Golfweek’s 18th annual America’s Best Courses issue, published March 21, features 33 Nicklaus Design courses in its 2014 rankings of the Best Modern Courses and a state-by-state listing of the top public-access courses.
To produce Golfweek’s Best Courses lists, a team of more than 725 course raters uses a 10-point ranking system to identify the top layouts. The Modern Courses list includes courses designed from 1960 to the present, defined as the “modern era” because as the game became more popular, designers began to utilize high-tech engineering and advanced mechanical means to transform the landscape to suit their designs. Jack Nicklaus began designing golf courses in the late 1960s and his first creation—a co-design with Pete Dye—debuted in 1969 with the opening of Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.
Included on Golfweek’s Best Modern Courses list is No. 7 Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York, a collaboration with Tom Doak that maintained its 2013 position to stay in the list’s top-10. Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, host to the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour, ranked No. 12. The other three Nicklaus Design courses to make the top-50 Best Modern Courses are No. 35 Castle Pines Golf Club in Castle Rock, Colo.; No. 40 Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Tex.; and No. 44 Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Additional courses to make the Best Modern Courses list: No. 78 Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course designed in association with Tony Jacklin, which commemorates the act of sportsmanship displayed by Nicklaus at the 1969 Ryder Cup when he conceded a short putt on the 18th green of the final match, resulting in the first-ever tie in Ryder Cup history; No. 88 Shoal Creek Country Club, host of the Regions Tradition, a major on the Champions Tour; and No. 100 Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kent., host of this year’s PGA Championship.
The list of the Best State-by-State Public-Access Courses includes 25 Nicklaus Designs in 13 different states. Bayside Resort Golf Club in Fenwick Island, Del., and Old Works in Anaconda, Mont., were named the No. 1 public-access courses in their respective states. Five other Nicklaus Design courses ranked within the top-three public-access courses in their states. A full list follows:
3. Golf Club at Dove Mountain (Saguaro/Tortolita), Marana
12. La Paloma GC (Ridge/Canyon), Tucson
16. Golf Club of Estrella, Phoenix
1. Bayside Resort GC, Fenwick Island
8. Ocean Course at Hammock Beach, Palm Coast
11. PGA National Resort & Spa (Champion), Palm Beach Gardens
14. Grand Cypress (New), Orlando
16. Grand Cypress (North/South), Orlando
3. Reynolds Plantation (Great Waters), Greensboro
10. Achasta GC, Dahlonega
3. Challenge at Manele Bay, Lanai
8. Kauai Lagoons GC, Kauai
9. Hualalai GC, Kona
6. Rocky Gap Lodge, Golf Resort, Cumberland
8. Pinehills (Nicklaus), Plymouth
3. Grand Bear, Saucier
1. Old Works, Anaconda
4. Coyote Springs GC, Coyote Springs
10. Bear’s Best Las Vegas
6. Pronghorn (Nicklaus), Bend
2. Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island
4. May River Course at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton
4. Bear Trace (Cumberland Mountain), Crossville
9. Bay Creek GC (Nicklaus), Cape Charles
6. The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, Sheboygan Falls
“Our Golfweek’s Best Courses issue always is a popular issue with our readers, many of whom tabulate the number of top-100 courses they have played and eagerly flip pages to see where their home course stacks up,” said Golfweek Editor Jeff Babineau. “Rating courses is a subjective endeavor, but it’s always interesting to unveil our new lists and listen to the conversations that they generate.”
Golfweek began its rating system in 1997. The magazine’s team of course raters, which currently boasts more than 725 evaluators, rates each nominated course on the basis of Golfweek’s 10 strict standards of evaluation. Collectively, Golfweek raters have turned in more than 65,000 votes. To view complete lists of the 2014 Golfweek’s Best Modern, Classic and State-by-State Courses, as well as Golfweek’s Best Next 100 Classic and Next 100 Modern rankings, visit golfweek.com/golfweeksbest.