CordeValle G.C.
San Martin, Calif. / 408-695-4590 /
7,169 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.4361
Located in the little-known but abundant golfing area south of San Jose, the gorgeous CordeValle, climbing and descending soft hills dotted with gnarled oaks, was a private club when it first opened, but is a high-end resort destination these days and a popular tournament host. Besides hosting the U.S. Women's Senior Amateur in late September 2013, it will officially kick off the PGA Tour's newly expanded 2013-2014 season with the Open in the second week of October 2013.
Blackwolf Run (Meadow Valleys)
Kohler, Wis. / 855-444-2838 /
7,250 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.3602
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. The Sheboygan River isn't in play as much on Meadows Valley as it is on the River, but there are plenty of deep bunkers and tricky pin positions.
Pumpkin Ridge G.C.
North Plains, Ore. / 503-647-4747 /
6,839 yards, Par 71 | Points: 57.3290
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 positioned 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. A major could still be in the cards for Ghost Creek. It's that good.
Cog Hill G. & C.C.
Lemont, Ill. / 866-264-4455 /
7,554 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.3111
Some tour pros were critical of Rees Jones's remodeling of Cog Hill No. 4, insisting it's too hard for high handicappers. Well, its nickname is, after all, Dubsdread. That's because 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.
Bay Harbor G.C.
Bay Harbor, Mi. / 231-439-4028 /
6,724 yards, Par 70 | Points: 57.2948
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.
Tetherow G.C.
Bend, Ore. / 541-388-2582 /
7,298 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.2734
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, plus a couple of lakes, it nonetheless has the same fescue as at Bandon, so tee shots get plenty of roll and approach shots can be bounced to flagsticks.
The Classic at Madden's
Brainerd, Minn. / 800-642-5363 /
7,102 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.2500
It's a genuine amateur architect design, although course superintendent Scott Hoffmann consulted with a veteran designer 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 alternative layouts for high-handicappers.
Pelican Hill G.C.
Newport Coast, Calif. / 800-315-8214 /
6,580 yards, Par 70 | Points: 57.2294
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 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 challenging golf.
Black Lake G.C.
Onaway, Mich. / 989-733-4653 /
7,046 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.2097
Black Lake was a definite departure from the usual style of architect Rees Jones. There's not an artificial mound to be found on the course. It has an old-fashioned northeastern look, playing around cranberry bogs and a small sand quarry, with holes meshing seamlessly into the surrounding terrain and dense tree lines. Greens are mostly plateaus with bunkers recessed into the faces. Black Lake was runner-up to Longaberger in Golf Digest's survey of Best New Upscale Public Courses of 2000.
Red Sky G.C. (Norman)
Wolcott, Colo. / 866-873-3759 /
7,580 yards, Par 72 | Points: 57.1690
There are two 18s at Red Sky Ranch, one by Greg Norman, the other designed by Tom Fazio. 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 a western slope, affording long-range views of the Rockies to the west and south. The equally scenic Fazio, facing eastward, scored below what was needed to make America's 100 Greatest Public.
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today