Category: Gold Star Courses

The Best Courses in Golf

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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Winter Park — Revolution 9

Winter Park — Revolution 9

Jam on this: A golf course snuggled as cozily into its community as a baby in a cotton sleeper. A circuit of kids, adults and dogs passing down neighboring paths. A place where everyone walks, either bag on shoulder or with a trolley. Holes of welcoming length and width, with not a blade of rough.…

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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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Cuscowilla Takes the High Ground

Cuscowilla Takes the High Ground

How much do lakes and other large bodies of water influence our perception of golf holes? Do we tend to overvalue holes, or courses, if they have big water backdrops, or does water make golf better or at least more exciting? How does one separate scenery from a hole’s intrinsic merits? This is a philosophical…

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Slammer & Squire, Slighted

Slammer & Squire, Slighted

Slammer & Squire, the original course at World Golf Village, is overshadowed by the companion Palmer/Nicklaus collaboration, King & Bear, which the resort did far more to promote when it opened in 2000. This puts the Slammer in a double bind because, since its development in the late ’90’s, the entire WGV and Hall of Fame complex near St. Augustine has failed to attract the passionate…

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Pilgrimage to Sand Hills

Pilgrimage to Sand Hills

  One of the most inspirational views in American golf is off the deck of Ben’s Porch at Sand Hills Golf Club after you’ve taken the mile or so cart ride up from the clubhouse. The entire Sand Hills panoramic opens before you, a diorama of green ribboning across a whipped and weathered horizon with players marching…

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Wild Horse — Little Course on the Prairie

Wild Horse — Little Course on the Prairie

In almost all cases golf courses are a jarring abstraction against their environment. No matter how evolved they may appear, there’s nothing natural about their shapes, their presence or their reason for being. Golf as we know it does not appear accidentally in any ecosystem. They are not random mutations but rather invasive species. But…

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