181. Canterbury Golf Club
Herbert Strong (1922)
In doing golf course restoration work, golf architects have to be like ghost writers, doing the best work they can while burying their egos and desire for personal attention. Nobody does that better than Bruce Hepner, who has consistently enhanced other people’s architecture without complaint. Canterbury Golf Club had long been considered one of the greats, the site of several major championships, including the 1973 PGA Championship won by Jack Nicklaus. But when Hepner first toured the Herbert Strong design, he found it over-treed and overdue for a bunker renovation. So he rebuilt all bunkers to give them a consistent style and strategic purpose, and also addressed tree removal and forward tee expansion. “It will be a dramatic change for someone who hasn’t been there in a while,” he said when he had finished.
100 Greatest/Second 100 Greatest History: Ranked on Golf Digest's inaugural ranking in 1966, then ranked on our 100 Greatest from 1969 through 2008. Ranked on our Second 100 Greatest in 2015-2016 and 2019 to current. Highest ranking: Fourth 10, 1979 to 1984. Previous ranking: No. 193.
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Panelist comments, Canterbury Golf Club:
"Excellent recent renovation includes all new bunkering, several new tees, realignment of several fairways all done in a minimalist manner. Significant tree removal, much more open, improved/excellent sightlines."
"Canterbury is a classic golf course in northeast Ohio with a long championship history. While it is a very good golf course, it is located in an area of the country that has many hidden gems."
"Canterbury's strength is its par 4s. If Canterbury has a weakness, I think it lies in the par 5s on the front side, as neither hole is more straight forward than strategic in design. In sum, I think Canterbury is a wonderful classic course that deserves its ranking within the top 200 golf courses in the U.S."
"The finishing 18th is a truly great finishing hole that requires good play by the golfer to finish off a match."
"Set in an unassuming location in Cleveland - all conversation around Canterbury starts and ends with it’s greens and green sites. Despite being unable to add significant length to the golf course, these greens constantly keep it playing difficult. The resistance to scoring lies on and around these greens. They are incredibly fast, true and pitched."
"Canterbury has fantastic terrain and design variety. The green complexes are special. The undulating fairways and greens make one really think, as you'll rarely have an even stance lie more than one shot in a row. The course isn't long, yet it is very strategic."