1. A. W. Tillinghast: Renowned for his U.S. Open-worthy northeastern gems such as Winged Foot, Baltusrol and Bethpage Black, Tillie took Texas by storm from 1915 to 1925. At least six original Texas designs remain, including Oak Hills and the public Brackenridge Park, host to 44 Texas Opens between them.
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2. Donald Ross: The genius behind Pinehurst No. 2, Seminole and Oakland Hills didn’t spend much time in Texas, but he left us with Houston’s most prestigious private club, River Oaks. The club played host to the 1940 Western Open, won by Jimmy Demaret and the 1946 Houston Open, where Byron Nelson edged Ben Hogan.
3 of 15Butterfield Trail No. 1 / Rob Perry
3. Tom Fazio: One of the most prolific and honored modern architects has 11 Texas creations to his credit. Among his top public-access tracks are Barton Creek’s two courses in Austin and Butterfield Trail in El Paso, pictured here.
4 of 15Cordillera Ranch No. 16 / Courtesy of The Wood Agency
4. Jack Nicklaus: The most successful player-turned-architect altered the Texas landscape seven times over the past 35 years, most recently in 2012 with his Summit Rock course at Horseshoe Bay. Highest ranked is Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, in the heart of Hill Country, pictured here.
5 of 15Fred Vuich / Sports Illustrated
5. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw: Texas native Crenshaw and one-time resident Coore have concocted some of golf’s greatest courses over the past 20 years, including Sand Hills and Friar’s Head. They’ve revised a fistful of Texas’ best courses, working both together and separately and are now moving dirt at Trinity Forest in south Dallas.
6 of 15Wood Sabold
6. Tom Doak: Author of Pacific Dunes, the best course anyone can play in the U.S., Doak went back to school in 2003 with the Rawls Course at Texas Tech University. The public-access, low-profile design in Lubbock is ranked among the top college courses in the U.S.
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7. Robert Trent Jones Sr.: The man who coined the phrase, “Give your course a signature,” was golf’s first celebrity architect. Trent’s three strong courses at Horseshoe Bay Resort are perhaps best known, but he also crafted Shady Oaks in 1956, where Ben Hogan would hang his hat every day.
8 of 15Colonial No. 3 / Courtesy of Colonial
8. Perry Maxwell: Lauded for his original designs in nearby Oklahoma (Southern Hills) and Kansas (Prairie Dunes), Maxwell left his mark in Texas with his 1940 design of Colonial’s “Horrible Horseshoe,” holes 3, 4 and 5, in preparation for the club’s hosting of the 1941 U.S. Open.
9 of 15No. 12 at La Cantera's Resort Course / Courtesy of La Cantera Hill Country Resort
9. Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish: Individually, both men have forged terrific Texas tracks. Collectively, their chef d’oeuvre is La Cantera’s Resort course in San Antonio, venue for the PGA Tour’s Texas Open from 1995 through 2009.
10 of 15No. 17 at TPC San Antonio's AT&T Canyons Course / PGA Tour Photography
10. Pete Dye: The Dye-a-bolical “Marquis de Sod” coaxed four courses out of the Texas soil. While none had the impact of say, the TPC Sawgrass, his most recent effort is Tour-worthy nonetheless. His TPC San Antonio (AT&T Canyons course), open to guests of the JW Marriott San Antonio, is a regular Champions Tour host.
11 of 15No. 4 at La Cantera's Palmer Course / Courtesy of La Cantera Hill Country Resort
11. Arnold Palmer: The King left his impact on Texas as a player, winning three consecutive Texas Opens from 1960 to 1962 and as an architect with designs such as Newport Dunes, a rare southwest seaside course and La Cantera’s Palmer, pictured here.
12 of 15No. 11 at TPC San Antonio's AT&T Oaks Course / PGA Tour Photography
12. Greg Norman: The Great White Shark has clamped his teeth into several high-profile Texas projects, though unquestionably, his showpiece is the TPC San Antonio’s AT&T Oaks course, current venue for the PGA Tour’s Valero Texas Open.
13 of 15Golf Club of Houston No. 17 / Courtesy of the Golf Club of Houston
13. Rees Jones: Schooled at the knee of his famous father, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Rees incorporated his dad’s vision for attractive holes while toning down the relentless shotmaking demands required at the elder’s courses. The best example is at the Golf Club of Houston’s Tournament course (formerly Redstone), the current home to the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open.
14 of 15Max A. Mandel Municipal No. 9 / John and Jeannine Henebry
14. Robert Trent Jones Jr.: With a healthy roster of Texas course credits, Trent Jones Jr. gained some good-natured infamy designing the first green at Cottonwood Valley in the shape of Texas, complete with an Oklahoma-shaped bunker. In 2012, he opened Max A. Mandel (pictured here) in Laredo, overlooking the Rio Grande.
15 of 15Wolfdancer No. 12 / Courtesy of Wolfdancer
15. Arthur Hills: Among the world’s most prolific architects, Hills finally touched down in Texas near Austin with his 2006 design of Wolfdancer Golf Club at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort, where he solved the puzzle of how to route golf holes over three distinct landforms, rolling prairie land, a forested ridgeline and a valley populated with pine and pecan trees.
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