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The best Tom Weiskopf golf courses

As a player, Tom Weiskopf won just one major championship while several of his contemporaries—Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Johnny Miller among others—were racking up multiples. It doesn’t take away from the fact that his 16 PGA Tour wins leave him among the best players of his generation, but, right or wrong, the Ohio native gets left out of most conversations about the all-time greats.

Coincidentally, there are some who characterize Weiskopf’s distinguished career as a golf course designer in a similar fashion. But even more so than as a player, it is unfair to discount his overall body of work. Weiskopf, who died Aug. 20 at age 79 from pancreatic cancer, was a prolific designer and earned numerous “Best Of” awards in Golf Digest’s rankings during his 40 years in the business. He and his design partner Jay Morrish were also the first Americans to design a golf course in Scotland, and Loch Lomond remains one of the best in the world, ranking 56th on our most recent World 100 Greatest list and sitting 10th in our Best of Scotland ranking. Troon Country Club—named our Best New Private course in 1986, and Shadow Glen (more below) earned Best New Private in 1989, edging out one of their own collaborations, Forest Highlands Golf Club.

Maybe Weiskopf’s design résumé doesn’t quite stack up with that of the Pete Dyes or Robert Trent Jones Jrs., or Tom Fazios. Most any architect, however, would gladly sign up for what Weiskopf achieved. He got some of the most beautiful sites in the U.S., working in the mountains of Colorado or Montana, and beautiful desertscapes in Arizona. Weiskopf’s designs were invigorating and fun—often featuring a reachable par 4 to offer up a test that even an average player could sometimes ace.

Given he wasn’t always given the credit he was due, here’s a look at some of the best Weiskopf courses, and you can see for yourself just how talented he was.

Double Eagle Club
Private
Double Eagle Club
Galena, OH
Built by reshaping flat farm fields into gentle hills and valleys, Double Eagle benefits from plenty of elbow room. Some holes have double fairways that pose genuine alternate routes. Greens are benign enough in contours to allow them to be kept extremely fast. A delightfully thoughtful design, it closes with two great water-laden, risk-rewarding holes. The club name does not symbolize a golf term. Original owner John McConnell was a fortune hunter, and the Double Eagle was a rare doubloon discovered in a sunken treasure.
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Forest Highlands Golf Club: Canyon
Private
Forest Highlands Golf Club: Canyon
Flagstaff, AZ
It has three par 5s over 600 yards and a par 4 measuring 478 yards, but the Canyon Course at Forest Highlands still plays shorter than its listed yardage. That’s due in part to its elevation at 7,000 feet and partly because it has six par 3s, a strong collection spaced every other hole from the fourth through 14th. Both nines are routed along mountain ridges, with holes edged by stately ponderosa pines. The ninth is especially scenic, as it drops down an escarpment into a narrow stream valley to a double green it shares with the 18th hole.
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Snake River Sporting Club
Private
Snake River Sporting Club
Jackson, WY
78 Panelists
Just south of Jackson Hole, the Snake River Sporting Club is a four-season resort and residential community with a Tom Weiskopf-designed course that embraces the natural contours of the river valley. Set beside the 1,078-mile-long Snake River and surrounded by mountains, the scenic course winds through tall cottonwoods and sagebrush. The signature par-3 15th is nearly an island green, surrounded not by water but by native grasses which beautifully frame the hole against the backdrop of the Snake River.
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Forest Dunes Golf Club
Public
Forest Dunes Golf Club
Roscommon, MI

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: The Tom Weiskopf-designed Forest Dunes in Michigan is a terrific layout on a terrific piece of property, with sand dunes deposited by the nearby Au Sable River and covered with mature pines. But it's not a unique piece of property. When I first played it, I was struck by how much Forest Dunes resembles a Texas course designed by Weiskopf's former partner, Jay Morrish. That course, Pine Dunes in Frankston, Texas, is built on much the same terrain, sand dunes covered in pines. Though they were working at the same time on their respective projects (Forest Dunes was completed in 2000 but didn't open until 2002; Pine Dunes opened in 2001), I don't think Weiskopf or Morrish had any idea that they were working on such similar courses, and I don't think they stole each other's ideas. But it's uncanny how they created kissing-cousin courses. 

Click here for Whitten's complete review.

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The Club At Rock Creek
Private
The Club At Rock Creek
Coeur D Alene, ID
74 Panelists
The Club at Rock Creek sits on bluffs overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene in northwestern Idaho. There are some tremendous elevation changes, which not only present captivating shot options but offer golfers stunning vistas of the lake down below. The front nine is relatively open, while the back nine is a far more secluded, forested layout. Given the sloped terrain, the course can be a strenuous walk.
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Forest Highlands Golf Club: Meadow
Private
Forest Highlands Golf Club: Meadow
Flagstaff, AZ
47 Panelists
The Tom Weiskopf-designed Meadow course at Forest Highlands is a parkland layout that plays among tall pines, wildflowers and scenic wetlands. The Meadow course has hosted three USGA championships: the 2006 U.S. Mid-Amateur (co-host), 2014 U.S. Girls Junior and 2019 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur. A relatively flat layout, the course is easily walkable and offers beautiful views of the San Francisco Peaks, most notably on the 14th and 15th holes. The course has consistently been ranked in the top 15 on our Best in Arizona list.
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Spanish Peaks Mountain Club
Private
Spanish Peaks Mountain Club
Big Sky, MT
34 Panelists
Just over an hour northwest of Yellowstone National Park, the Tom Weiskopf-designed Spanish Peaks is a scenic mountain course set 7,000 feet above sea level. Weiskopf built nearly every hole to have panoramic views of the surrounding forest and mountains, immersing the golfer in the beauty of the Montana landscape. The course can be demanding off the tee, with native grasses and dense forest guarding most fairways.
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Lahontan Golf Club
Private
Lahontan Golf Club
Truckee, CA
29 Panelists
Situated a few miles north of Lake Tahoe, Lahontan is a Tom Weiskopf design that weaves through the densely forested landscape. Weiskopf balanced playability and challenge, presenting narrow corridors off many tees that open to forgiving fairways and large greens. Lahontan is an aesthetically pleasing layout, playing among towering pines and wispy fescue set against a mountain backdrop.
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Shadow Glen Golf Club
Private
Shadow Glen Golf Club
Olathe, KS
46 Panelists
Debuting as Golf Digest’s Best New Private Course in 1989, Shadow Glen plays along rocky ridges and through tree-lined valleys. The course sits less than a half-hour from Kansas City and presents an array of challenges, including stone-lined water hazards, rugged ravines and undulating greens. The Tom Weiskopf design is a past member of our 100 Greatest list and has been ranked inside the top five on our Best in Kansas list since 1991.
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Silverleaf Club
Private
Silverleaf Club
Scottsdale, AZ
43 Panelists
A couple miles from the Tom Weiskopf-designed Stadium course at TPC Scottsdale, the private Silverleaf Club is another Weiskopf desert layout. All aspects of Silverleaf are top-notch, from the scenic, challenging course to the 50,000 square-foot Mediterranean-style clubhouse to the expansive practice facility, where tour pros such as Jon Rahm practice. Weaving through the canyons of the McDowell Mountains, the well-bunkered course has many greens with significant, occasionally severe undulations.
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The Rim Golf Club
Private
The Rim Golf Club
Payson, AZ
61 Panelists
The Rim Golf Club sits about an hour-and-a-half northeast of Scottsdale and unlike many traditional desert layouts, the Tom Weiskopf design is a mountain course that has plenty of trees and elevation changes. The fairways are framed by towering Ponderosa pines and dramatic rock outcroppings. Situated at 5,000 feet elevation, the course plays much shorter than its scorecard distance, which ranges from 5,200 to 7,200 yards. The scenic layout was ranked 52nd on our 100 Greatest Public list in 2011-2012.
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The Club at Kukui'ula
Private
The Club at Kukui'ula
Koloa, HI
26 Panelists
Situated on the southern coast of Kauai, The Club at Kukui’ula is a Tom Weiskopf design built on a former sugar cane plantation. Though the Pacific Ocean doesn’t come into play, it is visible from nearly every hole. The fairways are generally wide, but massive white-sand bunkers line many holes.
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Frost Creek
Private
Frost Creek
Eagle, CO
47 Panelists
Consistently ranked on our Best in Colorado list, Frost Creek is a scenic Tom Weiskopf design situated in the Rockies, a couple hours west of Denver. The course plays more open than you’d might expect from a course set in the mountains. Tall native grasses and large bunkers frame many fairways along the rolling terrain, set against a beautiful mountain backdrop.
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Troon Country Club
Private
Troon Country Club
Scottsdale, AZ
74 Panelists
Designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf in the mid-1980s, Troon Country Club was one of the first desert courses in the Scottsdale area. The course—ranked for 10 years on our 100 Greatest list from 1989-1998—is relatively playable and allows the golfer to run the ball up onto many greens. That said, finding the generally wide fairways is essential, as they are closely guarded by cacti-filled desert.
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Yellowstone Club
Private
Yellowstone Club
Big Sky, MT
The dramatic elevation changes and stunning views of the surrounding northern Rockies in Big Sky, Mont. earned Yellowstone Club a spot in Golf Digest's most recent ranking of the top 20 most beautiful courses. The golf club is part of an exclusive private facillity that also has a ski community in the winter.
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Seven Canyons
Private
Seven Canyons
Sedona, AZ
Situated in the Coconino National Forest in Sedona, Seven Canyons is a picturesque desert layout with views of the surrounding jagged rockfaces that characterize the region. The course is not long (playing even shorter at 4,500-feet elevation) and instead prioritizes accuracy with narrow fairways and small greens. The scenic course cracked our Second 100 Greatest ranking in 2013-2014 and has consistently ranked among our Best in Arizona.
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TPC Craig Ranch
Private
TPC Craig Ranch
McKinney, TX
TPC Craig Ranch, located in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, is a Tom Weiskopf design that plays among gently rolling hills and on the limestone banks of Rowlett Creek, which crosses the course 14 times. In 2020, the course signed a five-year agreement to host the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson. South Korean K.H. Lee captured the first two titles at TPC Craig Ranch, which surrendered low scoring in both 2021 and 2022.
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The Ridge at Castle Pines North
Public
The Ridge at Castle Pines North
Castle Rock, CO

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten: It was once said, probably first about California's Monterey Peninsula, that great golf courses breed great golf courses. That's certainly true of the foothills of the Rockies a half hour south of Denver, where The Ridge at Castle Pines North sits almost immediately next door to Sanctuary Golf Club and just to the north of The Country Club at Castle Pines, which in turn is bordered on its south by famed Castle Pines Golf Club. The Ridge, the only one of the four courses actually located in the town of Castle Pines (the others are in Castle Rock), is the only one of the four open for public play. (According to the city website, The Ridge is municipally owned, but privately managed by Troon Golf.) I'm not saying The Ridge is as great a golf course as Sanctuary or Castle Pines, both of which have resided on Golf Digest's list of America's 100 Greatest, or even quite as good as the Country Club at Castle Pines, one of Jack Nicklaus' relatively hidden gems.

For Whitten's complete review, click here.

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TPC Scottsdale: Stadium
Public
TPC Scottsdale: Stadium
Scottsdale, AZ
112 Panelists
The famed home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open boasts probably the most well-known stadium hole in golf: the par-3 16th. Tiger Woods' hole-in-one in 1997 put it on the map for casual fans, who now flock to Scottsdale during Super Bowl week. The layout has architectural merit, too, with its risk-and-reward-filled back nine. Tom Weiskopf, who designed the course with Jay Morrish, has overseen renovations of the course—making tweaks to please the tour player and resort guest alike.
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Troon North Golf Club: Monument
Public
Troon North Golf Club: Monument
Scottsdale, AZ
105 Panelists
This esteemed Tom Weiskopf design pays homage to Open Championship-style golf in the middle of the Scottsdale desert. Set in the shadows of Pinnacle Peak, Troon North weaves through giant granite boulders that often impact shot options. The track is a tough, yet aesthetically pleasing experience for any golfer.
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