Golfweek’s Best 2011: Best New Courses

The Old MacDonald course in Bandon, Ore.

The Old MacDonald course in Bandon, Ore.

The annual list of Golfweek’s Best New Courses isn’t the biggest list we publish, but it might be the one that provides the best barometer of the golf industry and the broader economy.


Only a few years ago, scores of courses merited consideration for this list. These days, as the development pipeline has slowed to a trickle, we have far fewer candidates from which to choose. That’s reflected in the size of this list: A year ago, we capped it at 40 courses; this year, it’s 25.


This dynamic is forcing course architects to spend more time chasing business in less-developed golf markets, particularly across Asia. Still, we continue to see some very good – and occasionally transcendent – work being done in the U.S.


That’s best reflected by the top two courses on this list, Old Macdonald and Patriot Golf Club, which debuted earlier this year at Nos. 3 and 48, respectively, on Golfweek’s Best Modern Courses (since 1960) list. Old Macdonald, a tribute to the work of the late C.B. Macdonald, gives Bandon Dunes Resort four courses among the top 30 on our Best Modern list, an unprecedented feat for one property.


Our Best New list takes into consideration courses that have opened within the past two years. By doing so, we give our 650 course raters enough time to visit the courses and file their rankings. Only six courses listed here opened in 2011.


Two of the courses – Carmel CC (South) and Dallas CC – obviously predate the 2010-2011 window to qualify for this list. Carmel (South) opened in 1950, and Dallas CC was founded in 1896; however, both courses recently have undergone renovations so extensive that they qualified for the Best New list.


The size of this list doesn’t figure to expand in the coming years. The pace of new domestic course construction isn’t going to increase any time soon, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, given our industry’s quandary of too many courses and too few golfers. But we’ll settle for quality over quantity. If we get a couple of courses each year that approach the level of Old Macdonald or Patriot, we’ll consider it a pretty good year.


– Martin Kaufmann


• • •

1. Old Macdonald

Bandon, Ore.

2010 , Tom Doak, Jim Urbina

8.76


2. Patriot GC

Owasso, Okla.

2010, Robert Trent Jones Jr.

7.33


3. Dormie Club

Pinehurst, N.C.

2010, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw

7.13


4. The Prairie Club (Dunes)

Valentine, Neb.

2010, Tom Lehman

6.83


5. Chicago Highlands

Westchester, Ill.

2010, Arthur Hills

6.63


6. Lodestone

McHenry, Md.

2010, Hale Irwin, Todd Schoeder

6.45


7. TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks)

San Antonio

2010, Greg Norman

6.39


8. Salish Cliffs

Shelton, Wash.

2011, Gene Bates

6.11


9. Firekeeper

Mayetta, Kan.

2011, Jeff Brauer, Notah Begay III

6.00


10. Carmel CC (South)*

Charlotte, N.C.

2011, Ellis Maples, Rees Jones

5.97


11. The Prairie Club (Pines)

Valentine, Neb.

2010, Graham Marsh

5.92


12. Highlands of Elgin

Elgin, Ill.

2010 , Keith Foster, Art Schaupeter

5.83


13. Dallas CC*

Highland Park, Texas

2011, Tom Bendelow, John Fought, Jay Morrish, Ralph Plummer

5.80


14. Conestoga

Mesquite, Nev.

2010, Gary Panks

5.70


15. TPC San Antonio (AT&T Canyons)

San Antonio

2010, Pete Dye

5.65


16. Timber Banks

Baldwinsville, N.Y.

2010, Jack Nicklaus II

5.65


17. Meadow Brook

Richmond, R.I.

2010, Roger Rulewich

5.40


18. Applecross

East Brandywine, Pa.

2011, Michael Nicklaus

5.27


19. Vaaler Creek

Blanco, Texas

2010, Michael Lowry

5.25


20. Awarii Dunes

Axtell, Neb.

2011, Jim Engh

5.08


21. National GC of Louisiana

Westlake, La.

2010, Dave Bennett

5.00


22. Manitou Passage

Cedar, Mich.

2010, Arnold Palmer

4.98


23. Sequoyah National

Whittier, N.C.

2010, Robert Trent Jones Jr.

4.95


24. 1757 Golf Club

Dulles, Va. 2010

Dave Heatwole

4.10


25. Shining Rock

Northbridge, Mass.

2010, Patrick Sullivan

4.09


  • Total renovation of established course
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