If there were any question about the quality of the courses golf’s ruling bodies are choosing to host major championships, it would be answered by the 2009-10 Golfweek’s Best Tour Courses You Can Play list.
Major-championship sites occupy the top five spots on the list, and the top three – Pebble Beach, St. Andrews (Old Course) and Whistling Straits (Straits Course) – will host the PGA Tour’s next three majors. This provides even more fodder for those who have said that the Tour has never played its four majors on a stronger collectionof courses.
The list suggests that the PGA Tour and its partners, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the PGA of America, are doing a bang-up job in choosing venues. PGA Tour sites occupy 34 spots on the list, including the top seven. Nine Champions Tour sites made the list, followed by five for the LPGA and four for the Nationwide Tour. (Rio Secco Golf Club, which hosts the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, counted toward the totals for the PGA, Champions and LPGA tours.) Six international courses made the list.
Among courses hosting regular tour events, the highest-ranked newcomers are sites for new events this year. The Champions Tour will play the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic April 30-May 2 at Fallen Oak Golf Club, a 2006 Tom Fazio design that ranks 10th here and No. 41 on Golfweek’s Best Modern Courses list. That’s followed at No. 11 here, and No. 57 on the Modern list, by the Seaside Course at Sea Island Resort, which will host the McGladrey Classic, a PGA Tour Fall Series event.
It often has been said that golfers, unlike fans of other sports, have the rare privilege of playing on the same fields as the game’s top professionals. As this list shows, that never has been more true.