old design of the Old White at The Greenbrier was always respected, but after Lester George's restoration (re-establishing such things as a Principal's Nose bunker and Dragon's Teeth mounds), Golf Digest panelists rediscovered its pleasures and ranked it the Best New Public Remodel of 2007. It now hosts The Greenbrier Classic, an annual event on the PGA Tour.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: Present



Hot Springs, Va. / 800-838-1766 / thehomestead.com William Flynn (1923) 6,667 yards, Par 70 | Points: 59.3979

As Wayne Morrison and Tom Paul point out in their massive, comprehensive biography of William Flynn, Seth Raynor was originally consulted about building the course, but declared the property insufficient. So the relative unknown Flynn got the job and made the most of it. The topography of the course is magnificent, the bunkering is superb (particularly the crossbunkers on 12 and 13) and the course finishes with a rare par-3 18th. Cascades was ranked by Golf Digest as one of America's 100 Greatest for 40 years and is No. 129 on our exclusive Second 100 Greatest ranking in 2013.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 4, 2003-04



Meadows of Dan, Va. / 866-960-7746 / primland.com Donald Steel (2006) 7,053 yards, Par 72 | Points: 59.3943

Just as Cascades is considered the one of nation's best mountain courses, so too is The Highland Course at Primland, named as 2007's Best New Public Course in the $75 and Over category. Primland sits atop a mountain plateau overlooking some of the most unusual scenery in America, a deep river valley dotted with tall spirals of rock. The course design by veteran British architect Donald Steel is austere in its green contours and bunkering, as if not to overpower the setting.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: No. 13, 2011-12



Colorado Springs / 800-634-7711 / broadmoor.com Donald Ross (9 1919)/Robert Trent Jones (A.9 1952) 7,355 yards, Par 72 | Points: 59.2039

Another classic mountain course, built hard against Cheyenne Mountain with green contours that pose optical illusions. Many putts that look uphill are actually running downhill. Few golfers recognize that the East is a combination of Donald Ross holes (one through six and 16 through 18) and Robert Trent Jones ones (holes seven to 15). It was the site of Jack Nicklaus's first U.S. Amateur win in 1959 and Annika Sorenstam's first U.S. Women's Open win in 1995. It has also hosted the 2008 U.S. Senior Open, won by Eduardo Romero, and 2011 U.S. Women's Open, won by So Yeon Ryu.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 22, 2007-08



Bend, Ore. / 866-372-1003 / pronghornclub.com Jack Nicklaus (2003) 7,379 yards, Par 72 | Points: 59.1894

When it first opened, Pronghorn was strictly private and its Nicklaus Course was ranked second by Golf Digest among America's Best New Private Courses of 2004. Four years ago, the club (which also has a Fazio-designed 18) began allowing public play on its Nicklaus track. Its back nine may be the most delightful Jack has ever designed, with gambling holes and gorgeous scenery at every turn.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: No. 23, 2011-12



St. Simons Island, Ga. / 855-572-4975 / seaisland.com Tom Fazio (1999) 7,055 yards, Par 70 | Points: 58.8388

The resort continues to credit H.S. Colt for its design, but in truth the present Seaside Course is purely Tom Fazio, who incorporated the original Colt-designed nine (called Seaside) and the Marshland nine designed in 1974 by Joe Lee to create a new 18-hole course. But in keeping with the resort's heritage, Fazio styled his new course in the manner of Colt, with big clamshell bunkers as well as exposed sand dunes off most of the windswept fairways.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 22, 2005-06



Valentine, Neb. / 888-402-1101 / theprairieclub.com Tom Lehman & Chris Brands (2010) 8,058 yards, Par 73 | Points: 58.6291

Both 18s at Nebraska's premier golf resort join the 100 Greatest Public this year. The Dunes Course, as the name implies, flows through a rumpled blanket landscape of the rugged, treeless, windswept sand hills of central Nebraska. Most fairways are generously broad, most greens are perched, tucked or otherwise half-hidden to reward only shots correctly placed at certain angles. The most fascinating hole comes early, the par-4 second with out-of-bounds indicated by a barbed-wire fence hard along the right from tee to green.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Saucier, Miss. / 877-805-4657 / fallenoak.com Tom Fazio (2006) 7,487 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.5557

Although it didn't get built for another 15 years, Fallen Oak was first conceived in the early 1990s by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn soon after Tom Fazio had completed Shadow Creek. Wynn wanted Fazio to design a similar course for his Beau Rivage casino hotel on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Wynn's empire got swallowed by MGM Grand, which ultimately had Fazio create Fallen Oak. Unlike Shadow Creek, it's built on rolling forest and wetlands, with no need for mammoth earth-moving.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: No. 18, 2009-10



Bluffton, S.C. / 866-706-6565 / palmettobluff.com Jack Nicklaus (2004) 7,171 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.5332

Built some 35 years after nearby Harbour Town Golf Links, May River is an interesting contrast in Jack Nicklaus's portfolio. It's an equally low-profile layout with a number of bump-and-run approach shots but with several Pine Valley-like waste areas and with larger, bolder greens. The classic routing has the front nine turning clockwise through forest while the back nine circles counter-clockwise. Both touch repeatedly on the wetlands of namesake May River.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: No. 22, 2009-12



West Point, Miss. / 662-494-6463 / oldwaverly.com Bob Cupp & Jerry Pate (1988) 7,000 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.5220

A carefully crafted design, Old Waverly was No. 3 among Best New Private Courses in 1989 and was the site of Juli Inkster's only U.S. Women's Open win, in 1999. It has twice been ranked among America's 100 Greatest, from 1995 to 1998 and from 2005 to 2006. Five years ago, the former private club became semi-private, began accepting outside play and soon made our ranking of America's 100 Greatest Public Courses. It now genuinely serves as a country club for the day.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: No. 29, 2011-12



La Jolla, Calif. / 800-985-4653 / torreypinesgolfcourse.com / William F. Bell (1957) 7,628 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.4638

Torrey Pines sits on one of the prettiest golf course sites in America, atop coastal bluffs north of San Diego with eye dazzling views of the Pacific. Rees Jones's remodeling of the South Course in the early 2000s not only made it competitive for the 2008 U.S. Open, it brought several coastal canyons into play for everyday golfers, especially on the par-3 third and par-4 14th. The USGA recently awarded Torrey Pines its second U.S. Open, to be held in 2021.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 38, 2013-14



La Quinta, Calif. / 800-742-9378 / pgawest.com Pete Dye (1986) 7,300 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.1697

Originally private, the TPC Stadium Course (the original 18 at PGA West) finished third in Golf Digest's survey of Best New Private Courses of 1986. It was also once among the rota of courses for the old Bob Hope Desert Classic, until some pros, objecting to its difficulty, petitioned to remove it. It's Pete Dye at his rambunctious best, with a finish that mimics his later design at TPC Sawgrass: a gambling par-5 16th (called San Andres Fault), a short par-3 17th to an island green and an intimidating par-4 18th with water hard against the left edge all the way to the green.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: Present100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 38, 2013-14



Mesquite, Nev. / 866-252-4653 / golfwolfcreek.com Dennis Rider (2000) 6,939 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.0777

Wolf Creek is a fantasy calendar come to life, with holes clinging to stark canyon hillsides and plunging down narrow ravines. A genuine amateur architect design (although Jim Engh provided an early routing), Wolf Creek finished third in Golf Digest's survey of America's Best New Upscale Public Courses of 2001, behind Pacific Dunes and Arcadia Shores. All three are now ranked among America's 100 Greatest Public Courses.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 21, 2009-10



Rhodes, Iowa / 641-227-4653 / harvestergolf.com Keith Foster (2000) 7,340 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.0494

The Harvester is a throwback design, incorporating the look, feel and playing qualities of classic old courses built 80 years ago by architects like Macdonald and Raynor. Holes that seem to emerge from the land, greens and bunkers have an angular appeal to them and other crisp-edged features flow in long horizons across the landscape. Harvester finished second among America's Best New Affordable Public Courses of 2001.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 21, 2005-06

West End, N.C. / 855-955-1999 / dormieclub.com Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2010) 6,883 yards, Par 71 | Points: 57.9830

Conceived as an exclusive private club just a few miles north of Pinehurst, the economic downturn forced owners to open its doors to outside play. The design is typical of Coore and Crenshaw, a timeless look where holes often play to targets obscured by landforms, bunkers or ground-hugging green contours. Play it soon. One never knows when Dormie will revert to its original business plan.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: No. 30, 2013-14

Photo credit: Sean Ogle, Breakingeighty.com



San Martin, Calif. / 408-695-4590 / cordevalle.com Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1999) 7,169 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.9520

Located in the little-known but abundant golfing area south of San Jose, the gorgeous CordeValle was a private club when it first opened, but is a high-end resort destination these days, with climbing and descending soft hills dotted by gnarled oaks. It hosted both the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur and PGA Tour's Frys.com Open in 2013 and will be the site of the U.S. Women's Open in 2016.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: Present

Havre de Grace, Md. / 888-285-5375 / bullerock.com Pete Dye (1998) 7,375 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.9002

This great course is built on the old Blenheim Farm, which had been the home of many thoroughbred race horses. Indeed, Bulle Rock is named for a direct descendant of the very first thoroughbred stud brought to America. Pete Dye's bold design spreads over 275 acres, with no homesites or amenities other than golf. Besides being named America's Best New Upscale Public Course of 1998, Bulle Rock hosted the LPGA Championship from 2005 through 2009.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 33, 2005-06

Boulder City, Nev. / 702-294-2005 / golfcascata.com Rees Jones (2001) 7,137 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.8709

One of the great engineering feats in golf thus far in this century, Cascata climbs up and down a steep, rocky mountain hillside southeast of Las Vegas. It's authentically Nevada on the edges, the barren areas akin to Wolf Creek in Mesquite, but its turfed areas, planted with date palms, ironwoods and willows, and crossed by endless babbling brooks, is something of a salute to nearby Shadow Creek. Cascata plays mostly uphill on the front, downhill on the longer back nine. The ninth tee is 600 feet above the clubhouse; it reportedly snowed on the ninth one day while people were dining on the clubhouse patio below.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: Present



Haven, Wis. / 855-444-2838 / whistlingstraits.com Pete Dye (2000) 7,201 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.7387

The Irish Course has the same manufactured dunescape found on its more famous sister Straits Course, but has three major differences. The fairways are bent grass, not fescue. Carts are allowed, although confined to cart paths. (It's walking only on the Straits. Both 18s are relatively easy to walk.) And the Irish has the only blind par 3 found at Whistling Straits, the 13th playing 183 yards over sand hills to a huge green ringed by more than a dozen bunkers. It doesn't get more Irish than that.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 30, 2009-10



Stanwood, Mich. / 800-972-4837 / tullymoregolf.com Jim Engh (2001) 7,250 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.6969

Architect Jim Engh doesn't do conventional. He does controversial. His Tullymore design in central Michigan has probably the longest, skinniest set of putting surfaces of any course on America's 100 Greatest Public, along with the longest, skinniest set of bunkers, most of which are deep trenches with repeating curvaceous banks that bring to mind Art Deco. Tullymore was Golf Digest's Best New Upscale Public Course of 2002, and was also ranked among America's 100 Greatest from 2007-2010.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 14, 2007-08



Pebble Beach / 800-654-9300 / pebblebeach.com Robert Trent Jones Jr., Tom Watson & Sandy Tatum (1987) 6,821 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.6485

The Links at Spanish Bay was the first true links course built in America in many decades, but it took years for conveyor belts to deposit sand atop exposed bed rock to return this mined-out sand quarry back to a linkland site. The trio of designers, playfully dubbed "The Holy Trinity," thoughtfully shaped an 18 that looks natural, plays strategically and is sensitive to the coastal wetland environment.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: Present



Myrtle Beach / 855-409-2177 / thedunesclub.net Robert Trent Jones (1949) 7,195 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.5941

Its ocean-side dunes are mostly covered with turfgrass and mature trees now, but when Robert Trent Jones built The Dunes back in the late 1940s, the property was primarily windswept sand dotted with lagoons. Those lakes come in prominently on many holes, particularly on the 11th through 13th, dubbed Alligator Alley. (The boomerang-shaped par-5 13th is called Waterloo.) The home hole, with a pond in front of the green, started as a gambling par 5 but today is a daunting par 4.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 15, 2003-04

Sunriver, Ore. / 800-801-8765 / sunriver-resort.com
Bob Cupp (1995) 7,683 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.5838

Part of Crosswater was reportedly built in the meadow where John Wayne, as Rooster Cogburn, filmed his climactic charge with guns blazing in the 1969 film, True Grit. The Bob Cupp design is far more subtle than a Wayne western, with low-profile greens edged by graceful chipping areas and fairways intersected repeatedly by the Big and Little Dechutes rivers. Crosswater was Golf Digest's Best New Resort Course of 1995.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 32, 2007-08

Course Details→



Verona, N.Y. / 877-748-4653 / turningstone.com Tom Fazio (2004) 7,315 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.5788

A stern championship test for a casino resort destination, Tom Fazio's Atunyote features a pond or wetlands in play on three of the first nine holes and on all but one hole on the back nine. Only a handful of holes play in mature woods, the rest have newly planted trees that are rapidly maturing. Atunyote hosted the 2006 BC Open on the PGA Tour, which became the Turning Stone Resort Championship in 2007 through 2010.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: Present



Lemont, Ill. / 866-264-4455 / coghillgolf.com Dick Wilson (1965) 7,554 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.5471

Some tour pros were critical of Rees Jones's remodeling of Cog Hill No. 4, insisting it's too hard for high handicappers. What did they expect? Its nickname is, after all, Dubsdread. And there are three easier courses at Cog Hill for high handicappers. Original owner Joe Jemsek wanted a ball-busting championship course when it was built back in the mid-1960s. Jones's renovation was true to the philosophy of original architect Dick Wilson, who liked to pinch fairways with bunkers and surround greens with more bunkers, all of them deep.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 8, 2003-04



Bend, Ore. / 541-388-2582 / tetherow.com | David McLay Kidd (2008) 7,298 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.4957

A decade after David McLay Kidd established his architectural reputation with the original Bandon Dunes course, he returned to Oregon, settled in Bend and built another dazzling course, Tetherow. Far different than Bandon, with a manufactured landscape of lumps and bumps, far more bunkers, plus a couple of lakes, it nonetheless has the same fescue as at Bandon, so tee shots get plenty of roll and some approach shots can be bounced into flagsticks.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: Present

Course Details→



Gordonsville, Va. / 540-832-0744 / springcreekgolfclub.com / Ed Carton (2006) 7,389 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.4881

Spring Creek was an upset winner of Golf Digest's 2007 award for America's Best New Public Course Under $75. With its sprawling bent-grass fairways and greens framed by a dense forest of hardwoods and massive sculpted bunkers, the course looks like a Tom Fazio design, for good reason. Designer Ed Carton learned the business working for Fazio, but he achieved Spring Creek at a fraction of a Fazio budget.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: Present



Eatonton, Ga. / 800-458-5351 / cuscowilla.com Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1998) 6,847 yards, Par 70 | Points: 57.2975

Part of a sterling list of Top Ten Best New Upscale Public Courses of 1999 (which included Bandon Dunes, Whistling Straits, Bay Harbor and Tobacco Road), the Golf Club at Cuscowilla has wowed our panelists with its variety of terrain, in piney woods, in meadows and along the waterfront of Lake Oconee. Its inverted-saucer greens are in keeping with the low profile design of the layout. From the day it opened, Cuscowilla has played firm and fast, years before that became popular.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 39, 2009-10



Tower, Minn. / 800-992-4680 / golfthewilderness.com Jeff Brauer (2004) 7,207 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.2253

In 2005, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay won America's Best New Upscale Public Course, a year after architect Jeff Brauer won the same award for No. 25 The Quarry at Giant's Ridge, also in northern Minnesota. Where The Quarry uses slopes and ramps, Wilderness rewards aerial play, with some high-low alternate fairways, lake-edged greens and a pair of drop-shot par 3s. As we wrote back in 2005, "its options outnumber its rock outcroppings, and there are outcroppings galore."

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: No. 40, 2011-12



Sandia Park, N.M. / 866-898-5987 / paakoridge.com Ken Dye (2000) 7,562 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.1634

Paa-Ko Ridge, Golf Digest's Best New Affordable Public Course of 2000, is quite long from the tips and regular tees. Yes, a golf ball carries farther at its 6,500-foot elevation, but Paa-Ko also plays long because both nines work up mountain foothills for several holes before playing downhill. The 496-yard par-4 seventh is the same shape and dimensions as the 10th at Augusta National and the back tees of the par-4 17th, atop a butte, affords perhaps the best vista in New Mexico. There are very wide and deep greens here, too, so a depth chart is a must.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 20, 2005-06



Pinehurst, N.C. / 855-235-8507 / pinehurst.com Richard Tufts (9 1951, A. 9 1953) 7,117 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.1474

Tom Fazio recently said that he felt his work at Pinehurst No. 4 was perhaps his best remodeling job to date. Confined by the existing corridors of the old layout, Fazio created an unusual complement to neighboring No. 2 Course by adding two new par 3 holes, styling the greens with slopes and run-offs, creating large expanses of native sand waste areas, and peppering the remaining landscape with 180 pot bunkers, most of them in clusters guarding doglegs and pin placements.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 42, 2005-06



Farmington, Pa. / 800-422-2736 / nemacolin.com Pete Dye (1995) 7,550 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.0964

Mystic Rock is one of the more curious courses Pete Dye ever designed, with mostly oval greens and rectangular bunkers. Because many holes were blasted from rock, some holes have fields of boulders in the rough and all water hazards are bulkheaded with stacked stone. The course concludes with Dye's favorite finish, a gambling par-5 16th, a 17th over water (in this case, 205 yards) and a now-strong par-4 18th. Mystic Rock's 18th was rebuilt and lengthened before the course hosted a PGA Tour event, the 84 Lumber Classic from 2003 to 2006.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: Present



Newport Coast, Calif. / 800-315-8214 / pelicanhill.com Tom Fazio (1991) 6,580 yards, Par 70 | Points: 57.0509

One highlight of Pelican Hill's Ocean South Course, which was Golf Digest's Best New Resort Course of 1992, are the 12th and 13th, back-to-back par 3s tucked on a ledge just above the Pacific Ocean, the latter hole with alternate greens. Although the rest of the course is farther from the coastline, mostly on highlands above the Pacific Coast highway, the entire 18 offers spectacular views and short but tricky holes.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: Present



Williamsburg, Va. / 800-648-6653 / colonialwilliamsburg.com

Robert Trent Jones (1963) 6,817 yards, Par 71 | Points: 57.0081

Back in 1966, Golden Horseshoe was ranked among America's 200 Toughest Courses by Golf Digest. How times change. In 2012, we ranked The Gold Course as one of America's 50 Most Fun Public Courses. "Trent Jones in his kinder, gentler persona," we wrote. "Even the island green seventh hole is a generous target."

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 32, 2009-10



Brainerd, Minn. / 800-642-5363 / maddens.com Scott Hoffmann, with Geoffrey Cornish, John Harris & Warren Rebholz (1996) 7,102 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.9954

The Classic is a genuine amateur architect design, although course superintendent Scott Hoffmann consulted with veteran course architect Geoff Cornish as well as others when creating The Classic at Madden's. It's beautiful but not for the faint of heart, a hilly course with some narrow, pine-lined fairways and occasional challenging shots over water from sidehill or downhill lies. But, like other multiple course operations such as Bethpage and Cog Hill, Madden's has easier alternate layouts for high-handicappers.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 33, 2003-04



Southern Pines, N.C. / 800-747-7272 pineneedles-midpines.com / Donald Ross (1928) 7,015 yards, Par 71 | Points: 56.9781

Whenever golfers visit Pinehurst, they always book rounds at Pinehurst No. 2 as well as the others at the resort. Pine Needles, just down the highway in Southern Pines, often gets overlooked. It shouldn't, especially since its Donald Ross heritage has been reinforced by a restoration by John Fought over 10 years ago. Pine Needles has hosted three U.S. Women's Opens, so was it being overlooked when the 2014 U.S. Women's Open was conducted at Pinehurst No. 2? No. The USGA has already indicated that Pine Needles will host another in the future.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2003-04 & since 2007. Highest ranking: No. 43, 2007-08



Princeville, Kauai / 808-826-1912 / makaigolf.com / Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1972) 7,223 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.9470

The first solo design of Robert Trent Jones Jr., Makai (called Princeville Makai when it opened in 1972) is situated on bluffs overlooking Kauai's Hanalei Bay and pipeline surf. Two of its three nines (the Lake and Ocean 9s) were re-grassed and re-bunkered in 2009 by Jones and partner Bruce Charlton, who also re-established the width of several holes. The untouched Woods 9, now considered the resort's walking course, provides a graphic reminder of how golf has changed in 43 years.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: Presen



Brooksville, Fla. / 352-796-5500 / worldwoods.com

Tom Fazio (1993) 7,259 yards, Par 71 | Points: 56.8215

Back when Golf Digest's named the Pine Barrens Course at World Wood's America's Best New Resort Course of 1994, most panelists said the layout, carved from a sand-based pine plantation, compared favorably to Pine Valley, with similar belts of sand and vegetation lining each hole. Pine Barrens also has some canyons of sand that jut into fairways and pose risks and rewards. The Pine Barrens Course was ranked among America's 100 Greatest from 1999 until 2003.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 26, 2003-06



North Plains, Ore. / 503-647-4747 / pumpkinridge.com / Bob Cupp (1992) 6,839 yards, Par 71 | Points: 56.8081

The once and future king of golf, Pumpkin Ridge's Ghost Creek Course was Golf Digest's Best New Public Course of 1992 and, with spectator vantage points installed during construction, was expected to host major championships. But the 1996 U.S. Amateur (the third and final win by Tiger Woods), the 1997 and 2003 U.S. Women's Opens and 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur were all played on the club's private 18, Witch Hollow. Still, a major could be in the cards for Ghost Creek someday. It's that good.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 48, 2005-06



San Antonio, Tex. / 888-363-6036 / tpcsanantonio.com / Greg Norman, with Sergio Garcia (2010) 7,435 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.7730

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Oaks Course, current host of the Valero Texas Open on the PGA Tour, are not the thousands of squat live oaks which edge most holes, but the vertical limestone back edges of several bunkers, formed when those bunkers were literally chiseled or blasted from the subsurface rock. The walls of rock add distinctive beauty and a bit of intimidation factor. Luckily for golfers, most of the bunkers don't have a hard rock edge to them. That includes the bunker positioned in the middle of the green on the par-3 16th. It's intimidating in a whole different way.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Austin / 866-572-7369 / bartoncreek.com / Tom Fazio (2000) / 7,153 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.6826

Unlike its older brother, the Fazio Foothills Course, which had been ranked among America's 100 Greatest Public in 2011-2012, the Fazio Canyons Course at Omni Barton Creek has wider corridors, softer slopes and more gentle bunkering. But it has plenty of water in play in the form of streams, creeks and ponds. The 561-yard 18th plays twice over the same serpentine boulder-edged creek.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2007. Highest ranking: No. 42, 2013-14



Sheboygan Falls, Wis. / 800-584-3285 / golfthebull.com / Jack Nicklaus (2003) 7,354 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.6647

Located less than a half mile down a highway from Blackwolf Run (thus reinforcing the old adage that great golf comes in clusters), The Bull was built from a legendary cattle operation breeding champion Holsteins that was indeed called Pinehurst Farms. The 18 weaves around homesites for the first three holes, then alternates stretches of holes into thick pines and back out onto pasture. Nicklaus designed a couple of interesting dual fairway holes and a surprising number of cross hazards.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: Present



Sanford, N.C. / 877-284-3762 / tobaccoroadgolf.com / Mike Strantz (1999) 6,554 yards, Par 71 | Points: 56.5662

The late Mike Strantz was the game's most unconventional course designer, and Tobacco Road was perhaps the best example of his unorthodoxy. In the horse-drawn-carriage neighborhood of Pinehurst No. 2, he created a landscape more suitable for motocross racing, with mammoth hills and deep craters. Each hole looks intimidating from the tee but reveals plenty of elbow room for tee shots and approaches, as well as spin-outs and crash landings.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: Present



Kohler, Wis. / 855-444-2838 / blackwolfrun.com / Pete Dye (9 1988, A.9 1989) 7,250 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.5514

Even before Pete Dye completed the River Course at Blackwolf Run, he had taken the front nine of the original Blackwolf Course (Best New Resort winner of 1988) and merged it with a newly-constructed nine to form the Meadows Valley Course. Although the Sheboygan River isn't in play as much on Meadows Valley as it is on the River (the 18th hole plays over it), there are plenty of deep bunkers and tricky pin positions.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: No. 60, 2011-12



Pawleys Island, S.C. / 800-483-6800 / fishclub.com / Mike Strantz (1994) 6,526 yards, Par 70 | Points: 56.5218

Caledonia, the first solo design in the short, brilliant career of Mike Strantz, is an 18 shoehorned into an oak-dotted sand-dune parcel so tight that the ninth is a pitch-shot par 3 over the entry road to a wide green that's smaller than the bunker fronting it. No room for a practice range, either. Players use the one across the highway at sister course True Blue, another Strantz gem.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2003-10 & since 2013. Highest ranking: No. 66, 2009-10



Nashport, Ohio / 740-763-1100 / longabergergolfclub.com / Arthur Hills (1999) 7,243 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.5064

Designer Hills called Longaberger "probably as beautiful a piece of property as I've ever had to work with," when he built the course over 15 years ago. Told to route the course to preserve as many trees as possible, Hills made the brawny Longaberger wander gracefully from ridge top to valley, testing every shot with uphill, downhill and sidehill lies. It's Arthur Hills's most natural design, and it won Golf Digest's award for Best New Upscale Public Course of 2000.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 51, 2013-14



Valentine, Neb. / 888-402-1101 / theprairieclub.com / Graham Marsh (2010) 7,403 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.3803

Not as pure a Nebraska sandhills experience as sister Dunes Course, which is ranked No. 35, the Pines Course has just 11 holes playing in the tumbling prairie topography. It repeatedly touches the edge of a deep canyon formed by the Snake River. Those seven holes (6 & 7, 10 & 11 and 16 through 18) are lined with tall pines and cedars and bring to mind a collection of holes in the Colorado Rockies. For pure golfing variety, Prairie Club rivals even Bandon Dunes.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Linville, N.C. / 800-742-6717 / eseeola.com / Donald Ross (1926) 6,959 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.3775

It's not the oldest course in North Carolina. That was an earlier Linville Golf Club. This one, in much the same location, is a Donald Ross design started in 1922 that took four years to complete. It has a surprising number of parallel holes and a surprising number of unbunkered greens, but several holes are menaced by Grandmother Creek and nearly all of them afford views of Grandfather Mountain.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: Present



Gothenburg, Neb. / 308-537-7700 / playwildhorse.com / Dan Proctor & Dave Axland (1999) 6,955 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.3307

Proctor and Axland, two of the country's best golf course shapers (they've worked on many Coore & Crenshaw projects) also team on occasion to build high-quality, low-profile, low-budget daily-fee layouts. Wild Horse is perhaps their finest, laid out on the southern edge of the Nebraska sand hills and patterned after the great Sand Hills Golf Club to the northwest, which both Proctor and Axland helped build. With green fees under $50 on weekdays and just over $50 on weekends, Wild Horse is a true bargain among America's 100 Greatest Public.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Kahuku, Oahu, HI / 808-293-8574 / turtlebayresort.com / Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay & Erik Larsen (1992) 7,218 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.2944

Back when it was known as The Links at Kuilima, the course finished fourth in Golf Digest's survey of Best New Resort Courses of 1993. Today, it's one of two from that Top 5 from that ranking to be included among 2015's ranking America's 100 Greatest Public. (The other is No. 95 Great Waters.) Turtle Bay's best hole is the elaborately bunkered par-4 17th, which plays to a stunning green perched on Oahu's north shore. The course was the site of the Turtle Bay Championship on the Champions Tour from 2001-2003 and 2005-2008.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: Present



Wolcott, Colo. / 866-873-3759 / redskygolfclub.com / Greg Norman (2003) 7,580 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.2833

There are two 18s at Red Sky Ranch, one by Greg Norman, the other designed by Tom Fazio, No. 86 on this year's ranking. Public play on each alternates on a daily basis. A ridgeline separates the two courses (the ridge designated as a wildlife corridor), with the Norman 18 positioned on an old sheep ranch on the western slope, affording long-range views of the Rockies to the west and south as well as gorgeous sunsets. Typical of a Norman design, the greens are big but docile and the bunkering is plentiful and dramatically shaped.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: No. 70, 2013-14



Pinehurst, N.C. / 800-487-4653 / pinehurst.com / Tom Fazio (1996) 7,092 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.1970

Located not within the Pinehurst Resort complex but about a mile north, Pinehurst No. 8 is one of Tom Fazio's most versatile designs, as each hole plays differently from the previous. The front nine is mostly tree-lined, the back more open, with both touching on ponds, marsh and Pine Valley-like sandy wastelands. For putting surfaces, Fazio built crowned greens with greenside swales, intended as a salute to Donald Ross and Pinehurst No. 2.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 44, 2005-06



Acme, Mich. / 231-534-6000 / grandtraverseresort.com / Jack Nicklaus (1984) 7,078 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.1724

Another out-and-back routing (the eighth green is the farthest point from the clubhouse), the Nicklaus-designed Bear leap-frogs over 12 water hazards between first and last hole. Built at the height of the mania of difficult golf, The Bear had at one time the highest course and slope ratings in the country. But that phase has passed. They no longer even post them on the scorecard.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: No. 72, 2013-14



Verona, N.Y. / 877-748-4653 / turningstone.com / Robert Trent Jones Jr. & Ty Butler (2003) 7,105 yards, Par 72 | Points: 56.0961

Another course at New York's Turning Stone Resort ranked among the Top 100 Public, Kaluhyat opened a year before sister course, No. 52 Atunyote. Kaluhyat is an out-and-back routing (like The Bear at Grand Traverse, the eighth green is farthest from the clubhouse) on a hilly piece of property, with 50 feet of elevation change. It has more forested holes, more water hazards and forced carries than Atunyote.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: No. 71, 2013-14



Courtesy of French Lick
French Lick, Ind. / 888-936-9360 / frenchlick.com / Donald Ross (1922) 7,030 yards, Par 70 | Points: 56.0554

Even before the Donald Ross Course at French Lick hosted the 1924 PGA Championship, one golf writer gushed, "It's the kind of course that would make an old hard-nosed Scot stand on the first tee and cry like a baby. This course is no place for prissy fashion boys. People don't perspire on it, they sweat." While the far newer Pete Dye Course at French Lick now better resembles that description, the Ross Course, faithfully restored by Lee Schmidt, is much as it was back in 1922, a timeless classic design.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2011. Highest ranking: Present



Bay Harbor, Mi. / 231-439-4028 / bayharborgolf.com / Arthur Hills, with Stephen Kircher (9 1996, A.9 1998) 6,724 yards, Par 70 | Points: 56.0036

One of three grand "new Pebble Beaches" that debuted in the late 1990s, Bay Harbor was ranked third in Golf Digest's survey of Best New Upscale Public Courses of 1999, behind the twin juggernauts (and fellow Pebble Beach clones) Bandon Dunes and Whistling Straits. Bay Hill consists of 27 holes, but we rank its Links 9, which plays mostly on a plateau overlooking Lake Michigan, and its Quarry 9, which dips in and out of a lakefront stone quarry.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 23, 2007-08



Green Lake, Wis. / 800-529-4453 / lawsonia.com / William Langford & Theodore Moreau (1930) 6,853 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.9612

The geometric shapes and steep, angular slopes of Lawsonia's massive green pads and deep bunkers have led many to conclude it's a Seth Raynor design, which it is not. Langford and Moreau built the course using steamshovels, which resulted in most of those distinctive landforms. The par-3 seventh has another explanation entirely. Its green, perched like a birthday cake, was formed by piling dirt over an old railroad boxcar.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Wolcott, Colo. / 970-754-8425 / redskygolfclub.com / Tom Fazio (2002) 7,113 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.9612

The companion to No. 79 Norman Course at Red Sky, the Fazio 18 features more elevation change, with the mostly open front nine atop a bluff dotted with hand-planted sage and juniper bushes and the back nine rising in switchback fashion far up a mountain slope through groves of aspen before plunging downhill on the final three holes. The bunkers here are some of Fazio's most elaborate.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Belgrade Lakes, Maine / 207-495-4653 / belgradelakesgolf.com / Clive Clark (1998) 6,723 yards, Par 71 | Points: 55.8117

Brit Clive Clark was a five-time winner on the European Tour before becoming a well-regarded course architect in Great Britain. Belgrade Lakes, his first design in America, involved the carving of holes through pine forest and the blasting of half a million tons of glacial rock. Holes not lined with towering trees are framed by huge piles of gray boulders, some piles nearly 20 feet high. The effect is definitely unique.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked from 2003-10 and present Highest ranking: No. 63, 2005-06 and 2009-10



Coeur d'Alene, Idaho / 208-667-4653 / cdaresort.com / Scott Miller (1991) 6,803 yards, Par 71 | Points: 55.8007

Everybody plays Coeur d'Alene Resort for the experience of hitting to its famous floating island green par-3 14th, which is certainly worth the trip. But the rest of the immaculate par 71 design is terrific too, especially its four other par 3 holes, including the back-to-back downhill fifth and sixth with Lake Coeur d'Alene as their backdrop.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: No. T74, 2011-12



Newport Coast, Calif. / 877-735-4226 / pelicanhill.com / Tom Fazio (1993) 6,825 yards, Par 71 | Points: 55.7620

The slightly younger companion to No. 61 Ocean South at Pelican Hill, the Ocean North Course (previously called the Links Course) is a bit longer and a bit farther inland. Some holes are on higher plateaus, too, which provide for even more scenic Pacific vistas. Only one pond is in play, on the inside corner of the par-5 17th, but deep canyons must be carried several times during a round, including on the approach off the dogleg right 18th.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2005-06, 2011-12 & present Highest ranking: No. 80, 2011-12



Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif./ 207-495-4653 / trumpnationallosangeles.com / Pete & Perry Dye (1999) 7,252 yards, Par 71 / Points: 55.7457

Formerly called Ocean Trails, this Dye design has always featured scenic Pacific Ocean views from every tee box and green, but soon after it opened, it lacked three holes. A landslide took a crevice out of the 18th fairway and stranded two other holes. With some guidance by Tom Fazio, new owner Donald Trump repaired the 18th ("the most expensive hole in golf," with an estimated reconstruction price tag of $65 million). He also remodeled all others, adding wider landing areas, flashy bunkering and waterfall features behind the first and 17th greens.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2009-12 & present. Highest ranking: Present



Choctaw, Miss. / 866-447-3275 / dancingrabbitgolf.com / Tom Fazio & Jerry Pate (1997) 7,128 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.7144

Each hole is framed by towering oaks and pines, but it's thousands of azaleas that transform Dancing Rabbit's Azaleas Course into a public Augusta National each spring. Creeks meander through the course, guarding targets on several holes, but the only pond in play edges the long, narrow 18th green. The same designers also did Dancing Rabbit's other 18, the Oaks Course, which could someday be a contender for 100 Greatest Public. A decade ago, Hurricane Katrina performed an impromptu remodeling of it, removing over a thousand trees. Somehow, the Azaleas Course was left untouched.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2003-08 & present Highest ranking: No. 70, 2005-06

Poway, Calif. / 858-451-8500 / maderasgolf.com / Damian Pascuzzo & Johnny Miller (1999) 7,167 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.6708

A rare core design with residential homes amidst rock-dotted hillsides around its perimeter, Maderas features ponds, lakes, creek gulches, dry washes, canyons and chasms as hazards and sports some of the longest greens in southern California. Its setting below the San Jacinto mountain range is invigorating. Practice sidehill and downhill lies before playing Maderas, as its fairways have few flat spots.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: No. 89, 2013-14

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Santa Barbara, Calif. / 805-968-1541 / sandpipergolf.com / William F. Bell (1972) 7,159 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.6374

On bluffs adjacent to the Pacific outside Santa Barbara, Sandpiper occupies land only slightly less spectacular than No. 39 Torrey Pines (another William F. Bell design), with certain holes, like the par-3 11th, actually closer to the surf than anything at Torrey. Corridors are comfortably wide to accommodate windy conditions. Greens on holes like the par-4 10th and par-5 13th are perhaps the earliest versions of a current design trend, "infinity greens" that hug the horizon with a vast ocean beyond.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Anaconda, Mont. / 805-968-1541 / oldworks.org / Jack Nicklaus (1997) 7,705 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.6371

Old Works is proof that one man's toxic waste site can be another's golfing paradise. The first golf course ever built on an EPA-designated Superfund site, Old Works sits atop the remains of a 19th Century copper ore processing plant that left behind high quantities of arsenic in the soil. Hints of the old operation were incorporated in the course design, including furnace calciners, smelting ovens, brick foundations, a 150-foot tall concrete flue and black slag bunker sand. With green fees in the $60 range, Old Works is the most affordable Jack Nicklaus design around.

100 Greatest Public History: 2003-2010 & present. Highest ranking: No. 67, 2009-10



Eatonton, Ga. / 800-800-5250 / reynoldsplantation.com / Jack Nicklaus (1992) 6,698 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.6286

Early in his design career, Jack Nicklaus said he would design resort courses differently than championship ones. Great Waters is a vivid example of that intent. With a routing that features 10 holes on Lake Oconee, Jack and his associate Jim Lipe worked hard to vary the encounters with water. On one hole it's a carry off a tee, on another, it's beside a green, while on a couple, it's a cove in front of a green. Every encounter features a generous bailout option. Another concession to resort golfers: the greens are big but simple, with few complex contours.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2003-08 & present Highest ranking: No. 61, 2005-06



Worley, Idaho / 800-532-2464 / cdacasino.com/golf / Gene Bates (2003) / 7,189 yards, Par 72 / Points: 55.5824

An amenity for the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort, a few miles southwest of Lake Coeur d'Alene, Circling Raven has open meadows holes and pine-lined holes, each separated from the other by a railroad bed. So expansive that it requires a cart, Circling Raven's wide open spaces make it fun to play with a free-wheeling game, particularly the 336-yard 10th, which tempts us to aim right for the green over a vast expanse of wetlands.

Highest ranking: No. 61, 2009-2010

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Orlando / 407-876-2429 / bayhill.com / Dick Wilson (1962) / 7,3815 yards, Par 72 / Points: 55.5832

Home of Arnold Palmer since the late 1960s, when he bought the place, Bay Hill has hosted the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational since 1979. In 2009, Palmer and his design team (which is also based at Bay Hill) redesigned the entire championship 18. One novel approach was to flatten the perimeter of greens, because Tour officials like placing pins close to the edges, and contouring the center portions of the putting surfaces, where average players will aim. The bunkering was also dramatically improved, making Bay Hill the consummate design of Arnold Palmer.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2003-10 & present Highest ranking: No. 24, 2003-04



Hollister, Mo. / 888-772-9990 / big-cedar.com / Tom Fazio (1999) / 7,036 yards, Par 71 / Points: 55.5746

This is the old Branson Creek G.C., recently purchased and rebranded by Johnny Morris of Bass Pro Shops fame. Original designer Fazio and his son recently returned to reshape certain holes and much of the bunkering. Under direction from Morris, they also grassed many hillsides of rock left exposed in the original design. Corridors originally intended as housing development lots were converted by Morris into fenced buffalo pastures along several holes. Yes, those are real buffalos on the ridges at Buffalo Ridge.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked 2003-10 & since 2015. Highest ranking: No. 59, 2005-06



Kailua-Kona, Hawaii / 808-325-8480 / hualalairesort.com / Jack Nicklaus (1996) 7,117 yards, Par 72 / Points: 55.5494

Hualalai has long hosted an annual Champions Tour stop. In 2015, it's the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. Laid out entirely on ancient jagged lava fields, the course moves up and across slopes for much of the front nine, returns to the clubhouse at 14 and then descends toward the sea, with the often-photographed par-3 17th right on the coast. Like the Greg Norman-designed 16th at TPC San Antonio, the Nicklaus-designed par-3 12th at Hualalai features a bunker smack in the center of the green. Obviously, that feature is a favorite of tour pro designers.

100 Greatest Public History: Newly ranked. Highest ranking: Present



Wailea, Maui, Hawaii / 888-328-6284 / waileagolf.com / Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1993) 7,078 yards, Par 72 | Points: 55.5282

Wailea's Gold Course was fashioned by using parts of the resort's old Orange Course. (Other holes of the Orange are now part of Wailea's Emerald Course.) The Gold finished ninth in Golf Digest's survey of America's Best New Resort Courses of 1994 behind, among others, No. 28 Manele Golf Club and No. 66 World Woods Pine Barrens. Wailea Gold has retained its stature with our panelists in the past 21 years.

100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2009. Highest ranking: No. T74, 2011-12