The 10 Most Overrated Courses in America

1 of 10 Fred Vuich
THE 10 MOST OVERRATED COURSES IN AMERICA Is your favorite among them? We all relish playing great golf courses, but let's be honest: greatness is often confused with exclusivity, a storied history or Tiger's latest victory march. Here are our picks for the 10 most overrated courses in the United States. Read the list and post your comments in our blog. 10. Augusta National Golf Club Augusta, Ga. Blasphemy? Augusta's architect Alister MacKenzie might not think so. "How often have I seen a golf course ruined in the attempt to extend it to what is generally considered championship length," said MacKenzie, who with co-designer Bobby Jones was inspired by the option—filled Old Course in St. Andrews. Comparing the original with today's longer, narrower course is like seeing old photos of a once-beautiful victim of a botched plastic surgery. No. 11 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
2 of 10 Fred Vuich
2. Pebble Beach Golf Links Pebble Beach, Calif. Folks feel so good teeing it up at Pebble—and who doesn't want to feel good at $475 a pop?—that the many weak holes get a pass. Sure, holes 5 through 10 are off-the-charts great, and the par-5 18th is golf's most celebrated closer, but many of the inland holes are forgettable. And despite the heroics of Nicklaus and Watson, from ground level the par-3 17th is the game's single most overrated hole. No. 9 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
3 of 10 Fred Vuich
3. Pinehurst Resort (No. 2) Pinehurst, N.C These days Donald Ross' masterpiece is too wide and too short for his classic strategies to challenge the pros, so the crowned greens are firmed and quickened to goofy golf levels to keep scores in check. From 50 yards in, it's the most intriguing test in golf, but plenty of folks agree with Ben Hogan's assessment: "The trouble with Pinehurst is that when you try to think of one great hole, you can't. Nothing jumps into your mind." No. 5 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
4 of 10 Fred Vuich
4. Torrey Pines Golf Course (North) La Jolla, Calif. Rees Jones's re-do of Torrey's brawny South Course has drawn mixed reviews, but the only positive thing one can say about the North is that the Pacific views are superb (and even those end at the seventh tee). Despite being co-host of a PGA Tour event, this course looks, feels and plays like a downtrodden muni. Bland, cigar-shaped fairways, patchy rough, the utter lack of artistry or strategy in the bunkering and a back nine without a single memorable hole—better courses have been bulldozed for less. No. 6 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
5 of 10 Fred Vuich
5. Champions Golf Club (Cypress Creek) Houston, Tex. Champions was founded as an Augusta National—style retreat 50 years ago by Texas golf legends Jimmy Demaret and Jackie Burke, but the only thing this Ralph Plummer design shares with its Georgia counterpart is that Tiger Woods has won at both. The grand history—a U.S. Open, a Ryder Cup and multiple Tour Championships—doesn't compensate for the flat fairways, shapeless bunkers and overgrown ditches masquerading as water hazards. Hole 5 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
6 of 10 Fred Vuich
6. The Country Club (Open Course) Brookline, Mass. This blue-blooded club has more tradition than a Skull & Bones reunion, but the layout used for tournament play is anything but traditional. The 'Frankenstein' course borrows several holes from the club's third nine, and even combines two holes—a short par-4 and a shorter par-3-to make up the best stop on the tournament track, the 445-yard, par-4 11th. No. 10 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
7 of 10 Fred Vuich
7. Bandon Trails Bandon, Ore. Admittedly, nice guys Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw had a tough act to follow in doing the third course at Bandon Dunes Resort, and on an inland plot at that. But those early raves have turned to furrowed brows for those who properly contemplate its back nine flaws, chiefly the ridiculous 14th hole and the inexplicably left-tilting landing area on 16. No. 2 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
8 of 10 Fred Vuich
8. Sahalee Country Club (North/South) Sammamish, Wash. It makes for a great nature walk, but as golf course designs go, there isn't much to savor at the site of the 1998 PGA Championship. The flat fairways are so hemmed in by trees that fat guys have to walk single file, and the oval-shaped greens and bunkers are numbingly predictable. No. 9 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
9 of 10 Michael Sugrue
9. Harding Park Golf Course San Francisco, Calif. Harding offers a heart-warming story of urban golf renewal in a glorious by-the-Bay setting, but when it comes time to recall distinctive, standout holes amid the fog and cypresses, it's all pretty hazy. • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings
10 of 10 Fred Vuich
1. Medinah Country Club (No. 3) Medinah, Ill. Chicago's famed brute earns "major" status thanks to hosting three U.S. Opens and a pair of PGAs won by Tiger Woods, but the most memorable thing about it is the clubhouse. The dull terrain and trio of "signature" par-3s that look and play almost identically over Lake Kadijah make many wonder how this qualifies for anybody's Top 10. Click here to tell us what you think or post your own top 10. No. 2 • Most Underrated | Most Exclusive • All Course Rankings