[By BRADLEY S. KLEIN
Few courses are opening in the U.S. these days, but the ones that are debuting are pretty good. They had better be if they are to stand a chance.
With the golf market more competitive than ever, owners and designers know they have
to deliver quality and value to establish a toehold and draw play.
Our No. 1 new course, Mountaintop, in Cashiers, N.C., certainly does that. Set in a residential community, this high-end private club designed by Tom Fazio is built on a rugged site. Yet even with 300 feet of elevation change, it remains walkable and playable, largely because Fazio confined the uphill transitions for the land between greens and the next tees, while the steepest downgrades are reserved for the carry areas immediately fronting tees.
Not every course on this list is high-end. Part of the appeal of our No. 45 new course, Bandon Crossings in Bandon, Ore., is precisely that the inland layout designed by Dan Hixson is modestly priced and readily accessible – in contrast to the fully booked and more expensive links-inspired trio of courses at nearby Bandon Dunes Resort.
One of our courses represents a “blow up and start over” project. The Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale (Ariz.), ranked No. 41, is a total overhaul of the 20-year-old TPC layout that sat there. So thorough a renovation did architect Randy Heckenkemper undertake that we consider it a new course.
It will be interesting to see how many of these 50 rookies crack the top 100 of our Golfweek’s Best Modern list, which is published each March. One already has done so: Chambers Bay in Tacoma, Wash. It’s hard to know which debut is more impressive: its No. 3 on the Best New list or No. 17 position on the 2008 Golfweek’s Best Modern list.
Not that we’re alone in our esteem for this Robert Trent Jones Jr. layout that sits on Puget Sound. Still in its infancy, Chambers Bay already has been tapped by the U.S. Golf Association to host the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open.
As an early judge of talent, Golfweek is not alone.
How we did it: Golfweek defines new courses as those having opened in the past two calendar years (2007-2008). This is done to five the Golfweek's Best panel of raters enough time to visit courses, thereby making the ratings statistically valid.
COURSE LOCATION 1. Mountaintop Cashiers, N.C. 2. Cornerstone Montrose, Colo. 3. Chambers Bay Golf Course University Place, Wash. 4. Golf Club of Cape Cod Falmouth, Mass. 5. Cougar Canyon Golf Links Trinidad, Colo. 6. The Preserve Golf Club Vancleave, Miss. 7. Tetherow Bend, Ore. 8. Colorado Golf Club Parker, Colo. 9. Club at Irish Creek Kannapolis, N.C. 10. Sugarloaf Mountain Town & Country Club Minneola, Fla. 11. Martis Camp Truckee, Calif. 12. Gozzer Ranch Golf & Lake Club Arrowpoint, Idaho 13. Highland Course at Primland Meadows of Dan, Va. 14. Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club Front Royal, Va. 15. Palouse Ridge Golf Club Pullman, Wash. 16. Promontory – Jack Nicklaus Course Park City, Utah 17. Golf Club at Gray’s Crossing Truckee, Calif. 18. Adam’s Mountain Country Club Eagle, Colo. 19. Creek Club Oconee, Ga. 20. TPC San Francisco Bay at Stonebrae East Bay Hills, Calif. 21. Lake Presidential Golf Club Upper Marlboro, Md. 22. Creighton Farms Aldie, Va. 23. Timilick Tahoe Truckee, Calif. 24. Hasentree Golf Course Wake Forest, N.C. 25. Juliette Falls Golf Course Dunnellon, Fla. 26. Long Shadow Golf Club Madison, Ga. 27. Eagle Falls Golf Course Indio, Calif. 28. Butterfield Trail Golf Club El Paso, Texas 29. Federal Club Glen Allen, Va. 30. Indian Wells Golf Resort – Players Course Indian Wells, Calif. 31. Ocean Ridge – Leopard’s Chase Sunset Beach, N.C. 32. Harmony Club Timnath, Colo. 33. Cliffs at Keowee Falls Salem, S.C. 34. Cottonwood Hills Golf Club Hutchinson, Kan. 35. Blue Top Ridge Riverside, Iowa 36. Founders Club Pawleys Island, S.C. 37. The Home Course DuPont, Wash. 38. Olivas Links Ventura, Calif. 39. Sevillano Links Corning, Calif. 40. Trinitas Golf Club Stockton, Calif. 41. TPC Scottsdale – Champions Scottsdale, Ariz. 42. Quarry Golf Club Canton, Ohio 43. Canyon River Missoula, Mont. 44. Brasada Ranch Powell Butte, Ore. 45. Bandon Crossings Bandon, Ore. 46. Bella Collina Monteverde, Fla. 47. Golf Club of Kansas Lenexa, Kan. 48. Providence Golf Club Davenport, Fla. 49. Stowe Mountain Club Stowe, Vt. 50. Champions Pointe Golf Club Henryville, Ind.