After the dizzying panorama from the par-4 1st, the next stunner is the 203-yard, par-3 7th that demands a lake carry to a wildly undulating green cocooned in the sandhills. design has been one of the Tour’s hardest layouts for nearly 50 years. (0) Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn demonstrated in 1990 that with sufficient money and imagination, there’s nothing that couldn’t be accomplished in golf course design. Reynolds Lake Oconee (Great Waters) Greensboro, Ga. This Jack Nicklaus creation, with John Sanford consulting, is a treeless faux-links, complete with dunes and fescue grasses framing the fairways and options around the greens. The green at the par-5 first affords a sweeping panorama of the waters of Spanish Bay, clear out to the spit of land known as Point Joe, which serves as home to the Restless Sea, where ocean and bay currents collide, creating a tumult of foamy, white sea spray. The rugged, high-desert scenery includes Columbia River views and vistas of the snow-capped northern Cascades. The 485-yard, par-4 final hole with water down the entire left side is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most memorable closers. Background photography: Courtesy Reynolds Plantation 51. Contoured greens are often edged by shaved-down chipping areas, putting a premium on short-game creativity. Not as relentlessly tough as Number 2, yet its crowned greens will reject any timid approach. Many holes tee off atop gigantic sand piles and play up, down and around cavernous pits, giant boulders and vast sand waste areas, all at a price tag that’s been chopped to bits by a sharp pickaxe. Golden Horseshoe Golf Club (Gold) Williamsburg, Va. (5) Public access at Linville is limited to guests of the Eseeola Lodge, but it’s well worth the splurge to check out the eye-candy afforded at this 1924 Donald Ross design, situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains an hour northeast of Asheville.
Pelican Hill Golf Club (Ocean South) Newport Coast, Calif. It has been called the public Sand Hills, which comes as no surprise, because course architects Dave Proctor and Dave Axland were instrumental in helping Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw bring Sand Hills to fruition. Sunday River Golf Club Newry, Maine ($80-$95) Sunday River is carved from dense stands of hardwoods and pines and dishes out sandy waste areas, mountain brooks and 400 feet of elevation change. ($55-$65) Situated in the state’s far west, this 2001 Jim Engh creation rolls out one visually arresting hole after the next, with no two the same.
This 2001 Rees Jones design 30 minutes south of the Vegas Strip is a high desert links with firm, fast fairways that burrow through stark, brown rock-encrusted hills. Background photography: Courtesy Barefoot Resort The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa Hole 17 91. ($45.50-$68) This Carnoustie of the Corn Belt tumbles through windswept, treeless terrain , where half the battle is keeping the ball from scooting into links-like bunkers and tall native grasses. The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa Grand Junction, Colo.
Reynolds Lake Oconee (Great Waters) Greensboro, Ga.
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club (Champion) Orlando, Fla.
The drivable par-4 13th set in a box canyon, is another standout.