I always enjoy the Top 100 course rankings. Largely it’s the same top ten every year, they just move up or down a few spots here and there. What intrigues me most is that the focus is on the golf itself, not necessarily the whole experience (club, food, caddies, cart girls, etc.).
Everyone has their bucket list of courses, as I do. But when thinking about it strictly from a golf experience, my list is a little different. When I think about strictly playing golf, I’m speaking only about the experience on the 18 holes. All 18 holes, not just the iconic holes that show up in golf calendars or on the cover of magazines.
Here are my five:
Riviera (Pacific Palisades, CA) – I’ve always loved this course. Very old school, and dependent on strategy. Very few flat areas, and a lot of bunkers, most second shots are aimed at a strangely angled green. Probably go light on the Transfusions, as this round would be a head-scratcher.
Ohooppee Match Club (Cobbtown, GA) – Relatively new to the scene, it’s a visual masterpiece. I have a few friends who have played down there, and every single one of them smiles when talking about the course. It’s won all the prestigious awards, but what is most intriguing to me is that it focuses on my favorite way to play: Match format. I’m all in.
Chambers Bay (University Place, WA) – Built on an old sand and rock quarry, this RTJ Jr. design is mesmerizing. While it feels like a ‘hit it and pray’ type of course, strategy and ball placement are key. The golf up in the Pacific Northwest is absolutely on my bucket list, and Chambers Bay is at the top.
Maidstone (East Hampton, NY) – there is so much good golf on Long Island, but Maidstone has always intrigued me. Being a traditionalist, I like false fronts, being more concerned with ball placement and yardage vs. nuking drives. Take into account the breeze and the dramatic ocean views, I’m sure I’d lose a few balls here.
Peachtree (Atlanta, GA) – Some say this is a better golf experience than its cousin in Augusta. I haven’t played either, but I’d love to find out. Nestled in North Buckhead, playing Peachtree is as much a badge of honor as it is a challenging course. And being in my home town makes it that much more special.
What are your five?