Best New Courses 2015

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Best New Courses 2015

October 29, 2015

Photo By: @Courtesy of The CC of The Gold Nugget

Photo By: Dave Sansom

Photo By: M Clements Photography

Photo By: Courtesy of Rockwind Community Links

Photo By: Rick Young

Photo By: Rolling Greens Photo/Ken E. May KeswickHallResort

Photo By: Courtesy of Adena Golf & Country Club

Photo By: Courtesy of The Links at Brunello

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

Photo By: Courtesy of Independence GC

Photo By: Courtesy of Sawgrass CC

Photo By: Kyle Phillips

Photo By: LC Lambrecht

Photo By: Holger Obenaus Photography

Photo By: Courtesy of Whitemarsh Valley CC

Photo By: Courtesy of The Oaks CC

Photo By: Evan Schiller Photography

Photo By: Murphy/Scully/D Squared Productions, Inc.

The Country Club of The Golden Nugget, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Todd Eckenrode design. Resort course amenity to a casino hotel.
Panelists comments:“Links-style course with Bermudagrass. Winds from Gulf of Mexico only a few miles away.”“Nice variety of holes.”“Open course around lakes and bayou.”“Wide fairways, multiple tees, waste bunkers. Fun place to play.”“Typical resort course where bunkers are far removed from greens and water hazards don’t really come into play.”

Photo By: @Courtesy of The CC of The Gold Nugget

Potomac Shores Golf Club, Potomac Shores, Virginia

Jack Nicklaus, with Rick Jacobson design. Daily-fee residential layout.
Panelists comments:“Built seven years ago but just opened.”“Big course, very spread out. Each individual hole is solid.”“Lots of elevation changes, which adds to aesthetics.”“Separated from the Potomac River by heavy forest. Don’t expect riverside views.”“Impossible to walk.”

Photo By: Dave Sansom

Magnolia Green Golf Club, Moseley, Virginia

Tom Clark, collaborating with Mark Meijer and Chris Cochran of Nicklaus Design. Daily-fee residential course built in stages, once known as Westham Golf Club.
Panelists comments:“Nice design features with nicely-contoured greens.”“This course surprised me. Really good shot values and all the holes were different. I loved the imagination of all the green complexes.”“Best layout of any public course in Richmond.”“Some very long cart rides between holes.”

Photo By: M Clements Photography

Rockwind Community Links, Hobbs, New Mexico

Andy Staples design. Municipal golf course built on site of old Ocotillo Park Golf Course.
Panelists comments:“Basically a new layout with only one hole from the old course. Natural terrain is very flat, but architect made use of mounding, hollowed-out areas and elevated greens.”“Surprisingly lush cool-grass course with highly-elevated greens.”“Created holes to take advantage of wind. Six into wind, six downwind, 3 in cross winds each way.”

Photo By: Courtesy of Rockwind Community Links

Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club, Wickenburg, Arizona

William Brownlee and Wendell Pickett deisgn. Daily-fee residential course laid out by the developers. Panelists comments:“Gorgeous setting in the desert terrain.”“Has six par 3s, six par 4s, six par 5s.”“Overall an enjoyable experience but you have to play it several times to know the course and its options.”“Could play this course everyday and not get tired of it.”“Lots of blind approach shots, which make it difficult for a public course.”“Walking not really an option, too much elevation change and distance between greens and tees.”

Photo By: Rick Young

Full Cry at Keswick Golf Club, Keswick, Virginia

Pete Dye with Chris Lutzke design. Replacement resort course built on site of old Keswick Club. Panelists comments:“A venue that retains a resort feel but could host some top flight competitions.”“A playable Pete Dye. The old man is mellowing.”“Pete Dye without the steroids. Beautiful, serene. Wide fairways, generous greens. Nice water features but they rarely come into play.”

Photo By: Rolling Greens Photo/Ken E. May KeswickHallResort

Adena Golf & Country Club, Ocala, Florida

Frank Stronach and Jeff Liedy design. Billionaire Stronach built this private course on his own horse farm. Panelists comments:“The most memorable and arresting design I’ve played in years.”“Like Black Diamond Ranch on steroids.”“Over and through an abandoned quarry, making for some spectacular holes.”“Quarry is visible – or in play – on 12 of 18 holes.”“Several greens not designed properly to accept incoming approach shot: consistent with amateur architecture.”“Course needs another set of tees for senior players.”

Photo By: Courtesy of Adena Golf & Country Club

The Links at Brunello, Timberlea, Nova Scotia

Tom McBroom design. Daily-fee residential layout just west of Halifax.
Panelists comments:“A beautiful test of golf.”“Beautiful property with large undulating greens. Quite a few false fronts and greenside areas that have been cut short, allowing missed shots to roll down away from the green.”“Every hole is as much fun as the hole before. A must play.”

Photo By: Courtesy of The Links at Brunello

Trump Golf Links Ferry Point, Bronx, New York

Jack Nicklaus, Jim Lipe and John Sanford design. Municipally-owned, operated by Donald Trump’s golf management company.
Panelists comments:“A really nice layout with challenging holes in a world-class location.”“Nicklaus got it right. A links-style course plays firm and fast.”“While mounding and tall fescue give it a feel of a links, most of the greens were elevated and don’t allow for a ground-game approach.”“Would have great views of the New York skyline, but the stupid mounds get in the way too often.”

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

BEST NEW COURSECabot Cliffs, Inverness, Nova Scotia

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, designers. Resort layout that joins two-year old Cabot Links to form Cabot Resort.
Panelists comments:“Great design on a great piece of land.”“Absolutely brilliant. A journey to four different environs.”“Wow! Built into the sides of the cliffs of Nova Scotia. The Pebble Beach of Canada.”“Stunning. Rates high in variety with 6 par 3s, six par 4s and 6 par 5s.”“May be Coore & Crenshaw’s best, which is saying a lot.”“Best course I’ve played in the modern era. One of the most fun courses I’ve ever played.”“18 memorable holes. Will be Top 25 in the world someday soon.”More about Cabot Cliffs ▶

2015 REMODEL 10) Independence Golf Club, Midlothian, Virginia

Lester George. Renovation of 2001 Tom Fazio. Daily-fee.
Panelists comments:“Really fun, family-friendly favorite. Made easier by removal of a number of bunkers and softening of others.”“The redesign offered some welcome changes.”“Took too much teeth out of the redesign.”

Photo By: Courtesy of Independence GC

Sawgrass Country Club (East/West Course), Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Renovation of 1974 Ed Seay private course that hosted several Players Championships in the 1970s. Walker had worked for Seay in the 1980s.
Panelists comments:“All new grass but same routing. Good members course that is tough from back tees.”“Makes good use of minor elevation changes, sand dunes and natural water features.”

Photo By: Courtesy of Sawgrass CC

Menlo Country Club, Woodside, California

Kyle Phillips design. Redesign of a 1912 Tom Nicoll private club expanded to 18 by Willie Watson in 1918 and remodeled in the 1960s by Robert Trent Jones.
Panelists comments:“Wonderful redesign. Once a good course, now a great course.”“Second-shot course with wonderful green complexes.”“Bunkering is rustic-looking, which makes it look like it’s been there forever.”

Photo By: Kyle Phillips

Rockaway Hunting Club, Lawrence, New York

Gil Hanse, with Jim Wagner design. Renovation of a 1916 Devereux Emmet private course that had been remodeled first by A.W. Tillinghast and later by Perry Maxwell.
Panelists comments:“A total surprise. The renovation has completely transformed the place. Most of the trees were removed, so you can experience the seaside. The contours of the course and the greens have been improved.”“Lots of interesting classical design features.”“Lots of wind.”“Remains an uninteresting 18. Little resistance to scoring, flattish greens, very short even from back tees.”

Photo By: LC Lambrecht

2015 REMODEL 6) The Ford Plantation Club, Richmond Hills, Georgia

Pete Dye, with Tim Liddy design. Redesign of 1986 Pete and P.B. Dye private club, once called Sterling Bluff and later Ogeechee Golf Club.
Panelists comments:“Pete Dye ‘lite.’ All the characteristics of a Dye course but plays like a country club course.”“My initial takeaway is that it has somehow lost some of its character. Landing areas seem far more generous, bunkering seems somewhat milder.”“Not as forced as some of Pete’s other low country works.”“Greens were fantastic. Flashes of Harbour Town and Kiawah, but he stopped short of making it magnificent.”

Photo By: Holger Obenaus Photography

Whitemarsh Valley Country Club, Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania

Andrew Green design. Renovation of 1908 private course by George C. Thomas Jr.
Panelists comments:“Greens expanded to original sizes, lots of trees removed. Excellent renovation without destroying brilliance of George Thomas.”“New bunkering is very well done and enhances the look of the course.”“Very nice course. You need to play all your shots. One a member could enjoy every day.”

Photo By: Courtesy of Whitemarsh Valley CC

The Oaks Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Bill Bergin design. Renovation of 1920 A.W. Tillinghast private course.
Panelists comments:“Redesign brought the Tillinghast design back out from the cobwebs.”“Traditional look and feel. Greens were not severe.”“A pleasant surprise.”“New fairway and greenside bunkers add to difficulty and beauty of this classic course.”“Removing cart paths from sightlines was a nice plus.”“A wonderful layout.”

Photo By: Courtesy of The Oaks CC

Royal Oaks CC, Dallas, Texas

Chet Williams design. Redesign of 1970 Press Maxwell private club built by Don January and Billy Martindale.
Panelists comments:“Biggest changes: greens went from bent to Mini-Verde Bermuda, and the 18th hole is now much more of a challenge; second shot must carry the creek.”“A number of trees removed, but this course is still very tree-lined.”“Design maximizes creek that runs throughout the property.”“Elevation changes to low-lying greens to avoid flooding resulted in steep upslopes into greens.”

Photo By: Evan Schiller Photography

TPC Scottsdale (Stadium), Scottsdale, Arizona

Tom Weiskopf design. Redesign of 1986 daily-fee design by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, longtime venue for PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Panelists comments:“A much better course than before. The green complexes are the best improvement.”“Has the feeling of a BIG golf course. Several par 4s are very challenging.”“Newer, deeper, and more strategic bunkering improved shot values and resistance to scoring.”“The new fairway bunkering grouping on 18 seemed very out of place for this design.”

Photo By: Murphy/Scully/D Squared Productions, Inc.

BEST NEW REMODELThe Vintage Club (Mountain), Indian Wells, California

Tom Fazio and Logan Fazio, redesigners. Redesign by father and son of 1980 private course design of George and Tom Fazio, who were uncle and nephew.
Panelists comments:“Excellent, a marked improvement over the old design.”“Numerous course improvements and the scenic beauty has been improved as well.”“Newly-shaped bunkering is visually stunning and relatively small.”“If you like eye candy, this is pretty damned good. Plenty of clever fall-offs and mow-outs around the putting surfaces to keep things interesting.”“Some holes are excellent, some are strange, such as the par 4 along the mountain that now has a stream along it. That would never happen in nature.”

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