1. Cypress Point For a multitude of obvious reasons, this Alister MacKenzie design is still my favorite. I grew up down the road and learned to play both here and on the other courses within Pebble Beach. I love it for many reasons. It breaks all the "rules" with back-to-back par 5's and par 3's, uneven par for the nines, it's short, you hit over roads, etc. I try to use the concept of creating three distinct environments in many of our designs in the same way Cypress has pine forest, dunes, and ocean front. Great site, great course, and great reason to visit Mom!
2. Sand Hills Probably the most influential course of the last 20 years. The Coore-Crenshaw masterpiece plays gently over very dramatic, treeless terrain with massive sand-based dunes covered in native grasses. The use and re-creation of "blow-out" bunkers kick-started the ongoing movement toward minimalism and its rugged, natural look and sensibilities. Unbelievable visuals.
3. National Golf Links Old, classic Long Island course with odd, quirky features and plenty of room to negotiate them. With its nod to historic template holes, it is like playing golf in a museum.
4. Friar's Head Another Coore-Crenshaw beauty on Long Island. It might be the most artistic course ever created with wonderful, informal expanses of white sand and tall grasses in stark contrast with the native trees. Like Cypress Point, it weaves through distinct environments and stresses beauty and playability over difficulty and resistance to scoring, a basic philosophy we are trying our best to push as well.
5. TPC Sawgrass One of my favorite "manufactured" courses. Our mentor, Pete Dye, did not create the first island green, but he certainly made the most infamous. I love the Players Championship, and the drama the last few holes always bring. Probably the strongest course/architect name recognition of all - everyone knows who designed it.
(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/SI)