During the early decades of golf in the U.S., courses were developed on natural, open properties in rural areas, often on former farms or ranches where the rolling land dictated the character of the holes. This simple formula describes Spring Creek Ranch Golf Club, a bucolic, stand-alone golf facility located on an old ranch east of Memphis. The easygoing design was part of a philosophical shift in the way Nicklaus built courses, transitioning from an eye that emphasized shotmaking to a more genteel style of shaping sympathetic to a range of skill sets. That’s not to suggest Spring Creek Ranch is benign—the holes zig-zag around ponds and wetlands, jump creeks and dart through the woods. One of them, a double-fairway par 5, occupies a staggering 20 acres of land.