Who says that golf lacks a compelling mano-a-mano rivalry? In our ranking of the Top 100 Courses You Can Play, two heavy hitters have dominated the competition for more than a decade. Now, for the first time in 12 years, there's a new Number One: Pebble Beach has reclaimed the top spot from Pacific Dunes. Mind you, Tom Doak's design on the Oregon coast is no less brilliant. Rather, our judges were swayed by Pebble's ongoing improvements.
Since our last survey two years ago, Pebble has enhanced the seaside 17th (restoring the size of the green and revamping the bunkering) and smoothed out the wildly sloping 14th green, which had gotten out of control with modern green speeds. Beyond Pebble and Pacific, six rookies have catapulted their way onto the list, headed by urban legend Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx, N.Y., and by Gamble Sands, David McLay Kidd's high-desert funfest in central Washington State. And kudos to Streamsong Resort's Red course in Florida, a Bill Coore–Ben Crenshaw design that's cracked the top 10. Could one of these newcomers challenge the Big Two for supremacy? Check back in 2018 for the answer.