2005: America's Best - Recent designs offer worthy impressions

Seen any good new golf courses lately? We have. Here is our top 40, all opened in 2003-04 and visited by Golfweek America’s Best raters.

Private clubs top our list, though more than half of the courses are daily-fee (14) or available to resort guests (7). Friar’s Head claims the No. 1 position. A links-inspired design by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw that brushes up against the shore of Long Island Sound, Friar’s Head is a modern ancestor of such classic windswept, shotmakers venues as nearby Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links of America.

Right behind Friar’s Head are a handful of brash upstart courses with distinctly modern sensibilities, born of the American West.

It helps having uncommonly dramatic land – along with some upscale panache. Our No. 2, Sutton Bay, designed by Graham Marsh, combines the remoteness of the central South Dakota plains with the theatricality of the Missouri River bluffs. At Dallas National (No. 3), principal owner and developer John MacDonald transformed an abandoned parcel of heavily rolling, wooded land on the outskirts of downtown Dallas into a stunning set of golf holes. There are many bold carries over ravines or creek beds here, thanks to topography and elevation changes unlike anything in the area.

Black Rock, No. 4, literally was carved out of the wooded hills overlooking northern Idaho’s Lake Coeur d’Alene. The handiwork of architect Jim Engh is readily discernible here in the meticulous earthwork and the use of towering specimen conifers to frame golf shots and background vistas. It also helps having the tons of dynamite needed for blasting out the ski-slope fairway at the downhill 556-yard, par-5 third hole, or for creating a green amid boulders at the 413-yard, par-4 11th.

The Man Upstairs created the powerful imagery that makes Seven Canyons (No. 5) in Sedona, Ariz., so memorable. An early routing by Ken Kavanaugh was refined by Tom Weiskopf into a 6,746-yard, par-70 layout that calls for thoughtful lay ups off many tees. You can be forgiven if you overlook the strategic subtleties of the place, because at 4,500 feet above sea level in the red rocks region bordering Coconino National Forest, Seven Canyons is one of the most visually overpowering courses to be found anywhere in the world.

There also are some fine new courses on our list that cater to casino-goers (perhaps under the assumption that all golfers are, to some extent, risk takers). In which case, we’d recommend the Tom Fazio-designed Atunyote Golf Club (No. 27), one of three courses at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.; or the Jeff Brauer-designed Wilderness at Fortune Bay (No. 39) in the burgeoning northern casino outpost of Tower, Minn.

You don’t have to invest, or risk, a fortune to play some of our best new courses. Witness the modest $32-$36 green fee at No. 33 Red Rock Golf Club in Rapid City, S.D.

Good golf turns up in the most far-flung places. It’s our job to introduce them to you.

Now it’s your chance to play them.

(p) - private; (r) - resort; (d) - daily fee

  1. Friar’s Head (p)

Baiting Hollow, N.Y.

Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw, 2003

  1. Sutton Bay (p)

Onida, S.D.

Graham Marsh, 2003

  1. Dallas National (p)

Dallas

Tom Fazio, 2003

  1. Black Rock (p)

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Jim Engh, 2003

  1. Seven Canyons (p)

Sedona, Ariz.

Tom Weiskopf & Ken Kavanaugh, 2003

  1. Pronghorn (Nicklaus Course) (p)

Bend, Ore.

Jack Nicklaus, 2003

  1. Red Sky Golf Club (Norman Course) (p)

Wolcott, Colo.

Greg Norman, 2003

  1. Stonewall Resort (r)

Roanoke, W. Va.

Arnold Palmer, 2003

  1. Diamond Creek (p)

Banner Elk, N.C.

Tom Fazio, 2003

  1. The Golf Club Scottsdale (p)

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jay Morrish & Dick Bailey, 2003

  1. Desert Mountain (Outlaw Course) (p)

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Jack Nicklaus, 2004

  1. Reunion Resort (Independence Course) (r)

Davenport, Fla.

Tom Watson, 2003

  1. Stonewall Golf Club (p)

Bulltown, Pa.

Tom Doak, 2003

  1. The Bull at Pinehurst Farms (d)

Sheboygan Falls, Wis.

Jack Nicklaus, 2003

  1. Red Sky Golf Club (Fazio Course) (p)

Wolcott, Colo.

Tom Fazio, 2003

  1. Forest Dunes Golf Club (d)

Roscommon, Mich.

Tom Weiskopf, 2003

  1. The Gallery (South Course) (p)

Marana, Ariz.

John Fought, 2004

  1. Newport National (d)

Middletown, R.I.

Arthur Hills, 2003

  1. Victoria Hills Golf Club (d)

DeLand, Fla.

Ron Garl, 2003

  1. Twin Creeks Country Club (p)

Cedar Park, Texas

Lee Schmidt & Brian Curley, 2003

  1. Reunion Resort (Legacy Course) (r)

Davenport, Fla.

Arnold Palmer, 2003

  1. The Falls at Lake Las Vegas (r)

Henderson, Nev.

Tom Weiskopf, 2003

  1. Wintonbury Hills Golf Club (d)

Bloomfield, Conn.

Pete Dye & Tim Liddy, 2003

  1. Grand Elk Ranch & Club (d)

Granby, Colo.

Tripp Davis, 2003

  1. Circling Raven (r)

Worley, Idaho

Gene Bates, 2003

  1. French Creek Golf Club (p)

Elverson, Pa.

Gil Hanse, 2003

  1. Atunyote Golf Club (r)

Verona, N.Y.

Tom Fazio, 2004

  1. Raven Golf Club at Verrado (d)

Buckeye, Ariz.

John Fought & Tom Lehman, 2003

  1. Farm Links at Pursell Farms (d)

Sylacauga, Ala.

Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry, 2003

  1. Cimarron Hills Golf & Country Club (p)

Georgetown, Texas

Jack Nicklaus, 2003

  1. Moorpark Country Club (p)

Moorpark, Calif.

Peter Jacobson & Jim Hardy, 2003

  1. Shingle Creek Golf Club (d)

Orlando, Fla.

David Harman, 2003

  1. Red Rock Golf Club (d)

Rapid City, S.D.

William Exton & Ron Farris, 2003

  1. Renaissance (p)

Fort Myers, Fla.

Arthur Hills, 2003

  1. The Preserve at Jordan Lake (p)

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Davis Love III, 2003

  1. Bear’s Best Atlanta (d)

Suwanee, Ga.

Jack Nicklaus, 2003

  1. Maryland National Golf Club (d)

Middletown, Md.

Arthur Hills, 2003

  1. Makray Memorial Golf Club (d)

Barrington, Ill.

Harry Vignocchi, 2004

  1. Wilderness at Fortune Bay (r)

Tower, Minn.

Jeff Brauer, 2004

  1. The Club at Morgan Hill (d)

Easton, Pa.

Kelly Moran, 2004



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