40. Pikewood National Golf Club
J. Robert Gwynne & John Raese (2009)
Seventeen years ago, 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.
100 Greatest History: Ranked since 2013. Highest ranking: Present. Previous ranking: No. 40
Panelist comments, Pikewood National Golf Club:
“Wonderful use of natural topography and vistas. Great design work with placement of tees and greens using natural waterfalls, and stone formations and chasms to outline the playing area of the golf course."
"Every hole has been given a great deal of consideration from first-time designers Bob Gwyne and John Raese. Each hole has been fit into the terrain, and is gorgeous. Sight lines are well thought-out, and trees felled to give views of the surrounding mountains. A lot of attention to detail. Really impressive."
"You'll simply be hard-pressed to find a course in better condition. Firm, fast and rolling fairways and greens, which are firm yet receptive to well-struck approach shots. And putts roll true. I mean, these are close to perfect conditions as you'll see."
"They've tried to model this after Oakmont but without the bunkers. And actually, the lack of bunkers is refreshing because from the back tees (7,600), there is more than enough difficulty. This was designed to be geared toward the elite amateur in mind, being walking-only with uphill walks to the next tee, and a stern test."
"A true brute of a golf course. Even the forward tees are 6,900 yards! Lack of tees for women or seniors is a shame, but this was designed with the more elite amateur player in mind.”