Best New Courses | 2014

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Best New Courses | 2014

October 29, 2014

Photo By: Gamble Sands

Photo By: Steven McBride

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: d2prod.com Murphy/Scully

Photo By: The Trump Organization

Photo By: twoguyswhogolf.com

Photo By: ©brwphotinc.com

Photo By: Potomac Shores Golf Club

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Canyons Resort

Photo By: Jim Engh

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Northern California Golf Association

Photo By: Paul Hundley

Photo By: Ford Plantation

Photo By: Patrick Reinhardt

Photo By: Ken May

Photo By: The Trump Organization

Photo By: Evan Schiller

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Richard Mandell

Photo By: Texas A&M University

Photo By: Tom Mead

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Bill Bergin

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

Photo By: Ron Whitten

GAMBLE SANDS, BREWSTER, WASHINGTON

Public Course, 7,169 yards, par 72 | David McLay Kidd, designerOur pick for Best New Course of 2014 is on a scale like no other, with wider fairways and broader greens than just about any other golf course in America. Kidd wants golfers to have fun, maybe even shoot their lowest score ever, so there are three drivable par 4s on the course. Have at them!

Photo By: Gamble Sands

THE CLIFFS AT MOUNTAIN PARK, MARIETTA, SOUTH CAROLINA

Private course, 6,744 yards, par 72 | Gary Player and Jeff Lawrence, designerAdjacent to the headquarters of Player Design, the gently rolling layout plays through fescue meadows and over gnarly bunkers to carefully contoured greens. "If you've got to resort to undulating greens to make a great golf course, then you're not a great golf architect," Player says.

Photo By: Steven McBride

DISMAL RIVER CLUB (RED COURSE), MULLEN, NEBRASKA

Private course, 6,994 yards, par 71 | Tom Doak, designerA great foil to its sister Nicklaus-designed White Course, with fairways playing atop plateaus between gulches and much of the back nine along a valley formed by the narrow, serpentine, artesian-fed Dismal River. There are more natural greensites here than on any other Doak design.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

SEWAILO GOLF CLUB, TUCSON, ARIZONA

Public course, 7,283 yards, par 72 | Notah Begay III & Ty Butler, designersA fantasyland built by the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council, carved from flat desert, with deep dips, high hills, tumbling waterscapes, recirculating streams and opulent floral displays. The tribe has water rights it must use or lose; hence, plenty of green grass and flowers.

Photo By: d2prod.com Murphy/Scully

TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF LINKS AT FERRY POINT, BRONX, NEW YORK

Public course, 7,362 yards, par 71 | Jack Nicklaus, Jim Lipe and John Sanford, designersPreviewed last year but won't be open until Donald Trump, who signed a long-term contract to operate this municipal for New York City, completes a clubhouse. What's not to like about a faux links with golden rough? As Robert Klein memorably sang, the Bronx is beautiful this time of year.

Photo By: The Trump Organization

ESPLANADE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, LAKEWOOD RANCH, FLORIDA

Semi-private course, 6,716 yards, par 72 | Chris Wilczynski, designer.Semi-private course, 6,716 yards, par 72/Chris Wilczynski, designer. This and sister layout in Naples are the first residential development golf courses to be built since the housing bust of 2008.  Fashioned from old farm land dotted with ancient oaks, Esplanade's holes are wide, its bunkers shallow and its greens gentle, all to provide comfort to golfers.

Photo By: twoguyswhogolf.com

ESPLANADE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, NAPLES, FLORIDA

Semi-private course, 6,983 yards, par 72 | Chris Wilczynski, designer.A tougher site to build on than its sister course to the north, cut from pines and rocky soil in an old hunting preserve. Both 18s will be part of "bundled communities," meaning all homeowners will automatically be members. Public play will allowed until memberships fill up.

Photo By: ©brwphotinc.com

POTOMAC SHORES GOLF CLUB, POTOMAC SHORES, VIRGINIA

Public Course, 7,020 yards, par 72 | Jack Nicklaus and Rick Jacobson, designersA roller-coaster routing on river bluffs 30 miles south of Washington D.C.,  it languished for 6 years after water was turned off. It's now finally open. Jacobson modified the 18 with Jack's approval, raising 9-foot-deep bunkers to modest depths, softening greens and adding elbow room off tees.

Photo By: Potomac Shores Golf Club

THE FALLS GOLF CLUB, LARCHWOOD, IOWA

Public course, 7,110 yards, par 72 | Rees Jones, designer with Bryce Swanson, associatCarved from farm fields in northwest Iowa, with broad, recessed fairways and playable greens. Jones added a touch of Las Vegas to Grand Falls Casino Resort's course by locating the par-3 18th atop a faux mountain butte replete with waterfalls and cascades.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

THE CANYONS GOLF COURSE, CANYONS RESORT, PARK CITY, UTAH

Public course, 6,256 yards, par 70 | Gene Bates, designer with Casey Bates, associateBates set out to draw crowds during summers to this popular ski resort. The layout starts and finishes beneath ski lifts, plays through old growth pines, along the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains and over meandering Willow Draw Creek. Call it a cross-country round of golf.

Photo By: Canyons Resort

SNEAK PEEK: MINOT COUNTRY CLUB, MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA

Private course, yardage tbd | Jim Engh, designerThe old Minot Country Club kept flooding, so members are relocating in 2015 to a new course on higher ground south of the oil-boom city. Designed by North Dakota native Jim Engh, with holes up, down and across the sides of many foothills and greens tucked in corners and crevices.

Photo By: Jim Engh

SNEAK PEEK: THE TATANKA CLUB, OHIYA CASINO & RESORT, NIOBRARA, NEBRASKA

Public course, yardage tbd | Paul Albanese, designerAlbanese spent a dozen years planning this 18 for the Santee Sioux Indian tribe, exploring every seam of the rolling property (best described as Nebraska sandhills with trees) before routing many holes along the tops of ridges for both thrills and breathtaking vistas. Will open in July, 2015.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

SNEAK PEEK: CABOT CLIFFS, INVERNESS, NOVA SCOTIA

Public course, yardage tba | Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, designersThe most anticipated new course of 2015, Cabot Cliffs is indeed the Pebble Beach of Canada, what with six holes along the ocean, including a closing stretch along cliffs some 80 feet above the surf. But the layout also features holes in sand dunes and others amidst rocks and forest.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

POPPY HILLS GOLF CLUB, PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Public course, 7,002 yards, par 71 | Robert Trent Jones Jr. & Bruce Charlton, redesignersOriginally built by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in 1986 with enormous perched greens and massive containment mounds, it's now a graceful, low-profile layout. "We popped the hills at Poppy Hills," says Trent Jr. An added feature are sandy areas off the fairways, in the fashion of Pinehurst No. 2.

Photo By: Northern California Golf Association

SentryWorld GOLF CLUB, STEVENS POINT, WISCONSIN

Public course, 7,237 yards, par 72 | Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Bruce Charlton, redesigners, with Jay Blasi, former associateLike Poppy Hills, SentryWorld was a redo of a Trent Jones Jr. design dating from the 1980s. Unlike Poppy Hills, water reduction was not part of the remodeling plan. Bucking a trend, SentryWorld is wall-to-wall turf, a country-club-for-a-day with its infamous "flower hole" 16th preserved.

Photo By: Paul Hundley

FORD PLANTATION GOLF CLUB, RICHMOND HILL, GEORGIA

Private course, 7,409 yards, par 72 | Pete Dye, redesigner with Tim Liddy, associate.Much like Trent Jr. at Poppy Hills, Dye replaced his own 30-year-old design with something of an entirely different style. Gone are narrow fairways, railroad tie bulkheads and waste bunkers. The front 9 is still in trees, thinned considerably; the back 9 still on a savannah, now with more contour.

Photo By: Ford Plantation

GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY GOLF COURSE, STATESBORO, GEORGIA

Public course, 6,850 yards, par 72 | Bob Walker, redesignerBuilt on the site of the long-abandoned Meadow Lakes Golf Course, later known as Southern Links. Using most of the old pine-lined corridors, the new 18 has instant maturity, with holes 6 through 8 wrapping around a large glistening lake a particular highlight.

Photo By: Patrick Reinhardt

FULL CRY AT KESWICK GOLF CLUB, KESWICK, VIRGINIA

Semi-private course, yardage tba | Pete Dye, redesigner with Chris Lutzke, associate.Keswick Hall had a 1930s Fred Findlay design remodeled in 1992 by Arnold Palmer. New owner Bill Goodwin (also owner of Sea Pines and Kiawah Island) had his favorite designer, Pete Dye, remake it and renamed it Full Cry, the phrase used to describe hounds when they've located the scent of their prey.

Photo By: Ken May

TRUMP NATIONAL GOLF CLUB DORAL (BLUE MONSTER), DORAL, FLORIDA

Public course, 7,450 yards, par 72 | Gil Hanse, redesigner with Jim Wagner, associateYes, it received mixed reviews following the WGC Cadillac Championship last March, mainly because the new greens were still very firm and the wind blew. But Patrick Reed's winning score of 5-under was only one fewer than Billy Casper's winning score in 1962, when the Blue first became a Monster.

Photo By: The Trump Organization

THE PHILADELPHIA CRICKET CLUB (WISSAHICKON), FLOURTOWN, PENNSYLANIA

Private course, 7,119 yards, par 70 | Keith Foster, redesignerSpecialist Foster was retained to restore one of A.W. Tillinghast's little known gems and he did so by removing many trees, rebuilding bunkers and emphasizing green pads. Both this and fellow Militia Hill Course will host PGA's Club Professional Championship in 2015.

Photo By: Evan Schiller

MEDINAH COUNTRY CLUB (COURSE ONE), MEDINAH, ILLINOIS

Private course, 6,895 yards, par 71 | Tom Doak, redesignerDoak transformed a mundane back-and-forth routing into a members delight by realigning fairways diagonally to better intersect the rolling topography.  He did retain the unusual par-3 18th over a lake. Course One won't replace Course 3 as the club's championship venue, but who cares?

Photo By: Ron Whitten

KELLER GOLF COURSE, MAPLEWOOD, MINNESOTA

Public Course, 6.675 yards, par 72 | Richard Mandell, redesignerKeller hosted the PGA Championship in 1932 and 1954. While too short for today's tour pros, the revamped 18 is still a top-flight municipal layout with many trees removed (though strategic ones on 4 and 17 were preserved) and greens recontoured. How about an LPGA Championship at Keller?

Photo By: Richard Mandell

THE CAMPUS COURSE, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS

Public course, 7,008 yards, par 71 | Jeff Blume, redesignerThe flat, lifeless Texas A&M course was so rundown that many thought the course, on the edge of the university campus, was doomed to college expansion. Instead, Texas A&M grad Blume totally reenergized it by reshaping over 200,000 cubic yards of earth and adding over 150 bunkers.

Photo By: Texas A&M University

SNEAK PEEK: OLYMPIC HILLS COUNTRY CLUB, EDEN PRAIRIE, MINNESOTA

Private course, yardage tbd | Ron Prichard, redesignerPrichard specializes in Donald Ross restorations, so when asked to renovate a 1969 Charles Maddox design, he chose to draw from the Golden Age rather than the Slick Sixties in his redesign, adding rollicking greens and ragged bunkers. When it opens in 2015, Olympic Hills may earn a gold medal.

Photo By: Tom Mead

ATLANTIC BEACH COUNTRY CLUB, ATLANTIC BEACH, FLORIDA

Private Course, 6,868 yards, par 71 | Erik Larsen, designerTotally new course on site of the old Selva Marina Country Club (an old PGA Tour stop), minus 40 acres set aside for housing (which provided funds for the remodel). Solid set of holes with the most spectacular bunkering seen this year. Opens in December.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

TRUMP NATIONAL DORAL (RED TIGER COURSE), DORAL, FLORIDA

Resort Course, 7,025 yards, par 71 | Gil Hanse, redesigner with Jim Wagner, associateHanse used the same formula as on Blue Monster, digging ponds deeper to generate fill to elevate fairways and greens. Red used to be Blue's little brother, but no more. Has more water in play, including two island greens, which should make Mr. Trump doubly happy.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

THE COUNTRY CLUB OF WINTER HAVEN, WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA

Private Course, 7021 yards, par 72 | Bill Bergin, redesigner with Rees Jones, consultantBergin handled much of the redesign of the old Lake Region Yacht & Country Club, removing trees and adding new holes closer to beautiful Lake Hamilton. Jones concentrated on bunkering and strategy. Result is a classic layout that feels 50 years old.

Photo By: Bill Bergin

FORT MYERS COUNTRY CLUB, FORT MYERS, FLORIDA

Public Course, 6,780 yards, par 70 | Steve Smyers, redesigner, with Patrick Andrews, design associateSmyers's sympathetic restoration of a 1917 Donald Ross design successfully addressed issues of safety, drainage, length and strategy while utilizing many mature pines and Ficus trees. Before the rebuild, Fort Myers CC did 70,000 rounds annually. It'll do even more now. Opens in November.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

TRANQUILO GOLF CLUB, LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA

Resort Course, 6,901, par 71 | Logan Fazio and Tom Fazio, redesignersDisney World's Osprey Ridge course is now owned by Four Seasons Resorts, which used the par-4 18th as site for a new hotel. The old par-3 17th became the new 18th, and a new par-3 16th was added in pines between 13th and 15th holes. All bunkers were reshaped for easier maintenance.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

INDEPENDENCE GOLF CLUB, MIDLOTHIAN, VIRGINIA

Public Course, 7,135 yards, par 72 | Lester George, redesignerNew owner, sports agent Giff Breed (Pros Inc.), brought in architect Lester George to make the elaborate Tom Fazio design more player friendly. 40% of the bunkers were removed, the remainder reduced the size and depth. Bayberry bushes under pine trees are gone and greens are now turfed in Champion Bermuda.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

SWEETENS COVE GOLF CLUB, SOUTH PITTSBURG, TENNESSEE

Public Course, 3,314 yards, par 36 | Rob Collins, designerCollins and his partner, contractor Tad King, hand-built a new course on site of bland old nine-hole Sequatchie Valley golf course, instilling such character and fun that, once its Bermuda turf matures, it could rival Mike Keiser's Dunes Club as America's Best Nine Hole Course.Sweetens is that sweet.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

THE COURSE AT SEWANEE, UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTH, SEWANEE, TENNESSEE

Semi-private course, 3,379, par 36 | Gil Hanse, redesignerA half-hour north of Sweetens Cove, this nine-hole university course was rebuilt in 2012 by Hanse before he moved to Brazil to create the Rio 2016 layout. A mountaintop venue with glorious vistas, it's only slightly less exciting than Sweetens Cove. Opened in summer, 2013.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

TRUMP NATIONAL DORAL (GOLDEN PALM COURSE), DORAL, FLORIDA

Resort Course, yardage, par tbd | Gil Hanse, redesigner with Jim Wagner, associateCurrently under reconstruction, the old Von Hagge & Devlin Gold Course looks to have less elevation change than the Blue Monster or Red Tiger but perhaps a bit more flair in its bunkering, with lots of capes and bays. Gold's old island green 18th was swapped with Red's.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

ADENA COUNTRY CLUB, OCALA, FLORIDA

Private course, yardage, par tbd | Jeff Liedy, designerCanadian billionaire Frank Stronach built this 18 on a horse farm known as Ocala Meadows Farms, which was also the proposed name of the course until recently changed. Details, including opening date, are still hush-hush. What's not are its dramatic quarry holes, reminiscent of nearby Black Diamond.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

TRINITY FOREST GOLF CLUB, DALLAS, TEXAS

Semi-private course, yardage, par tbd | Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, designersSlated to become the new home for the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Classic, Trinity Forest, which recently started construction, is being built on an old landfill site on the south side of Dallas, a site with just enough interesting topography as to lure minimalists Coore and Crenshaw into designing it.

Photo By: Ron Whitten

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