John Dahl spends most of his time on the lesson tee at Oxbow Golf & Country Club, just south of Fargo, N.D. But he has traveled far and wide to play golf on some of the greatest courses in the land. GOLF.com asked him to tell us which were his favorites, and here’s what he said.
Pine Valley Golf Club
Clementon, N. J.
• No. 1 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the U.S. list
• No. 1 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the World list
“One of my best friends plays often at Pine Valley — he competed in the 1985 Walker Cup which was contested there, so the club offered him a membership — so I’ve been there plenty of times. It’s one of those places where you remember every hole. The whole environment is just special, and staying in the cabins on the grounds is so unique. The greens are just amazing. Nothing at Pine Valley is overstated. It’s just right.”
Augusta National Golf Club
• No. 3 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the U.S. list
• No. 4 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the World list
“Even for a PGA of America professional like me, its really, really hard to get on at Augusta National, but my buddy and fellow GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher J.D. Turner has some connections, so I’ve played the course a few times.
What you don’t get a feel for on television is the undulation in the fairways. Here in North Dakota, everything is flat, but there are so many subtle swales and humps and dips that you never seem to get a flat lie. The greens are just as lightning fast as you’ve heard, and like Pine Valley, you’ll remember every shot you hit for the rest of your life.”
Pinehurst No. 2
• No. 11 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the U.S.
• No. 17 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the World list
“Pinehurst is so distinctive and unique in the world of golf courses. The greens can be frustrating, but they’re just the best. You have to have such a good short game to get the ball up and down there. Each hole, cut out of those trees, is just special. It may not win a beauty contest, but Pinehurst is a very special place.”
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, Calif.
• No. 4 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the U.S. list
• No. 5 on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 Courses in the World list
“Jack Nicklaus said that if he could only play one course for the rest of his life, Pebble Beach would be the one, so you’ve got to pay attention to that. I love the history of the place: Tom Watson’s chip in on the 17th hole in the 1982 U.S. Open, Nicklaus’ 1-iron in ’72 that hit the flagstick on 17, the amazing finish at 18 — it’s all there. And the stretch of holes from 6 to 10 is pretty tough to beat.
For me, the most memorable shot ever hit at Pebble Beach was my wife’s hole out from the bunker on 17 the first time she played it.”
Quintero Golf & Country Club
“As a member of this club, I’ll admit I’m a little biased here, but Quintero is one of the few courses I know where the course designer, Rees Jones, got to pick the land instead of the owner having land and then finding a designer. So from the start you knew this course was going to be really good.
Most courses in the desert are pretty flat, but Quintero has great elevation changes and generous landing areas off the tee, another rarity in Arizona. And I just love that you can look for miles and spot nothing but cacti and nature.”