Top 45 Golf Courses Since 1959

1. Sand Hills
Mullen, Neb.
Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw, 1995

The architects’ minimalist approach dispelled the notion that all the great golf sites are seaside and/or taken. Sand Hills opened minds as to what remote places might yield.

2. Harbour Town
Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus, 1969

The low profile, small greens and coastal setting heralded the move from Robert Trent Jones’s old, bold designs to Dye’s linkslike style, igniting a new wave of design.

3. Spyglass Hill
Pebble Beach, Calif.
Robert Trent Jones, 1966

Trent Jones’s melding of Pine Valley-like heathland to Augusta-like parkland included ice plant, sand, pines and strategic dilemma. The first five holes presaged the naturalism others would expand on 20 years later.

4. Pacific Dunes
Bandon, Ore.
Tom Doak, 2001

Six years after Sand Hills debuted, Doak found linksland elements on the coast of Oregon and used them to extraordinary advantage.

5. Muirfield Village
Dublin, Ohio
Nicklaus/Desmond Muirhead, 1974

One of the great routings. Strategic questions are repeatedly asked and answers demanded by sublime use of topography, sand and water.

6. Ocean Forest
Sea Island, Ga.
Rees Jones, 1995

American linksland framed by ocean, river, oak and pine. Its .excellence is a testament to Jones’s knowing when to leave well enough alone.

7. TPC at Sawgrass (Stadium)
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
P. Dye, 1981

At first reviled, now revered, the Stadium Course raised the bar, and Dye became golf’s Jackson Pollock.

8. Hazeltine National
Chaska, Minn.
R.T. Jones, 1962

The site of Rich Beem’s unlikely Tiger-taming in 2002 earned acclaim after Rees Jones’s 1998 redesign of his father’s poorly received original.

9. Kiawah Island (Ocean)
Kiawah Island, S.C.
P. Dye, 1991

A juiced-up Harbour Town, the Ocean Course wowed the world at the 1991 Ryder Cup. Dye’s recent tweaks have brought renewed praise.

10. Briar’s Creek
Johns Island, S.C.
Rees Jones, 2002

An intuitive, coastal design with great shot values. Magnificently camouflaged by wind, marsh, sand and scenery.
11. Forest Highlands
Flagstaff, Ariz.
Tom Weiskopf/Jay Morrish, 1988

The advantages of altitude are cleverly neutralized.

12. Wade Hampton
Cashiers, N.C.
Tom Fazio, 1987

Masterly sculpting of unforgiving terrain.

13. The Honors Course
Ooltewah, Tenn.
P. Dye, 1983

A Dye-polar design: sometimes subtle, sometimes overwhelming.

14. The Golf Club
New Albany, Ohio.
P. Dye, 1967

Elevates short holes — a Dye staple — to high art.

15. Pete Dye Golf Club
Bridgeport, W.Va.
P. Dye, 1995

Impressively centered around an abandoned coal mine.

16. Bandon Dunes
Bandon, Ore.
David Kidd, 1999

Without Bandon Dunes there would be no Pacific Dunes.

17. Desert Forest
Carefree, Ariz.
Red Lawrence, 1962

The original in the Arizona desert; perfect natural contours.

18. Mauna Kea
Kohala Coast, Hawaii.
R.T. Jones, 1964

World-class golf on a bed of ancient lava flow.

19. Cascata
Boulder City, Nev.
Rees Jones, 2000

Overshadows all others on Nevada scene; endless desert views.

20. Whistling Straits (Straits)
Haven, Wis.
P. Dye, 1998

Ireland in Wisconsin. Dye spared no effort or material.

21. Atlantic
Bridgehampton, N.Y.
Rees Jones, 1992

In the company of nearby greats, a daunting examination.

22. World Woods (Pine Barrens)
Brooksville, Fla.
T. Fazio, 1993

Pine Valley on Florida’s west coast.

23. Long Cove Hilton
Head Island, S.C.
P. Dye, 1981

Dye softens his work for the club player — a touch.

24. Black Diamond (Quarry)
Lecanto, Fla.
T. Fazio, 1987

An abandoned stone quarry became an unlikely golf setting.

25. Double Eagle
Galena, Ohio
Weiskopf/Morrish, 1991

This revived the alternate-route hole; superior bunkering.

26. Blackwolf Run (River)
Kohler, Wis.
P. Dye, 1988

The architect’s use of a winding river is rare and enticing.

27. Nantucket GC
Siaconset, Mass.
Rees Jones, 1997

Firm turf and open-access greens; a return of the ground game.

28. Crooked Stick
Carmel, Ind.
P. Dye, 1964

Perhaps Dye’s best early work; just ask John Daly, who made his name here.

29. The Dunes
New Buffalo, Mich.
Tim Nugent, 1991

A nine-green, multiple-tee masterpiece.

30. Shadow Creek
North Las Vegas, Nev.
T. Fazio, 1989

A matchless landscaping illusion.

31. Laurel Valley
Ligonier, Pa.
Dick Wilson, 1959

Technically succinct, harmonic and still a great test.

32. Bellerive Creve
Coeur, Mo.
R.T. Jones, 1959

Acknowledged the need to thwart modern players’ length.

33. Champions (Cypress Creek)
Houston, Texas
Ralph Plummer, 1959

Lives up to its name by hosting big events.

34. PGA West (Stadium)
La Quinta, Calif.
P. Dye, 1986

Hyperbolic, soap operatic drama for players at all levels.

35. Redstick
Vero Beach, Fla.
Rees Jones, 2000

A subtle, linksland silhouette demanding tactical excellence.

36. Point O’Woods
Enton Harbor, Mich.
R.T. Jones, 1960

Demonstrates the designer’s continuing relevance.

37. Metedeconk National
Jackson, N.J.
R.T. Jones, 1987

A heathland design using fescue and wetlands to punish errant shots. The essence of Jones’s long, penal style.

38. Jupiter Hills (Hills)
Tequesta, Fla.
George Fazio, 1970

Like Seminole, wisely uses the state’s east coast sand ridge.

39. Bay Hill (Challenger/Champion)
Orlando, Fla.
D. Wilson, 1961

Rewards smart strategy and cracks down on impatience with numerous bunkers.

40. Robert Trent Jones Golf Club
Gainesville, Va.
R.T. Jones/Roger Rulewich, 1991

Beautifully sited and a .masterpiece of strategic bunkering.

41. Greenville (Chanticleer)
Greenville, S.C.
R.T. Jones/Joe Lee, 1970

A river-bottom site wrought in the old style with well-employed streams, lakes and elevation changes.

42. Shoal Creek
Birmingham, Ala.
Nicklaus, 1976

Shoal Creek showed an understated Nicklaus at work.

43. Cog Hill (No. 4)
Lemont, Ill.
D. Wilson/J. Lee, 1964

Rightly hailed as one of our foremost public courses.

44. Sahalee (North/South)
Sammamish, Wash.
Ted Robinson, 1969; Rees Jones, 1996

A superb driving course.

45. Pumpkin Ridge (Witch Hollow)
North Plains, Ore.
Bob Cupp/John Fought, 1992

A worthy championship venue.