Golf Digest editors picks
Paa-Ko Ridge G.C.
Sandia Park, N.M. / 866-898-5987 / paakoridge.com
7,562 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.3951
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 tee 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.
Barton Creek C.C.
Austin / 866-572-7369 / bartoncreek.com
7,153 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.3836
Unlike its older brother, the Fazio Foothills Course, which had been among America's 100 Greatest Public in 2011-2012 but slipped off this year, the Fazio Canyons courses at Barton Creek has wider corridors, softer slopes and more gentle bunkering. But it also has plenty of water in play, in the form of streams, creeks and ponds. The 561-yard 18th is especially water laden, playing over the same serpentine boulder-edged creek twice.
PGA West (TPC Stadium)
La Quinta, Calif. / 800-742-9378 / pgawest.com
7,300 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.2131
Originally private, the TPC Stadium Course (the original 18 at PGA West) was a candidate for Golf Digest's Best New Private Course of 1986. It finished third. It was also once involved in the old Bob Hope Desert Classic, until some pros petitioned to remove it. It's one of Pete Dye's 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.
Pinehurst Resort No. 4
Pinehurst, N.C. / 855-235-8507 / pinehurst.com
7,117 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.1893
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 and then peppering the land with 180 pot bunkers, most of them in clusters guarding doglegs and pin placements.
Tullymore G.C.
Stanwood, Mich. / 800-972-4837 / stivesgolf.com
7,250 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.1096
Architect Jim Engh doesn't do conventional. 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 knobs 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.
The Harvester G.C.
Rhodes, Iowa / 641-227-4653 / harvestergolf.com
7,340 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.0993
The Harvester is a throwback design, incorporating the look, feel and playing qualities of classic old courses built 75 years ago. Holes 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 to The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa, which is ranked No. 99 on this year's 100 Greatest Public.
Pine Needles
Southern Pines, N.C. / 800-747-7272 / pineneedles-midpines.com
7,015 yards, Par 71 | Points: 58.0740
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 was reinforced by a restoration by John Fought nearly 10 years ago. Pine Needles has hosted two U.S. Women's Opens, so was it being overlooked when the 2014 U.S. Women's Open was awarded to Pinehurst No. 2? No. The USGA has already indicated that Pine Needles will host another sometime in the future.
Promontory
Park City, Utah / 888-458-6600 / promontoryclub.com
7,615 yards, Par 72 | Points: 58.0120
Pete Dye's elder son Perry Dye loves the challenge of tough sites (he's moved mountains to build several in Japan), so it wouldn't be surprising to learn that Perry convinced Pete that a great course could be carved from this rugged Utah terrain. Some holes plunge down crevices between mountain slopes. Others leapfrog over badlands of rock and sagebrush. As with most Dye designs, the greens are tricky, the bunkering extensive and there's rarely a level lie. Unbelievable vistas enhance any round at Promontory.
Crosswater
Sunriver, Ore. / 800-801-8765 / sunriver-resort.com
7,683 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.9060
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.
Mattaponi Springs G.C.
Ruther Glen, Va. / 804-633-7888 / mattaponisprings.com
6,937 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.8952
Mattaponi Springs was carved from a dense Virginia pine forest by Bob Lohmann and his then-associate Mike Benkusky, the team that also produced (in the same year) the private Canyata in Illinois, ranked No. 37 on Golf Digest's new ranking of America's 100 Greatest. Mattaponi finished second to Minnesota's Wilderness at Fortune Bay in our survey of America's Best New Upscale Public Courses of 2005.
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