12. Winged Foot Golf Club (West)
A.W. Tillinghast (1923) / Gil Hanse (2017)
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.
100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 5, 1985-88. Previous ranking: 11
Watch Golf Digest’s exclusive drone footage of Winged Foot West in our “Every Hole At” video:
Panelist comments, Winged Foot Golf Club (West):
“Winged Foot West is on the short list of the best design jobs in the history of golf course architecture. Though the property could be described as downright ordinary with little topographical character, Winged Foot West is one strong golf hole after another with almost no let-up.”
“Walking on these Tillinghast greens, knowing the greats of the game have studied the same putts and competed in the same footsteps, adds to the greatness and timelessness of this course.”
“One of the best parkland-style golf courses in the world. Worthy of its place among the best architectural designs in golf. The back nine might be one of the most complete nine holes in golf.”
“After playing both, I’d call the West a less interesting, more challenging, big brother to the East. The greens are small and in need of Gil Hanse’s work, as they were hard to hold with long irons. Green complexes are less interesting and holes less sporty.”
“The green complexes at Winged Foot give the golfer all they can handle by providing a high degree of variety, challenge and opportunity on each hole. Missing in a tough spot requires great finesse to recover. Length and accuracy are required and necessary to score well. I would describe the feel and atmosphere on the West Course at Winged Foot as something very special.”
The 18th green at Winged Foot (West).
The ninth hole with the iconic Clifford Wendehack clubhouse in the background.