Pinehurst Resort (No. 2)

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 9, 1995-2002

Pinehurst, N.C. / Donald Ross (1935)
7,495 yards, Par 72 | Points: 63.2606
We wrote this about Pinehurst No. 2 back in 1989: "After years of tinkering with something that wasn't broke, the owners have finally attempted to recreate the special playability that was Pinehurst's hallmark, [converting] the greens to bent grass...with special care to maintain the existing contours of the marvelous Donald Ross greens and surrounding humps and hollows. They'll never have Pinehurst No. 2 back to where it once was -- irrigation and playing equipment being what they are today -- but their efforts are to be applauded." How wrong we were. A couple of years ago, a team headed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw killed and ripped 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 single rows in fairways and none in the rough to prevent grass from ever returning to the new sandy wastelands. So No. 2 is indeed back to where it once was. Which means it will be an intriguing fortnight when the 2014 Men's and Women's U.S. Opens are played on consecutive weeks on Pinehurst No. 2.
Los Angeles C.C.

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 15, 1989-1990

Los Angeles / George C. Thomas Jr. (1921)
7,236 yards, Par 71 | Points: 63.1897
It's on the edge of tinsel town, but the architecture of the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club is solid gold, if not sterling silver, particularly since its recent restoration by architect Gil Hanse, his associate Jim Wagner and their colleague Geoff Shackelford, who had written two excellent books -- "The Captain" and "The Golden Age of Golf Design" -- documenting the remarkable work of George C. Thomas Jr., architect of LA North. It matters not that the bunkering style Hanse's team ultimately established on the North is not the Thomas style, but rather the more visually exciting style of Thomas's longtime associate, William P. Bell. The bunkers will look sensational, as will the rest of the layout, when LA North hosts the 2017 Walker Cup.
Bethpage State Park

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

Farmingdale, N.Y. / Joseph H. Burbeck & A.W. Tillinghast (1936)
7,366 yards, Par 71 | Points: 63.1606
The Black was once a scruffy state park haunt that Golf Digest reluctantly ranked at No. 100 only because it was considered a very unpolished diamond in a very dismal rough. But following an extensive remodeling by Rees Jones, the Black has become a must-play cult classic as well as the site of two recent U.S. Opens and a Barclays event on the PGA Tour. Back during its original construction, A.W. Tillinghast wrote that it was Joe Burbeck's idea to make the Black Course, "the public Pine Valley," and Jones's renovations have recaptured that philosophy by re-establishing deep pits and large expanses of sand. Surprisingly, Jones didn't touch the greens, which (with the exception of the putting surface on the 15th) are some of the roundest and flattest in championship golf. Of course, that makes them perfect for today's swift green speeds.
Peachtree G.C.

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for all 49 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 16, 1991-1992

Atlanta / Robert Trent Jones & Bobby Jones (1947)
7,414 yards, Par 72 | Points: 63.1411
The design collaboration by amateur star Bobby Jones and golf architect Robert Trent Jones (no relation) was meant to recapture the magic that Jones had experienced when he teamed with Alister Mackenzie in the design of Augusta National. But Trent was an even more forceful personality than the flamboyant Mackenzie, so Peachtree reflects far more of Trent's notions of golf than Bobby's, particularly in his notion of designing for future equipment advances. When it opened in 1947, Peachtree measured in excess of 7,200 yards, extremely long for that era. It boasted the longest set of tees in America (to provide flexibility on holes) and the country's most enormous greens (to spread out wear and tear). As it turns out, Trent was a visionary, and others subsequently followed his lead. Peachtree's architecture has been touched up a bit over the years, but remains mostly what the Jones boys produced some 65 years ago.
TPC Sawgrass

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 32 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 25, 1985-1986

Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. / Pete Dye (1980)
7,215 yards, Par 72 | Points: 63.0514
TPC's stadium concept was that of then-PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman. (Although the old wooden bench seats have long since been removed from the spectator mounds to make room for exclusive air-conditioned skyboxes.) The architecture was pure Pete Dye, who set out to test the world's best golfers by mixing demands of precision with target golf. On some holes, he requires a fade off the tee and a draw into the green. On others, it's just the opposite. Most greens are ringed by random lumps, bumps and hollows, what Dye calls his "grenade attack architecture." His ultimate target hole is the sink-or-swim island green 17th, which offers no bailout, perhaps unfairly in windy Atlantic coast conditions. It's a heart-pounding shot, even for the very best. Dye's 17th has spawned over a hundred imitations in the past 30 years. Thankfully, most of them offer a lot more grass to shoot at.
Pikewood National G.C.

100 Greatest History:
New to list in 2013.
Highest ranking:
Present ranking

Morgantown, W.Va. / J. Robert Gwynne & John Raese (2009)
7,588 yards, Par 72 | Points: 62.9943
In 1998, mining company officers John Raese and Bob Gwynne started exploring a newly-acquired parcel of forest that their firm will eventually -- maybe a hundred years from now -- mine for high-quality limestone. Raese thought they ought to build a golf course on it. Gwynne suggested they design and build it themselves since their company had plenty of engineers and construction equipment. At the base of a gulley, they discovered a 40-yard-wide, 15-foot-high wall of sandstone with a natural waterfall pouring off it. It became the backdrop for their par-3 fifth hole and the linchpin of their routing. From there they worked back and forth to a proposed clubhouse site on a road called Kingwood Pike (which led to the course's name). Veteran tour pros Johnny Pott and Dow Finsterwald visited the site several times and validated their design with critiques and suggestions. Each now has a hole dedicated in his honor. It took nearly a decade to construct the full 18 holes. When it was done, Golf Digest named it the Best New Private Course of 2009. It joined America's 100 Greatest four years later.
Pete Dye G.C.

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 12 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 45, 2011-2012

Bridgeport, W.Va. / Pete Dye (1994)
7,353 yards, Par 72 | Points: 62.8706
In something of a coincidence, Pikewood is followed immediately on this 100 Greatest by another West Virginia course built atop a mining deposit, but in the case of Pete Dye Golf Club, it's an active coal mine. (The club's original name was Coal Ridge.) Evidence of that fact is everywhere, from the strip-mine wall along the par-5 eighth and the black cinder bunkers on the par-4 sixth to the abandoned coal train that curls around the outside of the dogleg on the 10th. There's even a coal mine shaft you can walk through to reach the seventh tee. Construction took so long that Dye's style had evolved by the time the full 18 was finally seeded. Early holes sport the railroad-tie motif of Harbour Town while later holes feature the echo-chamber bunkering of Blackwolf Run.
Victoria National G.C.

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 14 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 21, 2005-2006

Newburgh, Ind. / Tom Fazio (1998)
7,239 yards, Par 72 | Points: 62.7652
This is truly eerie, the third course in a row on this ranking that was built atop a mining operation, this one the Peabody Coal Company's long-abandoned Victoria strip mine in southern Indiana. Victoria National was a simple routing for Tom Fazio. He just followed the corridors (the perfect width for fairways) that existed between mining spoil mounds (long since overgrown with trees) and some 40 acres of fingery lagoons that had been formed when steam shovels carving out coal deposits hit the water table. Chosen as Best New Private Course of 1999, Victoria National stunned most panelists. One gushed it was, "the most unusual, unpolished and unpretentious Fazio design ever." A couple raved about the quality and difficulty of its five finishing holes, while still another called it, "probably the hardest Fazio course I've played. More penal than Pine Valley." Fazio concurred with that assessment. "It's U.S. Open-quality now," he said soon after it opened. "If the wind blew, it'd be too hard."
Spyglass Hill G.C.

100 Greatest History:
Ranked for 46 years.
Highest ranking:
No. 26, 1993-1994

Pebble Beach / Robert Trent Jones (1966)
6,960 yards, Par 72 | Points: 62.6363
Given the task of designing a course just up 17 Mile Drive from Pebble Beach and Cypress Point, Robert Trent Jones responded with a Pine Valley-Augusta National double combo. The five opening holes, in Pine Valley-like sand dunes, are an all-too-brief encounter with the Pacific seacoast. The remaining holes are a stern hike through hills covered with majestic Monterey pines (which, sad to say, may someday disappear to pitch canker). Add several water hazards that hearken back to the 16th at Augusta (which Trent Jones designed, by the way) and you have what some panelists consider to be Trent's finest work. Others say it's the best course never to have hosted a major event. After all, even Pine Valley and Cypress Point have hosted Walker Cups.
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