New Courses in Top 100 Golf Courses You Can Play

1 of 11 Aidan Bradley/Chambers Bay Golf Club
Making the Grade From a one-year-old phenom to a 111-year-old veteran, here are the new courses among the 2008 Top 100 You Can Play No. 8 Chambers Bay Golf Course Having been named the site of the 2015 U.S. Open, Chambers Bay doesn't suffer from a lack of accolades, but this spiritual cousin to Ballybunion does suffer from misconceptions. First, unlike Bandon Dunes, which can be challenging to get to, Chambers Bay is practically a suburban park course, just minutes from downtown Tacoma and 45 minutes from Seattle-Tacoma Airport. Second, don't let the tips yardage of 7,585 bother you: the slope from the back tees is only 135, so while this walking-only track will test your hamstrings, you'll find it tough to lose a ball, which might be the true genius of the design. Third, for anyone who has a preconceived notion of what a Robert Trent Jones II design is supposed to look like, forget it. Chambers Bay is a true collaboration of the RTJ II team — Bruce Charlton, Jay Blasi and Jones himself — and the course is a strategic masterpiece with wild elevation changes, split fairways, enormous dunes, tattered-edge bunkers and stunning scenery. We can't wait for the 2015 Open.
2 of 11 Atlantic City Country Club
No. 99 Atlantic City Country Club What's old is new — at least for 111-year-old Atlantic City Country Club, which cracks our Top 100 You Can Play list for the first time. Originally laid out by John Reid and Willie Park Jr., ACCC was redesigned by William Flynn in 1923. But it was a Tom Doak redo in 1999 that made the difference. Measuring an Old World 6,577 yards and playing to a par 70, the course eases across flat, firm coastal terrain. The 339-yard, par-4 14th perfectly illuminates the course's virtues, with its peninsula tee, bunkers and marshes and its view of the Atlantic City skyline.
3 of 11 The G.C. at Redlands Mesa
No. 96 The G.C. at Redlands Mesa This Jim Engh design is back in the Top 100 after a hiatus of two years. In 2006 the sentiment was that the intrusion of houses had ripped away its appeal. Today, the consensus says that the houses still intrude, but not enough to keep this layout off the list. Stretched across the floor of a high-desert canyon, Redlands Mesa boasts one memorable hole after another. Most striking are the cliff-top par-3s that plunge into box canyons, including a trio — 8, 12 and 17 — that would qualify for anyone's hall-of-fame.
4 of 11 Circling Raven
No. 93 Circling Raven It may not sport a floating island green like its neighbor up the road, but this bird has everything else. Given 620 acres by the Coeur d' Alene Tribe, architect Gene Bates emphasized a design philosophy of least disturbance. The back nine is particularly back-to-nature, punctuated by endless views of meadows, forests and mountains. You'll need to snap back to reality to conquer the four par-3s, notably the forcedcarry, 253-yard 13th. But this is the rare course that offers so much fun that the setting outweighs any scorecard stress.
5 of 11 Laurie Hyndman/Sunday River
No. 88 Sunday River Sunday River is the third debut entry from Robert Trent Jones II. The course was overlooked in its early days, mostly owing to its off-the-beaten-trail location in western Maine. Consider it found. A wider, even more scenic version than Jones's other Maine attraction, the 20-year-old Sugarloaf, Sunday River is carved from dense forest and dishes out instant variety and memorability. Plenty of grin-inducing vistas of the Mahoosuc Range await, including a dandy at the 443-yard, par-4 18th. For pure sensory overload, make an autumn visit.
6 of 11 Osprey Meadows
No. 79 Osprey Meadows at Tamarack Resort Back in the summer of 2006, Robert Trent Jones II served up a near-perfect mountain course some 80 miles north of Boise that eases its way comfortably across 400 acres of sprawling meadowland dotted with sparkling lakes and streams. The surrounding views of Council Mountain and Lake Cascade are superb enough, but the real star at Osprey Meadows is the quintet of interesting par-5s, most notably the split-fairway 4th that doglegs around a fly-fishing pond and the uphill, wetland-skipping 18th.
7 of 11 Primland Resort
No. 44 The Highland Course at Primland English writer-turned-architect Donald Steel has crafted an enviable slate of layouts for the moneyed set, including Scotland's Skibo Castle, Canada's Red Tail and The Abaco Club in the Bahamas. This aptly named layout is his first publicly accessible design in the U.S. The course is perched on the edge of the Dan River Gorge, but the pristine scenery is only half the fun. The firm, fast track is replete with ridge-top tees, hilly lies and deep, low-key British-style bunkers, and the blend of forced carries and an emphasis on the ground game make for a superb test.
8 of 11 Lonna Tucker/We-Ko-Pa Golf Club
No. 44 We-Ko-Pa Golf Club (Saguaro) Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have fashioned a fun romp through the desert with enough retro shot values and eye-candy backdrops to please both purists and tourists alike. We-Ko-Pa's Saguaro course features extra-wide fairways framed by its namesake cacti. The superb variety and imaginative green contouring, along with panoramic mountain vistas in every direction and no homes or roads on a parcel owned by the Yavapai Tribal Nation, create a worthy companion to We-Ko-Pa's seven-year-old sibling, the Cholla course.
9 of 11 Michael Clemmer/Fallen Oak
No. 29 Fallen Oak at Beau Rivage Sure, it's an opulent Tom Fazio design open only to guests of an MGM hotel 20 minutes to the south, but it's not quite fair to call Fallen Oak a southern-fried Shadow Creek. It stands on its own. While Shadow Creek was hewn from an absolutely barren landscape, this 7,487-yard layout flaunts its natural attributes, from the rolling terrain to its streams, lakes and wetlands. The Southern mansion clubhouse adds greatly to the Gone With the Wind ambience, but it's the individual holes that lift Fallen Oak from merely "pretty" to "pretty great."
10 of 11 Paul Hundley
No. 27 Erin Hills Golf Course The most talked about course of 2006 is, like Chambers Bay, a wild Irish rover that unfolds over heaving farmland 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee. Already named as the site of the 2011 U.S. Amateur, this Michael Hurdzan/Dana Fry/Ron Whitten design remains on the short list of possible U.S. Open venues. Stretching 7,824 yards from the back, Erin Hills has all the length it will ever need, plus an endless variety of lies, stances and angles. Only the club's bratwurst reminds you that the Emerald Isle is still an ocean away.
11 of 11 Tidewater Golf Club
No. 100 Tidewater Golf Club & Plantation Tidewater was once ranked in the high 30s on the Top 100 You Can Play list before slipping off. But tastes change. Tidewater offers uncommon elevation change and variety for the Myrtle Beach region. Holes 3, 4, 12 and 13 afford views of the Atlantic, while the closing trio skirts the Intracoastal Waterway. Architect Ken Tomlinson didn't sprinkle mounds over the course, and so his bunkers and greens are on the flattish side, a design treatment that fell out of favor for a few years. But a recent reexamination of the course's virtues has vaulted it back onto the ranking. This Tide is in. • Return to the Top 100 Courses You Can Play Homepage