We have a winner! Well, six of them, actually. Behold, the top new (and newly renovated) tracks of the year.
Best New Course of 2015
The Great White North has a lot of great golf to offer. Look no further than Cabot Cliffs in Inverness, Nova Scotia, our runaway choice for Best New Course of 2015. Part of a resort complex that also houses Cabot Links (75th in GOLF's 2015-'16 world rankings), this Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw creation towers above the Gulf of St. Lawrence and zigzags through low-lying terrain tucked into beachside dunes. Matt Kuchar went so far as to compare its thrilling closing stretch to Cypress Point.
Best New U.S. Course You Can Play
Stateside, Donald Trump may or may not win the Republican nomination. But on the strength of Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in New York City, we're declaring him a winner anyway— it's the Best New U.S. Course You Can Play. Jack Nicklaus and collaborating architect John Sanford transformed a former landfill into a faux links with the Manhattan skyline as backdrop.
Best New Private Course
Best New Private Course honors go to Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass. Gil Hanse set aside an inland 2002 Donald Steel design on Martha's Vineyard that was peppered with revetted pot bunkers and dense rough. In its stead he crafted a walking-friendly course with massive, artfully sculpted sand sprawls and larger, intricately contoured greens.
Honorable mention in the Best New Private Course category is Minot Country Club. This brilliant Jim Engh design takes over for the club's Golden Age layout at a different location that was devastated by flooding in 2011. The course melds easily into its wild, windy, undulating site, and Engh's extra-wide fairways emphasize strategy on the tee.
Best U.S. Private Course Renovation
Trump scores again with Best U.S. Private Course Renovation at Trump National Golf Club of Washington D.C. (Championship) in Potomac Falls, Virginia. The renovated venue is virtually brand-new. The Donald cobbled together holes from existing Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills designs, added a few new holes and yanked out a line of huge trees to provide spectacular views of the Potomac.
Best New U.S. Resort Course
And the final envelope please…Tatanka Golf Club is the Best New U.S. Resort Course. The risk-reward Paul Albanese design on Santee Sioux Nation land in northeast Nebraska is the main attraction at the Ohiya Casino Resort. "Tatanka," it's worth noting, is Lakota for "buffalo." Fittingly, some of the great beasts graze on the rolling prairie nearby. You'll feel right at home where the buffalo roam.