OC US Top 100 2021

Following last year’s release of the Outpost Club Top 100 World List, it’s time to release our first-ever Top 100 U.S. List.  We will be rolling the courses on the list out one-at-a-time until we get to courses we have already covered in the World List.  At that point, we will release the list in groups—calling out courses that have made a move since the World List and any courses where we have new photos to share.  Speaking of photos, we are very thankful to our super-talented photographer friends Jon Cavalier (@LinksGems), Andy Johnson (@fried_egg_golf), and Gary Lisbon (@GaryLisbonGolf) for providing many of the wonderful photos we will be sharing over the coming weeks.

Outpost Club members were asked to vote on a list consisting of approximately 390 courses across the United States.  Our membership is well traveled with 46 of them having played over 80 courses on this list. Pebble Beach was the most rated course with 268 responses and there were 75 courses with 75 or more responses.  Members were given no instructions about what to consider like “shot values” or maintenance/conditioning.  They were simply asked to rate the course.

No one on the Outpost Club staff received an advanced degree in statistics between the release of the World List and now, so we are sticking by our prior proclamation that “we are not statisticians” and made no attempt to dive into standard deviations or to massage the data for the U.S. List.  We did decide that a course must have received 15 ratings to be eligible and that we would discount, to varying degrees based on number of ratings, courses that received less than 40 ratings.

A little information about the list: New York and California lead the way with 14 courses each followed by Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania with 7 each.  In all, 29 states are represented in the Top 100.  Thirty-nine courses would be considered modern designs (post 1960).  A.W. Tillinghast is the architect most represented on the list with 13 designs, followed by Seth Raynor and Donald Ross with 12 each, the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw with 10, and Tom Doak with 6.

As with any list, there are sure to be criticisms, but all-in-all, we are pleased with the list.  It contains some courses that haven’t been on previous Top 100 lists (including a Par-3 Course) as well as many courses that you would expect to see (though not necessarily in the order you would expect).  We hope you enjoy this project and look forward to sharing it with you over the coming weeks.

#1 – Cypress Point Club – Pebble Beach, CA – Alister MacKenzie

Combine one of the most spectacular sites in the world with one of the all-time great architects—one who is known for creating courses as visually stunning as they are strategic—and there’s no wonder Cypress Point tops our list. Traversing from the hills, to the forest, to the sand dunes, and finally to the ocean’s edge, the routing of the course takes full advantage of this unique property and offers stellar holes one after another. Cypress Point, rightly, is best known for its breath-taking stretch of holes along the ocean. And, yes, holes 15-17, are spectacular. In fact, they just might be the best three-hole stretch in all of golf, but what really makes Cypress Point so great is that the rest of the course, even without the benefit of being right on the ocean, is so strong that it doesn’t suffer by comparison. A round here is an exhilarating journey across a gorgeous landscape with one of golf’s premiere architects as your guide. It doesn’t get any better. Photo: @Linksgems

#2 – Pine Valley Golf Club – Clementon, NJ – George Crump/Harry Colt

Since the advent of course rankings, Pine Valley has been permanently ensconced at (usually), or near the top of any list (it was just edged out for #1 on this list as it was on our World List). It is generally regarded as the “best” course in the world with a collection of eighteen world-class holes with nary a weak one in the bunch. With a USGA maximum slope rating of 155, Pine Valley is certainly not for the faint of heart, but it is surprisingly generous off of the tee. The landing areas are generally wide (assuming you can make the numerous forced carries), but require you to position your ball in the correct spot in order to have the best angle of attack into the green. The greens and their surrounds are where things really get interesting as you can find yourself in all sorts of trouble if your approach is on the less-optimal side of these well-contoured and sloping greens and should you miss the green, recovery from the unkempt, sandy scrub is anything but a certainty. Challenging, mesmerizing, and beautiful, spending a day at Pine Valley is one of the great pleasures in the world of golf. Photo: @Linksgems

#3 – National Golf Links of America – Southampton, NY – C.B. Macdonald & Seth Raynor

America’s first great golf course, National Golf Links of America was the vision of C.B. Macdonald who set about to build his ideal course—one inspired by the great courses of England and Scotland. He enlisted a local surveyor, Seth Raynor, a golf neophyte, to assist in the building of the course—marking the formation of one of the most influential partnerships in American golf architectural history. The homage to the great Scottish and English holes includes stand-out versions of the Sahara (2nd) inspired by the old second hole at Royal St. George’s, Alps (3rd) based on the Alps hole at Prestwick, Redan (4th) from North Berwick, Short (6th) from Royal West Norfolk, and Road (7th) and Eden (13th) from the Old Course. Intertwined with these wonderful recreations are original holes such as the Bottle (8th), Cape (14th), as well as the finishing stretch of 16-18, which may be the best finish in all of golf. National is far from simply C.B. Macdonald’s idea of an ideal golf course, it is the ideal golf course. Further, it’s hard to overstate the importance of NGLA to the development of golf in America. It ushered in an era of strategic design not seen before on these shores and gave rise to the Golden Age of golf architecture. Photo: @Linksgems

#4 – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, GA – Alister MacKenzie & Bobby Jones

Augusta National occupies a unique space in the world of golf. Thanks to the Masters Tournament, it’s so familiar to so many, but remains out-of-reach for the masses who will never have the privilege to walk its fairways, let alone, have the opportunity to actually play the course. For those fortunate few, judging by its high ranking on our list, the experience lives up to its advanced billing. Augusta National was the vision of the legendary Bobby Jones, who after seeing Cypress Point, enlisted architect Alister Mackenzie to help him construct his dream course. What they created was nothing short of magical. The setting is idyllic, the holes are beguiling yet seem “gettable” right up until the point where you find yourself on the wrong side of a green. And, though it’s been said millions of times, we feel obligated to say that the course is much hillier in person. It’s also even more breathtakingly beautiful than it appears on television, which seems hard to fathom, but it’s true. It has been altered over the years to try and combat the runaway distance gains by today’s top professionals, therefore removing some of the strategic width that was so essential to Jones's and MacKenzie's original design. Nevertheless, it remains an icon of the game and the Holy Grail of golfers everywhere. Photo: @Linksgems

#5 – Oakmont Country Club – Oakmont, PA – Henry & William Fownes

Set to host a record tenth U.S. Open in 2025, Oakmont is unquestionably a prodigious test—even for the world’s best. And that’s just the way founder and architect Henry Fownes, and his son William, wanted it. The course is heavily protected by deep bunkers, trenches, and thick rough bordered by thicker rough. The heavily contoured greens, many slanting away from the fairway, compound the difficulty and must be approached from the short-grass to have any chance of holding them as they’re usually rolling at speeds that are the stuff of nightmares. It’s not a question of if you will three-putt, it’s when. That being said, it’s a lot of fun to take on such a challenge at a course so steeped in golf history. The tree-removal program has opened up the entire course and provided picturesque views of the rugged landscape throughout the round. So, forget your score and enjoy the challenge and a wonderful walk through golf history. Photo: @Linksgems

#6 – Shinnecock Hills Golf Club – Southampton, NY – William Flynn with some elements of Charles Blair Macdonald’s 1916 design work

From the very first time you catch a glimpse of Shinnecock Hills, often from the porch of the iconic Stanford White clubhouse, you can tell that it’s something truly special. From that vantage point, you can see most of the course with fairways draped naturally over rolling dunes, separated by tall fescue grasses that stand ready to punish the poorly played shot, and the greens, often perched on the highest points placing a premium on accuracy and accentuating the ever-present, and ever-shifting, winds. The ingenious routing plays out in a series of loops which promote an almost constant change of direction from hole to hole insuring that the wind will affect your shots from all angles throughout the round. With nary a weak hole on the property, Shinnecock Hills is one of the great walks in golf and a classic championship course in every sense of the word. Photo: @Linksgems

#7 – Fishers Island Club – Fishers Island, NY – Seth Raynor

Occupying one of the most unique and stunning parcels of land in golf, Fishers Island is a bold and extraordinary experience from start to finish. There are gorgeous views of the surrounding Long Island Sound on every hole providing the backdrop to some of the best examples of Seth Raynor’s work. Many of the template holes that you would expect are present including shining examples of the Alps/Punchbowl (4th), Biarritz (5th), Eden (11th), and Short (16th). The land movement is extraordinary and the maintenance practices provide the perfect, firm and fast conditioning to bring the ground game fully into play (a must when the wind is blowing). Fishers Island is one of those experiences that you don’t forget and a place that you long to return to as soon as you walk off of the eighteenth green. Photo: @LinksGems

#8 – Sand Hills Golf Club – Mullen, NE – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

“The land was just made for golf.” I’m sure you’ve heard it once or twice, but what does it even mean? Well, once you’ve been to Sand Hills, you’ll know, because that land in Mullen, Nebraska was made for golf. All credit to the brilliant design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw for finding such a perfect routing given all the options they had to choose (a famous map in the dining room shows the final routing along with about one hundred other potential golf holes). On the course, you’re completely secluded—the clubhouse and lodging are located a good distance away—and at one with the natural surroundings. Playing through large sand dunes, avoiding blowout bunkers and the natural prairie grass, and judging the ever-present wind are your only concerns. The greens look like they were painted onto the land rather than built and contain enough contours to really grab your attention as you hit your approach shots. Sand Hills proved that people will travel from far and wide to play a course that is truly special. Destination clubs and resorts like Bandon Dunes, Ballyneal, Sand Valley, etc., might never have been built had Sand Hills not proven so successful. Photo: @LinksGems

#9 – Merion Golf Club (East) – Ardmore, PA – Hugh Wilson

The fact that architect Hugh Wilson was able to build the East Course at Merion, one of the greats of the game, on just over 125-acres is hard to comprehend. While the routing was necessarily tight given the land constraints, at no time does the course feel cramped. Every inch of the property was utilized to its fullest to create eighteen unique and spectacular holes. Split by Ardmore Avenue, holes 1, 13-18 are on the clubhouse side and holes 2-12 are on the opposite side of the road. The defining, natural feature of the holes on the far side of the road is Cobb’s Creek which guards the green at the 4th hole (the second and last par-5 of the round!), protects the entire left side of the 5th hole (which slopes dramatically toward the hazard), returns again to guard the 9th green, and finally to play havoc with the approach shot at the famous 11th (where Bobby Jones won the U.S. Amateur in 1930 to capture the Grand Slam). Once you cross Ardmore Avenue for the final time, strap in, because the finishing stretch is among the best, and most challenging in golf. The famous “Quarry Holes” (16-18) are a challenging thrill-ride asking you to hit all kinds of heroic shots in order to get it to the clubhouse with your score intact. Be sure to look for the Ben Hogan plaque in the 18th fairway (site of the historic one-iron photo taken at the 1950 U.S. Open). Thanks to a recent renovation by Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, and their team, Merion is looking and playing as well as ever. Photo: @Linksgems

#10 – Friar’s Head – Riverhead, NY – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

Given a property with a sort of split personality (half of the property contains beautiful, wooded sand dunes and the other half is a largely featureless former potato farm), the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw were tasked with finding a routing that blended these two contrasting landscapes. What they came up with is a routing that is pure genius. The course seamlessly, transitions from the dunes to the farmland twice during the round before finishing in the dunes for the epic closing stretch of holes 14-18. With the portfolio of courses that Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have built, the fact that Friar’s Head is in the conversation for their best work should tell you all you need to know about how special this place is. Photo: @LinksGems

#11 – Chicago Golf Club – Wheaton, IL – C.B. Macdonald/Seth Raynor

Chicago Golf Club, one of the five founding clubs of the U.S.G.A., was originally designed by C.B. Macdonald and was later extensively redesigned by his protégé Seth Raynor. Built on a flat site, Chicago GC derives its strategic interest from the wonderfully designed greens and ingenious bunkering which dictates the preferred line of play based on the day’s hole location. The course gets the absolute most out of its landlocked and relatively flat site. A veritable museum of golf history and to the Macdonald/Raynor style, Chicago Golf Club is a must-see for golf architecture enthusiasts. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#12 – Ohoopee Match Club – Cobbtown, GA – Gil Hanse

“No one cares what you shot!” It’s a universal truth, and a guiding principle at Ohoopee Match Club. This twenty-two-hole oasis in Vidalia onion country is designed for exciting matches, not for someone looking to post a score. OMC is filled with the kind of risk-reward and half-par holes that make for interesting decision-making and thoughtful strategy—which is at the heart of match play. The greens are bold, featuring steep slopes and large undulations that are surrounded by beautifully-crafted bunkering and diabolical run-offs. The sandy soil lends itself to some of the best playing conditions you’ll find in the U.S. Watching the ball run-out, you’d swear you were on a links course or the sand belt of Melbourne. As if all of this wasn’t enough, Ohoopee Match Club is actually two courses in one. There’s the “Championship” routing consisting of holes 1-18 and the “Whiskey” routing which replaces four holes from the Championship routing with four additional holes (A-D) and utilizes different tees for many of the remaining fourteen holes. It provides the perfect afternoon venue (it’s approximately 1,500 yards shorter) for a second round. Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, and their team really built something special in Georgia. Photo: @Linksgems

#13 – Los Angeles Country Club (North) – Los Angeles, CA – George Thomas & William Bell

Located on the edge of Beverly Hills and bisected by Wilshire Boulevard, LACC occupies, perhaps, the most valuable real estate in the world of golf. As valuable as the land is, it’s what’s on the land, specifically the North Course, that’s the club’s greatest asset. This George Thomas and William Bell masterpiece makes full, strategic use of the land’s many fine features—specifically the rolling terrain and the barranca the cuts diagonally through the property. Coupled with artful bunkering and brilliant greens (a running theme with George Thomas/William Bell Designs), LACC-North is golf architectural Nirvana. And thanks to the wonderful renovation work by Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, and Geoff Shackelford, the North Course sits once again at the pinnacle of the Thomas/Bell design portfolio. We can’t wait to see the course in prime time during the 2023 U.S. Open. Photo: @Linksgems

#14 – Crystal Downs Country Club – Frankfort, MI – Alister MacKenzie & Perry Maxwell

Crystal downs is routed on windswept, hilly property in northern Michigan by Alister MacKenzie and constructed by his associate Perry Maxwell (of Prairie Dunes, Southern Hills, and Old Town fame). Though short by today’s standards (6,500 yards, par 70), it is by no means a pushover. The course’s primary defense are the beautifully, undulating greens–many severely sloped. In his Confidential Guide, Tom Doak recounts a story told by the pro at Crystal Downs of seeing members putt off of every green on the course at one time or another. The MacKenzie bunkering is predictably artistic and dictates strategy as you try and find the proper spots in the fairway from which best to approach the challenging greens. Hard to think of a better place for a summer round of golf than northern Michigan and Crystal Downs Country Club. Photo: @Linksgems

#15 – Pacific Dunes – Bandon, OR – Tom Doak

Pacific Dunes was the second course to open at Bandon Dunes and the one that cemented the resort as a “must visit” for any golfer. Yes, the holes that play along the cliffs above the ocean are great, spectacular even, and adorn the office walls of daydreaming golfers all across the world. Specifically, the eleventh and thirteenth are like works of art. But what really makes Pacific Dunes great is that the holes away from the ocean are just as strong. In fact, the short, par-4 second and sixteenth are among the most intriguing at the resort. One of the true “bucket list” experiences that every golfer must experience at least once in his or her life. Photo: @Linksgems

#16 – Pebble Beach Golf Links – Pebble Beach, CA – Jack Neville & Douglas Grant

The word “iconic” is thrown around a lot when describing golf courses (I know we’re guilty of it), but iconic really is the most apt descriptor for Pebble Beach. The course was the vision of a 29-year-old former Yale football player named Samuel F. B. Morse who was part of the 1906 national championship team and a member of Skull & Bones. While working for the Pacific Improvement Company he convinced its board to let him build Pebble to increase interest in the area. (Imagine a time when the Monterey Peninsula needed to encourage development?) And only five days after the course opened, Morse formed the Del Monte Properties Company and acquired the Del Monte Unit from the Pacific Improvement Company. While not a links—the true definition of the site is coastal terrace meadow—the course has enthralled the golf world ever since. Within its first decade it was host to the U.S. Amateur in 1929 and again in 1947, but perhaps the breakout moment came in 1972 for its first of five U.S. Opens followed by the even more famous edition in 1982 when Tom Watson chipped in on 17 to overtake Jack Nicklaus. Some will think it is being under-rated in this position when the course is usually listed among the top 3 in the country, but it probably reflects, correctly, that the greatness of the seaside holes are balanced out by the good but not great character of the inland holes 1, 2, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. Photo: @Linksgems

#17– Peachtree Golf Club – Atlanta, GA – Bobby Jones/Robert Trent Jones

Peachtree Golf Club is the vision of the great Bobby Jones who was looking for a private place to play away from the increasingly overcrowded East Lake. Built on what was an old nursery (sound familiar?) on the outskirts of downtown Atlanta, Bobby Jones enlisted the services of Robert Trent Jones and they went to work building this spectacular layout. It’s no surprise that Peachtree bears more than a passing resemblance to Augusta National given the involvement of Mr. Jones, the similarity of the topography, and the wonderful setting complete with dogwoods and azaleas. Photo: @Linksgems

#18 – Shoreacres – Lake Bluff, IL – Seth Raynor

While the clubhouse occupies land overlooking Lake Michigan, the course itself is actually routed inland on the tree-studded part of the property that is bisected by several large ravines. It’s these ravines that really give Shoreacres its character as Raynor took full, strategic advantage by routing the course over, through, and along the banks–challenging you to venture as close as you dare to gain an advantage on your next shot. Fans of the Macdonald/Raynor templates will not be disappointed as most are represented here including several stand-out examples like the Road Hole (10th), Short (12th), and Raynor’s Prize Dogleg (15th). Ongoing consulting work by Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design team has only improved this Golden Age gem throughout the years and recent emphasis on firm and fast conditions has this playing more like a links than a parkland course. Shoreacres is considered by many to be among Seth Raynor’s best work, and we are not going to offer a differing opinion. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#19– Prairie Dunes Country Club – Hutchinson, KS – Perry Maxwell/Press Maxwell

Rolling, natural dunes land is not something you would expect when you think of Kansas. In fact, you’re given no indication that perfect golf terrain is waiting for you until you are seconds from the club’s entrance, but once you catch your first glimpse of the majestic dunes, you know you are in for something truly special. The wind is a constant as you traverse the ancient dunes and rolling fairways. The greens, with their wonderful rolls and contours are perhaps the finest collection in America. Many first-time visitors are surprised that Prairie Dunes actually began its life as a nine-hole course built by Perry Maxwell in 1937. The remaining nine holes were added by his son, Press, twenty years later. The work is so seamlessly blended together, however, that most can’t tell the original holes from the later work. Prairie Dunes is one of the great experiences in American golf and a must-play for any student of golf architecture. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#20 – Riviera Country Club – Pacific Palisades, CA – George Thomas & William Bell

Riviera possesses one of the great first tees in golf. It sits mere steps from the iconic clubhouse, high above the fairway down on the canyon floor, and portends the start to a truly special experience. Standout holes like the long, redan-like 4th, the dual-fairway 8th with its central barranca that forces a player to choose a side depending on the day's pin position, the short, strategic 10th, and the wonderful uphill 18th that finishes in a natural amphitheater in the shadow of the clubhouse, will stick with you long after you’ve completed your round. In fact, everything about Riviera tends to stick with you, which is why it is one of those experiences that every golfer should have at least once in their life. Photo: @Linksgems

#21 – San Francisco Golf Club – San Francisco, CA – A.W. Tillinghast

Situated across Lake Merced from the Olympic Club lies the extremely private San Francisco GC. Unlike their neighbor, who has hosted multiple U.S. Opens and various other USGA events, SFGC shuns the spotlight, preferring to keep play to members and their guests—and with a course this good, it’s hard to blame them. With its dramatic, rolling land, SFGC is a joy and a challenge to play and very memorable for its elegant bunkers that are works of art. The large, jig-saw-like, bunkers are a constant influence on play as you attempt to navigate the fairways ringed by cypress and pine trees. A restoration project by Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design team addressed probably the only real qualm people had with the design (holes 13-15 which were not original and were built when the club lost part of their property to road construction). The refurbished layout has San Francisco GC looking and playing like the Golden Age gem that it is. Painting: @dpbays_art

#22 – Winged Foot Golf Club (West) – Mamaroneck, NY – A.W. Tillinghast

With slick, contoured greens, deep bunkers, and fairways lined with trees and deep rough, the West Course at Winged Foot is certainly tailor-made for challenging the world’s best. In fact, it hosted its sixth U.S. Open last year to go along with two U.S. Amateurs and a PGA Championship—a championship pedigree equaled by few other clubs. Played under normal, club conditions, the West Course is still a brute, but the greens and bunkering are truly something at which to marvel. The tight routing is a joy to walk so you’ll have a smile on your face as long as you don’t pay too much attention to your scorecard. Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner and team did a marvelous job restoring this historic course and it was a joy to watch the world’s best tackle this magnificent challenge last September when only the eventual champion (Bryson DeChambeau) managed to beat "Old Man Par." Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#23 – The Country Club – Brookline, MA – Willie Campbell/William Flynn

Rare that a course as architecturally compelling as the Country Club, can be overshadowed by the history made on it, but such is often the case at grand dame of Massachusetts golf. Whether it’s amateur Francis Ouimet’s 1913 U.S. Open victory over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff or Justin Leonard’s miraculous putt on the seventeenth green to all but seal America’s stunning, come-from-behind victory in the 1999 Ryder Cup, the Country Club has been the sight of two of America’s most iconic, golf moments. So, one can be forgiven for focusing on the history rather than the course itself. That being said: the course is brilliant. Accuracy off of the tee is paramount in order to have a chance to play into some of the smallest greens around, the bunkers, severe and well-placed, further complicate your strategic choices. Several blind tee shots over the rocky outcroppings and undulating terrain add a sense of adventure as you trod in the footsteps of history. A masterful restoration by Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner and their team will be on full display when the U.S. Open returns to Brookline next year. Photo: @Linksgems

#24 – Ballyneal Golf Club – Holyoke, CO – Tom Doak

Set in the “chop hills” of northeastern Colorado, lies one of the great outposts in golf: Ballyneal Golf Club. Though it’s not an easy journey, the itinerant golfer is rewarded for his/her dedication with what is simply one of the best modern designs in the world. Ballyneal is a rollicking journey through the dunes on turf that is tailor-made to produce the kind of bounces and rolls that make the game so interesting. The greens, with their large contours and brilliant surrounds are the perfect blend of challenge and fun. With multiple tees, but no tee markers, Ballyneal is a “choose-your-own-adventure” story just teaming with endless possibilities. An amazing, strategic design with a “fun-factor” that is off the charts, Ballyneal is truly magnificent. Photo: @Linksgems

#25 – California Golf Club of San Francisco – South San Francisco, CA – A.V. Macan/Alister MacKenzie/Kyle Phillips

Joining Sleepy Hollow at or near the top of the renovation/restoration list is the Cal Club. Thanks to the wonderful work by Kyle Phillips, assisted by Kyle Franz, George Waters and others, who in addition to undoing most/all of the changes Robert Trent Jones made to the course in the 1960s, created several new holes which vastly improved the routing, and restored the remaining holes to the style of Dr. MacKenzie. The work blends so seamlessly together that you would be hard-pressed to tell the original holes from the new holes if you had no prior knowledge of the course. The design plus the incredible fescue surfaces all comes together to make the Cal Club one of the best courses in the world. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#26 – Sleepy Hollow Country Club – Scarborough, NY – C.B. Macdonald & Seth Raynor/Tom Winton/A.W. Tillinghast

The list of good to great restorations/renovations over the past several decades is a long one (and growing). At, or very near the top of that list has to be Sleepy Hollow. The work that Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner and team did to blend the work of Macdonald/Raynor and Tillinghast is nothing short of phenomenal. In addition to rebuilding the bunkers and greens to reflect one style (Macdonald’s), they extended the playing corridors to befit the grand scale of the property and opened up some of the most spectacular vistas that you will find anywhere in the world of golf. Photo: @Linksgems

#27 – Maidstone Club – East Hampton, NY – Willie Park Jr.

One of the “Great Triumvirate” of Hamptons clubs along with National Golf Links and Shinnecock, Maidstone occupies some of the most unique land in America. The inland holes are largely dominated by Hook Pond which comes into play in a variety of ways as the fairways and greens are brilliantly angled to tempt you to bite off as much as you can chew. The stretch of holes between eight and fourteen, rightly, get most of the attention as they take you through the dunes and terrain that is as close to links land as you’ll find in America. A restoration by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw improved playing conditions and playability and restored some of the natural, sandy terrain. Truly one of the great places to spend a summer’s day. Photo: @Linksgems

#28 – Wade Hampton Golf Club – Cashiers, NC –Tom Fazio

Considered at or near the top of Tom Fazio’s impressive collection of designs (it is in this list), Wade Hampton is a wonderful mountain course laid out in the valley beneath Chimney Top Mountain. Unlike many/most mountain courses, Wade Hampton is very walkable given the gentle topography on which the course was routed and the relatively tight-knit routing. Postcard views abound as you traverse the valley, crossing winding streams, with the constant backdrop of the surrounding mountain—a truly delightful experience. Photo: @LinksGems

#29 – Myopia Hunt Club – South Hamilton, MA – Herbert Leeds

Host of four U.S. Opens at the turn of the 20th Century (including the 1901 U.S. Open where the winning score of 331 still stands as a record high), Myopia has changed relatively little since. Member Herbert Leeds designed the course with deep bunkers and small, canted greens, and it plays much tougher than you would think if you simply looked at the scorecard. It’s a wonderful mix of long and short holes, blind shots, and jaw-dropping scenery. Myopia is truly one of the great, classic clubs of the world. Photo: @Linksgems

#30 – Old Town Club – Winston-Salem, NC – Perry Maxwell

Rolling terrain, beautiful vistas, and those rolling Maxwell greens are just part of what makes Old Town Club so special. The masterful routing takes full advantage of a creek to influence play on many of the holes. Shared fairway corridors, a shared green, and even a shared tee all add a unique sense of place to Old Town. A terrific restoration and tree removal by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have restored Old Town to the top tier of Perry Maxwell’s brilliant designs. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#31 – Pinehurst Resort (No. 2) – Pinehurst, NC – Donald Ross

The crown jewel of the “Home of American Golf,” Number Two is a constant test from tee to green as you try to position your ball in an ideal spot to attack, or simply hold, the green. The undulating greens are enough to induce PTSD as chances are, you’ll putt off of at least one during your round. Number Two, perhaps better than any other course, separates the exceptional play from the good play as mediocre shots are frequently dealt a severe consequence. The complete restoration performed by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw has been a revelation and has cemented Number Two as one of America’s must-play courses for anyone who enjoys the game and its history. Photo: @Linksgems

#32 – Seminole Golf Club – Juno Beach, FL – Donald Ross

For an architect well-known for his brilliant golf course routings, Seminole is probably Ross’s finest work. He manages to utilize the two dune ridges that bookend the property on 14 of the 18 holes all the while changing the direction of play so that the ever-present wind will affect shots in a variety of ways. While short by today’s standards, the ocean winds, firm and fast conditions, sloped greens, and penalizing bunkers have been challenging the world’s best for years—see this year’s Walker Cup for evidence. A wonderful restoration by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw has seen the removal of hundreds of trees, restored bunkers, and a return to the look and feel that Donald Ross originally created. Photo: @Linksgems

#33 – Somerset Hills Country Club – Bernardsville, NJ – A.W. Tillinghast

Many people, rightly, rave about the wonderful back nine of this well-preserved A.W. Tillinghast gem. It’s on the more interesting piece of property and is quite spectacular. However, the front nine, routed in the flatter, open area of the property, contains some of the most interesting features on the course including the redan green on the second hole, the mounding or “dolemites” on the fourth hole, and the “hell’s half-acre” hazard on the ninth hole. A decade’s worth of restoration work by @bslawgolf of @renaissancegolfdesign has this course looking its very best. A great club with a world-class course, Somerset Hills is one of New Jersey’s finest. Photo: @Linksgems

#34 – The Camargo Club – Cincinnati, OH – Seth Raynor

Camargo is built on some especially rolling terrain just miles from downtown Cincinnati. This Seth Raynor design is on the shorter side by modern standards, but the topography, fast-and-firm conditions, and Raynor’s great use of angles and bunkers negate the power player from overwhelming it completely. The par-threes, among Raynor’s best, are a sight to behold. Restoration work by Tom Doak and his Renaissance team has brought this classic back to upper echelon of Seth Raynor’s work. Photo: @Linksgems

#35 – Bethpage State Park (Black) – Farmingdale, NY – A.W. Tillinghast

Commonly referred to as “the People’s Country Club,” Bethpage is in many ways, a model for municipal golf in America. The Black course, one of five courses at the complex, is meant to be a championship test and it certainly delivers on the challenge in spades. This big, burly course has hosted two U.S. Opens, a PGA Championship, and is the future host of the Ryder Cup. Bring your “A-game” if you want to take on this magnificent, Tillinghast gem. Photo: @Linksgems

#36 – Eastward Ho! – Chatham, MA – Herbert Fowler

Located on a thin stretch of land above Little Pleasant Bay, Eastward Ho! provides stunning visuals throughout the round. It also provides some of the most though provoking and unique holes you’ll ever see. Situated on land that would seem more apropos for an amusement park ride than a golf course, Eastward Ho! is a breathtaking journey that provides thrills from the first tee to the eighteenth green. A masterful restoration by Keith Foster has this beauty looking and playing better than ever. Photo: @Linksgems

#37 – Bandon Dunes – Bandon, OR – David McLay Kidd

The “OG” of the Bandon Resort and the beginning of owner/developer Mike Keiser’s foray into what has become the greatest gift to the retail golfer since the advent of the Haskell ball, Bandon Dunes remains the favorite of many long-time visitors to the resort. Stand-out holes abound, especially those that hug the seaside cliffs. The fourth hole gives the golfer their first view of the ocean when they turn the corner of the dogleg and it is a spiritual experience for many. The short/driveable sixteenth is one of the most talked about and photographed at the resort. Thanks to architect David McLay Kidd for designing such a great course. Scary to think what would have happened if he hadn’t done such a fine job. Photo: @LinksGems

#38 – Whistling Straits (Straits) – Sheboygan, WI – Pete Dye

Hard to believe that this course was built on what once was a flat, relatively featureless site high above Lake Michigan. The present iteration of the land bears no resemblance to its past. That’s because Pete Dye pushed, excavated, and scraped the site to create huge dunes, hundreds of bunkers (967 according to Golf Digest), and a topography resembling the most rugged of links courses. For most, the highlight are the par-3s–several appearing to seemingly fall into Lake Michigan. Intended to host the world’s best, this resort course is a burly challenge on a marvelous piece of shoreline and it should provide a wonderful stage for the Ryder Cup later this year. Photo: @missbell512

#39 – Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Shore) – Pebble Beach, CA – Mike Strantz

A remodel of an original 1961 design, Mike Strantz transformed what was a run-of-the-mill course on a great piece of property into a work of art. He reshaped the land¬–adding dunes and carving waste bunkers–to create some of the most awe-inspiring views on 17 Mile Drive. The Shore Course might not be in the same neighborhood (on this list) as Cypress Point and Pebble Beach, but their kids attend the same schools. Photo: @LinksGems

#40 – Old Sandwich Golf Club – Plymouth, MA – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

This rugged, sandy site with gentle ground movement seems like it was made for golf. The course is masterfully routed and contains a wonderful variety of challenges along the way. The par-3s are particularly excellent as is the short, par-4, fifth hole which offers the golfer an all-or-nothing opportunity to drive the green over a natural ravine. A modern marvel and one of the best courses in the golf-rich commonwealth of Massachusetts. Photo: @LinksGems

#41 – The Golf Club – New Albany, OH – Pete Dye

One of Pete Dye’s early designs (and many say his best), the Golf Club is a great example of Dye’s genius. On this rather flat site, he added contouring, mounding, and waste areas to create a strategically interesting and extremely fun course to play. Not as penal as some of Mr. Dye’s later designs, save for the eighteenth hole, it is still far from a pushover. It also has one of the great locker rooms in golf providing the perfect place to enjoy a post-round cocktail while recounting your day at this wonderful club. Photo: @LinksGems

#42 – Yale Golf Course - Ray Tompkins Memorial – New Haven, CT – C.B Macdonald & Seth Raynor

Herbert Warren Wind, the greatest American golf writer and Yale alum, once described his alma mater’s course as “a back-breaking job over an untouched plot of rugged land whose hazards and greens have the kind of dimensions that one would have expected of Michelangelo.” Simply building a course in the 1920s on a site as rugged as this was an engineering marvel. Building a course this good took real genius. As you traverse the hilly terrain’s massive scale, marked by exposed rock and deep bunkers, you reach an almost euphoric state as you encounter one dramatic hole after another. With continued maintenance improvements and some restoration work, Yale could one day find itself in the top tier of any golf course ranking. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#43 – Essex County Club – Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA – Donald Ross

Pair a wonderful piece of hilly property with the genius of Donald Ross (who worked as the club’s professional for a time) and you get Essex County Club. Interesting holes abound, but it’s the back-nine where things really pick up as you get into the hillier part of the property featuring rock outcroppings, blind and semi-blind shots, and enough quirk to have you running for the first tee as soon as you putt out on eighteen. Play it when the fall colors are starting to pop, and you might just think you’re in golf heaven. Photo: @LinksGems

#44 – Yeamans Hall Club – Charleston, SC – Seth Raynor

Largely flying under the radar, which is exactly how the members like it, Yeamans Hall is a wonderful, easily-walkable, Lowcountry Seth Raynor design with all the template holes you would expect. Add a fantastic setting with some gentle undulation (relatively uncommon to the region), a 1998 restoration by Tom Doak and a recent refreshing by Jim Urbana and you have all the makings for a perfect day of golf. Photo: @LinksGems

#45 – Piping Rock Club – Locust Valley, NY – C.B. Macdonald & Seth Raynor

Piping Rock is one of the few designs by the legendary duo of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor that remains generally unaltered with the exception of some lengthening and bunker work performed by Pete Dye in the 1980s. You’ll find all of the expected template holes here with the Redan and Road Hole adaptations garnering the most acclaim. Bruce Hepner has overseen some recent polishing and a return to firm and fast conditions has only brought more accolades to this old school gem. Photo: @LinksGems

#46 – Bandon Trails – Bandon, OR – Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw

Though it lacks the ocean frontage of the other courses at Bandon Dunes Resort, Trails does not lack for beauty. Traversing from the sand dunes, to the forest, and back to the sand dunes, Trails takes you on a wonderful walk through such a diverse landscape and delivers the usual strategic brilliance you would expect from the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Photo: @LinksGems

#47 – Pasatiempo Golf Club – Santa Cruz, CA – Alister MacKenzie

One trip around Pasatiempo is all it takes to realize why Dr. MacKenzie decided to make it his home during the last few years of his life. The land is stunning with plenty of elevation change and the ever-present arroyo which cuts through the property. Taking full advantage of this wonderful land, MacKenzie designed a strategic marvel. Brilliantly utilizing the arroyo throughout the course and using the natural slope of the land to create some of the most tilted and contoured greens you’ll ever see. Add in the typical MacKenzie bunkering which are as easy on the eyes as they are tough on the scorecard, and you have one of the great experiences in all of golf. A restoration by Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design team has Pasatiempo looking and playing as close to MacKenzie's vision as possible in today's day and age. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#48 – Southern Hills Country Club – Tulsa, OK – Perry Maxwell

From the opening tee, with a view of downtown Tulsa, to the final putt on the eighteenth hole, Southern Hills is a prime example of beauty, strategy, and fun. While not overly long, the course derives its challenge from the brilliantly designed greens whose slopes make coming in from the correct position in the fairway paramount. Host of three U.S. Opens and four PGA Championships, Southern Hills certainly has a major championship pedigree, but you don’t need to play to that standard to enjoy a day at this wonderful layout. Ongoing renovations by Gil Hanse and his crew have Southern Hills looking and playing better than ever. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#49 – Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Ocean) – Kiawah Island, SC – Pete Dye

Awarded the 1991 Ryder Cup before construction was even finished, the Ocean Course was always intended to challenge the best in the world yet still provide an enjoyable experience for resort guests. Playing off the correct tees, the course is a fun stroll through the dunes and marshes, with plenty of challenging, yet playable holes with all the expected Dye flourishes. Now, if the wind is really blowing, all bets are off. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#50 – Garden City Golf Club – Garden City, NY – Devereux Emmet/Walter Travis

Originally designed by Devereux Emmet with later work performed by club member, architect, and legendary amateur golfer Walter Travis, Garden City is one of the finest examples of a truly great course on a flat site. Short by today’s standards, GCGC still provides a stern challenge with brilliant angles, ferocious bunkering, and the ever-present wind. A true step back in time…and one we’d happily take every day. Photo: @LinksGems

#51 – Kinloch Golf Club – Manakin Sabot, VA – Lester George and Vinnie Giles

Kinloch is well known for its superb conditioning, split-fairways that offer an abundance of risk-reward, and for their wonderful staff. Work done to prepare Kinloch for the U.S. Mid-Amateur in September of 2020 (canceled because of Covid-19 concerns), was intended to challenge the world’s best mid-ams while still providing a great place for members and guests to enjoy a round. And now, with Kinloch scheduled to host the 2024 U.S. Mid-Amateur, we can’t wait to see how those players tackle some of the more exciting holes on property like the fifth, ninth, and eleventh where a decisive play off the tee is required. Photo: @willsmith396

#52 – Baltimore Country Club (East) – Timonium, MD – A.W. Tillinghast

Not one for a “gentle handshake” opener, A.W. Tillinghast stays true-to-form by hitting you with back-to-back, long par-fours which really get the blood pumping. Once you cross the road to number three, things ease a bit, but not much, this is, after all, an A.W. Tillinghast design. While the entire course is a joy to play, the two par-fives are truly exceptional. The first (the 6th) dog-legs around the maintenance shed tempting the longer player to try and carry the corner (shades of the Road Hole at St. Andrews). The second (the 14th) plays up and over a “hell’s half acre” hazard and down to a well-protected green. A recent restoration by Keith Foster has really made the East Course a “can’t miss.” Photo: @LinksGems

#53 – Sand Valley – Nekoosa, WI – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

How do you get people to a resort built approximately 170 miles from the nearest major airport? Answer: you hire the team of Coore & Crenshaw to route their design among the biggest, natural sand dunes this side of the Atlantic and you let them work their magic. This sprawling course befits the large nature of the property with wide fairways, huge blow-out bunkers, and exacting greens. Throw in the firm-and-fast conditions allowed by the sand base, and you have a course that gets better with each successive play. Photo: @LinksGems

#54 – Milwaukee Country Club – Milwaukee, WI – C.H. Alison

On the banks of the Milwaukee River, which comes in to play quite a bit on the back nine, Milwaukee CC is a well-preserved, C.H. Alison standout. Blessed with wonderful ground on which to construct a golf course, Alison delivered a superb routing and a strategic marvel. This understated club is one of the “great days” in golf including what is often described as one of the best men's locker rooms in the game. Ongoing consultation by @renaissancegolf and @placekgolf have further polished this gem. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#55 – Quaker Ridge Golf Club – Scarsdale, NY – A.W. Tillinghast

Described as one of Tillinghast’s best works by Tom Doak in his Confidential Guide to Golf Courses, Quaker Ridge isn’t as famous as neighboring Winged Foot, but that seems to suit this club just fine. Routed over varied terrain and containing a wonderful mix of long and short holes, Quaker Ridge relies more on bunkering and careful placement of the tee shot than on punishing greens (thought the greens are tough enough, this is a Tillinghast we’re talking about). Tree removal during ongoing work by Gil Hanse and his team have opened up some beautiful views across the rolling terrain and really put a nice shine on this wonderful gem. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#56 – Shadow Creek – North Las Vegas, NV – Tom Fazio

In his Confidential Guide, Tom Doak called Shadow Creek “one of the great man-made wonders of the golfing world,” an apt description as every inch of this desert oasis was manufactured. Beautiful holes abound as does the man-made creek that makes its way through the course. While we tend to favor a more natural, minimalist style, this desert Shangri-La fits in perfectly in Las Vegas and is a whole lot of fun. Photo: @LinksGems

#57 – Muirfield Village Golf Club – Dublin, OH – Jack Nicklaus & Desmond Muirhead

Mention Muirfield Village and people usually think of three things: 1) Jack Nicklaus 2) the Memorial Tournament 3) the milkshakes in the locker room. If you get the chance to play MVGC, you realize what a special place it is the other fifty-one weeks of the year as well. Jack Nicklaus’s “ode to Augusta National” is a challenging journey over gently rolling terrain with some of the finest conditions around. And don’t skip the milkshakes, they’re spectacular. Photo: @LinksGems

#58 – Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon) – Flourtown, PA – A.W. Tillinghast

With gently rolling hills and meandering streams, Philly Cricket takes advantage of wonderful terrain for golf. A.W. Tillinghast built a gem that takes advantage of all of these features while challenging the golfer with great greens and strategic bunkering throughout. And with the tree removal during Keith Foster’s superb restoration, the Wissahickon course is a sight to behold. Photo: @LinksGems

#59 – Pikewood National Golf Club – Morgantown, WV – John Raese and Bob Gwynne

As you would expect from a course designed by two Oakmont members, Pikewood National is a stern test. It’s a big, bold layout that suits its mountain setting. It also happens to be a lot of fun to play and a wonderful place to walk and enjoy the breathtaking views. Bring your “A game” and your camera. Photo: @LinksGems

#60 – Rock Creek Cattle Company – Deer Lodge, MT – Tom Doak

What do you get when you mix the design talents of Tom Doak and the spectacular Big Sky backdrop? You get an absolute gem in RCCC. On one of the tougher sites that Tom has had to work with due to its rocky terrain and heavy soil, he and his team crafted a modern masterpiece that blends wonderfully into the surrounds and is just teaming with strategic options. Photo: @LinksGems

#61 – Bel-Air Country Club – Los Angeles, CA – George Thomas & William Bell

One of three legendary clubs in Los Angeles designed by George Thomas and William Bell (Riviera and LACC-North being the other two), Bel-Air is one of the great examples of a genius routing on a difficult site. Making use of tunnels, bridges, and even an elevator, Thomas and Bell take the golfer through multiple canyons and deliver one amazing ride with their typical bunker flair and diabolical green sites. A recent restoration by Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design team was based on a fidelity to the original plan and has polished this gem to an amazing luster. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#62 – Winged Foot Golf Club (East) – Mamaroneck, NY – A.W. Tillinghast

Believed by some to be the equal of the vaunted West course (just lacking in championship pedigree and the length to challenge today’s best players), the East course at Winged Foot prevents a more varied challenge, but a stern challenge nonetheless. The East Course has a great mix of long and short holes—all protected by diabolical Tillinghast greens. In fact, the most difficult green of the thirty-six on property just might be the 13th on the East, an all-or-nothing par 3 of just over 150 yards. Whether you prefer the East or the West, what can’t be argued is that Winged Foot Golf Club is on the short list of best thirty-six-hole facilities in the world. 📷: @LinksGems

#63 – Inverness Club – Toledo, OH – Donald Ross

With one of the richest tournament histories in American golf, Inverness is one of the true treasures of the game and one of Donald Ross’s finest works. However, over the years, Inverness has been changed multiple times—mostly in an attempt to keep up with the “modern” game. While this may have made the course more challenging, it also served to strip away some of the Donald Ross design and created holes that didn’t fit with the overall design. This all changed with the recent, brilliant renovation by Andrew Green. He was able to reintroduce the Ross aesthetic and create new holes modeled on historical photos from Ross’s original routing. The result is a more engaging, strategic layout that is a pleasure to play time and time again. And by the way, when the rough is up, it is still plenty demanding! Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#64 – Oakland Hills Country Club (South) – Bloomfield Hills, MI – Donald Ross

The South course at Oakland Hills has one of the greatest resumes in championship golf: six U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, a men’s and women’s U.S. Amateur, and a Ryder Cup. The course received the original “Open Doctor” treatment by Robert Trent Jones and led to Ben Hogan dubbing the course “the Monster.” Recently, the club has brought in Gil Hanse and his team to restore the course to its original, Donald Ross glory. We can’t wait to see the results! Photo: @LinksGems

#65 – The Honors Course – Ooltewah, TN – Pete Dye

Founded on the ideal of “Honoring Amateur Golf,” The Honors has been host to numerous amateur events including a U.S. Amateur, a U.S. Mid-Amateur, a Senior Women’s Amateur, a Junior Amateur, and a NCAA Championship (won by Tiger Woods). One of Pete Dye’s earlier and most heralded designs, it presents more of a “traditional” look than some later Dye courses, but it is no less difficult. In fact, The Honors is one of Dye’s toughest with thick, native grasses and punishing bunkers ready to extract a high price for a misstruck shot. Photo: @LinksGems

#66 – The Golf Courses at Lawsonia (Links) – Green Lake, WI – William Langford and Theodore Moreau

Known for large amounts of earthmoving and for building courses with big, bold features, the team of Langford and Moreau created their magnum opus when the built the Links Course. The large-scale site coupled with the undulating terrain married perfectly to their style. The punishing bunkers, sweeping fairways, and sloped greens, many with massive runoffs, drive the strategy from tee shot to approach and provide a constant challenge as does the windy, landscape which is virtually devoid of trees except on the perimeter. Wisconsin has seen a boom in golf course development recently, and many of the newer courses are well worth a visit (and appear in this list), but be sure to make time to visit Lawsonia. We guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#67 – The Creek – Locust Valley, NY – Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor

The first five holes at The Creek play on the inland side of the clubhouse and are good, strong golf holes (especially after some recent tree clearing), but they tend to be an afterthought. And really, how can they not be because starting with the brilliant, downhill 6th hole, The Creek is so visually striking and out-of-this world fun that it’s usually all anyone can talk about after the round. Favorites include the aforementioned 6th with its double punchbowl green, the short par-4 10th along Long Island Sound, the island green Biarritz 11th, and the Short 17th backed by an old cemetery. Thanks to restoration work by Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner, and their team, The Creek is looking and playing better than ever and is one of the great courses on golf-rich Long Island. Photo: @evan_schiller_photography 

#68 – Calusa Pines Golf Club – Naples, FL – Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry

Built on a relatively featureless site, Calusa Pines required a massive amount of earth moving and shaping. In fact, the largest of the ridges, created to add interest for the property, is the highest point in Collier County. All this might lead you to expect a course that feels artificial, but you would be wrong. Credit to the Hurdzan/Fry team for making the unnatural look and feel so natural. The sandy waste and mature trees guard the edges of the fairways and the greens are well sculpted to fit in with the “natural” roll of the land. The King of the Naples golf scene for a reason, Calusa is a special club and delivers a most memorable experience. Photo: @Linksgems

#69 – Oak Hill (East) - Rochester, NY – Donald Ross

Oak Hill is one of the great clubs in its region, with 36 holes and an incredible Tudor-style clubhouse. The East course has a very rarefied championship pedigree: U.S. Opens (3), PGA Championships (3), U. S. Amateurs (2) and a Ryder Cup to name a few. While the East underwent some questionable modifications by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Tom Fazio in the 1960s and 1980s, the course was recently renovated by Andrew Green, who was tasked with bringing the course back to its Ross roots. The restoration has received rave reviews and we’ll look forward to see if the East Course will rise in the rankings. Photo: @Green_GCA

#70 – The Olympic Club (Lake) – San Francisco, CA – Sam Whiting and Willie Watson

A true championship layout, the Lake Course at the Olympic Club has played host to four U.S. Opens and two U.S. Amateurs. As befitting a course so revered for the challenge it poses to the world’s best players, Olympic is tough. Tree-lined fairways place a premium on driving accuracy as does the severe camber of many of the fairways. The green slope and the speed with which they are maintained demand that you leave your ball below the hole or face the distinct possibility of putting off of the green. There are courses designed to “separate the wheat from the chaff.” The Lake Course at Olympic is certainly one such course. Photo: @Linksgems

#71 – Colorado Golf Club – Parker, CO – Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw

Situated just outside of Denver in the rolling hills at the base of the Rocky Mountains lies the bucolic Colorado Golf Club. The team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw expertly routed the course to take full advantage of the natural ravines and elevation changes throughout the property. The firm and fast conditions, coupled with the elevation (roughly 6,000 feet), mean that the ground game is always a smart play when approaching the wonderfully contoured greens. Despite the hilly terrain, Colorado Golf Club has that great “walk in the park” feel that we’ve come to expect from the Coore/Crenshaw team and that is the hallmark of all great courses. Photo: @Linksgems

#72 – Valley Club of Montecito – Santa Barbara, CA – Alister MacKenzie and Robert Hunter

As picture-perfect of a setting as you’ll find anywhere in the world, the Valley Club, set between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, feels like a step back in time from the moment you enter the club grounds. Even before a brilliant restoration by Tom Doak and his team, the Valley Club retained much of Dr. MacKenzie’s original work. While it's easy to lose your head over the setting and the views, the reason it finds its way on to the list is MacKenzie's brilliant routing which takes advantage of various high points on the property to create little nodes of activity by clustering greens and tees there. This trick creates intimacy on an otherwise grand canvas. One of the great clubs of the American west, the Valley Club is one of those magical places in the game. Photo: @Linksgems

#73 – Nanea – Kailua-Kona, HI – David McLay Kidd

Playing across ancient lava beds with large elevation changes as one traverses up and down the volcanic Mount Hualalai, Nanea is a visually spectacular layout. Idyllic views of the Pacific Ocean are juxtaposed with black volcanic rock and long meadow grasses and gives the impression that you are playing somewhere that is almost otherworldly. The wind is a constant factor on this open layout, but luckily the playing corridors are wide and the ground game is an option on most holes. While it’s not an easy invitation, should you be lucky enough to receive it, run, don’t walk to the airport. Photo: @LinksGems

#74 – Aronimink Golf Club – Newtown Square, PA – Donald Ross

Long thought of as one of Donald Ross’s toughest designs, Aronimink had been altered over the years in an effort to keep up with advances in modern technology—taking the course away from that originally envisioned by Ross. A recent restoration by Gil Hanse and his team has returned the course to its Donald Ross roots via restored greens, bunkers, and extensive tree clearing which opened up some amazing views across this undulating property. The newly restored Aronimink now, once again, ranks in the very top tier of Donald Ross courses. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#75 – Stone Eagle Golf Club – Palm Desert, CA – Tom Doak

Set on rugged terrain in the mountains above Palm Desert, lies what Tom Doak refers to in his Confidential Guide as maybe his most underrated course. With an absence of houses, unusual for the area, the course is just pure, uninterrupted beauty from the mountain surrounds to the views of the valley down below. A break from the “usual” desert golf which tends to rely on visuals alone, Stone Eagle is highly strategic with wonderful bunkering, diabolical greens, and natural hazards provided by the desert and mountain surrounds. A stunning challenge that we’re happy to take on any time we get the offer to visit. Photo: @Linksgems

#76 – Country Club of Fairfield – Fairfield, CT – Seth Raynor

One of Seth Raynor’s earliest solo designs, the Country Club of Fairfield, perched on the shores of the Long Island Sound, is also thought of as one of Raynor’s best by those lucky enough to have played it. Though other architects (A.W. Tillinghast and Robert Trent Jones among others) have worked on the course over the years, recent restoration work has seen CC of Fairfield return to more of the Seth Raynor feel. The wind on this seaside layout is a constant hazard as are the sloping greens which demand careful attention and proper angles on the approach shots lest you find yourself short-sided and out of luck. As wonderful of a walk as there is in golf, the Country Club of Fairfield is a true Golden Age gem. Photo: @Linksgems

#77 – The Kittansett Club – Marion, MA – William Flynn

Kittansett begins and ends on the exposed portion of the property that juts out into Buzzard’s Bay and includes the oft-photographed, island green third hole. The rest of the course traverses wooded property filled with wonderful bumps, hollows, and mounding and some terrific, crowned greens. Tree-clearing over recent years has really opened up some wonderful views and continued renovation work by Gil Hanse and his team has really helped this course shine and keep it among the top-tier of Massachusetts golf. Photo: @Linksgems

#78 – Bandon Dunes (The Preserve) – Bandon, Oregon – Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw

Calling the Preserve at Bandon Dunes a “Par-3 Course” feels almost like a slight. The Preserve is simply a great golf course that happens to have all par-3 holes. Set on a small acreage near Bandon Trails, the Preserve occupies a beautiful piece of dunes land with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. The team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have crafted thirteen, jaw-dropping holes ranging in length from approximately 60-150 yards—any of which feel like they could be stand-outs on any of the “big” courses at the resort. This course is just plain fun from start to finish. Photo: @Linksgems

#79 – Baltusrol Golf Club (Upper) – Springfield, NJ – A.W. Tillinghast

It’s not often that the “other” course at a 36-hole club has played host to a U.S. Open, but that’s exactly the case with the Upper Course at Baltusrol (1936 U.S. Open). That fact alone should tell you that the Upper course is far from a typical “second” course. In fact, as the rankings suggest, our members prefer it to the more heralded Lower course. And that’s not simply because it’s more user friendly than the Lower (it is), but it also is a great example of A.W. Tillinghast’s work and has been altered very little over the years. The terrain is more varied than the Lower course and the greens and bunkering are just as challenging and strategic. Regardless of which you prefer, Baltusrol is home to two spectacular A.W. Tillinghast gems and one of the great clubs in America. Photo: @Linksgems

#80 – Hollywood Golf Club – Deal, NJ – Walter Travis

Hollywood, especially after an out-of-this-world renovation by Brian Schneider of Tom Doak’s Renaissance Design team, is just a flat-out, wild ride that’s fun from the first tee to the eighteenth green. And speaking of greens: these heavily contoured greens (among Travis’s best according to Tom Doak) have to be experienced to be believed. The strategic bunkering and mounding, coupled with the greens, serve as the primary defense and adds layers to this relatively flat site. A sterling example of Travis’s work and a must-play Golden Age design. Photo: @Linksgems

#81 – Spyglass Hill Golf Course – Pebble Beach, CA – Robert Trent Jones

We’re not going to say that the opening five-hole stretch at Spyglass is the best stretch of holes on the Monterey Peninsula because of neighbors like Cypress Point, Monterey Peninsula, and Pebble Beach. We will say that the opening five-hole stretch, set amongst the dunes with beautiful views of Pacific Ocean, is one of the best stretches of holes in the area, which places it pretty highly on the “best in the world” list. The remaining holes wind through the idyllic, seaside forest filled with gorgeous pine and cypress trees. A stunning course, Spyglass is a “must play” when visiting the golf Nirvana that is the Monterey Peninsula. Photo: @Linksgems

#82 – Plainfield Country Club – Plainfield, NJ – Donald Ross

One of the standouts in the golf-rich New York metro area, Plainfield Country Club was founded in 1890, with the Donald Ross designed golf course opening in 1916. Ross’s expertise at routing and strategy is on full display as the rolling property is utilized to create challenging tee shots with hidden landing zones and preferred angles into the well-defended greens. Many of the greens are raised and heavily pitched—putting even more of a premium on finding the correct side of the fairway in order to hold them on the approach. Ongoing restoration work by Gil Hanse and his team has seen the removal of trees and restoration of bunkers and greens and helped make Plainfield one of the top courses in an area filled with top courses. Photo: @Linksgems

#83 – Chechessee Creek Club – Okatie, SC – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

If there’s a course that embodies the charm and comfort of the lowcountry better than Chechessee Creek, we haven’t seen it. This idyllic spot feels like home from the second you step foot on property. And the wonderful, understated Coore/Crenshaw design fits in perfectly with the surrounds. Featuring small, well-contoured greens, natural hazards and a paucity of yardage on the scorecard, Chechessee Creek is far from a pushover. It is one course on this list that doesn't wow with grand scale or ambition, but reveals its strength and charm over repeated plays.

#84 – Monterey Peninsula Country Club (Dunes) – Pebble Beach, CA – Tom Fazio & Jackson/Kahn Design (remodel)

Ever since Mike Strantz remodeled the club’s neighboring Shore Course to great acclaim, the Dunes Course was mostly overlooked and thought of as mostly the “other” course. Well, no longer. After a remodel/redesign by Tom Fazio and Jackson/Kahn, the Dunes Course is now every bit as strong as the Shore and some think it’s even better. Threaded through wooded areas, sand dunes, and along the gorgeous coastline, the Dunes Course stands out as one of the top courses in a very tough neighborhood. Photo: @Linksgems

#85 – Bandon Dunes (Old Macdonald) – Bandon, Oregon – Tom Doak

A tribute to the father of American golf architecture, C. B. Macdonald, Old Mac incorporates many of his favorite template holes on a large, windswept piece of undulating linksland. All of your favorites are represented including a world-class version of the Alps (16th) and a beguiling Short (5th) played to a green that is so big that it has to be seen to be believed. Of note, at a resort known for its drop-dead views and breathtaking sights, perhaps the most exciting reveal comes after you hit your tee shot on the short Par-4 3rd hole and crest the dune. From this vantage point, almost the entirety of the course is visible and it’s one of those moments that sticks in your brain long after you made the onerous return home. Photo: @Linksgems

#86 – Sand Valley (Mammoth Dunes) – Nekoosa, WI – David McLay Kidd

As the name would suggest, the sand dunes (particularly the one that bisects the routing and comes into play on holes 4/5 and again on 14) are of the large variety. But it’s not just the dunes, the entire course is built on a massive scale—bunkers, fairways, and greens are all, well, mammoth. The entire round plays out like an adventure with new surprises around every corner and it’s one of those courses that demands a second (or more) play as you’re sure to notice something different on each subsequent play. Photo: @Linksgems

#87 – The Kingsley Club – Traverse City, MI – Mike DeVries

On a wonderfully rolling and sandy site just down the road from Crystal Downs, Outpost Club member Mike DeVries crafted a modern masterpiece. With little earth moved, this natural layout makes excellent use of the contours and hills to drive strategy. The firm conditions of the fescue fairways are a perfect complement to a course that embraces the ground game so enthusiastically. Photo: @fried_egg_golf

#88 – Newport Country Club – Newport, RI – A.W. Tillinghast

As one of the founding members of the USGA and the host of the first U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, Newport Country Club is part of the very fabric of golf in America. The treeless layout near the sea coupled with the firm and fast conditioning makes the course play as close to a links as you can get on the east coast. This beautiful course is further complimented by one of the game’s best clubhouses as one would expect from such a titan of the American game. Photo: @Linksgems

#89 – White Bear Yacht Club – White Bear Lake, MN – Donald Ross

White Bear Yacht Club has quirk for days—and we love quirk! With five par-5s and five par-3s and greens as contoured and wild as anything Donald Ross ever built, White Bear Yacht is a blast to play time and again. Somehow this wonderful club flies under the radar, but not among our membership. A must play for any architecture fan and a great reminder that golf is meant to be fun and an adventure. Photo: @Linksgems

#90 – Kapalua Resort (Plantation) – Lahaina, HI – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

The expert architecture team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw routed a stunning, strategic course over some very inhospitable terrain. And each year, while much of the country can only dream of getting out and playing golf, we’re treated to beautiful images of the Plantation Course at Kapalua during the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions. But don’t be too distracted by the beauty because the ever-present trade winds and firm and fast conditions demand your full attention on every shot. Photo: @Troon

#91 – TPC Sawgrass (Stadium) – Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Pete Dye

Designed to challenge and showcase the PGA Tour’s best, the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass has certainly achieved its stated purpose over the years. It has also proven quite agnostic over the years, producing winners with various strengths in their games and not favoring any one type of player as so many courses seem to do on the Tour. For the recreational player, Sawgrass is a firm test and punishes anyone who’s not striking the ball well. And while the island green 17th gets most of the attention, we feel that the strength of the par-5 holes is frequently overlooked. Whereas many par-5s offer only a mindless layup to the player not attempting to reach the green in two, Sawgrass defends the layup area well and challenges you to place your shot in the correct spot so as to avoid a hazard(s) and open up the best angle to the green. Photo: @Linksgems

#92 – Boston Golf Club – Hingham, MA – Gil Hanse

A wonderful modern design by Gil Hanse and his team—built over rugged terrain that frequently evokes comparisons to Pine Valley given its aesthetic and the heroic nature of many of the holes. The beautifully undulating greens are of particular note here as they fit perfectly with the site and demand your full attention from the tee through the approach lest you find yourself in certain three-putt (or more) territory. Photo: @Linksgems

#93 – Ridgewood Country Club (East/West) – Paramus, NJ – A.W. Tillinghast

A superb, 27-hole club in the golf-rich suburbs of New York City, Ridgewood Country Club is one of A.W. Tillinghast’s finest and most enjoyable designs. For purposes of this ranking, our members voted on the East/West routing which is generally considered the “Main” routing, but the Center routing shouldn’t be skipped under any circumstances. Ridgewood is blessed with a wonderful set of par-3s, challenging par-4s, and a truly unique version of Tillinghast’s Hell’s Half-Acre where the fairway is bisected by rough and mounding instead of the usual bunkering. A true stand-out in a tough neighborhood in which to do so. Photo: @Linksgems

#94 – Interlachen Country Club – Edina, MN – Donald Ross

Site of Bobby Jones's U.S. Open win in 1930 which also served as the third leg of his historic Grand Slam, Interlachen is rife with golf history. It also has a wonderfully preserved Donald Ross golf course that many regard as the best in the state. Ross’s use of the rolling terrain was predictably masterful utilizing false-fronts and run-offs around the greens to place a premium on accuracy. The back nine has several holes playing right on Mirror Lake with the downhill par-3 13th being a particular standout. Photo: @Linksgems

#95 – The Challenge at Manele – Lanai, HI – Jack Nicklaus

The views at Manele, especially on the back nine, are as breathtaking as it gets. And we’re not just talking about golf course views, we’re talking all views—anywhere. It just so happens that Jack Nicklaus routed a course across some of the most scenic landforms in existence. From the inland stretches over old lava fields, to the cliffs, down to the beach, the course really explores this unique and beautiful landscape and delivers postcard views and challenging shots from start to finish. Photo: @ematuszewski

#96 – Streamsong Resort (Red) – Fort Meade, FL – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw

You wouldn’t think an old phosphate mining site would lend itself to a world-class golf course. And in the case of Streamsong Resort, you would technically be correct as their former mining ground is the home to three world-class golf courses. Routed and constructed concurrently with Tom Doak’s Blue Course, the Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw Red Course occupies some of the most dramatic land on the property and plays over, around, and through some of the largest dunes this side of Ireland. A strategic tour deforce, the mix of risk-reward holes mix nicely with the just flat-out challenging holes to produce a wonderful test on an awe-inspiring site. Photo: @Linksgems

#97 – Baltusrol Golf Club (Lower) – Springfield, NJ – A.W. Tillinghast

Fitting of a course with such a rich championship history (6 U.S. Opens, 4 U.S. Amateurs, 2 PGA Championships, a Women’s U.S. Open, and 2 Women’s Amateurs), the Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club was designed and is maintained to challenge the best players in the world. And while the neighboring Upper Course (host of several majors of its own) may be more pleasant and easier on the ego for us mere mortals to play, the alure and history of the Lower makes it a must-play course in the golf-rich state of New Jersey. Gil Hanse, Jim Wagner and their talented team are currently renovating the Lower Course and we can’t wait to see the results. Photo: @Linksgems

#98 – Misquamicut Golf Club – Watch Hill, RI – Donald Ross

Outpost Club members are big fans of quirk in their golf courses and with a par of 69, a yardage of around 6,200 yards from the tips, a road running through the property, and a par-3 finishing hole, Misquamicut has quirk in spades. It also is one of the most underrated walks in golf as you traverse along tidal ponds and the ocean shoreline. Along the way, you’ll find challenging bunkering, and runoffs around many of the greens that place a premium on accuracy and serve as the course’s primary defense. One of those places where you run from the eighteenth green to the first tee—and what more can you ask for? Photo: @Linksgems

#99 – Fox Chapel Golf Club – Pittsburgh, PA – Seth Raynor

Just a few miles from the famous Oakmont lies Fox Chapel Golf Club. And while it has a lower profile than its neighbor, those who overlook this wonderful club do so to their own detriment. The course is situated in a picturesque valley and is bisected by a creek that affects the strategy on several of the holes. All of your favorite MacDonald/Raynor templates are present and the greens are, in our opinion, some of Raynor’s best. Recent restoration work by Tom Fazio have been well received and put a new shine on this Pittsburgh institution. Photo: @Linksgems

#100 (tie) – Scioto Country Club – Columbus, OH – Donald Ross

With a strong connection to two of the game’s all-time greats (Jack Nicklaus’s childhood course and Bobby Jones won the 1926 U.S. Open here), golf history is deeply entrenched in the DNA of Scioto. Much of the original Donald Ross routing remains though the greens, bunkering, and fairways have been changed several times—first by Dick Wilson then by Jack Nicklaus. While the course is a big, brawny challenge, as one would expect from a course so closely associated with the Golden Bear, it’s also a walk through golf history and one that we would happily take time and again. Stay tuned for a historical restoration from Andrew Green. Photo: @Linksgems