2013-14 Ranking: America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses

The game's oldest ranking, established in 1966
Single Page | Methodology | By The Numbers | America's 100 Greatest Public Courses | Best In State

February 2013
Pine Valley GC

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 1: 1985-2000,
2003-'08 & present

(Rank among 2011's 100 Greatest listed in parentheses)
Pine Valley, N.J. / George Crump & H.S. Colt (1918)
7,057 yards, Par 70 | Points: 71.9201
A genuine original, with its unique character forged from the sandy pine barrens of southwest New Jersey. Founder George Crump had help with the routing from British architect H.S. Colt and during construction notable designers such as A.W. Tillinghast, George C. Thomas Jr. and Walter Travis stopped by to make suggestions. Subsequent generations have continued to marvel at Pine Valley's design. Robert Trent Jones felt it had more classic holes than any other and regarded it as the first course that truly tested every club in the bag. What we wrote in 1999 remains true today: Pine Valley blends all three schools of golf design -- penal, heroic and strategic -- throughout the course, often on a single hole.
Augusta National G.C. No. 13

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 1, 2009-2012

Augusta, Ga. / Alister Mackenzie & Bobby Jones (1933)
7,435 yards, Par 72 | Points: 71.9171
No club has tinkered with its golf course as often or as effectively over the decades as has Augusta National Golf Club, mainly to keep it competitive for the annual Masters Tournament, an event it has conducted since 1934, with time off during WWII. All that tinkering has resulted in an amalgamation of design ideas, with a routing by Alister Mackenzie and Bobby Jones, some Perry Maxwell greens, some Trent Jones water hazards, some Jack Nicklaus mounds and swales and, most recently, extensive rebunkering by Tom Fazio.
Cypress Point Club: Hole 16

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 2, 1987-1988.

Pebble Beach / Alister Mackenzie (1928)
6,524 yards, Par 72 | Points: 69.4473
Glamorous Cypress Point, Alister Mackenzie's masterpiece woven through cypress, sand dunes and jagged coastline, wasn't always the darling of America's 100 Greatest. Golf Digest demoted it to the Fifth Ten back in the early 1970s, saying, "It's not surprising that good players might find Cypress Point wanting: it has several easy holes and a weak finisher." Our panel has since changed its collective opinion and in our exclusive ranking of America's Most Fun Courses (Sept. 2012), Cypress was the No. 1 Private Fun Course. In the 2000s, member Sandy Tatum, the former USGA president who christened Cypress Point as the Sistine Chapel of golf, convinced the club not to combat technology by adding new back tees, but instead make a statement by celebrating its original architecture. So Cypress remains timeless, if short, its charm helped in part by superintendent Jeff Markow, who re-established Mackenzie's unique bunkering with the help of old photographs.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club: Hole 18

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 48 of 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 2, 2007-2008

Southampton, N.Y. / William Flynn (1931)
7,041 yards, Par 70 | Points: 68.9010
Shinnecock Hills is generally considered to be the earliest links in America, heavily remodeled twice by C.B. Macdonald, then replaced (except for three holes) by William S. Flynn at the start of the depression. It's been considered so sublime that its architecture hasn't really been fiddled with in nearly 50 years, although the team of Coore and Crenshaw (who recently turned Pinehurst No. 2 back three-quarters of a century) are presently contemplating modest changes to prepare Shinnecock for the 2018 U.S. Open.
Oakmont C.C.: Hole No. 3

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 4, 2003-2004
& 2011-2012

Oakmont, Pa. / Henry Fownes (1903)
7,255 yards, Par 71 | Points: 68.5310
Once the epitome of a green chairman gone crazy (old man William C. Fownes would stake out new bunkers whenever and where ever he saw a player hit an offline shot), Oakmont now represents the zenith of architectural restoration. It began with the deforestation of thousands of non-native trees planted by decades of green committees and continued with Tom Fazio's reclamation of the game's nastiest, most notorious bunkers and deep drainage ditches. Oh yes, Oakmont also has the game's swiftest putting surfaces. They actually slow them down for professional tournament play, like the upcoming U.S. Open in 2016.
Merion G.C. (East): Hole No. 11

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 5, 1989-1990
& 1995-1996

Ardmore, Pa. / Hugh Wilson (1912)
6,886 yards, Par 70 | Points: 68.2018
Merion East has long been considered the best course on the tightest acreage in America, but back in 1999 we showed it little respect, writing: "It's unlikely this four-time host will ever entertain another U.S. Open -- the club simply lacks the space to accommodate a modern major." How foolish we were. The U.S. Open returns to Merion in 2013. Of course, they'll have to close off some streets that run beside the course and rent neighbors' front yards to accommodate skyboxes and corporate tents. But what a treat it will be to see today's generation tackle a little old course with knee-deep rough, wicker-basket flags and bunkers that stare back at golfers.
Pebble Beach G. Links: Holes No. 6 and

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 1, 2001-2002

Pebble Beach / Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919)
6,828 yards, Par 72 | Points: 68.1169
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 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 the ocean cove on eight from atop a 75-foot-high bluff. Pebble was voted the Most Fun Public Course by our panelists last September, and it's become one of the most popular major championship venues of all time. It will host another U.S. Amateur in 2018, and the very next year it will host its sixth U.S. Open.
Winged Foot G.C. (West): Hole No. 2

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 5, 1985-1988

Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923)
7,258 yards, Par 72 | Points: 66.9940
Gone are all the Norway Spruce that once squeezed every fairway of Winged Foot West. It's now gloriously open and playable, at least until one reaches the putting surfaces, perhaps the finest set of green contours the versatile architect A.W. Tillinghast ever did. Rumor has it that when he built the course in the early 1920s, he placed most of them atop granite rock outcroppings and slanted and canted them for drainage. These days, they look like giant mushrooms at the end of fairways, curled and slumped around the edges, proving that as a course architect, A.W. Tillinghast was not a fun guy.
Sand Hills G.C.: Holes 17 and 18

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 16 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 9, 2011-2014

Mullen, Neb. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1994)
7,089 yards, Par 71 | Points: 66.7645
The Sand Hills golf course wasn't so much designed as discovered. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw trudged over and over a thousand acres of rolling sand hills in central Nebraska, flagging out naturally-occurring fairways and greens. When they finished, their routing map had a hundred different holes on it. They slowly reduced it to 18. (That original 100-hole routing now hangs in the clubhouse. They call it the Constellation Map.) By moving just 4,000 cubic yards of earth, and letting the winds shape (and reshape) the bunkers, the duo created what is undoubtedly the most natural golf course in America.
Fishers Island Club (Hole No. 4)

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 20 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 9, 2009-2010

Fishers Island, N.Y. / Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926)
6,566 yards, Par 72 | Points: 66.7348
One of the last grand designs of Seth Raynor, who died in early 1926, Fishers Island was probably his consummate work. His steeply-banked bunkers and geometric greens harmonize perfectly with the linear panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. The quality of the holes is also superb, with all Raynor's usual suspects, including not one but two Redan greens, one on a par 4. On Golf Digest's 2012 ranking of Most Fun Private Courses, Fishers Island ranks No. 2, behind only Cypress Point.
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today