The Golf Digest Top 100 Courses you can play every day!
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Pebble Beach has been the No. 1 course ever since we introduced the 100 Greatest Public in 2003. 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 75-foot-high bluff. Pebble will host another U.S. Amateur in 2018, and its sixth U.S. Open in 2019.
Bandon, Ore. / 888-345-6008 / bandondunesgolf.com Tom Doak (2001) 6,633 yards, Par 71 | Points: 65.1748The second course built at Bandon Dunes Resort. 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.
100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 2, 2007-12 & present
Kiawah Island, S.C. / 888-854-2924 / kiawahgolf.com Pete Dye & Alice Dye (1991) 7,356 yards, Par 72 | Points: 64.9282The first course designed for a specific event — the 1991 Ryder Cup — this manufactured linksland-meets-lagoons layout might well be Pete Dye’s most diabolical creation. 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.
100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: Present
4. (2) WHISTLING STRAITS (STRAITS)
Haven, Wis. / 800-344-2838 / whistlingstraits.com Pete Dye (1998) 7,790, Par 72 | Points: 64.7378Pete Dye transformed a dead flat abandoned army air base along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan into an imitation Ballybunion at Whistling Straits, peppering his rugged fairways and windswept greens with (at last count) 967 bunkers. 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, who will tackle the Straits again in the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup.
100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 2, 2013-14
5. (7) PINEHURST RESORT (No. 2)
Pinehurst, N.C. / 800-487-4653 / pinehurst.com John Dunn Tucker (9 1909) / Donald Ross & Walter Travis (A.9 1907) 7,495 yards, Par 72 | Points: 64.2727In 2010, Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw led a team that descended on Pinehurst No. 2 and killed out all the Bermudagrass rough that had been foolishly planted in the 1970s. 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 2014 Men’s and Women’s U.S. Opens were played on consecutive weeks at No. 2. Because of its water reduction, the course was recently awarded a Green Star environmental award by Golf Digest.
100 Greatest Public History: Ranked since 2003. Highest ranking: No. 2, 2003-06
To see the rest of America’s Top 100 Courses, you can play, go here!
Source: Ron Whitten Golf Digest
Pictures: Dom Furore, Stephen Szurlej J.D. Cuban
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Tags: golf courses, Golf Digest, Golf Digest Top 100 Public Courses, Ron Whitten