Golf Digest editors picks

The Complete History of Best New Courses

Take a look back at all the annual winners, dating back to 1983

Best New Courses
1983 (appeared in the Feb., 1984 issue)

Best New Public Course
SentryWorld G.C., Stevens Point, Wis., Robert Trent Jones Jr., designer.

Best New Resort Course
Oyster Bay G.Links, Sunset Beach, N.C., Dan Maples.

Comments: Our initial Best New Courses survey asked our 100 Greatest panelists to choose the top public and resort courses opened in 1982 and 1983. This is Maples' only Best New win to date. Sign of the times: Green fee at each of the two courses was $25.

1984 (appeared in the Feb., 1985 issue)
Best New Public Course
Pole Creek G.C., Winter Park, Colo., Ron Kirby & Denis Griffiths.
(Now Pole Creek's Meadow & Ranch 9s)

Best New Resort Course
(Tie) Eagle Ridge Resort (South Cse.), Galena, Ill., Roger Packard.
(Tie) Grand Cypress G.C., Orlando, Fla., Jack Nicklaus. (Now Grand Cypress' North & South 9s)

Best New Private Course
The Honors Cse., Ooltewah, Tenn., Pete Dye.

Comments: The second survey introduced a new Private Course category, limited qualifying to courses that opened between the summer of 1983 and the summer of 1984, and instituted a new way of determining the winners: an evaluation ballot that considered each course on the basis of six criteria: Shot Values, Playability, Design Balance, Memorability, Esthetics and Conditioning. Grand Cypress later made America's 100 Greatest for a time. So did The Honors Course, and it remains on the list.
1985 (appeared in the Feb., 1986 issue)

Best New Public Course
Captains G. Cse., Brewster, Mass., Brian Silva. (Now 8 holes of Captain's Port Cse. and 10 holes of its Starboard Cse.)

Best New Resort Course
Stonehenge G.C., Fairfield Glade, Tenn., Joe Lee & Rocky Roquemore.

Best New Private Course
Loxahatchee C., West Palm Beach, Fla., Jack Nicklaus.

Comments: The third survey dropped Conditioning as an evaluation criterion, and specified courses had to open between July 1984 and July 1985 to qualify. Nicklaus recorded back-to-back wins. Silva accomplished what may never be duplicated: his winning Captains design was his very first solo design. Loxahatchee later made America's 100 Greatest, but like Grand Cypress, lasted on the list only a few years.

1986 (appeared in the Feb., 1987 issue)
Best New Public Courses

1. Pine Meadows G.C., Mundelein, Ill., Joe Lee & Rocky Roquemore.
2. Riverdale G.C. (Dunes Cse.), Brighton, Colo., Pete Dye & Perry Dye.
3. Pelican's Nest G.C., Bonita Springs, Fla., Tom Fazio. (Now 8 of Pelican's Nest's Gator 9, 4 of its Hurricane 9, 4 of its Panther 9 and 2 of its Seminole 9)

Best New Resort Courses
1. Horseshoe Bay C.C. (Applerock Cse.), Marble Falls, Tex., Robert Trent Jones & Roger Rulewich
2. Sugarloaf G.C., Carrabassett Valley, Me., Robert Trent Jones Jr.
3. Shanty Creek G.C. (The Legend Cse.), Bellaire, Mich., Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay. (Now called The Legend G.C. at Shanty Creek)

Best New Private Courses
1. Troon G. & C.C., Scottsdale, Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf.
2. Firethorn G.C., Lincoln, Neb., Pete Dye. (Now Firethorn's North & South 9s)
3. PGA West G.C. (TPC Stadium Cse.), La Quinta, Calif., Pete Dye.

Comments: With the field expanded to 75 candidates, we began listing Win, Place & Show in each category in 1986. Lee & Roquemore achieved their second consecutive win. Troon and PGA West later made the 100 Greatest, then fell off. Tom Fazio made his first appearance, but not as a winner. His Pelican's Nest, later expanded to 36 holes, is now a private club.
1987 (appeared in the Feb., 1988 issue)
Best New Public Courses
1. Heather Glen G. Links, Little River, S.C., Willard Byrd. (Now Heather Glen's 1st & 2nd 9s)
2. Edinburgh USA G. Cse., Brooklyn Park, Minn., Robert Trent Jones Jr.
3. Vineyard G. Cse., Cincinnati, Jack Kidwell & Michael Hurdzan.

Best New Resort Courses
1. Semi-Ah-Moo G. & C.C., Blaine, Wash., Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay.
2. Treetops at Sylvan Resort, Gaylord, Mich., Robert Trent Jones & Roger Rulewich. (Now Robert Trent Jones Masterpiece Cse. at Treetops)
3. Boyne Mountain G.C. (Monument Cse.), Boyne Falls, Mich., William Newcomb.

Best New Private Courses
1. Wade Hampton G.C., Cashiers, N.C., Tom Fazio.
2. Valhalla G.C., Louisville, Jack Nicklaus.
3. Barton Creek G.C., Austin, Tex., Tom Fazio. (Now Barton Creek's Fazio Foothills Cse.)

Comments: Tom Fazio made his first appearance in the winner's circle. His Wade Hampton later made our 100 Greatest list. So did runner-up Valhalla, the much-maligned two-time PGA Championship site. Barton Creek, third in private, and a former 100 Greatest course, is now open to public play.
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July 28, 2014

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