Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)



COURSE RANKINGS

America's 100 Greatest Public Courses

Great public golf can be found in every corner of the United States. Our 2023-2024 ranking of America's 100 Greatest Public Courses will help lead the way.
July 18, 2023

We’re not shy about expressing enthusiasm for publishing the biennial list of Golf Digest's America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses. Our marquee franchise, the America's 100 Greatest Courses ranking, is our authoritative survey of great golf course architecture, but it's also a little like ranking the world's greatest three-starred restaurants—where most of us will never be able to get a reservation.

Our public course ranking, on the other hand, is relative to all of us. It’s meant to be both a marker of exemplary golf design and a guide to where you might want to play, either soon or on a special occasion trip. The price tags on many of these courses may be forbidding but they’re nevertheless open to the public, and many of those on the second half of the list are quite reasonably priced for the level of golf they deliver.

Twelve courses fell off this year’s ranking, including longtime stalwarts Bay Harbor in Michigan (the Links/Quarry course), Pete Dye’s Bulle Rock in Maryland and the Mike Strantz-designed Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Myrtle Beach. Also off is the former America’s 100 Greatest Courses member Pine Barrens at World Woods in Florida, not because it didn't score high enough, but because it doesn’t exist anymore—it’s being transformed into a new course at the rejuvenated Cabot Citrus Farms, expected to open January 2024. Will the new design be as worthy of this ranking as the old?

The dozen courses coming onto the ranking in 2023 represent several debut appearances in addition to a few that return after temporary hiatus. Wynn Golf Club in Las Vegas enters new at No. 66, the highest debut or return. Southern Pines in North Carolina, the beloved but scruffy old Ross course outside Pinehurst, makes its first appearance following a major remodel by Kyle Franz that brings it on par with sister courses Pine Needles (No. 63) and Mid Pines (No. 86). Buffalo Ridge in Missouri is back in the ranking for the first time since 2009, giving Big Cedar Lodge three courses in the top 100 along with Payne’s Valley (new at No. 78) and Ozarks National (33rd).

As always there are a number of big jumps in the rankings, as well as a few free falls. That’s part of the fun, as you’ll see here.

Below you'll find our latest ranking of America's 100 Greatest Public courses, based on thousands of evaluations from our course panelists.

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.

1. (1) Pebble Beach Golf Links
Public
1. (1) 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. Pebble Beach hosted the Women's U.S. Open for the first time in 2023.
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2. (2) Pacific Dunes
Public
2. (2) 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, but the result is a course with sensual movements, like a tango that steps toward the coast and back again, dipping in and out of different playing arenas from the secluded sand blowouts to the exposed blufs and all variations in between.
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3. (4) 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.
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4. (3) 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.
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5. (5) Shadow Creek
Public
5. (5) 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.
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6. (6) Pinehurst No. 2
Public
6. (6) Pinehurst No. 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.
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7. (8) Bethpage State Park: Black
Public
7. (8) 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.
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8. (7) Bandon Dunes
Public
8. (7) Bandon Dunes
Bandon, OR
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.
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9. (11) TPC Sawgrass: Stadium
Public
9. (11) 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.
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10. (9) Erin Hills Golf Course
Public
10. (9) 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.
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11. (13) Bandon Trails
Public
11. (13) Bandon Trails
Bandon, OR
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.
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12. (10) Spyglass Hill Golf Course
Public
12. (10) 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.
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13. (12) Old Macdonald
Public
13. (12) Old Macdonald
Bandon, OR
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.
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14. (14) Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club: Bluffs Course
Can a 100 Greatest course be a sleeper? The Bluffs Course at Arcadia Bluffs has been overshadowed by No. 21 Pacific Dunes ever since it finished second to it in the Best New Upscale Public Course race of 2001. And likewise it’s been second-fiddle to No. 14 Crystal Downs, a northern Michigan neighbor that every visitor wants to play, even though it’s private and Arcadia is public. And even by No. 26 Whistling Straits, the imitation links on the opposite side of Lake Michigan that Arcadia Bluffs resembles, although the sand dunes at Arcadia are natural, not manmade. More recently, the Bluffs faces competition from within, the newly-opened sister layout, the South Course at Arcadia Bluffs, designed by Dana Fry in the style of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor.
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15. (17) Pasatiempo Golf Club
Public
15. (17) Pasatiempo Golf Club
Santa Cruz, CA
Pasatiempo is arguably Alister Mackenzie's favorite design. He lived along its sixth fairway during his last years. With its elaborate greens and spectacular bunkering fully restored by Tom Doak and now by Jim Urbina, it’s a prime example of Mackenzie's art. The five par 3s are daunting yet delightful, culminating with the 181-yard over-a-canyon 18th. The back nine is chock full of other great holes: 10, 11, 12 and 16 all play over barrancas. The storied course has hosted two USGA championships: the 1986 U.S. Women's Amateur and the 2004 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur. In 2014, Pasatiempo received a Golf Digest Green Star environmental award for its measures in dealing with drought. Today, water worries are in the past, in part because of a new storage tank that allows the club to capture and store recycled water.
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16. (15) Bandon Dunes Golf Resort: Sheep Ranch
Sheep Ranch began life as a different Sheep Ranch in the early 2000s, a rag-tag, cross-country, 13-hole course with no irrigation built by Tom Doak on a bluff just north of what would later become Old Macdonald. It was a little-used recreation that only insiders knew about. Mike Keiser tapped Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to convert it into Bandon Dunes’ fifth regulation 18-hole course and Coore and Crenshaw’s second. Spread across an open, windswept plateau, using many of the same greensites, Coore managed to triangulate the holes in such a way that nine now touch the cliff edge along the Pacific Ocean. Extremely wide fairways and large putting surfaces allow the exposed course to be playable in extreme winds, and with its fast arrival to the top 15 public courses alongside Bandon’s other courses, Sheep Ranch has accomplished the most difficult of feats for resort courses—distinction among equals.
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17. (18) Sand Valley
Public
17. (18) Sand Valley
Nekoosa, WI
Sand Valley is the fifth course that the firm of Coore and Crenshaw has designed for resort maven Mike Keiser, and the first not located close to an ocean. No matter. It’s still on a thousand acres of rolling sand hills in Central Wisconsin, and Coore and Crenshaw were given carte blanche to route their course. (Rumor has it Coore routed a hole outside the property line and Keiser reluctantly bought that additional parcel.) Given the name, many conclude Sand Valley is a combination of Nebraska’s Sand Hills Golf Club and New Jersey’s Pine Valley. But Sand Valley has its own personality, with some dual fairways, gigantic sand spits, enormous greens and even a hidden putting surface. Sand Valley was Golf Digest’s Best New Course of 2017.
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18. (16) Blackwolf Run: River
Public
18. (16) Blackwolf Run: River
Kohler, WI
Only Pete Dye could have convinced owner Herb Kohler to rip apart an award-winning course (Golf Digest’s Best New Public Course of 1988) and still come out a winner. Dye coupled the front nine of that original 18 (now holes 1-4 and 14-18) with nine newer holes built within a vast bend of the Sheboygan River to produce the River Course. It possesses some of Dye’s most exciting holes, from the triple-option reachable par-4 ninth to the boomerang-shaped par-5 11th to the monster par-4 18th, where Kohler surprised Dye by converting a long waste bunker into a temporary lagoon for tournament events. For major events, like the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open, Dye’s original 18 was used. But for survey purposes, Golf Digest evaluates the River 18, which is available for everyday general play.
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19. (19) French Lick Resort: Pete Dye Course
Pete Dye’s mountaintop design, Golf Digest’s 2009 Best New Public winner, established that at age 80 the designer still had fresh ideas, including rumpled chipping swales, country-lane cart paths and volcano bunkers. Measuring just over 8,100 yards from the tips, Pete Dye at French Lick is not the first course over 8,000 yards to land on our rankings. That would be Runaway Brook in Massachusetts, now called the Pines Course at The International Golf Club. It was 8,040 yards when ranked in 1967. Today it’s 8,325 yards. The world’s longest is Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in China at 8,415 yards. The yardage may be a talking point, but what golfers will remember about Dye's French Lick course are the multi-mile views in all direction, the roominess of the fairways and greens that hang out over the edges of the sweeping land formations.
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20. (22) Chambers Bay
Public
20. (22) Chambers Bay
University Place, WA
Prodded by his partner, Bruce Charlton, and their then-design associate Jay Blasi, veteran architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. agreed to a radically different, vertical-links style when building Chambers Bay in an abandoned sand quarry near Tacoma. By the time Golf Digest named it as America’s Best New Public Course of 2008, the course had already been awarded the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open. In the Amateur, Chambers Bay proved to be hard, both in the firmness of its dry fescue turf (Jones called his fairways, “hardwood floors”) and its difficulties around and on the windswept greens. For the U.S. Open, the firmness and surrounds were more manageable, but the greens were notoriously bumpy. That’s now been remedied, as the fescue turf on the putting surfaces has been replaced with pure Poa Annua. What's irreplacable are the views of Puget Sound from nearly every hole, multi-level fairways that entice bold driving to gain second-shot advantages and two holes running parallel to a railway that's invokes feelings of early Scottish and Irish links courses.
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21. (20) Streamsong Resort: Red
Public
21. (20) Streamsong Resort: Red
Bowling Green, FL
Coore and Crenshaw’s Red Course is part of a resort triple-header that gives golfers a rare opportunity to compare and contrast the differences in styles and philosophies of arguably the three of top design firms in America, including Streamsong Blue, a Tom Doak design, and Streamsong Black, from Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner. The Red, like the Blue, was built from sand spoils created by a massive phosphate strip mine, with some piles forming dunes reaching 75 feet into the air. But there was only room for 31 holes, so Coore and Crenshaw had to take a section of less desirable, stripped-down land and create five holes that looked like the rest of the site, Red's holes one through five. The course has a wonderful mix of bump-and-run links holes and target-like water holes. Some greens are perched like those at Pinehurst, others are massive with multi-levels like those at St. Andrews. The turf is firm and bouncy, and while the routing is sprawling, it’s easily walkable. The Red has consistently comes out on top in this survey, but the Blue and Black are within just about a point.
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22. (21) Manele Golf Course
Public
22. (21) Manele Golf Course
Lanai, HI
Manele, previously called The Challenge at Manele, unseated Kapalua’s Plantation course as the highest-ranked public course in Hawaii several years ago. Now the course, located on the southern coast of Lanai, has the votes to make it eligible for the 100 Greatest and Second 100 Greatest ranking as well, buoyed by an Aesthetics score that regularly ranks among the top 30 in the U.S. The Nicklaus design is worthy of high praise. It has three ocean-cove holes, including the par-3 12th and dogleg-right par-4 17th. You might argue Manele has been perpetually underranked, starting with its finish on Golf Digest’s ranking of Best New Resort Courses in 1994, well behind World Woods’ Pine Barrens course (now known as Cabot Barrens at Cabot Citrus Farms), which is currently 90th on our 100 Greatest Public. It’s hard to argue it’s under ranked now.
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23. (23) Kapalua: Plantation
Public
23. (23) Kapalua: Plantation
Lahaina, HI

Most golf fans are familiar with Kapalua Golf Club’s Plantation Course, home of the PGA Tour's opening event each year. Located on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Maui, the Plantation was built from open, windswept pineapple fields on the pronounced slope of a volcano and is irrigated by sprinklers pressured solely by gravity. As the first design collaboration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, it unveiled their joint admiration for old-style courses. The blind drive on the fourth, the cut-the-corner drives on the fifth and sixth are all based on tee shots found at National Golf Links. So, too, are its punchbowl green and strings of diagonal bunkers. It's also a massive course, built on a huge scale, Coore says, to accommodate the wind and the slope and the fact that it gets mostly resort play.

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24. (26) Streamsong Resort: Blue
Public
24. (26) Streamsong Resort: Blue
Bowling Green, FL
Although congenial rivals, Tom Doak and Bill Coore actually collaborated on Streamsong’s original 36-hole routing, walking the site and mentally weaving holes around stunning mounds, lagoons, sand spits, savannahs and swamp, all elements left after a strip-mining operation. Coore then gave Doak first choice on which 18 he wanted to build, so Doak’s Blue Course includes a few holes routed by Coore. (Coore and Crenshaw’s Red, ranked No. 127, contains some holes originally envisioned by Doak.) The Blue starts a bit more dramatically, with the back tee on hole one atop a 75-foot sand dune. It has more water carries off the tee, and it’s also a bit more compact, since it sits in the center with the Red Course looping around its outside edges. The Blue definitely has the bolder set of greens, some with massive shelves and dips. The new addition of No. 178 Streamsong (Black) by Gil Hanse only adds to the spirited competition among designers. The theme song at Streamsong seems to be: “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.”
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25. (28) The Highland Course At Primland
Public
25. (28) The Highland Course At Primland
Meadows of Dan, VA
The Highland Course at Primland sits atop a mountain plateau overlooking some of the most unusual scenery in America, a deep river valley dotted with tall spirals of rock called the Pinnacles of the Dan River. The course design by veteran British architect Donald Steel is austere in its green contours and bunkering, as if not to overpower the setting. Aided by his then-associates Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert (who have since formed their own very successful partnership, Mackenzie & Ebert), Steel routed holes along ridges, over chasms, down valleys and into sideslopes, always offering a safe alternative to every perilous carry. There’s a stretch of three straight holes - 13 through 15 - with no sand, because dense trees and deep gulleys are hazards enough. Primland is Smoky Mountain majesty.
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26. (29) Sand Valley Golf Resort: Mammoth Dunes
David Kidd began building a second 18 at Wisconsin’s Sand Valley Resort just before Coore and Crenshaw had completed their 18, which would be named Golf Digest’s Best New Course of 2017. Kidd was intent on topping their work, so he gave his meandering layout enormous fairways, big accessible greens and visually-unique hillsides of exposed sand, “mammoth dunes” that became the course moniker. “This could be the best course I and my team have yet created,” Kidd wrote in late 2017. “We can’t wait for the critics to decide if they agree.” They were disappointed with results of Golf Digest’s 2018 Best New Course survey, which placed Mammoth Dunes second behind Streamsong (Black). But balloting for Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest continued for an additional month after the close of Best New, and additional evaluations pushed Mammoth Dunes ahead of Streamsong (Black), which is now ranked No. 178.
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27. (25) Harbour Town Golf Links
Public
27. (25) Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head Island, SC
In the late 1960s, Jack Nicklaus landed the design contract for Harbour Town, then turned it over to his new partner, Pete Dye, who was determined to distinguish his work from that of rival Robert Trent Jones. Soon after Harbour Town opened in late November 1969 (with a victory by Arnold Palmer in the Heritage Classic), the course debuted on America’s 100 Greatest as one of the Top 10. It was a total departure for golf at the time. No mounds, no elevated tees, no elevated greens—just low-profile and abrupt change. Tiny greens hung atop railroad ties directly over water hazards. Trees blocked direct shots. Harbour Town gave Pete Dye national attention and put Jack Nicklaus, who made more than 100 inspection trips in collaborating with Dye, in the design business. Pete’s wife, Alice, also contributed, instructing workers on the size and shape of the unique 13th green, a sinister one edged by cypress planks.
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28. (32) Pinehurst No. 4
Public
28. (32) Pinehurst No. 4
Pinehurst, NC
Like a football team searching for the right coach, the resort could never settle on the right identity for the No. 4 course despite a series of major alterations by different architects. It found its match when it hired Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner to carry out a full-scale blow-up and rebuild in 2018 that brought back the sweeping sand-and-pine character we identify with Pinehurst, while initiating a style of shaping in the greens and bunkers that’s confident and distinctly its own.
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29. (34) Streamsong Resort: Black
Public
29. (34) Streamsong Resort: Black
Bowling Green, FL
Gil Hanse’s Black Course at Streamsong, Golf Digest’s Best New Public Course of 2018, sits a mile south of the resort’s Red and Blue Courses, with its own clubhouse and its own personality. Reshaped from a decades-old phosphate strip mine that lacking tall spoil mounds, Hanse provided strategic character by building a hidden punchbowl green at nine, dual putting surfaces at 13, incorporating a meandering creek on the par-5 fourth and a lagoon cove to guard the 18th green. Both the putting surfaces and the chipping areas surrounding them were grassed in MiniVerde, and today both are mowed at a single height, resulting in the biggest, most complex greens found on our national ranking. One Streamsong insider calls the Black greens “polarizing;” we call them tremendous fun.
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30. (38) Gamble Sands
Public
30. (38) Gamble Sands
Brewster, WA
The winner of Golf Digest’s Best New Course of 2014 award, Gamble Sands sits atop a sprawling, treeless plateau of sandy desert overlooking Washington’s Columbia River Valley. The extremely playable layout is oversized in every respect, with enormously wide fairways, gigantic greens, no rough and some of the most panoramic vistas around. In using “friendly contours” that divert shots away from bunkers and toward targets, designer David Kidd wants everybody to have fun. He hopes good players will relish opportunities to score low and high handicappers will post their best round ever. With three reachable par 4s on the 18, that’s a possibility. Of course, Gamble Sands was Kidd’s inspiration for Mammoth Dunes.
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31. (24) Karsten Creek Golf Club
Public
31. (24) Karsten Creek Golf Club
Stillwater, OK
Karsten Creek opened in 1994, but it’s Tom Fazio’s newest addition to the national rankings. A former winner of Golf Digest's Best New Public Course title in 1994, the course was developed by Oklahoma State University and thus often appears toward the top of rankings of the best collegiate courses in America. The first nine holes run out and back through a tightly wooded valley with slender fairways and modestly sized greens that demand extreme accuracy. The topography opens slightly more on the second nine as the holes gradually work their way toward the edge of a reservoir, finishing with a par 5 that plays across the water before running along the shoreline toward the green. Though known as a course designed for high caliber players, there’s also admirable restraint in the architecture with less than 50 bunkers as Fazio allowed the site’s forests and tumbling ground contour handle the defense.
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32. (33) Forest Dunes Golf Club
Public
32. (33) Forest Dunes Golf Club
Roscommon, MI
4.4
155 Panelists

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. Or maybe not. The two worked together for over a decade before splitting up in 1996, and they shared a common philosophy of course design.

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33. (30) Big Cedar Lodge: Ozarks National
The Ozarks of southern Missouri are not tall, but their ridge-and-valley topography provide a sense of heightened elevation. Ozarks National at Big Cedar Lodge takes advantage of the illusion with holes that run out along ridgetops and onto elongated fingers of land that fall off into wooded ravines. Formerly the site of a different, much narrower golf course, Coore & Crenshaw found ways to widen out many of the same spaces and added new holes on previously unused parts of the property. Though not as broad as is customary for the designers, the cant of the holes and the engaging fairway bunkering put a premium on shaping shots and hitting the correct line off the tee.
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34. (37) The Greenbrier: Old White
Public
34. (37) The Greenbrier: Old White
White Sulphur Springs, WV
C.B. Macdonald’s early American design of the Old White at The Greenbrier was always respected, especially after Lester George’s 2007 restoration re-established such things as a Principal’s Nose bunker and Dragon’s Teeth mounds. Golf Digest panelists rediscovered its pleasures and ranked it the Best New Public Remodel of 2007. Soon, owner Jim Justice began sponsoring an annual PGA Tour event. Then came devastated floods in July, 2016, which claimed lives and destroyed several Old White holes. Another architect, Keith Foster, supervised a total rebuild of the famed course in less than 12 months, in time for the following year’s PGA Tour event. As a result, The Old White was named Golf Digest’s Best New Remodel again in 2017.
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35. (42) Torrey Pines Golf Course: South
Torrey Pines sits on one of the prettiest golf course sites in America, atop coastal bluffs north of San Diego with eye-dazzling views of the Pacific. Rees Jones’ remodeling of the South Course in the early 2000s not only made the course competitive for the 2008 U.S. Open (won by Tiger Woods in a playoff over Rocco Mediate), it also brought several coastal canyons into play for everyday play, especially on the par-3 third and par-4 14th. An annual PGA Tour stop, Torrey Pines received another boost by Jones prior to hosting its second U.S. Open in 2021, this one won by Jon Rahm.
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36. (36) Sea Island: Seaside
Private
36. (36) Sea Island: Seaside
Saint Simons Island, GA
The Sea Island resort continues to credit famed British golf architect H.S. Colt for its Seaside design, but in truth it was never purely Colt's design. It was the work of Colt's partner, Charles Alison, who traveled to the U.S. and beyond in the 1920s and 30s while Colt remainied in England. But the Seaside Course isn't even Alison's anymore--it is purely Tom Fazio, who incorporated Alison's original Seaside nine (today's 10-18) along with a nine (the Marshland Nine) designed in 1974 by Joe Lee, to create a totally new 18- hole course. But in keeping with the resort’s heritage, Fazio styled his new course in the design fashion of Alison, with big clamshell bunkers, smallish putting surfaces and exposed sand dunes off most of the windswept fairways. The Seaside Course has hosted numerous USGA championships and has been a mainstay of the PGA Tour’s early season roster for many years.
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37. (44) The Broadmoor Golf Club East Course
Private
37. (44) The Broadmoor Golf Club East Course
Colorado Springs, CO
The Broadmoor Golf Club East is another timeless mountain course, built hard against Cheyenne Mountain with famed green contours that pose optical illusions. Many putts that look uphill are actually running downhill. Few golfers recognize that the East Course is a combination of nine Donald Ross holes (one through six and 16 through 18) and nine more added 30 years later by Robert Trent Jones (holes seven to 15), though a road crossing helps delineate these lower and upper holes. The East Course was the site of Jack Nicklaus’ first U.S. Amateur win in 1959 and Annika Sorenstam’s first U.S. Women’s Open win in 1995. It has also hosted 2011 U.S. Women’s Open won by So Yeon Ryu and the 2018 U.S. Senior Open won by David Toms, their first major victories as well (at least the first on the Senior circuit for Toms).
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38. (46) Yale Golf Course
Private
38. (46) Yale Golf Course
New Haven, CT
Yale has always been something of a sleeping giant. For a variety of reasons the course has rarely lived up to its full potential, either due to inconsistent conditioning or some ill-considered changes through the decades that moved the architecture off its brilliant 1926 C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor design. Given the handicaps, it's remarkable Yale has continued to be so breathtakingly profound. The Leviathan-sized golf course bulges with magisterial holes like the Road, Cape, Knoll and the world’s best Biarritz chiseled onto the rocky, tumbling site. Recently made public, it's one of the few places in the U.S. (notably alongside the Old White course at The Greenbrier) where the general public can experience true Macdonald/Raynor architecture. The sleeping giant is about to awaken as Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner will go to work on reestablishing the original hole concepts and upgrade turf and drainage following the 2023 season.
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39. (27) Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Golf Course
The immediate thrill at Mauna Kea is its iconic par-3 third, a daunting tee shot over an ocean cove that’s a great substitute for those unable to gain an invitation to tackle the 16th at Cypress Point. The remaining holes at Mauna Kea are thrilling, too, with constant views of the ocean, awkward lies on sloping fairways and roughs of crunchy lava rock. A decade ago, Rees Jones updated his father’s original work by relocating and redesigning all the bunkers. They now add to Mauna Kea’s beauty.
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40. (31) The Omni Homestead Resort: Cascades Course
As Wayne Morrison and Tom Paul point out in their massive, comprehensive biography of William Flynn, Seth Raynor was originally consulted about building the Cascades Course but declared the property insufficient. So the then-relative unknown William Flynn got the job and made the most of it. The topography of Cascades is magnificent and its bunkering is superb, particularly the cross-bunkers on the really fine 12th and 13th holes, both strong par 4s. The fourth and eighth are considered two of the great par 3s in the country and Cascades finishes with another par 3, a rarity among top courses. The Virginia gem has hosted eight USGA championships, including a U.S. Women's Open, a U.S. Amateur and two U.S. Women's Amateurs.
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41. (45) The Prairie Club (Dunes Course)
The Dunes Course, as the name implies, flows through a rumpled blanket landscape of the rugged, treeless, windswept sand hills of central Nebraska. Most fairways are generously broad, most greens are perched, tucked or otherwise half-hidden to reward only shots correctly placed at certain angles. The most fascinating hole comes early, the par-4 second with out-of-bounds indicated by a barbed-wire fence hard along the right from tee to green, but other holes like the par-4 eighth with a notch in a dune that gives players a peek-a-boo look at the green as they approach and the multi-option sixth and 13th are just as entertaining.
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42. (40) Pronghorn Resort: Nicklaus Course
When it first opened, Pronghorn was strictly private and its Nicklaus Course was ranked by Golf Digest as No. 2 among America’s Best New Private Courses of 2004. A few years back, the club (which also has a Fazio-designed 18), began allowing public play on its Nicklaus track. The Nicklaus back nine, carved from a flow of volcanic rock, may be the most delightful Jack has ever designed, with gambling holes and gorgeous scenery at every turn.
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43. (35) The Quarry at Giants Ridge
It doesn't get the press that courses such as Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Whistling Straits or Arcadia Bluffs, but The Quarry at Giants Ridge plays very links-like with its collection of fairway speed slots, greenside backboards and backstops and reverse-camber greens. Its very inventive design also demands some aerial play, too. A standout is its 13th, a drivable par 4 that's nearly as wide as it is long, with three alternate routes to a 100-yard-wide green. We named it the best 13th hole in America built since 2000.
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44. (57) Wilderness Club
Public
44. (57) Wilderness Club
Eureka, MT
Sitting far closer (just eight miles) from the Canadian border than from any major city in Montana, Wilderness Club was an ill-timed residential development venture a decade ago, and thus the once-private club now accepts outside play, much of it from day-trip Canadians. The stunning design benefits from quick-draining sandy soil native to the site, some of which is used in free-form waste bunkers on several holes. There are many lakes in play, including long Grob Lake that dominates the left side of the par-3 17th and par-5 18th. Three mountain ranges surround the site: the Whitefish, Purcell and Rockies Mountains. Pine trees are prevalent but not imposing. In an age of destination golf, Wilderness is still undiscovered by most American tourist golfers. Perhaps its appearance on America’s 100 Greatest Public will change that.
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45. (49) Tobacco Road Golf Club
Public
45. (49) Tobacco Road Golf Club
Sanford, NC
Tobacco Road took every idea that Strantz had been developing to that point in time (1999) and put it all in one place, specifically an old mining site of sand and pine 25 miles north of Pinehurst. The property is the secret star—yes, there are Strantzian trademarks like boomerang-shaped par 5s, greens and fairways notched blindly behind dunes, dramatic risk/reward shots played over deep chasms and putting surfaces stretched into stringy silly putty shapes. But without the elevation changes, depressions and contrasting textures of the rugged sand barrens, this would be True Blue 2.0. It’s much more than that: a master class in decision-making and composition that sits among the top 50 on the Golf Digest America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses ranking, a placement that’s at least 20 spots too low, at least in the mind of this editor.
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46. (51) CordeValle Golf Club
Private
46. (51) CordeValle Golf Club
San Martin, CA
Located in the little known but abundant golfing area south of San Jose, the gorgeous CordeValle was a private club when it first opened, but is a high-end resort destination these days, with climbing and descending soft hills dotted by gnarled oaks. It hosted both the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur and PGA Tour's Frys.com Open in 2013 and the U.S. Women's Open in 2016, won by Brittany Lang in a playoff against Anna Nordqvist.
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47. (65) Wolf Creek Golf Club
Public
47. (65) Wolf Creek Golf Club
Mesquite, NV
Wolf Creek is a fantasy calendar come to life, with holes clinging to stark canyon hillsides and plunging down narrow ravines. A genuine amateur architect design (although Jim Engh provided an early routing), Wolf Creek finished third in Golf Digest's survey of America's Best New Upscale Public Courses of 2001, behind Pacific Dunes and Arcadia Bluffs (Bluffs). All three are now ranked among America's 100 Greatest Public Courses.
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48. (53) The Links At Spanish Bay
Public
48. (53) The Links At Spanish Bay
Pebble Beach, CA
The Links at Spanish Bay was the first true links course built in America in many decades, but it took years for conveyor belts to deposit sand atop exposed bed rock to return this mined-out sand quarry back to a linkland site. The trio of designers, playfully dubbed "The Holy Trinity," thoughtfully shaped an 18 that looks natural, plays strategically and is sensitive to the coastal wetland environment.
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49. (55) PGA West: Stadium Course
Public
49. (55) PGA West: Stadium Course
La Quinta, CA
Originally private, the Stadium Course (the original 18 at PGA West) was among the rota of courses for the old Bob Hope Desert Classic until some pros, objecting to its difficulty, petitioned to remove it. (It’s now back.) It's Pete Dye at his rambunctious best, with a finish mimicking his later design at TPC Sawgrass: a gambling par-5 16th (called San Andreas Fault), a short par-3 17th to an island green and an intimidating par-4 18th with water all the way to the green. Though hideous in its difficulty and aesthetics by 1980s standards (it was can't miss television when it hosted the 1987 Skins Game), it's matured into a noble piece of architecture that represents the tail end of Dye's extreme middle phase.
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50. (41) Fallen Oak
Private
50. (41) Fallen Oak
Saucier, MS
Although it didn't get built for another 15 years, Fallen Oak was first conceived in the early 1990s by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn soon after Tom Fazio had completed Shadow Creek. Wynn wanted Fazio to design a similar course for his Beau Rivage casino hotel on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Wynn's empire got swallowed by MGM Grand, which ultimately had Fazio create Fallen Oak. Unlike Shadow Creek, it's built on rolling forest and wetlands, with no need for mammoth earth-moving.
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51. (48) May River Golf Club At Palmetto Bluff
Built some 35 years after nearby Harbour Town Golf Links, May River is an interesting contrast in Jack Nicklaus's portfolio (Nicklaus was co-designer of Harbour Town with Pete Dye). It's an equally low-profile layout with a number of bump-and-run approach shots but with several Pine Valley-like waste areas and with larger, bolder greens. The classic routing has the front nine turning clockwise through forest while the back nine circles counter-clockwise, and each touch repeatedly on the wetlands of namesake May River. Gorgeous and mysterious at every turn, the course is at its best when it gets players thinking, like at the short par-4 seventh where they must decide to either lay up to an island of fairway or take a swipe at a shallow green situated on another small isthmus of land along the marsh, and the par-5 10th where a wetland crossing the fairway and several small centrally arranged pot bunkers put indecision into the second and third shots toward a green backed up against the river.
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52. (50) SentryWorld Golf Club
Public
52. (50) SentryWorld Golf Club
Stevens Point, WI
The lush, tree-lined SentryWorld won Golf Digest's first-ever Best New Public award in early 1984, but never made our 100 Greatest Public ranking until 2017, as the highest-ranking newcomer. A few years ago, Trent Jones Jr. partner Bruce Charlton and their former associate Jay Blasi remodeled SentryWorld, rerouting four holes and adding a new par-3 12 and par-4 13th, but they preserved the famous "Flower Hole," the par-3 16th which uses petunias, snapdragons, marigolds, geraniums and other annuals grown on site as decorative hazards. The flower beds are treated as lateral hazards. A more recent renovation by RTJII's team focused on preparing the course for the 2023 U.S. Senior Men's Open. In an age when almost every renovation consists of enlarging fairway space to provide players better angles for more recoverability for mishits, SentryWorld went the opposite direction, narrowing its landing zones, enhancing roughs and converting a number of chipping areas into maintained bluegrass. Sub-Air systems were also installed under the greens. The alterations proved formidable as Bernhard Langer fended off Wisconsinities Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly to win the Open. SentryWorld has previously hosted several other USGA championships, including the 2019 U.S. Girls' Junior, where future U.S. Women's Open champion Yuka Saso was the stroke-play medalist.
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53. (52) Arcadia Bluffs G.C. (South)
The challenge at Arcadia Bluffs for architects Dana Fry and Jason Straka was to create a course that guests would want to play as often as they do the original course. But how can golf built on non-descript farmland compete with a course set on dramatic bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan? The answer? Do something entirely different. Channeling another famous but rather indifferent site, the designers turned to Chicago Golf Club and the architecture of McDonald/Raynor for inspiration. The South Course is a throwback in time, a jigsaw puzzle of intersecting bunkers, centerline hazards, alternate routes of play and geometric shaping. It interprets the strategic spirit of Raynor and Chicago Golf Club without replicating any specific holes. Where the Bluffs Course is a feast for the eye, the South Course is a treat for the intellect.
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54. (61) Crosswater Golf Course
Private
54. (61) Crosswater Golf Course
Sunriver, OR
Part of Crosswater was reportedly built in the meadow where John Wayne, as Rooster Cogburn, filmed his climactic charge with guns blazing in the 1969 film, True Grit. The Bob Cupp design is far more subtle than a Wayne western, with low-profile greens edged by graceful chipping areas and fairways intersected repeatedly by the Big and Little Dechutes rivers. Crosswater was Golf Digest's Best New Resort Course of 1995.
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55. (58) Paako Ridge Golf Club
Public
55. (58) Paako Ridge Golf Club
Sandia Park, NM
Paako Ridge, Golf Digest's Best New Affordable Public Course of 2000, is quite long from the tips and regular tees. Yes, a golf ball carries farther at its 6,500-foot elevation, but Paako also plays long because both nines work up mountain foothills for several holes before playing downhill. The 496-yard par-4 seventh is the same shape and dimensions as the 10th at Augusta National and the back tees of the par-4 17th, atop a butte, affords perhaps the best vista in New Mexico. There are very wide and deep greens here, too, so a depth chart is a must.
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56. (47) Whistling Straits: Irish Course
The Irish Course has the same manufactured dunescape found on its more famous sister Straits Course, but with three major differences. The fairways are bent grass, not fescue. Carts are allowed, although confined to cart paths. (It's walking only on the Straits, thought both 18s are relatively easy to walk.) And the Irish has the only blind par 3 found at Whistling Straits, the 13th playing 183 yards over sand hills to a huge green ringed by more than a dozen bunkers. It doesn't get more Irish than that.
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57. (82) Tetherow Golf Club
Public
57. (82) Tetherow Golf Club
Bend, OR
A decade after David McLay Kidd established his architectural reputation with the original Bandon Dunes course, he returned to Oregon, settled in Bend and built another dazzling course, Tetherow. Far different than Bandon, with a manufactured landscape of lumps and bumps, far more bunkers, plus a couple of lakes, it nonetheless has the same fescue as at Bandon, so tee shots get plenty of roll and some approach shots can be bounced into flagsticks. The big difference is that Tetherow is a bear to play and demands a high degree of strength and skill to put up a good score, whereas Bandon Dunes creates opportunity when the wind isn't whipping. This design marked the beginning of Kidd's wandering phase where he lost sight of the reason most golfers enjoy the game and built a series of impressive and attractive but inforgiving courses. Even he admits Tetherow can be too penalizing. His response was Gamble Sands and Mammoth Dunes where tactics and recoverability take precedence over strict shot-making.
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58. (59) The Loop Black Course at Forest Dunes
The idea of a reversible golf course is as old at the Old Course at St. Andrews, and golf architect Joel Goldstrand built a series of nine-hole reversible courses for small clubs in Minnesota, Iowa and North Dakota back in the 1980s. But give Tom Doak credit for convincing a client to take a chance on an 18-hole reversible layout. “The goal is to have two very different courses over the same piece of ground, so people will want to stay over to play it both ways and compare and contrast the two.” says Doak. For our 2016 Best New competition, Doak wanted the entire 36 holes considered as one entry. We allowed that, and it won. For subsequent rankings, we’ve separated the two into conventional 18-hole candidates. The Black Course is the clockwise routing, slightly shorter and ranked slightly higher than its reverse image Red Course.
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59. (67) Greywalls at Marquette Golf Club
A decade before architect Mike DeVries created the world-class Cape Wickham Golf Club in Australia, he produced an equally compelling design in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a second 18 for Marquette. It’s called Greywalls because of all the granite rock outcroppings that edge some holes and squeeze others, like the short par-4 fifth, and because the rock provides the rugged topography over which this course scampers up and plunges down. The vistas out over Lake Superior are fantastic, beginning with the opening tee shot. Like Wilderness Club (No. 44 on our 100 Greatest Public list), this is a destination course worth hiking to play.
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60. (43) Golden Horseshoe Golf Club: Gold Course
Back in 1966, Golden Horseshoe was ranked among America's 200 Toughest Courses by Golf Digest. How times change. In 2012, we ranked The Gold Course as one of America's 50 Most Fun Public Courses. "Trent Jones in his kinder, gentler persona," we wrote. "Even the island green seventh hole is a generous target." The evolved Williamsburg track hosted the 1999 USGA Men's State Team Championship.
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61. (70) Cascata
Public
61. (70) Cascata
Boulder City, NV
One of the great engineering feats in golf thus far in this century, Cascata climbs up and down a steep, rocky mountain hillside southeast of Las Vegas. It's authentically Nevada on the edges, the barren areas akin to Wolf Creek in Mesquite, but its turfed areas, planted with date palms, ironwoods and willows, and crossed by endless babbling brooks, is something of a salute to nearby Shadow Creek. Cascata plays mostly uphill on the front (the ninth tee is 600 feet above the clubhouse), downhill on the longer back nine.
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62. (68) The Golf Courses of Lawsonia: Links
A darling of the architecture cognoscenti, Lawsonia Links, designed and built in the 1930s by William Langford and Theodore Moreau, circles through grassy meadows and past an occasional stand of oaks. It’s a purposefully modest and functional design that invites players to rip driver, then buckle down for precise shots into large platform greens perched above deep trench bunkers dug out with pre-modern steam shovels. The par-3 seventh has another explanation entirely. Its green, perched like a birthday cake, was formed by piling dirt over an old railroad boxcar.
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63. (73) Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club
Public
63. (73) Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club
Southern Pines, NC
Pine Needles used to lurk quietly in the Pinehurst background before the USGA chose to put it in their regular women’s championship rotation. It got another big boost in 2017 after Kyle Franz reworked portions of the course, putting the Pinehurst touch on the borders, cross hazards and bunkers. Though it lacks the intimacy and connectivity of its sister course, Mid Pines, with the holes wandering far afield due to a being part of a 1920s residential development, it’s grown into a big, championship worthy course (most recently hosting the 2019 Senior Women’s Open and 2022 U.S. Women’s Open) with arguably the best set of greens after No. 2.
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64. (81) Makai Golf Club
Public
64. (81) Makai Golf Club
Princeville, HI
The first solo design of Robert Trent Jones Jr., Princeville Makai is situated on bluffs overlooking Kauai's Hanalei Bay and pipeline surf. Two of its three nines (the Lake and Ocean 9s) were re-grassed and re-bunkered in 2009 by Jones and partner Bruce Charlton, who also re-established the width of several holes. The untouched Woods 9, now considered the resort's walking course, provides a graphic reminder of how golf has changed in five decades.
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65. (56) Cog Hill Golf & Country Club: Dubsdread (Course #4)
Some tour pros were critical of Rees Jones's remodeling of Cog Hill No. 4, insisting it's too hard for high handicappers. What did they expect? Its nickname is, after all, Dubsdread. And there are three easier courses at Cog Hill for high handicappers. Original owner Joe Jemsek wanted a ball-busting championship course when it was built back in the mid-1960s. Jones's renovation was true to the philosophy of original architect Dick Wilson, who liked to pinch fairways with bunkers and surround greens with more bunkers, all of them deep.
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66. (NEW) Wynn Golf Club
Public
66. (NEW) Wynn Golf Club
Las Vegas, NV
Nestled in the heart of the Vegas strip, Wynn Golf Club has become a go-to venue for Capital One’s “The Match,” hosting the match between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau in 2021, the four quarterbacks in 2022, and in 2023 the teammates battle between Steph Curry/Klay Thompson vs. Patrick Mahomes/Travis Kelce. The Tom Fazio design features dramatic elevation changes, created by moving over 400,000 cubic yards of earth. Fazio and his son, Logan, renovated the course in 2019 to make room for a casino and hotel expansion onto the property, creating eight new holes and refurbishing the other 10. The par-70 layout features six par 3s, including the picturesque 18th, with a green perched at the base of a roaring waterfall.
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67. (69) The Wilderness At Fortune Bay
In 2005, The Wilderness at Fortune Bay won America's Best New Upscale Public Course, a year after architect Jeff Brauer won the same award for The Quarry at Giant's Ridge, also in northern Minnesota. Where The Quarry uses slopes and ramps, Wilderness rewards aerial play, with some high-low alternate fairways, lake-edged greens and a pair of drop-shot par 3s. As we wrote back in 2005, "its options outnumber its rock outcroppings, and there are outcroppings galore."
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68. (79) Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club Fazio Course
The companion to the Norman Course at Red Sky, the Fazio 18 features more elevation change, with the mostly open front nine atop a bluff dotted with hand-planted sage and juniper bushes and the back nine rising in switchback fashion far up a mountain slope through groves of aspen before plunging downhill on the final three holes. The bunkers here are some of Fazio's most elaborate.
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69. (78) The Loop Red Course at Forest Dunes
The Red Course is the counterclockwise routing of The Loop, and as the name suggests, both it and the Black Course play out to ninth holes at a far corner of the property, then back in. What’s most impressive in playing the Red (and the Black, for that matter), is that there is never the sensation of playing a hole backwards. The topography, bunkering and green entrances are all so compelling that it’s barely noticeable that each serves two purposes. The Loop is part of the Forest Dunes resort, which also contains Forest Dunes (No. 32 on 100 Greatest Public), a fine Tom Weiskopf design.
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70. (60) Mossy Oak Golf Club
Public
70. (60) Mossy Oak Golf Club
West Point, MS

I like a lot of things about Mossy Oak, particularly the par-3 15th, a mirror image of the fifth at Hanse's Streamsong Black, which itself is a version of the Calamity hole at Royal Portrush, and I really liked the par-4 eighth, which plays over a creek and uphill between huge oaks to a green that slopes gently front to back. The par-4 13th is another fine hole, with a fairway that kicks left toward a stream, much in the manner of Merion East's fifth hole. I'm also a fan of the aforementioned 17th, which plays uphill to a plateau fairway into which that huge bunker is embedded. But it's 75 yards short of the green, which is well beyond the crest of the plateau and needs an extra tall flagstick just to pose a target. This is a very unusual hole. I'm also a fan of Hanse's bunkering at Mossy Oak. It's big sweeping stuff like seen as some Tillinghast designs such as Ridgewood. And the sand is earthen-toned, not bright white. Bryan told me they trucked it in from a river six miles away.A couple of things I didn't care for: The green on the par-4 second has two bunkers on its left flank that also serve as fairway bunkers on the par-5 fifth hole going in the opposite direction. Granted, the fifth fairway is probably 50 yards wide and those bunkers are midway between the tee shot landing area and the second shot landing area, but the lawyer in me still feels it's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

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71. (63) The Dunes Golf & Beach Club
Private
71. (63) The Dunes Golf & Beach Club
Myrtle Beach, SC
Its ocean-side dunes are mostly covered with turfgrass and mature trees now, but when Robert Trent Jones built The Dunes back in the late 1940s, the property was primarily windswept sand dotted with lagoons. Those lakes come in prominently on many holes, particularly on the 11th through 13th, dubbed Alligator Alley. (The boomerang-shaped par-5 13th is called Waterloo.) The home hole, with a pond in front of the green, started as a gambling par 5 but today is a daunting par 4. The course has hosted three USGA championships, including the 1962 U.S. Women's Open and most recently, the 2017 U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball.
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72. (NEW) Southern Pines Golf Club
Public
72. (NEW) Southern Pines Golf Club
Southern Pines, NC
Southern Pines used to be a course that only locals and architectural bookworms played. Designed in the early 1900s by Donald Ross, the affordable public course occupied a wonderful, bucolic piece of land and seemed to have buried treasure underneath. After a change in ownership, Kyle Franz completed a major 2021 renovation that added plenty of razzle dazzle to the design in the form of new greens and painting the layout with the kind of scruffy sandscapes indigenous to the Pinehurst region (and to Pine Needles and Mid Pines where he’s previously wielded his art). The work has elevated this formerly modest public course to the level of its more prestigious neighbors.
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73. (NR) Tullymore Golf Resort
Public
73. (NR) Tullymore Golf Resort
Stanwood, MI
A past member of our 100 Greatest list, Tullymore has exciting design variety with five par 5s and five par 3s. The course winds through 800 acres of woods and wetlands and features the unique "muscle" bunkers and bowled greens that architect Jim Engh became known for when he was designing some of the most distinctive new golf courses in the late 1990s and 2000s. One of two courses at the resort, Tullymore has previously been ranked for 18 years on our 100 Greatest Public, debuting at No. 14 in 2003.
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74. (74) Blackwolf Run: Meadow Valleys
Even before Pete Dye completed the River Course at Blackwolf Run, he had taken the front nine of the original Blackwolf Course (Best New Resort winner of 1988) and merged it with a newly-constructed nine to form the Meadows Valley Course. Although the Sheboygan River isn't in play as much on Meadows Valley as it is on the River (the 18th hole plays over it), there are plenty of deep bunkers and tricky pin positions.
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75. (66) Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club Norman Course
There are two 18s at Red Sky Ranch, one by Greg Norman, the other designed by Tom Fazio. Public play on each alternates on a daily basis. A ridgeline separates the two courses (the ridge is designated as a wildlife corridor), with the Norman 18 positioned on an old sheep ranch on the western slope, affording long-range views of the Rockies to the west and south as well as gorgeous sunsets. Typical of a Norman design, the greens are big but docile and the bunkering is plentiful and dramatically shaped.
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76. (83) The Pfau Course At Indiana University
College golf courses can be the most challenging of assignments for architects because of the need to accommodate the broad range of abilities that play the course day to day. On one hand the design needs to be enjoyable for students, faculty and local play, and on the other it has to have the mettle to test the skills of the best amateurs in the country. At Indiana, Smyers, a nationally competitive amateur player himself, has thought deeply about the topic. He challenges talented players, including the Hoosiers’ golf teams, with length, subtly angled drives, compressed landing areas bordered by light rough and contouring slopes around the edges of greens. But the course is also broad where handicap players drive the ball, the greens are open in front and the bunkers are shallow. Native grass roughs and groves of hardwoods add an idyllic touch.
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77. (77) Reynolds Lake Oconee: Great Waters
Early in his design career, Jack Nicklaus said he would design resort courses differently than championship ones. Great Waters is a vivid example of that intent. With a routing that features 10 holes on Lake Oconee, Jack and his associate Jim Lipe worked hard to vary the encounters with water. On one hole it's a carry off a tee, on another, it's beside a green, while on a couple, it's a cove in front of a green. Every encounter features a generous bailout option. Another concession to resort golfers: The greens are big but simple, with few complex contours.
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78. (NEW) Payne's Valley at Big Cedar Lodge

It was a long time coming. That’s not a reference to the three-and-a-half-years of construction and grow-in for Payne’s Valley, the newest resort course at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Mo. Rather, it had been 14 years since public golfers began waiting to play a course designed by Tiger Woods. Woods founded his design company, TGR Design, in 2006. But because of his schedule, the desire to be selective of the few projects he signs onto and a devastating financial crisis, only two TGR courses were been completed—the El Cardonal course at Diamante Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, and Bluejack National, a private course in Texas. Payne’s Valley, which opened in 2020, presents to the largest audience to date the architectural principles he most values. “My goal when starting TGR Design was to create courses that are fun and playable for golfers of all abilities,” Woods told Golf Digest. “This was particularly important at Payne’s Valley, my first public golf course.”

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79. (71) Wild Horse Golf Club
Public
79. (71) Wild Horse Golf Club
Gothenburg, NE

Dan Proctor and Dave Axland have been quasi-legends in the business of golf course construction for over 30 years now, individually and collectively. They've worked on many of Coore & Crenshaw’s prominent designs, including Sand Hills (Nebraska's premier layout, in the center of the state's vast sand hills) and Cabot Cliffs (Canada's premier layout these days). They even rated cameo appearances in Geoff Shackleford’s 1998 novel, The Good Doctor Returns. And they were also a talented course design team in their spare time, routing and building quality low-budget courses in the Coore & Crenshaw style. Their most prominent collaboration is Wild Horse in central Nebraska, a public “little brother” to Sand Hills, in slightly softer but still authentic sand hills, closer to civilization. Like at Sand Hills, Wild Horse is lay-of-the-land architecture routed without benefit of topographic maps, with natural-looking bunkers, native grass roughs and pitch-and-run shots galore. Total earth moved: 5,000 cubic yards. Total construction costs: a little less than $1 million.

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80. (72) Nemacolin: Mystic Rock
Public
80. (72) Nemacolin: Mystic Rock
Farmington, PA
Mystic Rock is one of the more curious courses Pete Dye ever designed, with mostly oval greens and rectangular bunkers. Because many holes were blasted from rock, some holes have fields of boulders in the rough and all water hazards are bulkheaded with stacked stone. The course concludes with Dye's favorite finish, a gambling par-5 16th, a 17th over water (in this case, 205 yards) and a now-strong par-4 18th. Mystic Rock's 18th was rebuilt and lengthened before the course hosted a PGA Tour event, the 84 Lumber Classic from 2003 to 2006.
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