10. May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, S.C.: This low-key romp through the salt marshes and 300-year-old oaks of the Lowcountry features soft contouring and mostly level terrain, making for a wonderful walk and quick pace of play. However, you’ll want to linger awhile at the par-3 6th, which traverses Greenleaf Creek, and at the par-3 14th that edges so close to the May River you could stick your ball retriever in and pull out an oyster lunch.
2 of 10Fred Vuich / SI
9. Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ky.: Sure, we remember Valhalla for the 2008 Ryder Cup, with Boo Weekley horsing around and the 2000 PGA Championship, where Tiger Woods outdueled Bob May, but what also jumps out are the strategic options sprinkled throughout, notably at two terrific risk/reward par-5s, the 7th and the 18th and at the short par-4 13th, with its unique, elevated, stacked rock green.
3 of 10Mike Ehrmann / SI
8. Cap Cana Resort (Punta Espada), Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic: Bluffs, beach and jungle are constant companions on this modern Caribbean classic that formerly played host to a Champions Tour event. Most memorable is the 250-yard, par-3 13th, which features a dramatic, Cypress Point-like carry over the Atlantic. Iguana-filled caves, native roosters and generous Paspalum fairways are added highlights.
4 of 10Courtesy of Mayacama
7. Mayacama, Santa Rosa, Calif.: Draped over Wine Country land once owned by Charlie Brown creator Charles Schulz, Mayacama is no laughing matter. Short on scorecard yardage at 6,785 from the tips, Mayacama brutalizes with narrow fairways and forced carries into shallow greens benched into hillsides, but soothes with oak-covered mountain backdrops and dramatic canyon panoramas.
5 of 10Michael Clemmer
6. Shoal Creek Golf Club, Shoal Creek, Ala.: Now on the rise again as a popular Champions Tour venue, Shoal Creek gained attention as the handsome host of two PGA Championships: in 1984, when Lee Trevino nipped Gary Player and again in 1990, when membership policy issues dogged the event. The design itself fosters no controversy, a rolling, forested layout studded with sporty holes such as the short, downhill par-4 14th and the creek-slashed, par-5 6th.
6 of 10William R. Sallaz / SI
5. Castle Pines Golf Club, Castle Rock, Colo.: No longer the Stableford scoring stop on the PGA Tour but still an outstanding course, Castle Pines soars to an elevation of 6,600 feet and is loaded with stunning par-4s, notably the watery, uphill 9th, the downhill, Augusta-like 10th, the colorful 12th, with its flower-edged cascades to the left of the green and the 18th, with its minefield of bunkers left of the landing zone.
7 of 10Evan Schiller
4. Sebonack Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.: Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak meshed their design skills to create a seaside gem that abuts the National Golf Links of America overlooking the Great Peconic Bay. Competitors at the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open were bedeviled and bedazzled by undulating greens with false fronts and sides and by memorable holes such as the downhill, dogleg left 11th, the short, bunker-strewn par-4 5th and the superb par-5 18th along the Bay.
8 of 10Laurence Lambrecht
3. Cabo del Sol (Ocean), Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: The most spectacular south-of-the-border experience since the original Cinco de Mayo, this 1994 seaside/desert design features back-to-back oceanside par-3s on the front side and a closing trio that stands as Mexico’s best. The par-3 17th is the showstopper, with its cliff-top tee box, cactus-covered hillsides and Sea of Cortez backdrop.
9 of 10Courtesy of Sea Pines Resort
2. Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.: A favorite of PGA Tour pros for more than 40 years, Harbour Town boasts the iconic candy cane-striped lighthouse backdrop on the 18th hole -- and so much more. Mixing live oaks, lagoons, tiny greens, bunkers banked by railroad ties and a closing stretch along the Calibogue Sound, this Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus collaboration delights and terrorizes at every turn.
10 of 10Fred Vuich / SI
1. Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio: Conceived by Nicklaus in 1966 to be his hometown equivalent of Bobby Jones’ Augusta National, this 1974 collaboration with architect Desmond Muirhead was an instant smash, as much for its strategic design as for its flawless conditioning. Equally impressive was how Nicklaus seamlessly integrated spectator areas into the closing holes, using hillsides and amphitheater-style mounding to provide patrons with clear views of the action.
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