It’s been a long time coming. That’s not a reference to the three-and-a-half-years of construction and grow-in for Payne’s Valley, the newest resort course at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Mo. Rather, it has been 14 years since public golfers began waiting to play a course designed by Tiger Woods. Woods founded his design company,
Golf fans have waited patiently all summer for the 120th U.S. Open, and the big week is almost here. When the USGA brings its signature championship to a club steeped in history like Winged Foot, there’s an extra level of excitement that even a three-month delay in the proceedings can’t dampen. Of course, there are
One of golf’s classic tests of precision golf will once again host the U.S. Open, for a sixth time since 1929. The rich history at Winged Foot’s West course includes a playoff win by Bobby Jones (by 23 shots); an unbelievable collapse by Phil Mickelson in ’06 and the devastatingly tough 1974 U.S. Open, dubbed
I’m sure there are worse things to happen to you on a golf course than encountering “the Wall,” but at the moment I’m drawing a blank. For those unaware of “the Wall,” it’s that painfully slow group ahead impeding your round. It’s usually not intentional, yet the sight—and subsequent stoppage—of “the Wall” is an emotional
Most will agree that traveling for golf ranks relatively low on the list of things that are most important right now, but it’s a missing part of many golfers’ summers in 2020. Even still, some were not deterred this summer, making either local golf trips or shifting to locations that were open with some restrictions.
Most golfers love variety. As long as a golf course is well-maintained, most of us are happy to explore the game in different variations and locations: old expressions and new; public and private; in deserts, mountains and prairies; at parkland courses in cities as well as bare, windswept courses near a coast. Part of why
In 1965, the great Dan Jenkins picked an All-Star team of golf holes for Sports Illustrated, The Best 18 Golf Holes in America, selected by a committee of one, although he allowed Ben Hogan a nod or two. What set Jenkins’ list apart from other pretenders was a self-imposed restriction. His All-Star team, he said,
Bandon Dunes had already been firmly established as one of the best golf destinations in the world, boasting four courses on Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest ranking, before the addition of another glorious links course on Oregon’s coast. Sheep Ranch, the second 18-hole routing by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw at the resort, opened in
TPC Harding Park is the golden boy of San Francisco public golf, with fame, good fortune, and given its exposure as host to this year’s PGA Championship, an international audience and global reputation. That makes the contrast with its older brother, Lincoln Park Golf Course, a few miles northwest, all the more glaring. Technically, Lincoln
When TPC Harding Park welcomes golfers to the 2020 PGA Championship in San Francisco next week, it will become the 129th course in the United States to host a men’s major (and just the second in the Bay Area, joining Olympic Club’s Lake Course). A public facility originally designed by Willie Watson and Sam Whiting
The 102nd PGA Championship will be a major unlike any we’ve seen in the modern era of golf, thanks to the fact that there will be no spectators walking outside the ropes at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. Of course, a fanless championship is better than no championship at all. And while the adrenaline
As first reported in the Bangor Daily News, Steve Norton, 80, had just made a hole-in-one (his first) last Thursday when one of his playing partners, Susan Hunter, stepped to the tee. Of course, having just witnessed an ace, a golfer refocuses just a bit in hopes of matching the feat. And Hunter nearly did.
Most golfers dream of the opportunity to play any of America’s 100 Greatest Courses. Mark Greer has played 95 of them, and he has the souvenirs to prove it. Some might opt to collect ball-markers, hats, or shirts from these courses as a keepsake, but Greer chose to collect a more unique item: divot-repair tools.
Golf architecture from the late 1800s through the Great Depression is a well-traveled road. Between contemporaneous books and articles from the likes of Horace Hutchinson, C.B. Macdonald, Alister Mackenzie, George Thomas and others, and from the discoveries of modern researchers who scour archives and digitized newspaper reports, the story of golf’s formative years in America
The Minnesota native wasn’t technically a golf course architect—he never built an actual course—but rather a golf course artist. And yet the creative flair and dramatic realism that Chapman, who died on July 9 at age 97, brought to his fictional drawings made them as memorable as some real-life designs. An accomplished player who attempted
When your family lineage of designing and building golf courses reaches back nearly 90 years, you tend to view the profession of golf course architecture from a unique perspective. Rees Jones began working for Robert Trent Jones in 1965 when his father was at the height of his career. That proximity to the most prominent
Moments in golf’s recent history have taken important steps toward making the game more inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Two examples: TPC Harding Park hosting the inaugural Pride Open, organized by Greg Fitzgerald, the first out, gay male PGA teaching pro, and the USGA raising Pride flags at its headquarters in June and sharing an
What do artists desire most: critical acclaim or commercial success? They aren’t mutually exclusive, and every creator desires both, but rarely, in any medium, do the two overlap entirely. When he was younger, the always outspoken Kidd might have strived purely for critical consideration, embracing the notion that the artist’s role is to push the
The long-term consequences of golf courses sitting fallow for extended periods of time was a very real concern this past spring, as people around the world retreated indoors into quarantine. The thought of courses being abandoned en masse, out of hardship, was not on my mind in January, however, when I walked the site of
Every architect yearns to work on a great site, and almost all of them will tell you that good land is one of the top requirements for building a good golf course. Over the last 25 years, places like Bandon Dunes, Sand Valley and Barnbougle Dunes, in Tasmania—several of the most incredible sites to ever
For the last five years, nearly everything Gil Hanse touches seems to turn to gold. Hanse is arguably the hottest, and hardest working, golf architect in the business and has had an incredible string of successes, with both original designs and restorations of storied courses, since the debut of his Rio Olympics course in 2016.
Seminole Golf Club, a mainstay in Golf Digest’s biennial ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, will be center stage during the TaylorMade Driving Relief Skins Game pitting Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. What will viewers see when the vaunted course makes its television debut? Veteran architecture editor Ron
It’s time to talk about The King, specifically the golf courses of Arnold Palmer Design Company. For more than 45 years, Palmer’s design company has built highly entertaining and beautiful courses worldwide for clients who were proud to display the Palmer name. But was there a cohesive design intent behind the hundreds of courses the
12. Seminole Golf Club Donald Ross (1929) / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2017) A majestic Donald Ross design with a clever routing on a rectangular site, each hole at Seminole encounters a new wind direction. The greens are no longer Ross, replaced 50 years ago in a regrassing effort that showed little appreciation for
It began with a simple question: if The Old Course at St. Andrews is so great, why hasn’t it been mimicked or replicated more often? What a can of worms. Of course, it has been copied in different ways over time, and it remains the touchstone for so much of what we consider standard in
A single great feature, or even a merely interesting one, can enshrine a golf course with character. Pebble Beach and Cypress Point show off a rocky coastline like few others, but the endowment doesn’t have to be that grand. Character can come from lesser features, like a sand ridge (Seminole), a snaky tributary (Augusta) or
Bill Coore always knew the first hole at Cabot Point was going to be difficult to build. “I just don’t know about the first hole,” he confides. “I don’t know how it’s going to turn out.” Cabot Point will be the centerpiece of Cabot St. Lucia, the newest golf and resort venture from the group
Earning the name “the Bunker Guru” your peers in golf-course design circles is quite the compliment. And for Jeff Bradley, the moniker is apt. Since the late 1990s he has been arguably the best known and most talented creator of bunkers, working primarily on the golf courses of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Bradley brings
As we sit around and contemplate our world amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had ample time to think about the future of course design, and what might be in store over the next decade. We asked 20 or so golf-course architects to reflect on the business and its future. The consensus is a pragmatic one:
Many golf course architects will tell you they used to doodle imagined golf holes when they were kids. With few exceptions, though, these old drawings, if they survived, went into some scrapbook somewhere and never made it before the eyes of the world. The type of youngster who doodles golf-holes today, however, does have a