Arnold Palmer at 90: Palmer's top 10 course designs

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Arnold Palmer at 90: Palmer's top 10 course designs

Golf

Arnold Palmer at 90: Palmer's top 10 course designs

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Arnold Palmer, who would have turned 90 on Sept. 10, has his name stamped on more than 230 golf courses around the world. Arnold Palmer Design Company has built courses around the globe, from Japan to Ireland, from Costa Rica to Indonesia.

Palmer grew up at Latrobe Country Club in Pennsylvania, where his father, Deke, was the groundskeeper and professional. Deke shaped the courses there, and the young Arnold helped.

“Designing golf courses has been part of my life as far back as I can remember,” Arnold said, as quoted on the Arnold Palmer Design Company website.

Palmer teamed with architect Ed Seay in 1972 to create the Palmer Course Design Company in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Assisted by a large crew of designers and staff around the world, Palmer and Seay built hundreds of courses together in a partnership that spanned three decades. Seay died in 2007.

Palmer moved the business in 2006 to Orlando and renamed it the Arnold Palmer Design Company. Palmer died in 2016, but the business continues with talented designers such as Thad Layton and Brandon Johnson.

The King’s courses run the gamut from public access to private. Following is a list of the top 10 Palmer courses as reflected in various Golfweek’s Best ratings that include Golfweek’s Best Modern courses, Best Courses You Can Play, Best Resorts and Best Private courses.

Golfweek’s raters judge courses based on several criteria – on a 10-point scale – such as memorability of holes and a “walk in the park” factor, then give an overall rating. Those ratings are averaged to compile Golfweek’s Best lists of courses. Anything with a rating over 6 points should be considered a very desirable golf experience.

The Ocean Course at Peninsula Papagayo (Courtesy of Murphy O’Brien)

10. Balsam Mountain Preserve

Rating: 6.37

Where: Sylva, N.C.

Status: Private

9. The Ocean Course at Peninsula Papagayo

Rating: 6.39

Where: Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Status: Resort

8. Seattle GC

Rating: 6.46

Where: Seattle, Wash.

Status: Private

7. Isleworth G&CC

Rating: 6.48

Where: Windermere, Fla.

Status: Private

6. Bay Hill Club & Lodge

Rating: 6.55

Where: Orlando

Status: Resort and memberships

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