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Great public golf can be found in every corner of the United States. Brian Oar. Public can mean different things when it comes to golf. Does the word refer to primarily municipal courses and straight daily-fee operations?
Do resort courses count, where an accompanying room night might be required to play? Several new courses made impressive entrances, notably No. Overall, it was a year of movement with 17 courses debuting or returning after an absence. Check out our full list with photos and descriptions below. Stephen Szurlej. It's not just the greatest meeting of land and sea in American golf, but the most extensive one, too, with nine holes perched immediately above the crashing Pacific surf—the fourth through the 10th plus the 17th and 18th.
Pebble's sixth through eighth are golf's real Amen Corner, with a few Hail Marys thrown in over a ocean cove on eight from atop a foot-high bluff. Pebble hosted another U. Amateur in and its sixth U. Open in Highest ranking: No. Bandon, Ore. To best utilize ocean frontage, Tom Doak came up with a unorthodox routing that includes four par 3s on the back nine. Holes seem to emerge from the landscape rather than being superimposed onto it. The rolling greens and rumpled fairways are framed by rugged sand dunes and marvelously grotesque bunkers.
The secret is Doak moved a lot of earth to make it look like he moved very little. Photo by Stephen Szurlej. Haven, Wis. There are no rakes at Whistling Straits, in keeping with the notion that this is a transplanted Irish links. It has too much rub-of-the-green for the comfort levels of many tour pros, two dozen of whom will tackle the Straits again in the Ryder Cup.
ranking: No. Kiawah Island, S. Every hole is edged by sawgrass, every green has tricky slopes, every bunker merges into bordering sand dunes. Strung along nearly three miles of ocean coast, Dye took his wife's advice and perched fairways and greens so golfers can actually view the Atlantic surf.
That also exposes shots and putts to ever-present and sometimes fierce coastal winds. Prrevious ranking: No. Courtesy of Shadow Creek GC. North Las Vegas, Nev. Shadow Creek plays like a musical composition in three movements, with alternating heavy beats and light moments, building to a resounding crescendo.
Every golfer should experience Shadow Creek at least once. Few remember Shadow Creek started out as a private course. Between fairways and tree lines, they established vast bands of native hardpan sand dotted with clumps of wiregrass and scattered pine needles. They reduced the irrigation to mere single rows in fairways to prevent grass from ever returning to the new sandy wastelands. Playing firm and fast, it was a wildly successful fortnight when the Men's and Women's U. Opens were played on consecutive weeks at No. Because of its water reduction, the course was recently awarded a Green Star environmental award by Golf Digest.
It will host the U. What's more, the holes are a more natural fit into the windswept terrain than the mammoth-mounded Straits Course.
Farmingdale, N. Beth Black now has the conditioning of a U. Open or PGA Tour stop, both of which it has been in recent years. No need to sleep in the parking lot just to get a tee time anymore just go onlinebut you may still have to verify your handicap. As a on the first tee states, Beth Black is an extremely difficult course recommended only for highly skilled players.
The Black will host its first Ryder Cup in Photo by Dom Furore. Its original concept was to be a simple, affordable, lay-of-the-land layout that proved Mother Nature is indeed the best golf architect. The concept changed—some greens moved, one blind par 3 eliminated—as the quest for a U.
Open grew. After trial runs hosting the U. Women's Publinks and the U. Amateur, Erin Hills hosted the U. Open, the first time the event was ever played in Wisconsin. Courtesy of Pebble Beach Company. The five opening holes, in Pine Valley-like sand dunes, are an all-too-brief encounter with the Pacific seacoast. The remaining holes are a stern hike through hills covered with majestic Monterey pines which, sad to say, may someday disappear to pitch canker, but are being replaced in some areas with cypress trees.
Add several water hazards that hearken back to the 16th at Augusta a hole which Trent Jones deed, by the wayand you have what some panelists consider to be Trent's finest work.
Others say it's the best course never to have hosted a major event. Courtesy of TPC Sawgrass. The de was pure Pete Dye, who set out to test the world's best golfers by mixing demands of precision with target golf. Most greens are ringed by random lumps, bumps and hollows, what Dye calls his "grenade attack architecture. The 17th has spawned over a hundred imitation island greens in the past 30 years. To make the layout even more exciting during tournament play, Steve Wenzloff of PGA Tour De Services remodeled several holes, most ificantly the 12th, which will now be a drivable par 4.
At the urging of "De Fairness proponent" Arthur Little, owner Mike Keiser installed a set of Royal Blue tee markers at 4, yards for beginners and older golfers.
That should just add to its popularity. Bandon Trails starts and finishes in serious sand dunes the 18th being recently remodeled by Coore while the remainder rolls through Oregon forest. Bump-and-run is the name of the game but the structure of each hole requires thoughtful bumps and targeted runs. Highest ranking: Current. Arcadia Bluffs has been overshadowed by No.
And likewise second-fiddle to No. And even by Whistling Straits, the imitation links on the opposite side of Lake Michigan that Arcadia Bluffs resembles, although the sand dunes at Arcadia are natural, not manmade. A second 18, the South, deed by Dana Fry opened in Spring Dom Furore. Sheep Ranch began life as a different Sheep Ranch in the early s, a rag-tag, cross-country, hole course with no irrigation built by Tom Doak on a bluff just north of what would later become Old Macdonald.
It was a little-used recreation that only insiders knew about. Spread across an open, windswept plateau, using many of the same greensites, Coore managed to triangulate the holes in such a way that nine now touch the cliff edge along the Pacific Ocean. More about this course. Courtesy of Kohler Co. Kohler, Wis. Dye coupled the front nine of America's Best New Public Course of now holes and with nine newer holes built within a vast bend of the Sheboygan River to produce the River Course. It possesses some of Dye's most exciting holes, from the triple-option reachable par-4 ninth to the boomerang-shaped par-5 11th to the monster par-4 18th, where Kohler surprised Dye by converting a long waste bunker into a temporary lagoon for tournament events.
For major events, like the U.American golf single
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