Payne Stewart and Michael Campbell captured U.S. Opens here, both times edging Tiger Woods, among others. Jack Nicklaus won the North and South Amateur here in 1959, while his son, Jack II, duplicated the feat in 1985. Ben Hogan led the U.S. squad to Ryder Cup victory here in 1951. We're talking incomparable golf history here and the aura is palpable. Teeing it up on the very walkable No. 2 course, caddie alongside and trying to solve the greenside puzzles presented by master architect Donald Ross is one of golf's singular thrills. Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines
Another Donald Ross masterpiece, dating to 1927 and recently restored to perfection by John Fought, Pine Needles is home to venerable and hugely popular teacher Peggy Kirk Bell, who owns the place. Tucked in amid magnolias, hollies, dogwoods and longleaf pines-and throw in some brilliant azaleas in springtime-Pine Needles is pure delight, yet a strong enough test to have hosted the U.S. Women's Open in 1996, won by Annika Sorenstam and in 2001, when Karrie Webb triumphed. The top women return for another Open in 2007. Tanglewood Park (Championship Course), Clemmons
Less than 10 miles from Winston-Salem sits one of golf's least heralded major championship venues. Tanglewood was the site of the 1974 PGA Championship, when Lee Trevino slipped past Jack Nicklaus by a shot over a rolling, wooded, typical late 1950s Robert Trent Jones Sr. design that features elevated greens fortified by multiple bunkers and plenty of water hazards down the stretch. Tanglewood also saw action as host of the Senior Tour's Vantage Championship from 1987-2002, when winners included Hale Irwin, Lee Trevino and Gary Player. Rock Barn Golf & Spa, (Robert Trent Jones Jr. Course) Conover
Sixty miles from Charlotte is where you'll find this current host to the Champions Tour's Greater Hickory Classic. Andy Bean won the 2006 edition in early October. Past champions are Craig Stadler, Doug Tewell and Jay Haas. Dramatic elevation changes, huge, undulating greens and a waterfall at the ninth green are among Rock Barn's distinguishing features. Legacy Golf Links, Aberdeen
Jack Nicklaus II designed this 15-year-old Legacy that's not far from Pinehurst. In 2000, the course hosted the USGA Women's Amateur Public Links, won by Catherine Cartwright, who at 17, became the youngest winner in the event's history. Perhaps she was slightly overshadowed by another youngster, Michelle Wie, who at age 10, shot 74-76, to become the youngest player ever to reach the match-play portion of the competition. Occupying a secluded woodsy setting, the layout is mostly user-friendly until the bear of an 18th, a 459-yard par-4.
|Joe Passov is the Architecture and Course Ratings Editor of GOLF MAGAZINE. E-mail him your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org|