Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club



New Ranking

America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses

May 02, 2023

Golf Digest has published America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses since 1966, making it the oldest and most respected ranking in the game. We are proud to say this year's edition is the most scientific ever—with our 1,800 panelists submitting more than 85,000 evaluations over our 10-year scoring criteria. Our experts play and evaluate candidate courses on six criteria, each on a scale of 1 to 10: Shot Options, Challenge, Layout Variety, Aesthetics, Conditioning and Character.

After panelists filed their evaluations, Golf Digest calculated the scores of the categories (scores in the Shot Values and Layout Variety categories count double) and totaled the averages to determine the overall rankings. The result is a new set of rankings we're proud of—and we're sure you'll enjoy digging deeper.

We urge you to click through to each individual course page for bonus photography, drone footage and reviews from our course panelists. Plus, you can now leave your own ratings on the courses you’ve played … to make your case why your favorite should be ranked higher. 

(Parentheses indicate the course's previous ranking.)

1. (1) Pine Valley Golf Club
Private
1. (1) Pine Valley Golf Club
Pine Valley, NJ
5
241 Panelists
A genuine original, its unique character is forged from the sandy pine barrens of southwest Jersey. Founder George Crump had help from now-legendary architects H.S. Colt, A.W. Tillinghast, George C. Thomas Jr. and Walter Travis. Hugh Wilson (of Merion fame) and his brother Alan finished the job, and William Flynn and Perry Maxwell made revisions. Throughout the course, Pine Valley blends all three schools of golf design—penal, heroic and strategic—often times on a single hole. Recent tree removal at selected spots have revealed some gorgeous views of the sandy landscape upon which the course is routed, and bunker reconstruction by Tom Fazio has given the barrens a more intricate and ornate look.
View Course
2. (2) Augusta National Golf Club
Private
2. (2) Augusta National Golf Club
Augusta, GA
4.9
84 Panelists
No club has tinkered with its golf course as often or as effectively over the decades as has Augusta National Golf Club, mainly to keep it competitive for the annual Masters Tournament, an event it has conducted since 1934, with time off during WWII. All that tinkering has resulted in an amalgamation of design ideas, with a routing by Alister Mackenzie and Bobby Jones, some Perry Maxwell greens, some Trent Jones water hazards, some Jack Nicklaus mounds and swales and, most recently, extensive rebunkering and tree planting by Tom Fazio. The tinkering continues, including the lengthening of the par-4 fifth in the summer of 2018, the lengthening of the 11th and 15th holes in 2022, and the addition of 35 yards to the famed par-5 13th in 2023.
View Course
3. (3) Cypress Point Club
Private
3. (3) Cypress Point Club
Pebble Beach, CA
5
201 Panelists

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:
 

Cypress Point, the sublime Monterey Peninsula work of sandbox sculpture, whittled Cypress and chiseled coastline, has become Exhibit A in the argument that classic architecture has been rendered ineffectual by modern technology.
 

I'm not buying that argument. Those who think teeny old Cypress Point is defenseless miss the point of Alister MacKenzie’s marvelous design.
 

MacKenzie relished the idea that Cypress Point would offer all sorts of ways to play every hole. That philosophy still thrives, particularly in the past decade, after the faithful restoration of MacKenzie’s original bunkers by veteran course superintendent Jeff Markow.

Explore our complete review here—including bonus photography and ratings from our expert panelists.

View Course
4. (4) Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
Private
4. (4) Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
Southampton, NY
5
147 Panelists
Generally considered to be the earliest links in America, heavily remodeled by C.B. Macdonald, then replaced (except for three holes) by William S. Flynn in the early 1930s, it’s so sublime that its architecture hasn’t really been altered for nearly 50 years. Most trees that once framed many holes have been removed, and in 2012, the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw did make a few changes, mostly green expansions and new mowing patterns, to prepare Shinnecock for the 2018 U.S. Open, won by Brooks Koepka. Shinnecock will again host the U.S. Open in 2026.
View Course
5. (5) Oakmont Country Club
Private
5. (5) Oakmont Country Club
Oakmont, PA
4.9
226 Panelists
Once tens of thousands of trees (mostly planted in the 1960s) were removed between the early 90s and 2015, Oakmont’s original penal design was re-established, with the game’s nastiest, most notorious bunkers (founder-architect H.C. Fownes staked out bunkers whenever and where ever he saw a player hit an offline shot), deep drainage ditches and ankle-deep rough. Oakmont also has the game’s swiftest putting surfaces, which were showcased during the U.S. Open in 2016, despite early rains that slowed them down a bit. Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner made bunker modifications and expanded the greens throughout the course in 2023 in preparation for the 2025 U.S. Open. The USGA has already awarded Oakmont three additional Opens between 2033 and 2049, reinforcing its title as it the Host of the Most U.S. Opens ever.
View Course
6. (6) Merion Golf Club: East
Private
6. (6) Merion Golf Club: East
Ardmore, PA
5
219 Panelists
Merion East has long been considered the best course on the tightest acreage in America, and when it hosted the U.S. Open in 2013, its first since 1981, the present generation of big hitters couldn’t conquer this clever little course. They couldn’t consistently hit its twisting fairways, which are edged by creeks, hodge-podge rough and OB stakes and couldn’t consistently hold its canted greens, edged by bunkers that stare back. Justin Rose won with a 72-hole total of one-over-par, two ahead of Jason Day and Phil Mickelson. With Gil Hanse's extensive two-year renovation making even more improvements at Merion's East Course, the design should be even more polished when the Open returns again in 2030.
View Course
7. (7) National Golf Links of America
Private
7. (7) National Golf Links of America
Southampton, NY
4.9
220 Panelists
This is where golf architect Seth Raynor got his start. A civil engineer by training, he surveyed holes for architect C.B. Macdonald, who scientifically designed National Golf Links as a fusion of his favorite features from grand old British golf holes. National Golf Links is a true links containing a marvelous collection of holes. As the 2013 Walker Cup reminded us, Macdonald’s versions are actually superior in strategy to the originals, which is why National’s design is still studied by golf architects today, its holes now replicated elsewhere. Hard to fathom that National Golf Links of America was not ranked in the 100 Greatest from 1969 until 1985.
View Course
8. (10) Sand Hills Golf Club
Private
8. (10) Sand Hills Golf Club
Mullen, NE
4.9
154 Panelists
The golf course wasn’t so much designed as discovered. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw trudged back and forth over a thousand acres of rolling sand hills in central Nebraska, flagging out naturally-occurring fairways and greens. By moving just 4,000 cubic yards of earth, and letting the winds shape the bunkers, the duo created what is undoubtedly the most natural golf course in America, a timeless course design. For decades, winter winds had always reshaped the bunkers, but course officials have recently discovered a method to prevent that. At the close of the season, they spray the surface of the sand in bunkers with a product that creates a crust to resist the howling winds.
View Course
9. (9) Fishers Island Club
Private
9. (9) Fishers Island Club
Fishers Island, NY
4.8
220 Panelists
Probably the consummate design of architect Seth Raynor, who died in early 1926, before the course had officially opened. His steeply-banked bunkers and geometric greens harmonize perfectly with the linear panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. The quality of the holes is also superb, with all Raynor’s usual suspects, including not one but two Redan greens, one on a par 4.
View Course
10. (11) Seminole Golf Club
Private
10. (11) Seminole Golf Club
Juno Beach, FL
4.8
186 Panelists
A majestic Donald Ross design with a clever routing on a rectangular site, each hole at Seminole encounters a new wind direction. The greens are no longer Ross, replaced 50 years ago in a regrassing effort that showed little appreciation for the original rolling contours. The bunkers aren’t Ross either. Dick Wilson replaced them in 1947, his own version meant to the imitate crests of waves on the adjacent Atlantic. A few years back, Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw redesigned the bunkers again, along with exposing some sandy expanses in the rough. Seminole has long been one of America’s most exclusive clubs, which is why it was thrilling to see it on TV for a first time during the TaylorMade Driving Relief match, and then again for the 2021 Walker Cup.
View Course
11. (12) Winged Foot Golf Club: West Course
4.7
152 Panelists
Gone are all the Norway Spruce that once squeezed every fairway of Winged Foot West. It’s now gloriously open and playable, at least until one reaches the putting surfaces, perhaps the finest set of green contours the versatile architect A.W. Tillinghast ever did, now restored to original parameters by architect Gil Hanse. The greens look like giant mushrooms, curled and slumped around the edges, proving that as a course architect, Tillinghast was not a fun guy. Winged Foot West was tamed by Bryson DeChambeau in winning the 2020 U.S. Open in September, but he was only competitor to finish under-par in his six-shot victory.
View Course
12. (8) Pebble Beach Golf Links
Public
12. (8) Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, CA
Not just the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf, but the most extensive one, too, with nine holes perched immediately above the crashing Pacific surf—the fourth through 10th plus the 17th and 18th. Pebble’s sixth through eighth are golf’s real Amen Corner, with a few Hail Marys thrown in over an ocean cove on the eighth from atop a 75-foot-high bluff. Pebble hosted a successful U.S. Amateur in 2018 and a sixth U.S. Open in 2019. Recent improvements include the redesign of the once-treacherous 14th green, and reshaping of the par-3 17th green, both planned by Arnold Palmer’s Design Company a few years back—and the current changes to the iconic eighth hole.
View Course
13. (13) Chicago Golf Club
Private
13. (13) Chicago Golf Club
Wheaton, IL
4.8
142 Panelists
Chicago Golf Club opened the country’s first 18-hole course in 1893, built by C.B. Macdonald, the preeminent golf expert in the U.S. at the time. Two years later Macdonald built the club a different course after the membership moved to a new location in Wheaton, Ill.: “a really first-class 18-hole course of 6,200 yards,” he wrote. Members played that course until 1923 when Seth Raynor, who began his architectural career as Macdonald’s surveyor and engineer, redesigned it using the “ideal hole” concepts his old boss had developed 15 years earlier (he kept Macdonald’s routing, which placed all the O.B. on the left—C.B. sliced the ball). For reasons of history and practicality, no major remodels have occurred since then, allowing the club to merely burnish the architecture by occasionally upgrading worn parts, adjusting grassing lines and, recently, reestablishing a number of lost bunkers that had been filled in over time.
View Course
14. (14) Crystal Downs Country Club
Private
14. (14) Crystal Downs Country Club
Frankfort, MI
4.8
121 Panelists
Perry Maxwell, the Midwest associate of architect Alister MacKenzie, lived on site while constructing the course to MacKenzie’s plans, but there’s evidence Maxwell exercised considerable artistic license on some holes. Whomever did it, Crystal Downs has fairways that zigzag and rumble over the glacial landscape and greens that have doglegs in them. One drawback is that the putting surfaces are so old-fashioned that they’re too steep for today’s green speeds. But that’s part of Crystal Downs appeal. It’s short but has considerable bite.
View Course
15. (16) Friar's Head Golf Club
Private
15. (16) Friar's Head Golf Club
Riverhead, NY
4.8
149 Panelists
The challenge for architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw at Friar’s Head was to design some holes in breathtaking sand dunes perched 200 feet above Long Island Sound, and other holes on an ordinary potato field to the south. Said Crenshaw, “Our job was to marry the two distinct elements. We didn’t want one nine up in the dunes and the other down on the flat.” The solution was to move the routing back and forth and to artfully reshape the farm fields into gentle linkslike land. They pulled it off so impressively that Friar’s Head has moved steadily up the rankings each survey period until this year, from No. 34 in its 2011 debut to No. 15 in 2023-2024.
View Course
16. (19) Los Angeles Country Club: North
4.8
210 Panelists
It’s on the edge of Tinsel Town, but the architecture of the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club has been solid gold ever since its 2010 restoration by architect Gil Hanse, his associate Jim Wagner and their colleague Geoff Shackelford. It matters not that Hanse’s team didn’t replicate the bunkering style of original architect George C. Thomas, but rather the more visually exciting style of Thomas’s associate, William P. Bell. The first nine plays rustically up and down a shallow canyon with holes switching back and forth across a dry barranca, and the second nine loops across a more spacious upland section with one par 3 (the 11th) that can stretch to nearly 300 yards and another (the 15th) that often plays just 90 yards. The hole strategies reinstituted by Hanse will play sensationally when LA North hosts the 2023 U.S. Open.
View Course
17. (15) Muirfield Village Golf Club
4.9
142 Panelists
This is the course that Jack built, and rebuilt, and rebuilt again and again. Since its opening in 1974, Jack Nicklaus has remodeled every hole at Muirfield Village, some more than once, using play at the PGA Tour’s annual Memorial Tournament for some guidance. The most recent renovation in 2020 was one of the most extensive and included the rebuilding of every hole, the shifting of greens and tees, strategic changes to the iconic par 5s and a new, more player-friendly par3 16th. That’s how a championship course remains competitive. But with every change, Nicklaus always made sure the general membership could still play and enjoy the course as well.
View Course
18. (22) Riviera Country Club
Private
18. (22) Riviera Country Club
Pacific Palisades, CA
4.9
179 Panelists
A compact and shrewd design by George C. Thomas Jr. and associate William P. Bell, Riviera features everything from a long Redan par 3 to a bunker in the middle of a green to an alternate-fairway par 4. With its 18th green at the base of a natural amphitheater, and its primary rough consisting of club-grabbing Kikuyu, Riviera seems tailor-made as a tournament venue. It hosted a PGA Championship in 1995, a U.S. Senior Open in 1998 and a U.S. Amateur in 2017, but no U.S. Open since 1948. With the U.S. Open awarded to nearby LA Country Club for 2023, it doesn’t appear Riviera will get another Open (though it will host the 2028 Olympics). But it’s the site of an annual PGA Tour event, which is even better exposure to the golf world.
View Course
19. (17) The Country Club: The Main Course
The Country Club’s 18-hole course that was the scene of the 1963 and 1988 U.S. Opens is not the 18-hole course ranked by Golf Digest. Those events were played on a composite course, utilizing a few holes from the club’s third Primrose nine. We rank the combination of the Main Course, clearly good enough to be one of the top courses in the world. Gil Hanse performed some course restoration prior to the 2013 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club. The USGA used a new configuration of 18 holes for the 2022 U.S. Open, won by Matthew Fitzpatrick, eliminating the par-4 fourth and adding the tiny par 3 11th, the first time the hole was used since the 1913 Open won by Francis Ouimet.
View Course
20. (21) Oakland Hills Country Club: South
Private
20. (21) Oakland Hills Country Club: South
Bloomfield Hills, MI
4.8
62 Panelists
Donald Ross felt his 1918 design was out-of-date for the 1951 U.S. Open and was prepared to remodel it. Sadly, he died in 1948, so Robert Trent Jones got the job. His rebunkering was overshadowed by ankle-deep rough, and after Ben Hogan closed with a 67, one of only two rounds under par 70 all week, to win his second consecutive Open, he complained that Jones had created a Frankenstein. Sixty-plus years later, Oakland Hills is even longer, but its bite wasn’t severe when it hosted the 2016 U.S. Amateur. In 2019, the South course closed as Gil Hanse and his team significantly renovated the course with the intention of removing the Jones influences and restoring its Ross feel. They did that by expanding greens to recapture what are some of Ross's best contours, removed trees to show off the rolling landscape and shifted bunkers back to where Ross, not RTJ, placed them. The course re-opened in Spring 2021, and though a crippling fire destroyed the club's iconic clubhouse, the USGA delivered some kind news to the club, bringing the 2034 and 2051 U.S. Opens to Oakland Hills—as well as a number of upcoming USGA championships.
View Course
21. (18) Pacific Dunes
Public
21. (18) Pacific Dunes
Bandon, OR
This was the second course constructed at Bandon Dunes Resort and the highest ranked among the resort’s five 18s. To best utilize ocean frontage, Tom Doak came up an unorthodox routing that includes four par 3s on the back nine. Holes seem to emerge from the landscape rather than being superimposed onto it, with rolling greens and rumpled fairways framed by rugged sand dunes and marvelously grotesque bunkers. The secret is Doak moved a lot of earth in some places to make it look like he moved very little.
View Course
22. (20) Oak Hill Country Club: East
Private
22. (20) Oak Hill Country Club: East
Rochester, NY
4.9
55 Panelists
Back in 1979, George Fazio and nephew Tom were roundly criticized by Donald Ross fans for removing a classic Ross par 4 on Oak Hill East and replacing it with two new holes, including the bowl-shaped par-3 sixth, which would later become the scene of four aces in two hours during the second round of the 1989 U.S. Open. They also built a pond on another par 3 and relocated the green on the par-4 18th. The club hired golf architect Andrew Green to remodel those holes to bring them more in line with Donald Ross’ original style. In addition to putting the final touches (at least for now) on a significant tree removal program, Green re-established Ross's original par-4 hole, then the fifth and now playing as the sixth (pictured here). Reconstruction occurred after the 2019 Senior PGA Championship on the East Course and was completed in May 2020. Oak Hill's East Course will host the 2023 PGA Championship.
View Course
23. (25) Prairie Dunes Country Club
Private
23. (25) Prairie Dunes Country Club
Hutchinson, KS
4.8
198 Panelists
Prairie Dunes was the top nine-hole course in America for 20 years. By the time the club found funds to expand it to 18, original architect Perry Maxwell had passed away, but his son Press was able to add nine more holes seamlessly in the 1950s, putting three on the front nine and six on the back. He also replicated his father’s great greens, which seem to break in three different directions. Prairie Dunes reflects all that is common in rural Kansas: sand dunes, prairie grasses, yucca plants, cottonwoods and constant wind.
View Course
24. (24) Kiawah Island Golf Resort: The Ocean Course
Often considered to be the first course designed for a specific event—the 1991 Ryder Cup—this manufactured linksland-meets-lagoons layout might well be Pete Dye’s most diabolical creation. Every hole is edged by sawgrass, every green has tricky slopes, every bunker merges into bordering sand dunes. Strung along nearly three miles of ocean coast, Dye took his wife’s advice and perched fairways and greens so golfers can actually view the Atlantic surf. That also exposes shots and putts to ever-present and sometimes fierce coastal winds. The Ocean Course will forever be linked with Phil Mickelson and his improbable victory at the 2021 PGA Championship.
View Course
25. (30) Peachtree Golf Club
Private
25. (30) Peachtree Golf Club
Atlanta, GA
4.8
165 Panelists
The design collaboration by amateur star Bobby Jones and golf architect Robert Trent Jones (no relation) was meant to recapture the magic that the Grand Slam winner had experienced when he teamed with Alister Mackenzie in the design of Augusta National. But Trent was an even more forceful personality than the flamboyant Mackenzie, so Peachtree reflects far more of Trent’s notions of golf than Bobby’s, particularly in designing for future equipment advances. When it opened, Peachtree measured in excess of 7,200 yards, extremely long for that era. It boasted the longest set of tees in America (to provide flexibility on holes) and the country’s most enormous greens (to spread out wear and tear). As it turns out, Trent was a visionary, and decades later other designers followed his lead to address advances in club and ball technology.
View Course
26. (23) Whistling Straits: Straits Course
Pete Dye transformed a dead flat abandoned army air base along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan into an imitation Ballybunion at Whistling Straits, peppering his rugged fairways and windswept greens with 1,012 (at last count) bunkers. There are no rakes at Whistling Straits, in keeping with the notion that this is a transplanted Irish links. It has too much rub-of-the-green for the comfort levels of many tour pros, which is what makes it a stern test for top events, such as three PGA Championships, the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and 2021 Ryder Cup.
View Course
27. (27) Shadow Creek
Public
27. (27) Shadow Creek
North Las Vegas, NV
The Match between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods may have fizzled as a pay-per-view spectacle, but the venue was certainly a showcase during the Black Friday, 2018 broadcast. Shadow Creek has the reputation of being one of the most expensive courses built in America, a reported $47 million at the time. Designer Tom Fazio said that budget was necessary at Shadow Creek to perform what he now calls “total site manipulation,” creating an environment where none existed, by carving rolling hills and canyons from the flat desert floor north of Las Vegas and pumping in plenty of water. Alas, this once-in-a-lifetime dream design has been too successful, triggering many equally expensive, but inferior, imitations.
View Course
28. (32) Southern Hills Country Club
4.8
160 Panelists
A product of the Great Depression, funded by Phillips Petroleum money and constructed by hundreds of workers who stood at the gate each morning hoping for a 25-cents-per-hour job that day, Southern Hills is architect Perry Maxwell’s great achievement. Nearly every hole bends left or right, posing critical tee shots that must risk something. The putting surfaces have the classic “Maxwell Rolls,” and most are guarded by simple yet effective bunkers. During the summer of 2018, architect Gil Hanse and crew rebuilt much of the course, in the process re-establishing Maxwell’s distinctive, gnarly edged bunkering and reconstructing the green shoulders that had been built up over the years.
View Course
29. (29) Pinehurst: #2
Public
29. (29) Pinehurst: #2
Pinehurst, NC
In 2010, a team lead by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw killed and ripped out all the Bermudagrass rough on Pinehurst No. 2 that had been foolishly planted in the 1970s. Between fairways and tree lines, they established vast bands of native hardpan sand dotted with clumps of wiregrass and scattered pine needles. They reduced the irrigation to mere single rows in fairways to prevent grass from ever returning to the new sandy wastelands. Playing firm and fast, it was wildly successful as the site of the 2014 Men’s and Women’s U.S. Opens, played on consecutive weeks. Because of its water reduction, the course was named a Green Star environmental award-winner by Golf Digest that year. In 2019, Pinehurst No. 2 and No. 4 hosted another U.S. Amateur Championship, and the USGA announced Pinehurst No. 2—in addition to hosting the 2024 U.S. Open—will also have the 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047 U.S. Opens.
View Course
30. (33) Pikewood National Golf Club
Private
30. (33) Pikewood National Golf Club
Morgantown, WV
4.8
115 Panelists
In 2000, mining company officers John Raese and Bob Gwynne started building a golf course on a newly acquired parcel of forest that their firm will eventually—a hundred years from now—mine for high quality limestone. Using company engineers and construction equipment, and guidance by veteran tour pros Johnny Pott and Dow Finsterwald, they spent almost a decade creating Pikewood National. A natural waterfall became the backdrop for their par-3 fifth hole and the linchpin of their routing, which plays along bluffs, through forest over rapids and, on the hook-shaped par-5 eighth, around a gulch.
View Course
31. (28) The Honors Course
Private
31. (28) The Honors Course
Ooltewah, TN
4.7
136 Panelists
Considered radical in the early 1980s because of its acres of tall, native-grass rough, durable Zoysiagrass fairways and terrifying greens perched atop bulkheads of rock, today The Honors Course is considered a well-preserved example of Pete Dye’s death-or-glory architecture. Other than reducing the contours in a couple of greens (particularly the 18th) in the late 1990s, and adjusting the bunkering in 2008, Dye left the course alone for most of his career. Georgia architect Bill Bergin did create a new practice facility at the club in 2015, and Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner touched everything up again in 2022.
View Course
32. (26) Wade Hampton Golf Club
Private
32. (26) Wade Hampton Golf Club
Cashiers, NC
4.8
107 Panelists
Built during the period when Tom Fazio was still working with the existing landscape rather than ignoring it, Wade Hampton is an exercise in restraint. The fairways flow through a natural valley between flanking mountain peaks. Some holes are guarded by gurgling brooks, but Fazio piped several streams underground to make the course more playable and walkable. Selected as Golf Digest’s Best New Private Course of 1987, it has never been out of the Top 40 since it joined America’s 100 Greatest.
View Course
33. (36) San Francisco Golf Club
Private
33. (36) San Francisco Golf Club
San Francisco, CA
4.7
225 Panelists
San Francisco Golf Club’s original routing was done mostly by a trio of club members, who first staked out the course in 1918. A.W. Tillinghast remodeled the course in 1923, establishing its signature greens and bunkering. He also added the par-3 seventh, called the “Duel Hole” because its location marks the spot of the last legal duel in America. Three holes were replaced in 1950 in anticipation of a street widening project that never happened. In 2006, the original holes were re-established by Tom Doak and his then-associate, Jim Urbina.
View Course
34. (NEW) Ohoopee Match Club
Private
34. (NEW) Ohoopee Match Club
Cobbtown, GA
4.8
73 Panelists

From Golf Digest Architecture Editor emeritus Ron Whitten:

I’ve been told Gil Hanse had first examined the site of Ohoopee Match Club as far back as 2006 considered it ideal for golf: gently rolling terrain with no severe elevation changes, and beautiful sandy soil deposited by the nearby Ohoopee River, perfect for drainage and firm, fast conditions.

The ground around tiny Cobbtown, Ga., is also perfect for growing onions—it’s just northeast of Vidalia, world-famous for the Vidalia onion. Indeed, Ohoopee’s logo is a freshly picked onion, although if you look closely, its roots are three writhing snakes.

Any symbolism pertaining to match play is uncertain; perhaps it simply suggests the sort of putts one will face. What’s the composition of a course meant for match play? One might think it would contain lots of penal hazards, because a triple bogey on any particular hole would not be fatal in match play.

Perhaps the targets would be smaller than normal, to level the playing field between big hitters and short-but-accurate golfers. That’s not the composition of the 7,325-yard championship course at Ohoopee. Hanse did produce dramatic visuals in this sandy locale that hark back to portions of Pinehurst and Pine Valley, from long expanses of sandy rough dotted with native plants to deep, foreboding pits of sand, but they’re mostly on the far perimeter of holes. 

Explore our complete review here—including bonus photography and ratings from our expert panelists.

 

View Course
35. (34) The Olympic Club: Lake
Private
35. (34) The Olympic Club: Lake
San Francisco, CA
4.7
227 Panelists
It seems fitting that, in a town where every house is a cliffhanger, every U.S. Open played at Olympic has been one, too. For decades, the Lake was a severe test of golf. Once it was a heavily forested course with canted fairways hampered by just a single fairway bunker. By 2009, the forest had been considerably cleared away, leaving only the occasional bowlegged cypress with knobby knees, the seventh and 18th greens were redesigned and a new par-3 eighth added. Despite those changes, the 2012 U.S. Open stuck to the usual script: a ball got stuck in a tree, slow-play warnings were given, a leader snap-hooked a drive on 16 in the final round, and a guy name Simpson won. If the past was prediictable, the future of the Lake Course more mysterious. The holes are beiing remodeled in 2023 by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner in preparation for the 2028 PGA Championship, and it remains to be seen what version of the Lake Course will ultimately emerge.
View Course
36. (44) Ballyneal Golf Club: Ballyneal
4.7
183 Panelists
If No. 8 Sand Hills Golf Club stands for the notion that there’s nothing more glorious than a round of golf beyond the range of cell phone reception, then Ballyneal (Tom Doak’s northeast Colorado answer to Nebraska’s Sand Hills) proves that isolated golf is even better when Spartan in nature. With no carts and with dry, tan fescue turf on fairways and greens, Ballyneal is even more austere than Sand Hills. It provides absolutely firm and fast conditions, and with many greens perched on hilltops, the effect of wind on putts must be considered. The rolling landforms, topsy-turvy greens and half-par holes make playing here feel like a joyride, and that sense of exuberance has catapulted Ballyneal from an original ranking of no. 95 in 2011 to its highest ranking to date at no. 36.
View Course
37. (31) Gozzer Ranch Golf and Lake Club
4.8
112 Panelists
When it won in 2008, Gozzer Ranch was the 13th Best New Course triumph for architect Tom Fazio. Gozzer won in part because of its gorgeous views of Lake Coeur d’Alene to the north and west, and the panoramic farm valley to the east. Little details elevate the architecture of Gozzer Ranch: a slight false-right-front edge on the first green, the backboard slope behind the sixth green, the fairway contouring on the dual-fairway drivable par-4 12th that kicks even a short drive to the base of the putting surface. Its shaggy-edged bunkers are more than mere set decorations. Some define targets off the tee; other pose options and challenges.
View Course
38. (35) The Alotian Club
Private
38. (35) The Alotian Club
Roland, AR
4.5
75 Panelists
The Alotian Club gives us a hint of what Augusta National would have looked like had Bobby Jones established his dream course on even hillier terrain than Augusta. The first tee shot drops 70 feet to a fairway below, with the approach playing back uphill. The tee on the 205-yard par-3 sixth sits 85 feet above the green. Alotian, founded by Warren Stephens, son of former Masters chairman Jackson Stephens, is the first (and still only) course in Arkansas ever to make America’s 100 Greatest. The Alotian name comes from the annual golf trips Stephens once took with his buddies. He called it the America’s Lights Out Tour, and participants called themselves The Alotians.
View Course
39. (40) Bethpage State Park: Black
Public
39. (40) Bethpage State Park: Black
Farmingdale, NY
Sprawling Bethpage Black, designed in the mid-1930s to be “the public Pine Valley,” became the darling of the USGA in the early 2000s, when it played the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. Then it became a darling of the PGA Tour as host of the 2011 and 2016 Barclays. Now the PGA of America has embraced The Black, which hosted the 2019 PGA Championship (winner: Brooks Koepka) and the upcoming 2025 Ryder Cup. Heady stuff for a layout that was once a scruffy state-park haunt where one needed to sleep in the parking lot in order to get a tee time. Now, you need fast fingers on the state park's website once tee times are available—as prime reservations at The Black are known for going in seconds.
View Course
40. (37) Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: Bandon Dunes
Chicago recycled-products mogul Mike Keiser took a gamble when he chose then-tenderfoot architect David McLay Kidd to design a destination daily fee on the remote southwestern coastline of Oregon. But the design Kidd produced, faithful to the links-golf tenets of his native Scotland, proved so popular that today Keiser has a multiple-course resort at Bandon Dunes that rivals Pinehurst and the Monterey Peninsula—or perhaps exceeds them given that all fve Bandon courses are ranked on our 200 Greatest, four in the top 100. None of that would have happened if McLay Kidd hadn’t produced a great first design that drew golfers into its orbit.
View Course
41. (52) TPC Sawgrass: Stadium
Public
41. (52) TPC Sawgrass: Stadium
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
TPC’s stadium concept was the idea of then-PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman. The 1980 design was pure Pete Dye, who set out to test the world’s best golfers by mixing demands of distance with target golf. Most greens are ringed by random lumps, bumps and hollows, what Dye calls his "grenade attack architecture." His ultimate target hole is the heart-pounding sink-or-swim island green 17th, which offers no bailout, perhaps unfairly in windy Atlantic coast conditions. The 17th has spawned over a hundred imitation island greens in the past 40 years. To make the layout even more exciting during tournament play, Steve Wenzloff of PGA Tour Design Services recently remodeled several holes, most significantly the 12th, which is now a drivable par 4.
View Course
42. (39) Congaree Golf Club
Private
42. (39) Congaree Golf Club
Ridgeland, SC
4.8
130 Panelists
Tom Fazio has designed countless compelling golf courses on sites that weren't. But at Congaree, 30 minutes inland from Beaufort, S.C., he at least had great material: sand, in the form of two deep sections of it separated by a lowcountry wetland area. The sand made it easy to scoop and shape long ridgelines, creating significant movement across an otherwise level property—and dozens of stately live oaks, carefully transplanted for effect—further outline the design. Finely edged Melbourne-style bunkers sweep up to the edges of fairways and into greens, catching shots that drift too far and leading to challenging hi-lo recovery situations. Congaree hosted the 2022 CJ Cup after making its debut as a tour venue for the previous year's Palmetto Championship, which replaced that year's Canadian Open.
View Course
43. (38) Sebonack Golf Club
Private
43. (38) Sebonack Golf Club
Southampton, NY
4.2
90 Panelists
Not since Augusta National had the nation’s greatest golfer teamed with one of the most highly regarded course architects on a design project. But the joint venture by Jack Nicklaus with Tom Doak at Sebonack was complicated by the fact that golfer Nicklaus was also an esteemed course architect in his own right, and the project sat right beside two American icons, Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links. Some pundits have reduced Sebonack to “Tom’s bunkers, Jack’s greens,” but in truth it’s just the opposite. Doak convinced Nicklaus to go with small greens of sweeping contours and little imperfections the likes of which Jack would never have considered on his own. Meanwhile, Jack insisted that Tom tone down his usual ragged, jagged bunker faces to make them palatable to high-handicap club members. Sebonack hosted the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open to great success.
View Course
44. (43) The Golf Club
Private
44. (43) The Golf Club
New Albany, OH
4.8
148 Panelists
The Golf Club, built in 1966, may be the most authentic of Pete Dye’s transition period of design, when he first chose to buck convention and start building lay-of-the-land layouts like those he’d seen during a 1963 tour of Scotland. In doing so, Dye re-introduced deception, misdirection and railroad ties into American golf architecture. Its construction attracted the attention of local boy Jack Nicklaus, who visited several times and made some astute suggestions. That led to a five-year Dye-Nicklaus design partnership. The Golf Club remained untouched for nearly 45 years, until 2014, when Pete Dye returned to rebuild holes, modestly adjusting some of his original green contours to better match them to present-day green speeds. He also relocated the fifth green, adding a contorted putting surface more reminiscent of his later designs, an inconspicuous reminder how much his design pedilictions evolved throughout his career.
View Course
45. (45) Baltusrol Golf Club: Lower
Private
45. (45) Baltusrol Golf Club: Lower
Springfield, NJ
4.6
94 Panelists
Jack Nicklaus won two U.S. Opens on Baltusrol's Lower Course, setting a tournament record each time. Phil Mickelson and Jimmy Walker won PGAs on it. But the Lower’s most historic event was the ace by architect Robert Trent Jones in 1954 on the par-3 fourth, instantly squelching complaints of critical club members who felt Trent’s redesign made it too hard. Trent’s younger son, Rees, an avowed A.W. Tillinghast fan, lightly retouched the Lower’s design for the 2016 PGA Championship. But there has been another changing of the guard at Baltusrol, as architect Gil Hanse and his team took over as the club’s new consulting architects, and re-opened the restored Lower course—after carefully examining Tillie's old plans and reclaiming green size and rebuilding bunkers—in May 2021. The results, while praised, did not alter the course's standing in the 100 Greatest ranking--it remains at no. 45.
View Course
46. (48) Castle Pines Golf Club
Private
46. (48) Castle Pines Golf Club
Castle Rock, CO
4.6
131 Panelists
When Golf Digest began its annual Best New Course awards in 1983, the review panel selected Castle Pines as the Private Course winner, but Bill Davis, co-founder of Golf Digest and founding father of all its course rankings, didn’t care for the course and vetoed its inclusion. So no private course was honored that year. Davis soon recognized his error, and in 1987—its first year of eligibility—Castle Pines joined America’s 100 Greatest and has remained there ever since. Club founder Jack Vickers, a Midwest oilman, had urged architect Jack Nicklaus to produce a mountain-venue design worthy of a major championship. Jack did, but when a championship never resulted, Vickers established his own, The International, which for many years was the only PGA Tour event played under a unique Stableford format. It’s a pity that The International is no longer on the Tour’s schedule. Like Muirfield Village, the only other solo Nicklaus design in the top 50, Castle Pines has undergone a steady procession of hole alterations to keep pace with changing technology, and changing tastes.
View Course
47. (42) Camargo Club
Private
47. (42) Camargo Club
Cincinnati, OH
4.8
102 Panelists
One of Seth Raynor’s last designs, it wasn’t completed until nearly a year after his 1926 death. William Jackson, who later became the club’s pro and superintendent, handled the construction and was faithful to Raynor’s diagrams with two exceptions: he turned the 16th into a par 4 and the 17th into a par 5. Robert von Hagge added flashy but incongruous bunkering in the early 1980s. They lasted over 20 years, until Tom Doak undertook a restoration in the Raynor style of geometric-shaped bunkers and greens. Curiously, the Biarritz green at the par-3 eighth has never been mowed as the 60-yard-long putting surface found on other Biarritz holes built by Raynor or his mentor C.B. Macdonald. Club officials insisted early aerial photos confirm the front half of the green was always mown at fairway height, so they continue that tradition today. Don Placek of Renaissance Golf has recently completed further renovation enhancements, including adding six acres of restored fairway to better help define the scale of the property and the reclamation of the full 15,000 square feet of the Road green at 17. The club will unveil the improvements to its members this summer.
View Course
48. (46) Erin Hills Golf Course
Public
48. (46) Erin Hills Golf Course
Hartford, WI
Despite the rumor, Erin Hills wasn’t designed specifically to host a U.S. Open. Its original concept was to be a simple, affordable, lay-of-the-land layout, to prove Mother Nature is indeed the best golf architect. The concept changed—some greens moved, one blind par 3 eliminated—as the quest for a U.S. Open grew. That dream came true: after trial runs hosting the 2008 U.S. Women’s Public Links and the 2011 U.S. Amateur, Erin Hills hosted the U.S. Open in 2017, the first time the event had ever been in Wisconsin. Brooks Koepka won with a 72-hole score of 16-under, leading some to conclude Erin Hills was too wide and defenseless. In truth, what it lacked that week was the usual gusty winds that would have effectively narrowed the slanted, canted fairways. Had the par been adjusted to 70 instead of 72 as is usual for most Opens, the score would likely have been closer to 8-under.
View Course
49. (NEW) Nanea Golf Club
Private
49. (NEW) Nanea Golf Club
Kailua Kona, HI
4.8
49 Panelists
In the early 1960s, Robert Trent Jones built the first course on Hawaii’s Big Island for a very wealthy owner (Laurance Rockefeller), grinding up the site’s volcanic rock to use as “sand” on which to grow grass. 40 years later and just 22 miles away, architect David McLay Kidd also built a course on volcanic rock for very wealthy owners (Charles Schwab and George Roberts), but rather than transform the lava topography, he routed his holes among the black outcroppings and through the site’s meadows of native grasses. Located on a high, exposed plateau beneath Mt. Hualalai, the holes ramble and roll into topsy-turvy greens, each with a sterling view of the Pacific Ocean three and half miles in the distance.
View Course
50. (69) Myopia Hunt Club
Private
50. (69) Myopia Hunt Club
South Hamilton, MA
4.7
109 Panelists
Few realize Myopia Hunt Club, a funky, quirky lark where greens look like bathmats and bunkers look like bathtubs, hosted four U.S. Open championships by 1908 (two of them when the club had only nine holes). Although the Open hasn’t been back in over 110 years, Myopia has always retained a reputation of being a tough little rascal, with tiny greens, deep bunkers and several cross-hazards. Thanks to a Gil Hanse restoration, Myopia looks like it did in its U.S. Open heyday, but with much better turf conditions now.
View Course
51. (55) Whispering Pines Golf Club
4.7
159 Panelists
Corby Robertson, who made a fortune in coal reserves, staked out the Whispering Pines course in the early 1990s, then brought Texas-based golf architect Chet Williams (at the time a design associate of Jack Nicklaus) to help him create strategies through bunkering and green contours. Williams refined the rough-hewn routing cut through east Texas piney woods into a dazzling romp across a gently rolling landscape, culminating in a final six-hole stretch along gator-infested Caney Creek and the headwaters of Lake Livingston. Whispering Pines continues to rise in the rankings since its debut at No. 75 in 2013.
View Course
52. (64) Maidstone Club: West
Private
52. (64) Maidstone Club: West
East Hampton, NY
4.6
252 Panelists
Not only one of America’s earliest links courses, Maidstone is also one of the country’s earliest golf residential communities. Legend has it that Bobby Jones felt that Maidstone’s final three holes made it one of the great match-play courses in America. If so, that’s because the 17th has one of the tightest green sites in America, the green sitting just in front of a major street intersection, with roads right and left less than 12 paces off each collar. As befitting a seaside course, Coore and Crenshaw cleared out brush and restored many sand dunes areas and removed turf in some spots of rough to expose the sand beneath, while shaper Jeff Bradley returned the jagged, windswept edges to the bunkers.
View Course
53. (47) Victoria National Golf Club
4.9
108 Panelists
Built atop Peabody Coal Company’s long-abandoned Victoria strip mine in southern Indiana, Victoria National was a simple routing for Tom Fazio. He just followed the corridors (the perfect width for fairways) that existed between mining spoil mounds (long since overgrown with trees) and some 40 acres of fingery lagoons that had formed as steam shovels carving out coal deposits hit the water table. Chosen as Best New Private Course of 1999, Victoria National stunned most panelists. One gushed it was, “the most unusual, unpolished and unpretentious Fazio design ever.” Another called it, “probably the hardest Fazio course I’ve played. More penal than Pine Valley.” Fazio concurred with that assessment. “It’s U.S. Open-quality now,” he said soon after it opened. “If the wind blew, it’d be too hard.”
View Course
54. (92) Old Town Club
Private
54. (92) Old Town Club
Winston Salem, NC
4.7
166 Panelists
Created by architect Perry Maxwell on the heels of his work at No. 23 Prairie Dunes and No. 28 Southern Hills, Old Town Club was surprisingly unique, and included perhaps Maxwell’s only surviving double green. When Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were hired to address the bunkering at Old Town, they opted not to reproduce the original bunkers (some of which were enormous) but rather emulate their gnarly shapes, edges and vegetation in places where bunkers naturally fit. Lots of trees had already been removed, but the architects convinced the club to get rid of even more. Now, a single swath of fairway connects the seventh, eighth, ninth, 17th and 18th holes. Very unique. The course has jumped 45 places in the rankings since it debuted in 2019.
View Course
55. (54) Shoreacres Golf Club
Private
55. (54) Shoreacres Golf Club
Lake Bluff, IL
4.1
187 Panelists
Shoreacres possesses perhaps the most fascinating topography upon which Seth Raynor ever created a golf course, with his usual collection of suspects, including No. 3 (Leven), No. 6 (Biarritz), No. 7 (Double Plateau), No. 8 (Eden), No. 10 (Road) and No. 14 (Redan) all playing along plateaus and over ravines that feed into Lake Michigan. The stretch of 11, 12 and 13, playing across a ravine, down into it and back out of it, are as unique a stretch of holes as can be found anywhere on a 100 Greatest course.
View Course
56. (81) Rock Creek Cattle Company
Private
56. (81) Rock Creek Cattle Company
Deer Lodge, MT
4.8
87 Panelists
In the high plains north of Butte, Mont., minimalist master Tom Doak fashioned a splendid inland links from a working cattle ranch. His broad, looping routing starts in pasture, makes a slow but steady climb to the seventh tee, then plays through pines and over the ravines of Rock Creek, as gorgeous a fly-fishing stream as can be imagined. At the ninth, the course bursts back into the open, atop rolling hills offering hogback, punchbowl and sideslope fairways, then rolls downward and homeward, finishing back along the stream. Doak moved little earth because it was so rocky. Greens are huge to fit the scale and bunkers shaped to emulate those blown out by constant winds. Rock Creek Cattle Co. is high-country golf at its finest.
View Course
57. (50) Somerset Hills Country Club
Private
57. (50) Somerset Hills Country Club
Bernardsville, NJ
4.7
153 Panelists
Somerset Hills is another marvelous A.W. Tillinghast design, one of the few that has remained virtually unchanged since it opened in 1918. So it may be the most authentic Tillinghast course on the 100 Greatest. It’s a charming, laid-back design that works through seemingly undisturbed rolling terrain, past rock outcroppings and around small-but-distinctive water hazards. Tilly designed this with a spoonful of whimsy, with “dolomite” mounds edging one green and startling knobs within another putting surface. Like Baltusrol Upper, Somerset Hills has a Tillinghast version of a Redan par 3.
View Course
58. (65) Inverness Club
Private
58. (65) Inverness Club
Toledo, OH
4.6
139 Panelists
Inverness is considered a classic Donald Ross design. In truth, it’s one of his best remodeling jobs. Some Ross fans were outraged when the course was radically altered by George and Tom Fazio in preparation for the 1979 U.S. Open. The uncle-nephew duo eliminated four holes (including the famous dogleg par-4 seventh), combined two holes to make the par-5 eighth and created three modern holes on newly acquired land. In 2018, golf architect Andrew Green replaced the Fazio holes with new ones more in the Ross style, relocated greens on two other holes and added new back tees everywhere.
View Course
59. (62) Sleepy Hollow Country Club
Private
59. (62) Sleepy Hollow Country Club
Scarborough, NY
4.7
193 Panelists
In the mid 2000s, the late George Bahto, who had extensively researched the works of legendary architect C.B. Macdonald, partnered with designer Gil Hanse to remodel Sleepy Hollow Country Club, which consisted of 11 Macdonald-designed holes and seven added in 1927 by A.W. Tillinghast. The pair persuaded the club to allow them to rebuilt the entire 18 in Macdonald’s style, reasoning that Tillinghast was well represented elsewhere in Westchester County (Winged Foot, Quaker Ridge and others) but Macdonald was not. The rebuild was done in stages, completed well after Bahto’s death in 2014. Thanks to Hanse, Sleepy Hollow now features some Macdonald “template holes,” Eden, Knoll, Leven and Road holes that weren’t even part of Macdonald’s original design. Sleepy Hollow will host the 2023 U.S. Mid-Amateur.
View Course
60. (68) Scioto Country Club
Private
60. (68) Scioto Country Club
Columbus, OH
4.7
45 Panelists
The Donald Ross design at Scioto was the site of three prominent tournaments—the 1926 U.S. Open, won by Bobby Jones, the 1931 Ryder Cup and the 1950 PGA Championship (Chandler Harper). That course was gone by the time the ’68 U.S. Amateur came to Scioto (Bruce Fleischer), replaced in 1963 by a modern design from Dick Wilson who delegated one nine to associate Joe Lee and the other to associate Robert von Hagge. Several other renovations by Michael Hurdzan and Jack Nicklaus, who grew up playing the course, followed in the 2000s creating yet a third iteration of the course. Enough, the club said. They hired Andrew Green in 2021 to restore the course to the full Donald Ross version based on drawings, photos and an old aerial illustration from the '26 Open. Green lowered green complexes, emboldened contours, recreated Ross’ sharp-faced bunkering and returned the small green at the par-3 17th to the near side of a creek where it originally was.
View Course
61. (41) Winged Foot Golf Club: East Course
4.5
175 Panelists
Winged Foot’s two-course complex is the product of A.W. Tillinghast’s fertile imagination. Every characteristic of the more famous West Course also exists on the Winged Foot East (which, incredibly, was used as a parking lot during recent U.S. Opens). A few years back, architect Gil Hanse re-established Tillinghast’s bunkering and reclaimed the original sizes and shapes of the greens, bringing “corner-pocket” hole locations back into play.
View Course
62. (53) Monterey Peninsula Country Club: Shore
4.6
230 Panelists
Mike Strantz was battling cancer while transforming the bland, low-budget Shore Course into a scenic and strategic marvel that rivals next-door neighbor Cypress Point. Strantz reversed direction of the fifth through 15th holes to provide a Pacific Ocean backdrop to most of them. He weaved fairways among trees so players could “dance among the cypress,” and added native grasses for a coastal prairie look. The stunning landscape would be Strantz’s last work of art. He died six months after completing the redesign. Former PGA Tour player Forrest Fezler, who was Strantz’s associate on the project, later served as a consulting architect in order to retain the Strantz vision, until he died in 2018.
View Course
63. (58) Old Sandwich Golf Club
Private
63. (58) Old Sandwich Golf Club
Plymouth, MA
4.5
132 Panelists
Old Sandwich Golf Club may be the craftiest Coore-Crenshaw design yet built. Amidst its pines, scrub oaks, gnarly bunkers, chocolate drop mounds, wavy fescue and briar bushes are hints of Baltusrol, National Golf Links, Pine Valley, Pinehurst No 2 and Chicago Golf Club in its cross-bunkering, hazard placement and sandy waste areas. The greens are some of the most rolling of any Coore & Crenshaw design, seeded with a half-dozen bent varieties to give them an old-fashioned mottled appearance. Nobody does old-fashioned better than Coore & Crenshaw.
View Course
64. (61) Garden City Golf Club
Private
64. (61) Garden City Golf Club
Garden City, NY
4.7
114 Panelists
Minimalist in its design (you can still see the faint traces of old roadbeds over which the course was routed) and natural in its upkeep, Garden City Golf Club is one of the great early tournament venues in the United States. Before the 1908 U.S. Amateur, Walter Travis remodeled the course into what it is today, its strategies dictated by many deep pot bunkers. Travis installed them to promote “thinking golf,” but one player soon dubbed Garden City the home of the “God-fearing approach shot.” It’s also a rare 100 Greatest course with a closing par 3.
View Course
65. (67) Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: Bandon Trails
The only one of Bandon Dunes' five 18-hole courses that isn't immediately adjacent to the Pacific coastline, Trails scores points other ways, taking players on a fantastic journey through three distinct ecosytems. The course starts in serious sand dunes then turns inward toward meadows and dense Oregon rainforest, climbing toward an upper section at holes nine through 13. Fourteen is a love-it or-hate-it par 4 to a thumb of a green personally fashioned by Crenshaw that can be driven with an unerring drive off a high bluff, dropping the holes back to the meadows and ultimately to the dunes at 17 and 18. Bump-and-run is the name of the game but the structure of each hole requires thoughtful bumps and targeted runs.
View Course
66. (57) Oak Tree National
Private
66. (57) Oak Tree National
Edmond, OK
4.6
110 Panelists
Oak Tree National was originally the men’s-only Oak Tree Golf Club, with 18 holes patterned after previous Dye designs (the par-3 eighth, for example, was a close cousin to his 17th at Harbour Town, complete with a basket trap on the back left). It has long been considered one of Pete Dye’s sternest tests of golf, a hilly layout with numerous water hazards and deep bunkers protecting some very tiny greens, as well as gusting Oklahoma winds and gnarly Bermudagrass rough. It’s been a PGA Tour Champions fixture in recent years, hosting the 2006 Senior PGA Championship and the 2014 Senior U.S. Open. Recent touch-ups by Tripp Davis have kept Dye's architeture sharp.
View Course
67. (51) Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Public
67. (51) Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Pebble Beach, CA
Given the task of designing a course just up the 17 Mile Drive from Pebble Beach and Cypress Point, Robert Trent Jones responded with a combination of Pine Valley and Augusta National. The five opening holes, in Pine Valley-like sand dunes, are an all-too-brief encounter with the Pacific seacoast. The remaining holes are a stern hike through hills covered with majestic Monterey pines (which, sad to say, may someday disappear to pitch canker, but are being replaced in some areas with cypress trees). Add several water hazards that hearken back to the 16th at Augusta (a hole which Trent Jones designed, by the way) and you have what some panelists consider to be Trent’s finest work. Others say it’s the best course never to have hosted a major event. After all, even Pine Valley and Cypress Point have hosted Walker Cups.
View Course
68. (73) Cherry Hills Country Club
Private
68. (73) Cherry Hills Country Club
Englewood, CO
4.6
141 Panelists
When Cherry Hills opened in the early 1920s, it was a ground-breaking design, with the nation’s first par-5 island green and closing back-to-back par 5s, although in championships the 18th is played as a par 4. In the 1960 U.S. Open, winner Arnold Palmer popularized the idea of a drivable par 4 by going for the first green in every round. Curiously, when Palmer and partner Ed Seay remodeled Cherry Hills in 1976, they lengthened the first hole so no player could duplicate Arnie’s feat. Nearly 40 years later, modern equipment has once again made the first hole reachable from the tee. A decade's worth of renovation and individual feature restoration by Tom Doak and Eric Iverson of Renaissance Golf have primed Cherry Hills for the next phase of its illustrious tournament history, beginning with the 2023 U.S. Amateur.
View Course
69. (74) Calusa Pines Golf Club
Private
69. (74) Calusa Pines Golf Club
Naples, FL
4.6
312 Panelists
Calusa’s developer, Gary Chensoff, a Chicago venture capitalist, survived a rare form of cancer despite long odds, and his recovery strongly influenced how Calusa Pines was designed and built. Chensoff decided to gamble, instructing Hurdzan-Fry to design the most unique course in south Florida despite a dead flat site. They responded by piling up fill from ponds to form ridge lines up to 58 feet, then planted them with mature oaks, pines and sabal palms. Calusa Pines sports perhaps the firmest, fastest Bermuda fairways and greens in Florida, rivaled only by the turf at Streamsong. Recent removal of overgrown vegetation between holes has returned beautiful long-range views to the course and made it more playable.
View Course
70. (72) The Estancia Club
Private
70. (72) The Estancia Club
Scottsdale, AZ
4.8
136 Panelists
Estancia, our Best New Private Course of 1996, was Tom Fazio’s initial entry into the Scottsdale scene. Positioned beneath the north slopes of Pinnacle Peak and routed to provide a variety of uphill and downhill shots and a change of direction on almost every hole, Estancia is an easterner’s version of rock-and-cactus architecture, with wide turf corridors, few desert carries and greens wilder than most. Former Fazio design associate Kevin Sutherland (no relation to the PGA Tour player of the same name) has made slight design adjustments in recent years.
View Course
71. (101) California Golf Club
Private
71. (101) California Golf Club
South San Francisco, CA
4.6
197 Panelists
For a course that featured Alister Mackenzie bunkers (added just two years after it first opened), Cal Club was never considered the equal of its near neighbors, No. 35 Olympic (Lake) or No. 33 San Francisco G.C. That’s partly because it was so claustrophobic, not just from dense trees, but from its truncated front nine reworked in the 60s by Trent Jones after road expansion took two holes. Architect Kyle Phillips resolved the problem by clearing trees and creating five new holes, including a new par-4 second in the old practice range and a new dogleg-right par-4 seventh atop a previously unused mesa in the middle of the course. Best of all, he re-introduced Mackenzie’s glamorous bunkers. Cal Club is now much closer to its top-ranked neighbors.
View Course
72. (56) Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: Old MacDonald
Old Mike Keiser had a course. Name of Bandon Dunes. Hugged the cliffs of Oregon gorse. It made golfers swoon. So he added one more, then a third next door. Here a lodge, there a hut, even built a pitch & putt. Now it's America's top resort. Name of Bandon Dunes. But Old Mike Keiser wanted more. Down at Bandon Dunes. An ode to an architect he adored. Cut from heather and broom. So Old Macdonald came to be. In spite of a bad economy. Here it's big, there it's bold. Everywhere it looks real old. A Road Hole here, a Cape Hole there. Bottle Hole, Biarritz, ocean winds that'll give you fits. Short and Eden fit the scenes. Especially with enormous greens. Old Macdonald is part of the lore. Now at Bandon Dunes.
View Course
73. (91) Congressional Country Club: Blue
4.5
52 Panelists
Congressional's Blue Course had been an icon of traditional American parkland golf since the 1964 U.S. Open. Prior to that event, Robert Trent Jones combined nine remodeled Devereux Emmet holes with nine new ones of his own to create the modern Blue, and those holes were remodeled and reshaped several times by son Rees Jones for the 1997 and 2011 Opens. All the while, the trees around them matured, creating dense, shadowy corridors of wood. Drainage issues and declining course conditions motivated the membership to considier a major overhaul in 2020, and that's what they received when architect Andrew Green reimagined the course as somethiing that Emmet might have originally designed, denuding the property of its forests and creating broad, rollicking fairways that tumble through meadows of long fescue punctuated by fearsome bunkers and bold, segmented greens. Parkland golf Congressional is no more, and the remodel, which included a new, drop-shot par-3 10th hole, earned the course our Best Transformation award for 2021 and a jump of 18 spots in the 100 Greatest ranking.
View Course
74. (66) Kinloch Golf Club
Private
74. (66) Kinloch Golf Club
Manakin Sabot, VA
4.6
145 Panelists
Since the only way to successfully establish bent-grass tees, fairways and greens in hot, humid Richmond was to create expansive corridors to allow plenty of sunlight and air to the turf, Kinloch Golf Club has more double fairways posing options and alternate routes than nearly every other course on the 100 Greatest, except perhaps No. 7 National Golf Links. In 2016, George prepared a long-range masterplan of adjustments, including expansion of the alternate fairways on nine and 11, for improved visibility and playability, and removal of thick rough between bunkers and fairway edges. Enhancements will continue in the future.
View Course
75. (49) Butler National Golf Club
Private
75. (49) Butler National Golf Club
Oak Brook, IL
4.3
198 Panelists
Butler National was former tour player George Fazio’s ideal of a championship course, with 10 forced-carries over water in 18 holes. Even before it opened, it was signed to eventually serve as permanent site of the Western Open. Problem was, when it opened, it was the last cool-weather venue on the PGA Tour to utilize bluegrass rather than bent-grass for its fairway, and several prominent golfers declined to play Butler National because of potential flyer-lies from those fairways. Eventually the turf was converted, but then the Shoal Creek scandal occurred. Rather than change its restricted men-only policy, the club relinquished its role of Western Open host after the 1990 event. So why include a club on America’s 100 Greatest that won’t allow female panelists a chance to evaluate it? Because we rank golf courses, not club policies.
View Course
76. (78) The Valley Club of Montecito
Private
76. (78) The Valley Club of Montecito
Santa Barbara, CA
The Valley Club is routed like an hourglass, with a wide variety of holes, including the third (hard against a barranca), the downright mountainous 10th, the gorgeous canyon-carry 14th and broad, serpentine 15th. Fairways are generous, but the slant of greens demand certain angles of approach. The restored MacKenzie bunkers resemble jigsaw pieces that, observed architect Jim Urbina, seem to fit one another, left and right. An added bonus is its location, in perhaps the best golfing weather in the nation. But the surrounding dry hills are subject to erosion, and The Valley Club was severely damaged by mudslides in 2018, necessitating an intensive project to reclaim its grand golf holes.
View Course
77. (86) Diamond Creek
Private
77. (86) Diamond Creek
Banner Elk, NC
4.7
111 Panelists
While architecture purists scoff at the notion of waterfalls on golf courses, there is something magnificent about a cascading water feature done right. Few are as effective as the one behind the par-3 17th green at Diamond Creek. Tom Fazio positioned the green nearly at the base of a sheer granite quarry wall, down which a slender stream of water drops more than 100 feet. Amazingly, the club entrance’s drive is also at the base of the quarry wall, hidden from view on the 17th as effectively as Fazio hides his cart paths.
View Course
78. (79) Essex County Club
Private
78. (79) Essex County Club
Manchester, MA
4.9
128 Panelists
Essex County Club is considered the first great Donald Ross design and perhaps his most intriguing. He wasn’t the original architect, but he served as its professional from 1909 to 1913 (until his design business became so lucrative he no longer needed the pro job) and lived on site, so he was able to tweak many holes. Ultimately, he returned to do a substantial remodeling in 1917. Unusual holes are the order of the day, from the flat opening nine with fuzzy chocolate drops covered in tall fescue grasses to the blind shots, both uphill and downhill, on the back nine. The par-3 11th, with its green resembling the deck of a sinking ship, and the downhill par-4 18th, shaped like an S around small hills, are special. The club insists its third green, created in 1893 and preserved by Ross in his remodel, is the oldest green in continuous existence in America.
View Course
79. (80) Monterey Peninsula Country Club: Dunes
4.6
182 Panelists
The Dunes Course, long in the shadow of its big brother Shore Course (ranked 62nd), was originally routed by Seth Raynor, who died before construction. It was completed by Robert Hunter, a partner to Alister MacKenzie (who did not participate in the work), and Raynors ideas for the greens were altered before they were even built. In the 1990s, Rees Jones remodeled the course and reshaped holes to mimic the Raynor look, to mixed reviews. In 2016, Tom Fazio was brought in to make the Dunes as appealing to members as the gorgeous Shore Course, though it was former associates Tim Jackson and David Kahn who conceived of and carried out the details of the plan to give the Dunes a MacKenzie look. Sandscapes now frame most holes, fairways now zigzag around jagged bunkers and nearly all the greens are oriented diagonal to lines of play. The Dunes Course now lives up to its name.
View Course
80. (63) Baltusrol Golf Club: Upper
Private
80. (63) Baltusrol Golf Club: Upper
Springfield, NJ
4.5
138 Panelists
It’s believed that when A.W. Tillinghast began constructing the Upper and Lower Courses at Baltusrol in 1919 (replacing Baltusrol’s existing 18 holes), it was the first contiguous 36 holes built at the same time in America. Because of the Lower’s tremendous major championship record, most consider the slightly shorter Upper to be a secondary course at the club. But between the two, it was the Upper, not the Lower, that hosted the first U.S. Open (and third in the club’s history) in 1936, won by Tony Manero. The Lower didn’t get its first Open until 1954, won by Ed Furgol. Baltusrol Mountain, just 200 feet high, looms above the right flank of the Upper, complicating drives and putts with a landscape that tilts more than appears to the eye. Gil Hanse will begin work on the Upper at the end of the 2023 season.
View Course
81. (76) Quaker Ridge Golf Club
Private
81. (76) Quaker Ridge Golf Club
Scarsdale, NY
4.7
144 Panelists
Quaker Ridge returned to America’s 100 Greatest in 2013 thanks to a revision by Gil Hanse that included removal of many trees and the rebuilding of bunkers. Hanse also expanded several greens back to Tillinghast dimensions but reduced the size of the par-4 17th green, chopping off a left-hand lobe added by Frank Duane in 1964. Quaker’s strong suit has long been its powerful par 4s and Hanse strengthened them all, including the par-4 sixth, squeezed between a creek and hillside, and the drive-and-pitch 11th, where the green is girdled by a stream.
View Course