Brandel Chamblee: My 10 Favorite Courses

1 of 10 Mike Ehrmann / Sports Illustrated
Golf Channel analyst and Golf Magazine contributor Brandel Chamblee chose his 10 favorite courses from our 2013 Top 100 Courses in the World rankings and described what makes them special.1. Cypress Point (No. 2 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "No place, not even its close neighbor Pebble Beach, gives me the feeling I get when I play here. It's not as hard as Pine Valley or Augusta but it combines the best of these fabled layouts and exceeds them in every dimension. Every step at Cypress Point, I feel privileged, humbled and awed...until I get to the 18th green. Oops."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
2 of 10 Larry Lambrecht
2. Pine Valley (No. 1 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "There is some appeal in the exclusivity here as I feel a certain privilege when I walk the fairways at Pine Valley. I wonder if I had never heard so many of the vaunted preambles if I would feel the same way about this Crump classic. I'd like to think I would. Reading its history, however, one realizes that the great thing about George Crump was that he invited criticism and welcomed new ideas, as the best architects of his day all offered opinions here. All great holes. All memorable. The architect of the Flatiron building in New York City, Daniel Burnham, once said, "Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood" George Crump had big plans for this course and they definitely continue to stir men's blood."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
3 of 10 Courtesy
3. Friar's Head (No. 32 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "Incredible. This land was built for golf and Coore and Crenshaw, without so much as hinting they are superior to the architects of yore, perhaps they provide proof they are. Think about a perfectly made rocking chair from the turn of the century. Now add lumbar."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
4 of 10 Larry Lambrecht
4. Shinnecock Hills (No. 5 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "Hard but fair is the toughest of combinations in golf course architecture, kinda like "delicious and low-fat," I suppose. All right, I remember the 7th hole during the 2004 U.S. Open, the redan hole as it is called, was re-damn-diculous when it got USGA-ed, but that is the problem with old architecture and new agronomy, they don't mix. That faux-gettable-pas aside, Shinnecock is a cocksure test of golf and beautiful to boot. If I was playing the best golf of my life this is where I would go to test myself."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
5 of 10 Fred Vuich / SI
5. Augusta National (No. 3 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "No place is more private or more well known, the exact obverse nature of its principal architect, at least in theory, Bobby Jones. Like Pine Valley, every step is pervaded by the awe it took to build it and also by the mystique of the membership. When these two distractions can be put aside, the joy of the golf and attempting shots so well known to us all overwhelms. I think holes number 3, 12 and 13 are perfect. So too, is the junior club sandwich."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
6 of 10 Patrick Drickey/StoneHouse Golf
6. National Golf Links of America (No. 11 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "Golf is supposed to be fun and C.B. McDonald, National's architect, though I've never seen a picture of him smiling, must have understood this because every time I leave National that is the first word that comes to my mind. Short, tempting, clever holes that make you want to swing as hard as you can, (who doesn't like to do that!!!) that then leave you with the most devilish of pitches, which when pulled off make you feel both strong and cunning, are the stellar achievement here in my opinion. Twice I've played here and Ben Crenshaw was in the group behind me, which is a bit like having Harold Bloom, of literary-critcism fame, sitting next to you as you read Shakespeare."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
7 of 10 Larry Lambrecht
7. Riviera (No. 33 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "Yes, I played well here and yes I am biased, I have no doubt, by this fact. My inflated opinion that George Thomas alone knew the true way to bring out the best in me aside, Riviera is revered for its routing and combination of long and short holes. Two holes in particular No. 4 and No. 6 show that Thomas wasn't afraid of the long semi-blind one-shotter nor was he afraid to be different. Who puts a bunker in the middle of a green? George Thomas. In all of golf, there is no better short 4 to start a nine or long 4 to end one than on the inward half here."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
8 of 10 Wood Sabold
8., 9., (9a), & 10. Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, (Bandon Trails) and Old Macdonald (No. 20, 63, 88 on Top 100 Courses in the World): "I put these three (four) together and in no particular order because to single one out from the other misses the point of what Bandon Dunes resort is all about. With so many leaning toward what is avant-garde with the money to build projects like Bandon, Mike Keiser reminds me of the man in the art museum, who when all around him are pretentiously describing a painting, finds beauty in the Navajo rug they are standing on. He has brought big money boondogglers back to reality by assembling his own little version of the extinct Philadelphia fraternity, i.e., Wilson, Tillinghast, Thomas etc. in Crenshaw, Coore, Doak and McLay Kidd to put golf "right" again. These men carried out his vision. Every course here is different and yet the same. Where so many courses make you want to quit for the time and pointless effort they require, every course at Bandon Dunes makes you want to keep playing and invite friends."More Top 100 Courses in the World: 100-76 75-5150-2625-1
9 of 10 Wood Sabold
Bandon Dunes
10 of 10 Wood Sabold
Old Macdonald