7. National Golf Links of America
C.B. Macdonald (1911)
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.
100 Greatest History: Ranked 1967-68 and since 1985. Highest ranking: Current. Previous ranking: 8.
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Panelist comments, National Golf Links of America:
“The true American links we should have pride in. If there is a better place on the planet, I haven’t found it yet! A study of classic architecture as relative now as it ever has been.”
“A fabulous C.B. McDonald design providing a variety of design for each hole -- Redan hole, Alps hole, Punchbowl. Essentially the birthplace of design in America as C.B. McDonald created an amazing set of template holes based on everything he loved in Scotland.”
“Perhaps the greatest collection of golf holes in one routing. There’s a tremendous variety of short and long holes with multiple blind shots. The green complexes can be tricky depending on pins, but even if you miss, it’s hard not to marvel at the architectural significance of this place. It’s hard to beat the vistas on the 17th and 18th holes.”
“From the proper tees, all levels of players will get to experience some of the most thrilling angles and opportunities to "go for it" maybe more so than any other course I've played.”
“The variety of the greensites is second to none, and the routing—essentially a modified out-and-back loop—created holes that vary just enough on the compass to create an assortment of nagging wind directions. It's amazing."
Photo by Stephen Szurlej