The Golfer

Style Issue 2018

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Sand Hills Prairie Dunes Wild Horse Golf Club Moortown Augusta National Golf Club Crystal Downs Ballybunion County Louth Golf ClubRoyal County Down Portmarnock Royal Portrush Lahinch Golf Club Cassique Course Ocean Course Harbor Town Baltimore Country Club (Five Farms) Baltusrol Country Club (Upper) Bethpage Black San Francisco Golf Club Somerset Hills Bandon Dunes Pacific Dunes Carnoustie Golf Club Cruden Bay Casa de Campo Chicago Golf Club Camargo Fishers Island Club Shoreacres Dornoch Gleneagles (Kings) Boat of Garten Brora Barnbougle Dunes Durban Country Club Ekwanok Country Club New South Wales Kingston Heath Humewood Golf Club Royal Melbourne Victoria Golf Club El Saler Morfontaine Engineers Country Club Fox Chapel Golf Club Painswick Lancaster Country Club Shinnecock Homestead (Cascades Course) Merion Golf Club (East) Manufacturers Nefyn & District Pennard Turnberry Myopia Golf Club National Golf Links of America Oakmont Country Club Maidstone Club Garden City Golf Club Pinehurst No. 2 Charles River Salem Country Club Seminole Golf Club Plainfield Country Club Royal Porthcawl Rye Royal West Norfolk Royal North Devon (Westward Ho!) Royal Lytham & Annes Spyglass Hill Pebble Beach Cypress Point St. George's The Golf The Ocean Course Long Cove Club Fenway Westchester Country Club Quaker Ridge Winged Foot West and East Sleepy Hollow Ganton Golf Club Woodhall Spa West Sussex Wentworth West Sunningdale Old Swinley Forest St. George's Royal Ashdown Forest Walton Heath New Walton Heath Old Tobacco Road Whistling Straits Wolf Run Yale University Pine Valley Bellerive Kingsbarns Friar's Head Pacific Dunes Bandon Dunes Desert Highlands Desert Forest North Berwick West St. Andrews Old Course Prestwick Royal Aberdeen Muirfield Riviera Country Club Los Angeles Country Club (North) Valley Club of Montecito Barona Creek Kittansett Club Newport Country Club Wannamoisett Country Club Rhode Island Country Club Sakonnet Meadowbrook Hunt Club Deepdale Holsten Hills Country Club Pete Dye Golf Club The Honors Club Hirono Tokyo Kwana point Shinnecock Seminole merion Sand Hills Prairie Dunes Wild Horse Golf Club Moortown Augusta National Golf Club Crystal Downs Ballybunion County Louth Golf ClubRoyal County Down Portmarnock Portrush Lahinch Golf Club Cassique Course Ocean Course Harbor Town Baltimore Country Club (Five Farms) Baltusrol Country Club (Upper) Bethpage Black San Francisco Golf Club Somerset Hills Bandon Dunes Pacific Dunes Carnoustie Golf Club Cruden Bay Casa de Campo Chicago Golf Club Camargo Fishers Island Club Shoreacres Dornoch Gleneagles (Kings) Boat of Garten Brora Barnbougle Dunes Durban Country Club Ekwanok Country Club New South Wales Kingston Heath Humewood Golf Club Royal Melbourne Victoria Golf Club El Saler Morfontaine Engineers 100 The Top 100 Golf Course Designs Too often golf courses are considered great because of exterior trappings such as a stately clubhouse or an esteemed history and not for the most important factor of all. Our design rankings, however, exclude all these factors, in order to examine the most important factor for a golf course: the actual layout of the course. To compile these ratings, we have separated overall playability form mere beauty, daring to divorce ancillaries like location and historic notability to focus solely on what makes one course superior over another. By doing so, we arrive at a list of the Top 100 courses that is in stark contrast to all others. By valuing property over location, playability over prominence, we have arrived at a truly definitive list. Shocking perhaps, but some of the more touted courses do not make our list. Designs like that of Shadow Creek, once revered as feats of engineering, are now only novelties. Others like Baltusrol's Lower Course have had their finest features muted over the years, with upgrades and/or restoration efforts actually undermining what once made the course great. We have included a few newer courses like Kingsbarns because they are modern masterpieces of shaping, yet ignored the vast majority of others because they are not—mounds and contours courtesy of bulldozers will never surpass natural splendor. The old courses of Europe are better represented than those of America—The Golden Age of Design has in fact been reincarnated—while more holistic designs found in Australia, Asia, even Africa may be appearing for the first time on any list. By focusing only on design, our Top 100 List acknowledges something more fundamental and truly tangible; the game and those who play it. Most golfers don't choose how they are going to play, only where. They make a shot and deal with the result. The truly great designs make us think. As natural as a good swing, a course should be both challenging and welcoming. Each hole should be unique, and each time we play it should feel like visiting an old friend. by Colin Sheehan

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