The Best Donald Ross Golf Courses

1 of 20 No. 3 at Wannamoisett Country Club / Courtesy of Wannamoisett Country Club
10. Wannamoisett Country Club, Rumford, R.I. (private): Ross’ rare par-69 is crammed into 104 acres, yet still packs a wallop with long, strong par-4s and speedy, undulating greens, so it launches our list of Ross' 10 best courses. Site of the 1931 PGA Championship, it’s also annual home to the prestigious Northeast Amateur, where winners have included Ben Crenshaw, Dustin Johnson and back-to-back in ’00 and ’01, Luke Donald.
2 of 20 No. 8 at East Lake Golf Club / Chris Condon, US PGA TOUR
9. East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Ga. (private): Once better known as the club where Bobby Jones learned to play, and then as host to the 1963 Ryder Cup, East Lake is now a staple for golf fans as the 13-time host to the season-ending PGA Tour Championship. Rees Jones restored much of the Ross flavor to a compact layout that finishes with three superb long-iron holes.
3 of 20 No. 5 at Aronimink Golf Club / Russell Kirk
8. Aronimink Golf Club, Newtown Square, Pa. (private): Twenty years after Ross designed Aronimink, he visited the layout and declared, “I intended to make this course my masterpiece, but not until today did I realize I built better than I knew.” Set into a rolling, wooded tract in suburban Philadelphia, Aronimink rose to prominence after hosting the 1962 PGA Championship won by Gary Player.
4 of 20 No. 17 at Scioto Country Club / Courtesy of Scioto Country Club
7. Scioto Country Club, Columbus, Ohio (private): Jack Nicklaus learned to play on this classic layout that Ross crafted in 1916. Bobby Jones won the 1926 U.S. Open over its gently rolling parkland terrain and the club has also played host to the 1931 Ryder Cup and 1950 PGA Championship.
5 of 20 Getty Images
6. Plainfield Country Club, Plainfield, N.J. (private): Despite its charm, intimacy and fiendishly contoured greens, big bashers have thrived at Plainfield, from Laura Davies, who won the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open here, to Dustin Johnson, who topped the field at the 2011 Barclays, to the late club member Bobby Thomson who hit the “Shot heard ‘round the world,” a ninth inning blast that sent his New York Giants to the 1951 World Series.
6 of 20 No. 15 at Inverness Club, Fred Vuich, USGAMuseum
5. Inverness Club, Toledo, Ohio (private): A marvelous collection of par-4s set the stage for two of Greg Norman’s most crushing defeats, the first when Bob Tway holed a bunker shot to win the 1986 PGA Championship, the second when the Shark lipped out putts on two straight holes, handing the 1993 PGA Championship playoff win to Paul Azinger.
7 of 20 No. 18 at Oak Hill Country Club (East) / PGA
4. Oak Hill Country Club (East), Rochester, N.Y. (private): Host to three U.S. Opens, the 1995 Ryder Cup and a handful of PGA Championships, including 2013, when Jason Dufner triumphed, Oak Hill has witnessed numerous renovations since it debuted in 1924. Yet, its character is unmistakably Ross with its vexing undulations yielding superb risk/reward opportunities.
8 of 20 No. 16 at Oakland Hills Country Club / NileYoung
3. Oakland Hills Country Club (South), Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (private): Ben Hogan called this course a “monster” in capturing the 1951 U.S. Open, thanks to a severe course setup and alterations by Robert Trent Jones Sr. Following events such as the 2004 Ryder Cup and 2008 PGA Championship won by Padraig Harrington, the brilliant Ross routing and beguiling green contouring has restored its status to “great,” as opposed to “hard.”
9 of 20 No. 17 at Seminole Golf Club / Larry Lambrecht
2. Seminole Golf Club, Juno Beach, Fla. (private): This posh coastal retreat challenges with palms, sea grape bushes, ocean breezes and a varied routing that encompasses two dune ridges. So impressed was Ben Hogan with Seminole’s virtues, that he would play and practice here for 30 straight days each year leading up to the Masters. Architecture fans will get a rare glimpse inside the gates when Seminole hosts the 2021 Walker Cup.
10 of 20 No. 4 at Pinehurst No. 2 / Getty Images
1. Pinehurst (No. 2), Pinehurst, N.C. (resort): Ross’ chef d’oeuvre rolls gently and spaciously through tall pines in the Carolina Sandhills but its “inverted saucer” greens have confounded the game’s very best since they were first grassed in 1935.
11 of 20 Courtesy of Grove Park Inn
10. Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C.: Perched high above Asheville in the mountains of western North Carolina, the Grove Park course kicks off our list of Donald Ross courses you can play. It has hosted a fistful of U.S. Presidents and the likes of Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus. Precision is paramount on this shortish, 6,720-yard, par-70 track, as well as an ability to cope with uphill, downhill and sidehill lies.
12 of 20 No. 1 at Omni Bedford Springs (Old) / Courtesy of Omni Bedford Springs
9. Omni Bedford Springs (Old), Bedford, Pa.: With holes designed by Spencer Oldham, Ross and A.W. Tillinghast, Bedford may be a mutt, but it’s best in breed, thanks to a fine sympathetic restoration by Ron Forse, who “followed the footprints of the 1923 Ross golf course.” Tucked 90 minutes east of Pittsburgh, Bedford Springs features hilly opening and closing stretches and Shober’s Run, a Gold Medal trout stream visible or in play on 12 holes.
13 of 20 No. 14 at The Sagamore / Larry Lambrecht
8. The Sagamore, Bolton Landing, N.Y.: Ross’ flair for option-laden design is on full display amid holes carved from the Adirondack Forest Preserve, with mountain backdrops to boot.
14 of 20 No. 2 at French Lick Resort (Ross) / Kevin Frisch, Fusion Media Strategies
7. French Lick Resort (Ross), French Lick, Ind.: Laid out by Ross in 1920 and draped over open, rolling farmland in the town where Larry Bird grew up, French Lick’s Ross played host to the 1924 PGA Championship, won by Walter Hagen. Lee Schmidt of Schmidt-Curley Design recently restored the layout’s classic flat-bottom bunkers and ingeniously contoured greens.
15 of 20 No. 2 at Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club (Bay) / Courtesy of Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club
6. Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club (Bay), Galloway, N.J.: Ross remodeled this Hugh Wilson (of Merion fame) design in 1914-15 that edges marshy Reeds Bay and that offers vistas of the Atlantic City skyline. The Bay paired with its Pines sibling to host the 1942 PGA, won by Sam Snead, and while only 6,397 yards from the tips, is strong enough to test the best at the LPGA’s ShopRite Classic, including winners such as Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster and in 2014, Stacy Lewis.
16 of 20 No. 11 at Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club / John Gessner
5. Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, Southern Pines, N.C.: Our 2013 winner for Best U.S. Resort Course Renovation, Mid Pines saw its Ross green contours, vistas and rough areas restored to their 1921 looks by Coore-Crenshaw associate Kyle Franz. Back is the hardpan sand speckled with wiregrass framing the fairways, as well as the renewed emphasis on strategy.
17 of 20 Courtesy of Linville Golf Club
4. Linville Golf Club, Linville, N.C.: Available to guests of the nearby Eseeola Lodge, one of Ross’ quieter gems is this 1924 creation in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an hour northeast of Asheville. Trout-filled Grandmother Creek affects play on 14 holes.
18 of 20 Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club / Getty Images
3. Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines, N.C.: Owned and operated by legendary LPGA Founder Peggy Kirk Bell, Pine Needles is situated just three miles from Pinehurst, but is a celebrated tournament venue in its own right, having hosted the 1996, 2001 and 2007 U.S. Women’s Opens, won by Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Christie Kerr, respectively. Not as tough as Number 2, yet its crowned greens will reject any timid approach.
19 of 20 No. 18 at Broadmoor Golf Club (West) / Getty Images
2. Broadmoor Golf Club (West), Colorado Springs, Colo.: Ross’ holes (1-6 and 15-18) pair with eight Robert Trent Jones Sr. holes to form the West, a formidable layout in its own right, and host to the 1967 U.S. Amateur, where Bob Dickson edged Vinny Giles by one. Tougher than the East by some accounts, the narrower, more scenic West sits higher up and features more elevated greens than the East.
20 of 20 No. 18 at Broadmoor Golf Club (East) / L. C. Lambrecht, USGA Archives
1. Broadmoor Golf Club (East), Colorado Springs, Colo.: One of his rare creations west of the Mississippi, Ross carved the Broadmoor from the foothills of the Cheyenne Mountain in 1918. Today’s Ross originals appear as holes 1-6 and 16-18. Jack Nicklaus won the 1959 U.S. Amateur here, Annika Sorenstam the ’95 U.S. Women’s Open. At 6,200 feet, with mountain backdrops, both distance control and green reading vex the best.