I’ve played a lot of courses—1,423 and counting—but I haven’t actually been everywhere. Here’s my wish list of the Top 10 courses I’ve yet to play.
1. Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog)
La Romana, DR
Over the past 50 years, no one has influenced golf course design more than Pete Dye, and when pressed, he names this as his favorite. I want to see why.
2. Royal Portrush (Dunluce)
Portrush, Northern Ireland
The only Irish course to stage an Open Championship, this seaside links has cracked our Top 15 in the World for the past 20 years. Many rank it ahead of Royal County Down, which is in my personal top five. I wonder if I’d agree.
3. Shadow Creek
North Las Vegas, Nev.
The “it” course of the 1990s was Steve Wynn’s vision and Tom Fazio’s execution. In Fazio’s words, it was proof that with sufficient funds and imagination, you can create a world-class course from nothing. Twenty years later, I’m curious if it stands up.
4. Seminole Golf Club
Juno Beach, Fla.
Perhaps the finest routing Donald Ross ever did, this ultra-exclusive Palm Beach-area enclave also features one of the greatest clubhouses in golf. Hogan used to practice here every day for a month leading up to the Masters. I’d just like to do it once.
5. Fishers Island
Fishers Island, N.Y.
Another locked-gates, Old Money institution, this 1917 Seth Raynor design skirts Long Island Sound and is accessible only by boat. I’m told there’s no more idyllic spot for summer golf—not even Phoenix.
6. Sunningdale (Old)
I’ve played many of the heathland greats around London, but not yet here, where Bobby Jones shot his “perfect” 66 and where the 5th hole possesses golf’s first artificially constructed water hazard, installed by Willie Park Jr. in 1900.
The top-rated course in Japan since its inception in 1932, this Charles Alison design is ranked No. 39 in the World. Its back-nine par 5s are considered among the best in golf. Is the course really that good, or is it propped up by its remote location?
Perhaps the finest work of golf’s most unheralded Golden Age architect, Tom Simpson, this low-key layout in the Paris suburbs apparently is as hard to find as it is to gain a tee time. Is its greatness linked to its exclusivity? I’d like to find out.
All that’s missing is an ocean at this linksy-looking layout in landlocked Kansas, which played host to the 2002 U.S. Women’s Open (Juli Inkster) and the 2006 U.S. Senior Open (Allen Doyle). I question if the wind and rough make it unplayable for 10-handicaps.
Baiting Hollow, N.Y.
Another hard-to-come-by tee time is this understated modern gem from Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw that harmoniously merges woods, dunes and sea views. Is this the Cypress Point of the East Coast, or simply more fawning over the two nicest guys in the biz?