In GOLF Magazine's January 2008 issue, we crowned Colorado Golf Club, in suburban Denver, our top new private course for 2007. This lay-of-the-land Coore-Crenshaw design was the only private course we listed. However, the category was crammed full of worthy competitors, each of which enjoyed a formal grand opening in the 2007 calendar year. Here, then, are the Top 10 New Private Courses in the U.S. for 2007.
Colorado Golf Club
7,604 yards, par 72
Architects: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
As Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw proved with earlier designs at Nebraska's Sand Hills and Oregon's Bandon Trails, nice guys can finish first. At Colorado Golf Club, outside of Denver, they quietly molded a ravine- and meadow-filled former Arabian horse ranch with a never-repeating variety of shotmaking demands, highlighted by several split-fairway par-5s and by a set of cunningly contoured greens.
Coeur d'Alene, Ida.
7,237 yards, par 71
Architect: Tom Fazio
National Geographic once called Lake Coeur d'Alene "one of the five most beautiful alpine lakes in the world." Add to the stunning lake views Tom Fazio's artful shaping, a superbly balanced design, pine-covered slopes and 10-story-high rock spires and you have GOLF Magazine's recipe for success.
The Creek Club at Reynolds Plantation
7,079 yards, par 72
Architect: Jim Engh
Combine a classically rolling tract through tall Georgia pines with Engh's innovative design handiwork and you have the most unique course in the southeastern United States. Engh's wild green complexes are replete with Dali-esque contours and pinched by cocooning mounds and his signature muscle bunkers. They aren't everybody's cup of tea, but the never-a-dull-hole layout, including the par-5 18th with its three separate greens, is good to the last drop.
The Madison Club
La Quinta, Calif.
7,426 yards, par 72
Architect: Tom Fazio
Turn Tom Fazio loose with an unlimited budget and glorious mountain vistas and the result is the Shadow Creek of Palm Springs, a spectacular valley layout hewn from the flat desert floor that wows with vast, rolling fairways, sprawling bunkers, streams, lakes and thousands of flowers. Eye-candy aside, The Faz pulled out all of his design stops, too, in creating the rare test that will enchant everybody.
The Club at Spanish Peaks
Big Sky. Mont.
7,170 yards, par 72
Architect: Tom Weiskopf
Fifteen years after the movie "A River Runs Through It" rendered "must-visit" status on Big Sky, Mont., Spanish Peaks' Tom Weiskopf design has compelled folks to return. Moose, bears, gigantic pines and snow-capped Rocky Mountain peaks are only part of the charm; the balance is supplied by Weiskopf's creativity. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, all the holes are breathtaking, but break out the oxygenand your camerafor the par-3 15th, with its 180-yard plunge to the green.