Many of our top picks among resorts continue to expand, sometimes in surprising ways. Last fall, in Central Florida, the strip-mine-turned-paradise at Streamsong Resort unveiled the Black Course, a Gil Hanse design with softer dunes and contours than on the resort’s Blue and Red courses. About the same time, Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina unveiled The Cradle, a fun little nine-hole pitch & putt, also designed by Hanse. This fall he’ll complete his reconstruction of Pinehurst No. 4, transforming it into the sandy motif of the famed Pinehurst No. 2 next door, which has been the site of three U.S. Opens.
Just down the road, at the Pine Needles Resort, architect Kyle Franz, who six years ago refashioned the Donald Ross-designed Mid Pines course into a tribute to Pinehurst No. 2, recently completed the same process at the companion Pine Needles course. Both now sport sinewy fairways amid vast expanses of sand.
That’s also the standard at the stunning Sand Valley Golf Resort, which stretches across river dunes of central Wisconsin. Its Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw-designed Sand Valley course was honored by Golf Digest as Best New Course of 2017. In May the resort is scheduled to open The Sandbox, an unorthodox 17-hole par-3 course also designed by Coore and Crenshaw, and on Memorial Day weekend, it will introduce Mammoth Dunes, a delightfully enjoyable oversize 18 designed by David McLay Kidd, with perhaps the widest fairways in North America.
There are more courses to come at many of these resorts, as well as at Bandon Dunes, the Oregon dream destination that triggered the whole replace-rough-with-exposed-sand movement some 20 years ago.
• NORTHEAST/NEW ENGLAND
• PACIFIC NORTHWEST
• ROCKIES/GREAT PLAINS
• MEXICO/CENTRAL AMERICA