National G. Links of America: Holes No. 2 and 16

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 32 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 10, 2005-2006
& 2011-2012

Southampton, N.Y. / C.B. Macdonald (1911)
6,935 yards, Par 72 | Points: 66.5795
This is where Seth Raynor got his start. A civil engineer by training, he surveyed holes for architect C.B. Macdonald, who scientifically designed National Golf Links as a fusion of his favorite features from grand old British golf holes. One early critic claimed Macdonald overlooked the principles behind the holes while copying their outward appearances, but others soon recognized that Macdonald's versions were actually superior in strategy to the originals. National's design is still studied today by golf architects, its holes now replicated elsewhere.
Crystal Downs C.C.: Hole No. 9

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 26 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 10, 2007-2008

Frankfort, Mich. / Alister Mackenzie & Perry Maxwell (1931)
6,518 yards, Par 70 | Points: 66.5741
Perry Maxwell, the Midwest Associate of architect Alister Mackenzie, lived in Michigan while constructing the course to the good doctor Mackenzie's plans, but there's plenty of evidence that Maxwell exercised considerable artistic license on some of the holes. No matter. Crystal Downs is marvelously quirky, with fairways that zigzag and rumble over the landscape and greens that have doglegs in them. One drawback is that the putting surfaces are so old-fashioned that they're too steep for today's green speeds. The club keeps a running tally on how many putts end up off the putting surface.
Seminole G.C.: Hole 5

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 8, 1985-1986
& 1989-1990

Juno Beach, Fla. / Donald Ross (1929)
6,836 yards, Par 72 | Points: 66.3457
There's something majestic in this Donald Ross design, particularly in his clever routing on a rectangular site, with each succeeding hole encountering a new wind direction. The greens are no longer Ross originals, replaced 50 years ago in a regrassing effort that showed little appreciation for the original rolling contours. The bunkers aren't Ross traps either. Dick Wilson replaced them in 1947, conjuring up his own version meant to the imitate crests of waves of the adjacent Atlantic. Seminole has long been one of America's very best courses. When it slipped into the Second 10 in 1987, it marked the first time in the history of America's 100 Greatest that no Donald Ross design was ranked in the Top 10.
Muirfield Village G.C.: Hole 12

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 40 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 6, 1985-1986

Dublin, Ohio / Jack Nicklaus & Desmond Muirhead (1974)
7,366 yards, Par 72 | Points: 65.7011
A few months after the conclusion of the second Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, architect Jack Nicklaus (who had just won the event) began an extensive remodeling of its par-3 16th and par-4 17th holes. That began a pattern that predated the almost annual reconstitution of Augusta National, the club and course that Jack patterned Muirfield Village after. In his quest for perfection, Jack has rejiggered every hole at Muirfield Village over the past 30 years, some more than once. Indeed, in the past three years he's remodeled both the 16th and 17th yet again. That's how a championship venue remains relevant, as we shall see at the 2013 Presidents Cup.
The Alotian Club: Hole No. 10

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 4 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 14, 2011-2012

Roland, Ark. / Tom Fazio (2004)
7,480 yards, Par 72 | Points: 65.5391
The Alotian Club gives us a hint of what Augusta National would have looked like had Bobby Jones established his dream course in Atlanta. The first tee shot drops 70 feet to a fairway below, with the approach playing back uphill. The tee on the 205-yard par-3 sixth sits 85 feet above the green. Alotian, founded by Warren Stephens, son of former Masters chairman Jackson Stephens, and designed by Tom Fazio, consulting golf architect at Augusta National for more than a decade, is the first (and still only) course in Arkansas ever to make America's 100 Greatest. When it joined the list in 2011 at No. 14, it was the second-highest ranked newcomer ever, behind only Harbour Town. Alotian's name, by the way, comes from the annual golf trips Stephens once took with his buddies, always playing 100 Greatest courses. He called it America's Lights Out Tour, and they were the Alotians.

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

Whistling Straits (Straits): Hole No. 13

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 14 years.
Highest ranking:
Present ranking

Haven, Wis. / Pete Dye (1998)
7,790, Par 72 | Points: 65.4037
During a recent round on the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, where Pete Dye transformed a dead flat army air base overlooking Lake Michigan into an imitation Ballybunion, an assistant pro was seen addressing his ball, which rested in a visible footprint in one of the 967 (at last count) bunkers on the course. There are no rakes at Whistling Straits, in keeping with the notion that this is a transplanted Irish links. No, the pro didn't ground his club. Instead, he stooped over, picked up the ball and placed it on a patch of level sand. "That's what we do here," he said. "It's lift-and-place if you're in a footprint." Well, most of the time. That certainly wasn't the rule during the 2010 PGA Championship. And, curiously, the local rule doesn't appear on the scorecard. But that's Pete Dye architecture. It forces you to invent shots, or maybe even a local rule. Which makes us wonder how it will play for the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Oak Hill C.C. (East)

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 10, 2003-2004

Rochester, N.Y. / Donald Ross (1925)
7,145 yards, Par 70 | Points: 65.2506
Back in 1979, George Fazio and his nephew Tom were roundly criticized by Donald Ross fans for doing the unthinkable. They had removed a classic Donald Ross par 4 on Oak Hill East and replaced it with two new holes, including the bowl-shaped par-3 sixth, which would subsequently become the scene of four historic aces made in less than two hours during the second round of the 1989 U.S. Open. They also built a pond on another par 3 and relocated the green on the par-4 18th. It's all ancient history now, for the changes never adversely affected the East Course's standing on America's 100 Greatest or as a championship venue. Oak Hill will host its third PGA Championship in August, 2013.
Chicago G.C.: Hole No. 2

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 47 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 12, 2009-2010

Wheaton, Ill. / C.B. Macdonald (1894) / Seth Raynor (1923)
6,846 yards, Par 70 | Points: 65.2479
This is not America's first 18-hole golf course. The first was a C.B. Macdonald creation, also bearing the name Chicago Golf Club, which opened near Downers Grove, Ill. in 1893. Three years later, the club moved to Wheaton, where Macdonald laid out what he called, "a really first-class 18-hole course of 6,200 yards." It was remodeled into its present configuration, emulating famous holes, in 1923 by Macdonald's longtime assistant Seth Raynor. One thing that Raynor retained was Macdonald's routing, with all the out-of-bounds on the left. C.B., you see, was a slicer.
Pacific Dunes: Hole No. 4

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 12 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 14, 2007-2010

Bandon, Ore. / Tom Doak (2001)
6,633 yards, Par 71 | Points: 65.2226
Tom Doak was already an established name in golf design when Bandon Dunes Resort owner Mike Keiser hired him to create a second 18 at his Oregon golf retreat. Doak's design of Pacific Dunes merely pushed his image into the stratosphere. To best utilize the ocean-front site, he came up with an unorthodox routing that includes four par 3s on the back nine, and he moved a lot of earth to make it look like he moved very little. 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. Its grand ocean-side setting is merely window dressing. Stick this course in the middle of Kansas and it's still a great one.
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