Bucket List

10 courses I really want to play in 2024

January 03, 2024

This is such an exciting time in golf course development. For the first time since the economic crisis in 2009, new courses outpace closed facilities. Young, up-and-coming architects are being granted artistic freedom to explore intriguing design concepts on interesting sites. And the best design firms of this modern era are as busy as ever with invigorating opportunities.

As one of the editors of our course rankings, I'm blessed to be given opportunities like I did last month, getting to play one of the first rounds at the new Karoo course at Cabot Citrus Farms. The second course at the old World Woods, the Roost, designed by Kyle Franz, Mike Nuzzo and Ran Morrissett, is set to open in the spring, and that should be on everyone's bucket list. I also have my eye on a bunch of new courses that have either debuted recently or are set to open in 2024.

Below is a list of bucket-list venues I’d most like to play this year—ranging from attainable to dream rounds. Cypress Point, National Golf Links and Friar's Head are the highest-ranked courses I have on my wish list. NGLA and Friar's Head are local for me in the tri-state area, so maybe a member will read this and hit me up! I’ve been blessed to play 35 of the courses on our most recent list of America’s 100 Greatest Courses. Not bad for a 34-year-old. My goal is to continue to outpace my age with the number of top-100 courses played. We’ll see if I can keep that momentum going in 2024.

Be sure to click through to each individual course page for bonus photography and reviews from our course panelists. We also encourage you to leave your own reviews on the courses you’ve played … so you can weigh in on why they belong on one's bucket list.

The Lido at Sand Valley:

Sand Valley: The Lido
Public
Sand Valley: The Lido
Nekoosa, WI

Like everyone else who has seen all the photos of The Lido posted on social media since the course opened last year, I can't wait to play it. I haven't been back to Sand Valley since the I went to the grand opening of Mammoth Dunes in 2015, a trip where I was lucky enough to play The Sandbox with Mr. Keiser and David McLay Kidd's father, Jimmy. It's one of the best resorts in the U.S., and with The Lido and Sedge Valley being added to an already impressive portfolio, I can't wait to get back.

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Charleston Municipal Golf Course:

Charleston Municipal Golf Course
Public
Charleston Municipal Golf Course
Charleston, SC
3.6
48 Panelists

I got to visit Charleston for the first time last year, but I didn't have my clubs with me. I know I need to get back, and the redesign of the Charleston Municipal by Troy Miller is one of the courses on my bucket list. Miller has gifted muny golfers the ability to play old-school, Seth Raynor-inspired template holes and design features at an affordable price. There are other courses I'd love to get to, including Yeamans Hall and Country Club of Charleston—but Charleston Municipal is a must-play for me.

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Pinehurst #10:

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Matt Gibson/Pinehurst Resort

Pinehurst is a cornerstone of American resort golf, and its first new 18-hole course in nearly 30 years is reason enough to get back to the Sandhills of North Carolina. But the new Tom Doak course—with more than 75 feet of elevation change—appears to be a unique product within the Pinehurst portfolio. I can't wait to see the end result and begin to predict where Pinehurst #10 might rank within the course's great group of courses.    

Old Barnwell:

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Jeff Marsh

Old Barnwell is exactly the type of place golf needs. In a country filled with ultra-exclusive jaunts where average joes can’t access, OB intends to be the opposite. The club will host practice rounds and practice rounds with HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities), while also allowing students to network with members. OB founder Nick Schreiber founded the club to open the doors and make golf more accessible. The club partners with the Evans Scholars Foundation to facilities opportunities for its young loopers. I haven’t even mentioned that the Brian Schneider/Blake Conant design pushes the boundaries with fascinating green complexes and unique design concepts. It’s truly the type of place you haven’t seen before, which is so tough to do in a saturated golf market. There’s an option for public golfers to pay to play the Aiken, S.C., course—and I think it’ll be a pretty popular idea in 2024.

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club:

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Public
Caledonia Golf & Fish Club
Pawleys Island, SC
4.1
115 Panelists

Caledonia is where golf course architecture first piqued my interest. As a 19-year-old on spring break along with classmates from Penn State, our Kinesiology 29 professors arranged for us to stay and play at Caledonia. I instantly fell in love. I didn't know quite why the Mike Strantz design was different than anything else I'd played, but I knew it was the most enjoyable course I had ever experienced. Now having studied course design over the past eight years as part of my job, I'm anxious to get back to Caledonia to enjoy the Strantz layout with a more careful eye. I'm headed to Myrtle Beach in February, and this will be the first course on our itinerary.

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Landmand Golf Club:

Landmand
Public
Landmand
Homer, NE

I need to play a King-Collins design in 2024. I seem to be the only one in the industry who hasn't played Sweetens Cove, the beloved nine-hole course in Tennessee that put Tad King and Rob Collins on the map. The team continues to get more opportunities, and by all accounts, they knocked it out of the park at Landmand, the expansive public course in the plains of Nebraska. You could play two weeks worth of great golf throughout the state (including Sand Hills, which could've been on this list) and Landmand is the latest reason to book a trip to the Cornhusker State. I hear it's crazy to secure a tee time here, so I might be too late to the game for this year...

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Ladera Golf Club:

Ladera Golf Club
Private
Ladera Golf Club
Thermal, CA

This is probably the toughest get out of any course on my list. Ladera Golf Club is the best new course you might've not have heard about. And that's by design. Legendary music executive Irving Azoff and Apple big wig Eddy Cue hired Gil Hanse's team to build their own private club outside of Palm Springs. Hanse had 300 acres of carte blanche—the only rule from Azoff and Cue was to not have any water and no palm trees. Hanse's team moved as much earth as it ever has, carving a network of arroyos and sandy riverbeds to emulate rushing water. The result is a routing that takes some inspiration of design elements of Coore and Crenshaw's work at Sand Hills. Say no more.

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National Golf Links of America:

National Golf Links of America
Private
National Golf Links of America
Southampton, NY
4.9
255 Panelists

National Golf Links has been on my bucket list for a long time. Aside from St. Andrews, it might be the most influential design in golf course architecture. As a big Seth Raynor fan, it'd be a dream to see where he got his start working alongside C.B. Macdonald. My study of course design is incomplete until I get to play NGLA.

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Friar's Head:

Friar's Head Golf Club
Private
Friar's Head Golf Club
Riverhead, NY
4.8
173 Panelists

This is another hole in my course resume. As a huge Coore/Crenshaw fan, their creation on Long Island is one that I dream about playing. I'm closeby in New Jersey, so if any members are reading this and want to extend an invite, my inbox is open!

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The Park Golf Course at West Palm:

The Park at West Palm Beach
Public
The Park at West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach, FL

OK, let's get this list back to reality. This is a municipal course that should be on everyone's bucket list. It's a project that will be studied by other urban cities for decades as a great use of land for all. The transformation of the old Dick Wilson course by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner is by all accounts incredible.

Here's what one of our panelists wrote in his review: "The course showcases a harmonious blend of strategic intricacy and natural beauty, a testament to Hanse's ability to create layouts that challenge and inspire players in equal measure. Each hole is a work of art, thoughtfully carved into the landscape to maximize both the challenges for seasoned golfers and the enjoyment for players of all skill levels."

Read more reviews from our panelists and a full explanation of the project here.

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