Category: Gold Star Courses

The Best Courses in Golf

Straight Doping the Straits at Whistling Straits

Straight Doping the Straits at Whistling Straits

I don’t know what billionaire owner and developer Herb Kohler asked for when he hired Pete Dye to design and build the Straits Course at Whistling Straits, but if he wanted a true homage to an Irish links he didn’t get it. Though it looks the part in a sweeping glance there’s scant opportunity for the creative or interpretive play that real links…

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Seaside at Sea Island — In Its Element

Seaside at Sea Island — In Its Element

No one has ever accused Tom Fazio of being a minimalist. In fact Fazio seems almost hostile to the idea that there’s virtue in building holes with as little construction involved as possible. If the option is presented, why not take full control of the design process? Had modern industrial machines and equipment, Fazio has conjectured, been widely…

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Mad About Mid-Pines

Mad About Mid-Pines

Trying to describe the essentials of good golf course routing calls to mind Justice Potter Stewart’s old brief about classifying porn — I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it. Bad golf course routings can be spotted miles away but truly great ones can be sublime. You often don’t realize they’re…

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The Standard Club: Atlanta’s Overlooked Standard of Excellence

The Standard Club: Atlanta’s Overlooked Standard of Excellence

Debates regarding the best golf in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia typically revolve around tier 2 and 3 courses, as general consensus exists about the clubs there that are truly elite. Not so Atlanta. Once past Peachtree Golf Club, widely considered no. 1 by knowledgable players and panels (including me), the conversation about what’s good in Atlanta quickly devolves…

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Masterpiece Theater–TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course

Masterpiece Theater–TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course

A favorite debate among golf architecture students and historians is about what courses constitute the most influential in the evolution of golf design. Most groupings would include St. Andrews, National Golf Links of America, Pine Valley, Augusta National, and Sand Hills. The PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is often cited as another construction and cultural landmark. For better or worse (depending to…

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Old Macdonald Had A Paradox

Old Macdonald Had A Paradox

Expectations can be a hell of a thing. No architect on earth would have turned down the chance to build the fourth course at Bandon Dunes. But whomever did get the job knew they were accepting near heart-attack levels of expectation. It was obvious there would be extreme pressure to match the brilliance that already existed…

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Pacific Dunes — Blurred Lines

Pacific Dunes — Blurred Lines

  Once when I couldn’t sleep I tried to mentally run through the holes at Pacific Dunes. I normally have strong recall when it comes to golf holes and I could visualize each one at Pacific Dunes, placing the major features, the elevations, the sweep of the fairways plus prominent bunkers and green movements. What I couldn’t…

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The Faces of Bandon Trails

The Faces of Bandon Trails

The book on Bandon Trails has always read something like this: developer Mike Kaiser wanted Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to build the third course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, but after the original Bandon Dunes course and then Pacific Dunes grabbed all the most prestigious property, all he could offer them was a piece of land set back from the coast with no opportunity for the dramatic…

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