Golf Course Ranking

What follows is a ranking of every course I have played, on a scale of 1 to 10. Enjoy.

Ranking System
This system is generally defined by how far I would recommend someone travel and/or pay to play a given golf course. Each course is considered soley on it's own merits and not based on proximity to other courses.

10, 9, 8- The travel guidance for these is more or less the same. For all of these courses, I would reorganize work and family schedules as much as possible and travel as far as was practical to play them. As an example, I know of folks who have boarded a flight at 6am, flown to a given city, played a single round, then fly back home on a late night flight before going to work the next day. As crazy as that seems, these courses are that good. Same thing goes with pricing. It basically depends on your personal desire to play the course. $400 would be a general expectation for these (which is why I don't play many of them). The numbers simply provide a priority to the system. Meaning I would travel the same distance and pay the same amount to play either Pacific Dunes, Old Macdonald or Bandon Trails, but if I had time for only a single round, I would pick Pacific Dunes over the other two. Do what it takes to see these courses. 


7- The quality of this course is really starting to push up into the elite tiers. There really are relatively few of these around. I have personally driven 7 1/2 hours one way, paid my money, hit a few range balls, played 18 holes and driven another 7 1/2 hours back home to play a 7. For safety reasons, I might not do that again, and wouldn't recommend anyone else do it, but that shows the quality of this type of golf course. $150, perhaps $175, is likely the upper limit for green fees. Any course costing more than that would need to be very unique.

6- This course is going to be very good. I would recommend this course to even my snobbiest friends. This is the kind of course where 5 or 6 hours in a car is reasonable. Still, I would find it tough to spend more than $100 on a course like this.

5- An above average golf course to be sure. This is the type of course you can really plan a day or a trip around. If this course is the only one, however, 4 hours would be the longest distance I would travel to play. And it would be tough to justify more than $75 to play.

4- This course is rather interesting to play and more likely a "good" course. However, this course is not good enough for me to suggest you drive more than 2 hours, 3 hours at the absolute most, in order to play. And I don't suggest paying more than $55 to play, if possible.

3- This course is solidly average. Most of the courses in "your town" fit into this category. So I wouldn't advise you to drive more than an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, to play here, if only because there are probably 3 or 4 courses that are just as good and also closer. I also wouldn't go out and pay more than $40 for this course.

2- These courses are not very good and I wouldn't suggest you drive more than 30 minutes to play here. Same as below, I wouldn't pay more than $25 to play here.

1- These courses are, to put it quite bluntly, rather poor. I'd only recommend you play here if there is no other course in the area to play and you really, REALLY want to get in a round. Don't pay more than $25 to play either.



-Designer and number of times played in parenthesis.
-Top 25 are listed numerically 
10
1) Pebble Beach, Carmel, CA (Douglas Grant and Jack Neville/1): Any superlatives that have been said about this course are deserved. The combination of holes from #4 to #10 is one of the best sustained stretches of golf to be found anywhere with not a weak hole in the bunch. The inland holes, despite being viewed as weak by many, are not, they simply seem weaker when compared with the incredible stretch along the ocean. The finishing hole and the walk to the clubhouse is an unbelievable experience by itself. This is a course not to be missed. (Last Played: 2011)

9
2) Pacific Dunes, Bandon, OR (Tom Doak/1): This course has no weak holes and a great many that are exceptional. It comes as high praise when I say that I feel the 4th hole is the weakest on the course. The ocean front holes here do not make this course, they simply add to the great holes that exist inland, meandering through the dunes. The inland holes feature several holes that could and should be included among the best holes in the world, holes 6 and 7 come to mind immediately as probably the finest holes I have played. Just some minor features in the routing keep this from being a 10. (2011)

8
3) Old Town Club, Winston-Salem, NC (Perry Maxwell/1): World class Golden Age golf course. Every hole has strategic interest and options off the tee and most of the holes have numerous options for where to aim and land the approach shot. This course has an outstanding set of par 3's, with the club used ranging from short iron to fairway metal possibly. Both par 5's are very good and the par 4's are as varied as can be found. Without a doubt, one of the finest courses in North Carolina. (2010)

4) Old Macdonald, Bandon, OR (Tom Doak and Jim Urbina/1): This 4ourse is designed to be a unique homage and tribute to the work of Charles Blair Macdonald. It includes many of his original templates, certainly including the par 3 templates. However, I feel that some of the templates were less than exceptionally executed, specifically the 8th (Biarritz) 9th (Cape) and 11th (Road). But this course has one of the finest set of greens that can be seen anywhere, and according to some sources, the largest average green size in the world. However, this course suffers to a certain degree by having slightly less than desirable land to start and finish on; the 1st, 2nd, 17th and 18th holes are routed over land much different land than the rest. However, I would recommend this course as the first course anyone plays their first time at Bandon Dunes, the view of the property and the Pacific Ocean the first time after cresting the hill on #3 is fairly magical and the best first glimpse of the ocean on any of the courses. (2011)

5) Peachtree, Atlanta, GA (Robert Trent Jones/1): This is Robert Trent Jones at his finest. Here he shows how well he was able to route a course, mixing up the holes for difficulty, direction, and manner of play. This course also has as much ability to play a running shot to the green as any course in the South. This course is simply outstanding. (2012)

6) Bethpage (Black), Farmingdale, NY (A.W. Tillinghast/5): Really incredible public golf course. The rate for New York residents makes this the best golf course for the money by a huge margin and even for out of state, the relative cost is excellent. The strength of this course is in the routing and flow of the design. The greens are very simple, without bold contouring. However, the strength of the rest of the course more than makes up for this. Holes 4, 5, and 12 are the best on the course. The 18th is often criticized because of the way tour professionals play the hole, but for the vast majority of golfers, it is a very strategic hole that will test a player right up to the final shot. 


7) Eagle Point, Wilmington, NC (Tom Fazio/2): Outstanding Tom Fazio design, worthy of its top 100 ranking. Course is very good from start to finish, with no exceptional holes, but no weak ones either. Course builds into a very good finish with a reachable par 5 closer with water right of the green. A tough ticket to be had, for sure, but worth the effort it will take to play. (2007)


8) TPC Sawgrass (PLAYERS Stadium)


7
9) Bandon Trails, Bandon, OR (Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw/1): This is the inland course at Bandon, but certainly not of a lesser quality than the seaside courses. This course is probably the most difficult of the courses in benign conditions given its length and relative tightness. This course and routing does a great job transitioning between three different types of land. The first two holes and 18 are out in the dunes, 3-6 and 14-17 are down in a scrubby meadow and 7-13 are routed through a dense forest, but the transition is so seamless that one might not even really notice the difference for several holes. Certainly the quality does not suffer due to the difference in land forms. However, it does have a couple of less than stellar holes, 11 with its odd water feature (the only one on the property, not including the Pacific Ocean) and 14 with its incredibly penal nature, fall slightly short; they are not bad holes, but they are not quite the quality of the rest on this course. (2011)

10) Baltimore CC (East)


11) Rustic Canyon, Moorpark, CA(Gil Hanse/1): Very good course routed over the flat lands between two rather large hills. This course has one of the better sets of greens that a person can see, they all have great movement and the movement is either more or less severe depending on the approach club expected; the greens are certainly the strongest feature of the course. The holes individually are nothing overly exceptional, however, when one walks off the course, will realize that while none of the holes were exceptional, none were weak, that is a difficult task to complete. (2011)

12) East Lake, Atlanta, GA (Tom Bendelow, Donald Ross, & Rees Jones/1): This is a course that most golfers will have seen quite a bit since is hosts the yearly PGA Tour Championship. 


13) Pine Needles, Southern Pines, NC (Donald Ross/5): From the par 5 opener to the dogleg left par 4 closer, this course will not disappoint. It features many subtle undulations in the fairways that can kick balls all around and an top notch set of green complexes. The only hole that seems forced to fit is the par 4 14th. The rest of the holes, while not being world class, are certainly all above average. Course is more than worth the price of admission and one of the few courses in the Pinehurst area that one can build an entire trip around. (2008)

14) Bulle Rock, Havre de Grace, MD (Pete Dye/1):



15) The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, SC (Robert Trent Jones/1): Very solid golf course and a great example of how good a designer Robert Trent Jones could be when given a good site. The course retains playability in high winds and is generally well maintained. The holes have solid variety throughout the course from long to short and the greens have solid interest as well. (2012)

16) Golden Horseshoe (Gold), Williamsburg, VA (Robert Trent Jones/1):  The course starts off with a good par 4 that plays downhill from the clubhouse and a very good par 5 second. After that, the course is less than great for the remainder of the front nine with two nearly identical par 3’s, a near clone of the par 5 second on hole #6 and a few less than notable par 4’s, though none of these holes are bad. The course really shows itself on the back nine, however. Starting off the back nine with a long par 4 tenth, it builds into one of the best 4 hole closing stretches to be found on a public course. The sweeping view of the 16th green and 17th fairway stretched out in front of the 16th tee is otherworldly. (2010)

17) Royal New Kent, Providence Forge, VA (Mike Strantz/1): This course is much like Tobacco Road in that is has many eye-popping features and contours. The course also has a very bold set of greens with many large, sweeping contours. What sets this course above Tobacco Road in the portfolio of Mike Strantz is the added length and variety of holes. This course also lacks some of the features that make Tobacco Road odd, such as an overabundance of blind shots and too many aerial-only shots. And while this course is very difficult from the back tees for any level of golfer, it is also playable for nearly any level of golfer, so long as they make good, sensible decisions. (2011)

6

18) Colleton River (Dye), Bluffton, SC (Pete Dye/1)

19) Edgewood Tahoe, Stateline, NV (George and Tom Fazio/1): Very well routed course that has a good variety in holes. Par 3's play different lengths, as much so as one can see on a golf course today. The par 5's are all reachable in 2 shots, but require a precise tee shot in order to do so, otherwise, you must decide how you wish to lay up. The par 4's are not quite as varied, however, given the elevation, 350 yards would be a reachable hole and 500 could be approached with a mid iron easily, the variety is probably as good as can be expected. The concluding holes along Lake Tahoe are very good holes with 16 being an outstanding par 5. (2011)

20) Lonnie Poole Golf Course at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC (Arnold Palmer Design/1): This course was built with the specific intent of hosting major college golf events. So, when you step on the first tee, expect to be challenged both on your ability to shape the ball and your ability to hit the ball far. The course features one of the longest par 5’s in North Carolina (The 678 yard 11th) and one of the longest par 4’s that can be found anywhere (the 550 yard 3rd). The only weak hole on the course is the par 5 15th that was forced to be built on flat land around the irrigation ponds. After that, the course builds into a great finish with a mid length par 4, a short par 3 and a brutish long par 4 to close. Course is certainly the best public option in Raleigh/Durham, and frankly one of the best in the state. (2009)


21) Mattaponi Springs, Ruther Glen, VA (Bob Lohmann/1): Very top notch golf course built well off the beaten path about 45 minutes outside Richmond, VA. Course will challenge you from the start with a long, downhill par 4. After that, the course does not let up with a string of very good holes up to hole #12. After that, the course does disappoint a little bit with some holes (13, 16 and 17) being forced in around an irrigation pond at the highest point on the property. Between them can be found a very good long par 3 and an above average mid length par 4. 18 is a good closer that requires a few plays (and confidence) to find the best line off the tee in order to have the best shot into the green. The greens here have as much undulation as will be found most anywhere, but they still play fair because they are all fairly large in size and feature numerous possible angles of attack. Take the time to stop in and play if transiting on I-95 through this area. (2010)

22) Tobacco Road, Sanford, NC (Mike Strantz/5): This is a highly polarizing golf course that is certainly one of the most unique courses found anywhere. This course is truly one of a kind. It features numerous risk/reward holes (all the par 5’s are like this) and perhaps the most quirky set of greens one will ever see. The weakest spot of the course is the stretch from 15-17, where the par 4 15th and 16th both feature blind tee shots. The shot into the green on 15 is near impossible depending on pin position and tee shot position. 16 features an elevated green where a mis-hit shot can possibly roll back 75 yards or more into the fairway. And 17 is a very out of place short par 3 that requires you walk at least 300 yards more than you should have to in order to get from the 16th green to the 18th tee. The greens, while incredibly interesting really detract from the golf course because they are all so quirky. While traveling to Pinehurst, certainly stop to play Tobacco Road at least once, but expect to be either WOWED beyond understanding, or dramatically disappointed, but nothing in between. (2009)


23) TPC Louisiana, Avondale, LA (Pete Dye/1): Very solid course. The par 4's have as much variety as nearly any course, though the par 3's and 5's are slightly repetitive, with exception of 18. The course has good flow, which is a mark of Pete Dye courses, however manufactured they may be. The course does have a few negatives, the constant use of large sandy waste areas that are completely surrounded by grass, the less than stellar par 3's and 5's and a slight lack of width, but overall, the course is quite nice. (2012)


24) RTJ Ross Bridge, Hoover, AL (Roger Rulewich/1): The RTJ Trail marketing machine attempts to hype this course as the best on the trail. Perhaps it is, the pricing structure certainly says that it should be. The Rulewich Standard most certainly applies to this course. The holes are very good, the scenery is quite nice and the turf conditions are as good as I have seen in Alabama. But the course falls terribly short with the routing. The course is monstrously long by itself, checking in a 8,191 yards from the back markers, but it somehow it still takes driving over 12,000 yards of cart paths in order to get from first tee back to the clubhouse. Quality of holes is a 7+. Routing is about a 3. My initial reaction was to give the course a 5 overall, but the huge scale of the place and the 8,191 back tee yardage boosts it up. Play late in the afternoon from the black markers, get your face beat in, but get to say you played a 8,000+ yard golf course. (2012)

25) Anchorage GC, Anchorage, AK (Bill Newcomb/1): This is likely the best conditioned golf course in Alaska and might even be on better land than any of the rest. The course posesses great variety from short to very long par 3's, reachable par 5's and long par 4's. The course can get slightly repetitive with the mid-length par 4's, but even those have enough variety to hold interest. Holes 2, 9, and 16 stand out as real highlights. (2012)

Eagleglen, Elmendorf AFB, AK (NLE) (Robert Trent Jones and Robert Trent Jones, Jr./1): Very solid golf course. Routed over some rather flat land, but land with enough movement to make the course very playable and easily walked. The par 5's are certainly the highlight of the course with 18 being a top class finishing hole. The par 3's also have very good variety, although the par 4's could use fractionally more variety. (2012)


Sevillano Links, Corning, CA (John Daly/1): While the initial thought on this course may be that it will simply be overbearing and boring due to John Daly having a hand in the design, the truth is far from that. This course has a very good set of greens, and even though the course is very long, maxing out at over 7,800 yards, it does not come off as unplayable. The fairways are very generous and offer multiple approaches into the greens. The greens are also very interesting, having a great deal of movement. While this course tends to take a beating from some because of the enormous length, it is not unplayable. In fact, the course is very, very fun to play. (2011)

Forest Creek (North), Southern Pines, NC (Tom Fazio/1): A Tom Fazio design run through a housing development where the houses are set back far enough to allow for a good sense of isolation. While, like many other Fazio designs, this course features no real standout holes, it features no real weak ones either. One of the best courses to be found in the Pinehurst area, if you can get onto it. (2008)


Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, UT (Johnny Miller/1): Very well built course that winds around and crosses the Jordan River on several holes. Course is very long, but at elevation plays shorter than the card. The greens are huge in scale, some so large they require irrigation heads in the green surface in order to irrigate properly. The course features some fairly large elevation changes on the holes the wrap around the river and two of the par 3’s play directly over the river. This course is top notch and likely the best public option in the Salt Lake City area. (2008)

Country Club of North Carolina (Dogwood) Village of Pinehurst, NC (Ellis Maples/1): The best of the two courses at the Country Club. This 1960’s era Ellis Maples design shows a few Donald Ross characteristics (Maples worked for Ross initially) and some of the newer features that were becoming the style. The course uses its natural lake very well on most holes, playing around and over the lake and its tributary streams several times, but also has some real poor holes. The 11th (A 90 degree dog leg par 4 with a tree near the tee to prevent taking the best line) and the 15th (an oddly shaped par 4 with no real proper way to be played) are really the worst holes to be found. This course used to be in the Golf Digest Top 100, but has not been able to keep up with the new courses built elsewhere in the past 10-15 years. Either way, a very good option while in the Sandhills (though, like Forest Creek, a highly private course). (2008)

PGA Golf Club (Dye), Port St. Lucie, FL (Pete Dye/3): Easily the best of the three courses at PGA Golf Club. Top notch design by Pete Dye. This course features highly contoured fairways with subtle humps and bumps throughout. The course also features some very deep bunkers (the centerline fairway bunker on the per 5 5th is 6-8 feet deep) and numerous pot bunkers. Course also surrounded by oyster shell waste areas on all holes (easier to play from than bunker sand) and marsh lands on several holes. If traveling to PGA Golf Club/Resort, plan to play this one more times than you play the other 2, you won’t be disappointed. (2008)

5
Harding Park, San Francisco, CA (Chris Gray, Sam Whiting, Willie Watson/1): Very well routed course with no real weak holes and very good variety. The final stretch of holes along Lake Merced are well above average. The course suffers somewhat due to a fairly boring set of greens however; the routing is good enough that if given an extensive green redesign, the course could likely be a 7 or higher, the routing is that good. (2011)

Moose Run (Creek), Fort Richardson, AK (Robin Nelson/1): Probably the best course in the state of Alaska, and were it not for poor conditions brought on by a very, very short growing season, this course would likely be ranked higher. This course has some oddities in the routing brought on by the nature conservationist mindset that was brought into building the course. Therefore, the creek that runs through the course does not come into play as much as it possibly could because of the desire to maintain a natural habitat for native animals. Two holes on the course are routed through an old US Army quarry and they are the best on the course, #6 and #11. (2009)


United States Naval Academy Golf Club, Annapolis, MD (William Flynn/4): Very classy, understated course with as good a variety of holes as one can find. This course is blessed with exceptional terrain and it shows in a very good routing. This course certainly has one of the better routings I have seen. The holes also have great variety among them. The course is hurt slightly by being a bit short by today's standards, though it still poses a firm challenge. The main thing that holds this course back from being really exceptional is green contouring. Overall, the greens have very limited contour and movement. If the greens on this course matched the routing and variety, this course would be truly special. (2010)


Tot Hill Farm, Asheville, NC (Mike Strantz/1): Another Mike Strantz course, certainly in the mold of Tobacco Road. Very extreme features in some cases and very densely wooded on the perimeters of the property, so dense that in many cases they struggle to grow grass because of the lack of sunlight. Course has a high number of rock out croppings and some very large elevation changed in spots. Certainly a course to play, but like Tobacco Road, you’ll leave either loving or hating, but likely nothing in between. (2008)


Stonehouse, Toano, VA (Mike Strantz/1): Course has the standard Strantz wild greens, unique holes and quirky shots. It also, sadly, has a terrible routing through houses. And one or two holes that are just not that good. But overall it is quite nice. And it perhaps gets a bonus due to the designer and the fact that the rarity of his designs makes these courses rare. (2011)


Bryan Park (Champions), Greensboro, NC (Rees Jones/3): Good golf course built with several holes bordering Lake Townsend. While the course has some less than spectacular holes, the holes by the water will make up for it. Especially the par 3 14th that may play entirely over the water depending on tee placement. The rest of the course is above average with a Redan type par 3 5th and no holes on the course that really stand out as below average. (2006)

Duke Golf Club, Durham, NC (Robert Trent Jones and Rees Jones/1): This is a 1960’s era Robert Trent Jones design that was renovated in the late 90’s by Rees Jones. Course has a very good set of par 5’s and a fair set of par 4’s. The par 3’s are a real weak spot for the course, with the 11th being the weakest. The par 4, 12th is also a very weak hole. These two holes are on the worst part of the property, and it shows. (2008)

The President (Eagle), West Palm Beach, FL (Robert Trent Jones, Jr./1): Good golf course that, even though it is routed close to houses and skyscrapers in the middle of West Palm Beach, has a very open air and peaceful feeling. Course is fairly wide open and is surrounded by sand/shell bunkers on most holes. Nothing overly spectacular here, but no let downs either. (2008)

Hasentree, Wake Forest, NC (Tom Fazio/1): A new Tom Fazio design, that will likely decrease in stature over the years as the houses are built in around it. Typical of many Fazio designs, it has no really remarkable holes, but no weak ones. Pretty much above average all the way around, but nothing that jumps out as being special. (2008)

Southern Pines GC, Southern Pines, NC (Donald Ross/3): This course would probably be better if there were a way to start the course on the current 9th hole and end on the current 8th. Certainly the finest stretch of holes on this course are the first 8. After that, the course kind of flounders along to the end. Of the remaining 10 holes, only #11 and perhaps #18 can be considered equal to the opening stretch. Certainly a very good golf course either way, likely one of the top 10 in the Pinehurst area, but, maybe not worth the rates they tend to charge now. (2007)

Bear’s Best Atlanta, Suwanee, GA (Jack Nicklaus/1): This is a residential course designed to include 18 of Nicklaus’s “best” holes. They probably failed to find the 18 best, but either way, the course turned out well above average. The houses do not come into play, and if you like to look as well designed houses, then the views of the houses are not terrible. This course is good from start to finish, but the way holes are put down in template fashion limits the ability to have a big build up into a finish and it does not have one. Still, course is more than worth a look. (2007)

Tanglewood (Championship), Clemmons, NC (Robert Trent Jones/1): 1960’s Robert Trent Jones design and host of the 1974 PGA Championship. This course can be a brute from the opening tee shot to the last putt. Long golf course with very little breathing room and no real ‘rest’ holes. The best holes on the course are the 2 par 5’s, 6 and 17. Both are very long. The par 3’s are interesting as well, although not too varied. All tend to be long and certainly not easy. For a course built with the intent to hold tournaments, it can do that with ease; this is no easy golf course. (2006)

Pensacola CC, Pensacola, FL (Jerry Pate/1): While designed to look much like a natural setting and routing, the course is not. A fair amount of earth was moved to make the contours that are present today, but it was done as a functional measure in order for the course to drain properly. Overall the course plays very well with a great combination of par 4’s for the golfer to enjoy. The par 3’s are quite varied as well, ranging from short iron distance to long iron/fairway wood distance. However, the par 5’s are all fairly short and nothing special, with the possible exception of #6. The finish on 18 is very good down by the water with a well done skyline green. (2010)

Riverfront, Suffolk, VA (Tom Doak/4): A course that was most likely better 10 years ago before the housing ate away at an otherwise good design. This early Tom Doak design makes good use of the wetland/river area it is given and those holes are the best on the course. Some of the inland holes however leave a bit to be desired, especially so now with houses encroaching fairly tight to some of the fairways. Course is one of the better options in the Hampton Roads area, though that isn’t saying much. (2010)

Nansemond River GC, Suffolk, VA (Tom Steele/2): This property fronts the Nansemond River and the river comes into play or view on 8 holes with water being in play on 3 others. Course has a very good mixture of strategy and length on the par 3 holes and the par 5 holes. While the greens are generally somewhat flat and without bold contours, the routing and aesthetics of the course more than make up for that. Of the three courses on the Nansemond River in Suffolk (Riverfront, Sleepy Hole and NRGC) this one makes best use of the river frontage the property gives and has more strategic options than the other two. Certainly one of the best public options in the Hampton Roads area and one without equal in it's price category. (2010)

Callippe Preserve, Pleasanton, CA (Brian Costello/1): Given that this course/project cost nearly $40 million and 20+ years to complete, I am slightly tempted to give it a 0. But given that much of that money was spent on things outside the course itself, I will be lenient. This is a very good public golf course overall. The designers hands were tied in many ways due to several natural streams that cross the property and the property itself being the natural habitat for an endangered species of butterfly. The course itself is very good however. Great variety in length on the par 4's, something that is sadly lacking on most courses today. (2011)

4
Bryan Park (Players), Greensboro, NC (George Cobb, Rees Jones/1): A course much like the Champions course that it shares property with, this course would be just as good if it had the water front views. This course is actually routed over a more interesting piece of land than the Champions from the perspective of ground movement. While it does have a few average or below average holes, the course as a whole is pretty good. Nothing great, but nothing bad. (1998)

Cypress Landing, Chocowinity, NC (Bill Love/3): This course is routed through a housing development and with further, more recent, review, may fall lower; 8 years ago many of the houses had not yet been built. Overall the course is good. But like many others, it does not have any kind of finish. The real climax of the round is the par 3, 15th hole that plays down to the Pamlico River. After that, the course finishes with 3 average holes. (2002)

The Emerald, New Bern, NC (Rees Jones/3): Course plays through a development, but in most cases, the houses are set back enough to not make much of a difference. A major example of them being in play however is the 18th where the houses are fairly close to the fairway on the left and water runs the either length on the right. This course has nothing great to offer, but nothing horrendous either; in the Eastern NC/Morehead City area, this is really the best option, but that’s not saying much. (2002)

North Shore, Sneads Ferry, NC (Bob Moore/3): This is a course designed near the intercoastal waterway just outside of Jacksonville, NC but it does not make near as good a use of the water views as it could. The holes on the water are above average, but the farther inland the holes go, the worse they become. This is not a terrible course, but not a great one by any stretch of the imagination. (2002)

UNC Finley, Chapel Hill, NC (Tom Fazio/4): Fazio design, nothing great, nothing terrible; nothing else need be said. (2008)

Castle Bay, Hampstead, NC (Randy Blanton/1): Course designed as a links style course and very near to the water, though not on it. Course was built as part of a housing development and may fall in ranking upon further review as there were no houses in the course when originally played 9 years ago and now the development is near full. When new and no houses around, the course played very fun, very firm and fast, and very windy. (2003)

The Neuse, Clayton, NC (John LaFoy/10+): Certainly the second best of the public options in the Raleigh, NC area. Well routed (as well as a housing course can be) over some very interesting land. Course is always well maintained by the top notch staff. While it does have a few average (possibly below average) holes, the overall feel of the course is very good. (2007)

The Pit, Aberdeen, NC (NLE) (Dan Maples/2): Probably the toughest ranking I give out because I really, really dislike this golf course. But I won’t discount the fact that its unique and probably something is a precursor to the work done at Tobacco Road and others. Routed over a fairly extreme piece of land on the back nine, the course has some above average holes and some that are nearly absurd. The 15 yard wide opening on the 225 yard par 3 5th is one example. The barstool size greens on 8 and 15 are other examples. Certainly unique and worth a look for that reason, but another polarizing course. (2008)

Heritage Wake Forest, Wake Forest, NC (Bob Moore/1): A fairly nice course with some above average features, but nothing overly special. (2006)

Pinehurst #1, Village of Pinehurst, NC (Donald Ross/1): This is one of the Pinehurst courses that doesn’t get much attention since it’s the oldest. But a good golf course overall with some good holes and no real bad ones. Nothing spectacular, but it will not disappoint. (2008)

Pinehurst #5, Village of Pinehurst, NC (Ellis Maples/1): Probably the 3rd best of the 5 courses playing out of the main resort clubhouse. Even though routed through houses, the course plays fairly open. The final stretch of holes are all above average from #14 to the clubhouse. (2006)

Pinehurst #7, Village of Pinehurst, NC (Rees Jones/1): Rees Jones designed golf course on property that butts up to course #2. Very interesting piece of land; quite varied. About half the course is built on quite rolling land and the other half is built on low, wetland type area. The holes routed through the rolling land are the best. The holes in the wetlands leave a lot to be desired. Half good, half not good, that works out to roughly average, slightly above. (2008)

Foxfire (Original), Jackson Springs, NC (Gene Hamm/1): This course is holes 1-5 and 15-18 of the current West course and holes 1-8 and 18 of the East. These are the best 18 holes on the property and were the original 18 when Foxfire first opened. While some of the holes are weak or require some difficult forced carries, the course as a whole is one of the better offerings in Pinehurst. Difficult to play though, access would only be granted on days where there is very limited play. (2007)

Talamore, Southern Pines, NC (Rees Jones/1): The second of two Rees Jones designed golf courses in Pinehurst and the slightly weaker of the two. Like so many other course in Pinehurst, this course has not much really wrong with it, but not much noteworthy either. They used to have the distinction of offering Llamas as caddies, but they do not do that anymore. (2007)

PGA (Wanamaker), Port St. Lucie, FL (Tom Fazio/1): Like so many other Fazio designs, quite interchangeable with each other; nothing great, nothing terrible. (2008)

PGA (Ryder), Port St. Lucie, FL (Tom Fazio/2): Another Fazio design at PGA Golf Club. While this one might not be quite as good overall, it does have the best hole on the property, the par 5, 4th hole, which I call a boomerang hole. The hole goes in a J shape and allows the player to cut as much off the hole as he or she may choose. The 2nd shot for the player might be a lay-up from 275 yards or a lob wedge from 65, depending on wind and aggressiveness. Other than the 4th hole, the course has not much else of note. (2008)

Park Ridge, West Palm Beach, FL (Roy Case and Jeff Grossman/1): Good municipal golf course built on an old landfill in West Palm Beach, FL. The course is rated lower than it might be otherwise because some of the holes around the edge of the fill are quite sub-par, 7 and 8 certainly fit the bill here. But it has some above average holes as well and most of the back nine can be included in that definition. And unlike most golf in south Florida, this course features some decent elevation changes because of the position on top of the landfill, and that makes up for the sub-par holes in places. (2008)

Mid South, Southern Pines, NC (Arnold Palmer/10+): A very good Palmer design course that could possibly be ranked higher, but this is what it gets. There are no real weak holes on the course, but none that jump out as outstanding. And with a weak set of par 5’s, the course, while it feels very good, just really isn’t there with deeper review. (2008)

The National (Pinehurst), Village of Pinehurst, NC (Jack Nicklaus/1): Much likes its neighbor Mid South, this course looks very good, but upon further review, just doesn’t have much substance overall. Nothing great and a couple of oddly placed holes and you wind up with a middle of the road, early Nicklaus design. Nothing special. (2008)

TPC Wakefield Plantation, Wake Forest, NC (Hale Irwin/2): The design of this course is solid and holds up well to the Nationwide Tour players it hosts every year, as it was designed to do. However, for the player who desires to walk the course, it is a very, very difficult walk. The property has great movement, but many of the distances from green to tee are excessive and often uphill in order for the holes to be better. But the course does what it was designed to do, test the best players in the world, and it does that well. (2009)

Pinecrest, Idaho Falls, ID (William H. Tucker/1): One of the better municipal courses to be seen. If this course were in east-central North Carolina rather than east-central Idaho it would be more well known than it is. This course suffers a bit, because, due to its age, the trees have grown in and tightened the holes significantly. And having a few holes squeezed against city streets is not ideal either. But as a whole this course comes off as fairly impressive and exceptionally well maintained given the short growing season and somewhat extreme climate. (2008)

South Mountain, Draper, UT (David Graham, David Panks/1): This course is literally designed on the side of the mountain south of Salt Lake City. This makes some of the holes very interesting and some odd. And it’s fairly impossible to walk, even if they allowed walking. Course certainly has a great deal of interest, but the odd holes in the valleys and the unwalkable nature of the course hurt it overall. (2008)

Virginia Beach National, Virginia Beach, VA (Pete Dye/1): Decent Pete Dye design routed over very flat land. The holes outside of the hardwood forest are the best, while the holes routed through the trees are not very good, with the 14th being nearly unplayable depending on the wind. Nothing really outstanding though, but nothing terrible. (2011)

The Players Club at St. James Plantation, Southport, NC (Tim Cate/1): Nothing great, nothing terrible, nothing really memorable. (1999)

Oak Hollow, High Point, NC (Pete Dye/1): Top of the line municipal golf course in High Point. Makes great use of its lake frontage and the inland holes don’t suffer. Fairly short by modern standards, and that is what causes it to fall some in the ranking. But overall, a very good golf course, but for the longer hitters and better players, it might bore over time. (2009)

Mid Pines, Southern Pines, NC (Donald Ross/1): A course not nearly as good as its neighbor Pine Needles, but a fair course nonetheless. Course has not much of note other than the par 4, 12th. Good slightly downhill par 4 with a green angled opposite the angle of approach. Other than that, fairly mundane, but still worth a look as a Donald Ross course that is nearly the same as it was when constructed. (2007)

Eaglewood (Raptor), Langley AFB, VA (Lester George/10+): Very good golf course, especially for a military base course. Possibly could have been better if it had not been built over an old bombing range. 17,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance were picked up off the site and that limited the amount of earth moving that could be done. As a result, it has a few holes that are strange, the 11th being a striking example. But it more than makes up for that with the rest of the holes, especially the closing stretch. 18 is a very good risk/reward par 5 to close out the round. Very interesting set of greens as well. (2011)

Lambert's Point, Norfolk, VA (Lester George/1): When you play this course and see the tight property, you'll be amazed Lester George was able to fit 9 holes on the property at all, let alone 9 as good as the ones present. While the course is short, it does give the player good views of the Elizabeth River on every hole. Five holes play directly by the river, with an inlet coming into play on another. The opening hole sets the tone for a very good round playing uphill from tee to green to a very well placed and contoured skyline green. The par 3's are quite varied in length and playing style and the par five, 3rd hole, has been voted one of the top holes in the Hampton Roads area. Very good option, and an inexpensive one at that, for the Hampton Roads area. (2010)

Cahoon Plantation, Chesapeake, VA (Ault, Clark and Associates/1): This course is quite the oddity with bent grass fairways in such a southerly location and probably worth a look because of that fact, just to see for yourself how it holds up in the summer. The course was very well maintained. The fairways were exceptionally smooth and true though it would seem the fairways may not drain all that well. As a design though, there is not much here. Very few of the holes stand out from each other. The greens have some good movement and there are a few interesting angles from the fairway, but overall, the holes just run together. Architecturally, the course is a 3, but the uniqueness of the bentgrass fairways makes it a bit more worth a play. (2010)

Maryland National GC, Middletown, MD (Arthur Hills/1): This course is routed over property that has a creek/stream running through the middle of it and fairly dramatic hills surrounding the stream. The holes on the hillsides are very good. I am even inclined to say that this course has one of the best sets of par 5's I have seen on a public golf course. However, with the exception of the par 5 15th hole, the holes that play either beside of across the creek are some of the worst holes I have played, with the 16th being quite possibly the worst golf hole I have ever played. Certainly an above average course, but it also certainly has some far below average individual holes. (2010)

StoneTree, Novato, CA (Johnny Miller/1): This course is built on a site that has two polar opposites in land features; half the course is built over near-perfectly flat former farm land and half is built through mountain valleys with as much elevation change as is practical on an individual hole. The holes themselves are very good and generally have very good, interesting greens. However, when played in anything greater than a moderate breeze, the course becomes nearly unplayable due to its lack of width. The routing is also rather strange with holes being disconnected from each other and some rather long distances from green to tee. Certainly a course where the overall quality is lower than the quality of the individual holes. (2011)

Metropolitan, Oakland, CA (Johnny Miller/1): This course suffers a bit due to an odd site. It is in the flight path of the Oakland Airport and has some of the approach lights between two holes. Most of the holes are generally solid and generally has a good routing, however, the par 3 7th hole is terribly routed to the point that the player must walk back the entire length of the hole to reach the tee after leaving the 6th green. Sadly, I have some to expect this from Johnny Miller designed courses. The course also suffers from some water run-off canals, but overall it is fairly well done. (2011)

Wildhorse, Davis, CA (Jeff Brauer/1): Good golf course that is situated on an odd piece of property that likely caused more than a few compromises in design. Very good set of greens and green surrounds make up for the compromised routing however. Like too many courses today, this course suffers from a large “environmentally sensitive area” in the form of a stream that runs down the middle of the property; unfortunately this had to be routed around. Overall, the course provides a very good test from the back tees; add in a few of the 'secret' tees and it can be quite a beast. (2011)

San Geronimo, San Geronimo, CA (Robert Muir Graves, Arthur Vernon Macan/1): Very good public course that has as good of variety and interest as can be found in the North Bay public golf courses. The flat front nine has enough elevation change to keep the golfers interest, while the back nine has much more elevation change and provides a much greater challenge. (2011)

RTJ Magnolia Grove (Falls), Mobile, AL (Robert Trent Jones, Roger Rulewich/5): Solid course but like many on the RTJ Trail, it lacks a coherent routing and anything much above average in the greens. It has nothing poor on the course (well, unless you are trying to walk and play a specific set of tees) but nothing really excellent either. The course being maintained somewhat soft in the fairways doesn't help it either. Apparently Rulewich was highly capable of creating courses that are nearly interchangeable with each other, having nothing bad, but nothing really good or great, all the while being very poorly routed. **This comment will subsequently be called the “Rulewich Standard.” (2012)

RTJ Magnolia Grove (Crossings), Mobile, AL (Robert Trent Jones, Roger Rulewich/5): Much the same as the Falls course at the same site. Though this one is slightly more walkable than the Falls, which probably contributes to it hosting an LPGA Tour event. Typically maintained slightly firmer than the Falls, which is a positive. Certainly the better of the two courses, but not by a wide margin. **Rulewich Standard applies (2012)

RTJ Magnolia Grove (Short), Mobile, AL (Robert Trent Jones, Roger Rulewich/10+): The individual holes are rather solid, probably about as good as one could expect on a par 3 course. But the lack of shot variety is rather obvious. At no point in time is the player given the option to run the ball onto the green. While run-up shots are not typically preferred, it would be nice to have that option from time to time. Hitting the same high lofted shot 18 times in a row gets a little old. And the routing is probably as poor as was possible with the site. At some point in time, on every single hole, the golfer must walk up a hill. Perfect add-on course if playing here on the Trail, but you probably won't be overly thrilled. (2012)

North River Club (Called Beaufort Club as of 2017), Beaufort, NC (Bob Moore/1): This course is about as good as one would expect given it was crafted from farm lands that might have had 5 feet of elevation change total. It had a very open feel to it and many of the holes were solid. The routing, however, is quite poor in places and takes away from any flow the course may have had. A reevaluation in a few years once the homes are built might be necessary as well, I have a feeling it will drop. (2011)

Cypress Creek, Smithfield, VA (Curtis Strange/1): Course has a nice tribute to #12 at Augusta National on hole #9; the design may or may not have been intentional, that is an unknown. After a decent opening stretch, the hole plays down to the river/creek and then comes to the clubhouse. It then goes back to the river for three holes on the back nine. Turf conditions were solid as well. This course won't be a disappointment to you, unless you drive 3 hours to play. (2011)

Purple Sage, Evanston, WY (Kevin Atkinson/1): Probably the highest ranking course on this list that only a hand full of people will ever see. This course is in something of a 'speed-bump' town in western Wyoming and likely gets limited play. But the holes are very solid, play up and down hills, through flat lands, great variety in the par 3's and par 5's. Quite nice, especially considering the location. (2011)

RTJ Cambrian Ridge (Sherling/Canyon), Greenville, AL (Robert Trent Jones, Roger Rulewich/1): As is standard with RTJ Trail courses, this course is high on scenery and is very photogenic, but lacks in real quality. The greens are quite average, the surrounds are pretty much non-existent. Couple this with a routing that is poor, with exceptionally long distances from one hole to the next, and the scenery can only take the course so far. **Rulewich Standard applies (2011)
 
Mississippi National, Gautier, MS (Earl Stone/1): Solid course, easily walked. Nothing poor, nothing great. (2011)

Scenic Hills, Pensacola, FL (Chic Adams, Jerry Pate [R]/1): Former US Women's Open venue and it advertises that heavily. Certainly this course is an example of a “vintage” 1960's golf course. Wide, open feeling even though it is in an housing development, flat bottomed bunkers without flashed faces and a rather solid routing that could be easily walked if the management allowed non-members to walk. Even the greens and surrounds had some decent interest. Solid course.  (2012)

RTJ Oxmoor Valley (Ridge), Birmingham, AL (Robert Trent Jones, Roger Rulewich/1): This course was something like Groundhog Day, every hole was pretty much the same. Hit your tee shot to between 125 and 175 from the green in order to get a flat lie, anywhere else will be nearly unplayable. From there, hit a high lofted shot into the green. Once again, at no point in time is the player given even the slightest chance to roll the ball onto the green. The holes individually are all solid, but taken as a whole they just get repetitive and the routing is not that great either. **Rulewich Standard applies (2012)

RTJ Oxmoor Valley (Valley), Birmingham, AL (Robert Trent Jones, Roger Rulewich/1): This course is slightly more walkable than the Ridge course, but still has some substantial hikes between holes. And just the same as many Trail courses, the player is not really given many strategic options off the tee. On perhaps 2 holes does the player benefit from being on one side of the fairway or the other. **Rulewich Standard applies (2012)

Settlers Bay, Wasilla, AK (Ted Locke/1): This course has some solid, scenic holes and an interesting set of greens. But the back nine has some very strange holes and odd features. A bunker sized pond on hole 12 comes to mind. Conditions are good by Alaska standards. (2012)

Palmer Golf Course, Palmer, AK (William Overdorf/1): Very scenic course looking out into the mountains in all directions. The course is very open with few trees and also quite flat. The conditions suffer more than other courses in Alaska, it seems, not sure why that is the case. Being routed around the Palmer Airport allows for an out and back routing and some of the holes are routed as closely as possible to the Matanuska River. Solid and scenic, but not overwhelming. (2012)

RTJ Lakewood (Azalea), Point Clear, AL (Perry Maxwell and others/1): This course is about the same level of quality as the others on the Trail, which means it is highly over-priced for what you get. The original holes, holes 1-5, 15-18 are all solid and good holes. The holes between those are spotty and some are just bad. This is not a bad course, but it is certainly not worth the price of admission.


Arcadian Shores, Myrtle Beach, SC (Rees Jones/1): This course was ranked in the Golf Digest Top 100 for several years and was likely deserving of such ranking. Today, however, the course lacks a real golf atmosphere given how close it plays to busy public roads and shopping plazas. The course conditioning also suffers. With better conditioning and a bit more privacy, this course could be very good. But with the pricing being among the lowest in Myrtle Beach, it will not disappoint. (2012)


3
Silver Creek, Pelletier, NC (Gene Hamm/10+): Fun course to play while on vacation to the NC Crystal Coast; the best offering in that area. While it does have some weak spots, the two 90  dogleg holes come to mind, it is a solid course overall with a good set of elevated greens. (2011)

Morehead City Country Club, Morehead City, NC (C. C. McCuiston, Tim Cate/10+): Pretty good private club built on the river. It could have been better if it used the river frontage for golf and not housing. The 18th is a good par 5 closer that plays down near the river. Other than that, the course is just average and nothing special. (2001)

New Bern, New Bern, NC (Donald Ross/1):  The par 3, 18th hole plays over a cove in the Trent River and is the only memorable hole in an otherwise unmemorable course. (1999)

Lexington GC, Lexington, NC (Dugan Aycock/10+): Course is much better after a recent renovation but it still has some holes, especially on the front nine, which are just odd. But it does have a decent set of finishing holes to allow for a big finish. (2006)

Paradise Point (Gold), Camp Lejuene, NC (George Cobb/10+): Course has a good 12th hole, par 3 down by Northeast Creek, but beyond that, nothing of exceptional interest. But nothing bad either. Average course with an above average clubhouse. (2005)

Wilmington, Wilmington, NC (Donald Ross/2): An original Donald Ross design that is probably maintained much the same as it was when constructed. Very rough around the edges; it has an interesting Volcano type hole in the par 3, 4th hole, but other than that, the course is, exactly as the number states, average. (2004)

Bradford Creek, Greenville, NC (Bob Cupp/1): Course was built over very flat land and was not overly shaped. No holes to note good or bad. (2002)

Ironwood, Greenville, NC (Lee Trevino/1): One hole borders the Tar River and it is the best on the course. Beyond that hole, nothing of interest to report. (2002)

Northgreen, Rocky Mount, NC (Bob Toski/1): Certainly a tough golf course, but with a weird front nine, the above average back nine is pulled down. Good closing 18th and overall a good set of par 5’s, but nothing as a whole to write home about. (2002)

Wild Wing (Hummingbird), Myrtle Beach, SC (NLE) (Willard Byrd/1) (2001)

Cheviot Hills, Raleigh, NC (NLE) (Gene Hamm/3) (2006)

River Ridge, Clayton, NC (Chuck Smith/1): A course that really misses the boat given that it has a good amount of river frontage and uses none of it. You can hear the river, but at no point in time can you see it. Waste of good property. But an ok course, probably a top 5 public in the Raleigh area, but when you get past NCSU and The Neuse, the quality falls off sharply. (2004)

Wake Forest, Wake Forest, NC (NLE) (Gene Hamm/1) (2006)

Tanglewood (Reynolds), Clemmons, NC (Robert Trent Jones/1): The sister course to the Championship course and quite inferior. A fair number of the holes on the back nine are just odd. But OK as a whole. (2006)

Pinehurst #3, Village of Pinehurst, NC (Donald Ross/1): Well designed golf course, and even though it has a few odd holes, it might be one of the better designed courses at the Resort. But at less than 6,000 yards, it is very short by today’s standards. It has a very interesting set of greens and is in many ways a ‘mini’ #2. (2008)

Foxfire (East), Jackson Springs, NC
Foxfire (West), Jackson Springs, NC (Gene Hamm/10+ each): Neither course at Foxfire is exceptional and neither is bad. Each course has nine good holes, the ones mentioned in the write up of the original course. The additional holes are of a much lower quality. The East is slightly better than the West, but neither is above average. (2008)

Legacy, Aberdeen, NC (Michael Nicklaus/1): This course is possibly a 4 now given that some of the holes have a decent amount of interest, but they are consistently building new homes around the course and once those are complete, it will deserve this ranking. Course has a decent set of par 3’s, but the par 4’s are either odd, or nearly identical to each other. Par 5’s are average at best. (2007)

Country Club of Whispering Pines (East), Whispering Pines, NC (Ellis Maples/1): The par 5, 13th is a good hole and the course has a good set of par 5’s overall. But the par 3’s are just average and the par 4’s are less than stellar. (2007)

Lane Tree, Goldsboro, NC (John LaFoy/2): A surprisingly good course that exceeded expectations. While the course doesn’t have any holes that stand out as very good, none stand out as very bad and the course is routed over some fairly interesting land. The par 5, 10th is the best hole on the course and certainly routed over the best land. 9 and 18 are fairly interchangeable playing flat off the tee and uphill to the green. (2008)

North Ridge (Oak), Raleigh, NC (Gene Hamm/1): Nothing great, especially for a private club. A few of the holes on the front 9 are just bad. But nothing terrible overall. (2009)

Kiln Creek, Hampton, VA (Tom Clark/1): Apparently several million cubic yards of earth were moved to build this course, prompting esteemed golf architect and writer Tom Doak to rate this course a Zero in his Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. I don’t think it’s that bad, but it’s certainly not great, and given the work put into it, it turned out poorer in quality that it should have. I can understand the Zero, but I won’t say it’s that bad. It’s better than some other courses in the Hampton Roads area, but nothing great, that’s for sure. (2010)

Echo Farms, Wilmington, NC (Gene Hamm/2): Average golf course in an area with many above average choices (if Myrtle Beach just down the road is included). Nothing bad to report here. The par 3, 11th however is fairly interesting given that it is a 265 yard par 3; best hole on the course. (2001)

Sleepy Hole, Suffolk, VA (Russell Breeden/1): This course falls well short of potential given the waterfront site. The driving range and golf car storage shed occupy some of the best riverfront land. Only the 18th is on the river. And some of the other holes are just silly. (2010)

Taberna, New Bern, NC (Jim Lipe/1): Nothing spectacular here. Last few holes play around a pond and offer some decent scenery but the rest of the course is just average. (1999)

A.C. Read, NAS Pensacola, FL (Jerry Pate/1): Fairly well maintained golf course located on Naval Air Station Pensacola. The holes are pretty solid, but the greens as a whole are fairly flat and the complexes in general are not spectacular. The course does have some good holes down on the water, but in the same sense, these very good locations are wasted with average greens. Certainly a good place to play for military members because of the great rates, but overall, the course is just lacking a bit. (2010)

Bay Hills Golf Club, Arnold, MD (Ed Ault/1): This is a fairly well designed golf course, but just has nothing really unique to offer. This holes are fairly solid with none being very weak or strong. The course is routed through a housing development, so some of the holes are a bit cramped. (2010)

Indian Valley Golf Course, Novato, CA (Robert Nyberg/1): This course has some really cool holes, but some that really seem forced into the property; hole 5 is the worst. The holes that occupy the open spaces are generally very good and well designed. But the par 3's are generally weak and with a couple of other holes pinched into too small a space, the overall quality suffers. (2011)

Northwood, Monte Rio, CA (Alister MacKenzie/1): This course is said to have been designed by Alister MacKenzie; if that is the case it has likely fallen far. A couple of the holes have very good green sites, holes 5-8 are top notch. However, the other holes are not very good. Hole 9, the longest on the course is only 25 yards wide from homes to trees. And the giant redwood trees pinch the course in a great deal. The trees also hurt turf conditions on the course. However, the course itself is not good enough to warrant cutting down the trees. (2011)

Elizabeth Manor, Portsmouth, VA (Dick Wilson/1): This course seems to have been stuffed into a space that is slightly smaller than it needs to be. The holes are all basically linear to each other, with only three, perhaps four, holes having meaningful doglegs. The rest run more or less parallel to each other. While there is nothing really bad about the course, nothing stands out as much above average, but it does have a good feel about it. (2010)

Cypress Lakes, Travis AFB, CA (Bob Putman, Joe Finger/1): This course is built over very flat land and likely did not have the budget to do significant earth moving in order to make it more interesting. Therefore the course ends up with some fairly dull holes mixed in with a few interesting ones. The course serves its purpose to service members well, but given additional options, I would choose to go elsewhere. (2011)

Rooster Run, Petaluma, CA (Fred Bliss/1): Course built over flat land has some decent holes, but an abundance of water features, admittedly in place for functional drainage reasons, takes away from the course slightly. This course also has an island green, a good feature for those who are into such things. Overall, not a bad course, and a decent option for the area, but not that exceptional overall. (2011)

Foxtail (South), Rohnert Park, CA (Bob E. Baldock/1): Not much of real note here. Has a couple of holes that are fairly poor and the rest are just average. Simply a fair golf course at a fair price.  (2011)

Chardonnay, Napa, CA (Algie Pulle/1): This course was originally 36 holes, then reduced to 27, and reduced yet again to 18. The original 36 and routing were probably quite good. As it stands now, the routing is very poor. Some of the holes border on unplayable into the prevailing wind, #12 and #14, both par 3's, come to mind immediately. Hole #8 does have a fairly unique green, one that was featured in Golf Digest magazine; the green has 6 tiers and is about 125 yards wide. It is a cool feature and would fit quite well at a course such as Tobacco Road; here it is just out of place. (2011)

Oakmont (West), Santa Rosa, CA (Ted Robinson/1): This course is routed through houses, so that takes away from the overall feel to a certain degree. But the course has a very good set of greens that are well defended with bunkers, subtle internal slopes and run-off areas. This is the rare short course where angles of approach matter for better players with wedges in hand. (2011)

Oakmont (East), Santa Rosa, CA (Ted Robinson/1): Top notch executive course. Only difference between this course and its sister course is total length, the quality is equal. Interesting greens, good angles of play, tests nearly all shots equally. Possibly the best executive course I have seen thus far in my play. (2011)

Foxtail (North), Rohnert Park, CA (Gary Baird/1): Better than its sister course, but not by a large margin. Has a decent mix of holes and decent conditioning, but being so hemmed in by houses really detracts from the feel of the course. Nothing above average to note, nothing that stands out as anything better than ordinary. (2011)

Azalea City, Mobile, AL (Robert B. Harris/1): Semi-interesting little course, 10th hole is a nice downhill par 4 that has a very good view of the adjacent park, but 11 has a very stupid little pond in the direct center of the fairway about 75 yards short of the green; if the purpose of this pond was to penalize better players, it does not succeed. But beyond hole 10, the course has nothing of note and nothing above average. (2012)

RTJ Oxmoor Valley (Short), Birmingham, AL (Robert Trent Jones, Roger Rulewich/1): This course is as close to unwalkable as a course can be. It is nearly incomprehensible how poorly routed this golf course is and completely impossible to explain if one has not seen it. **Rulewich Standard applies (2012)

Rock Creek, Fairhope, AL (Earl Stone/3): Very poorly routed course through a housing development. Course also has some rather dumb holes. It's an average course for an average fare, but most certainly nothing to go out of ones way to see. (2012)

Spring Hill, Mobile, AL (T.A. Buckhaults/1): This course is flat on the part of the property near the clubhouse and rises steadily the farther one goes away. The holes on the hill are solid. The ones in the flat, less so. The 17th, while a fair par 3, is in a terrible spot, requiring a 150 yard walk back from the 16th green to get to the tee, and a walk of another 150 yards to get to the 18th tee. Couple this with a large concrete drainage ditch that comes into play on 3 holes and this course is just average, but rather fun. (2011)

Little River, Carthage, NC (Dan Maples/1): Mr. Maples made a bit of a name for himself in the North Carolina Sandhills. This course is just OK, which, sadly, was pretty much standard for Mr. Maples. Has some odd holes and odd routing features and nothing that really stands out. But it's not horrible. (2012)

Whispering Pines, Hurley, MS (Designer Unknown/1): This course serves it's purpose as a cheap municipal golf course quite well. Very flat, but not boring. Nothing bad to report. (2012)

Mill Creek, Citronelle, AL (Jim Green/1): A standard, average, rural golf course. Design is fair, but not thrilling. The front nine is better than the back, by a wide margin, with the back nine being poor enough that a 2 rating was considered. (2012)

Silver King, Irvington, AL (NLE) (Designer Unknown/1): Fair course at a fair price. Nothing special but nothing poor. I can't really think of a reason why anyone not living in this area would make effort to play here. That said, it's not terrible. (2012)

Moose Run (Hill), Fort Richardson, AK (US Army/1): The front nine is fairly solid and has some good holes that move up and down the hills. A few more blind shots than are preferred on a public course, but not terrible. The back nine, however, leaves much to be desired. The land is rather flat, it took looking at a topographic map to see any elevation change, and little was done to improve the strategy. If you stopped after 9 holes, you wouldn't miss anything. (2012)


Bay Breeze, Keesler AFB, MS (Nathan Crace/1): The holes here are generally good but the routing is compromised by a smaller than ideal site that also has to be routed around the flight line. To walk the course, the golfer must walk over 2,000 yards more than the course yardage. The course also has some odd holes, the back to back 90 degree dogleg par 5's on the back nine certainly come to mine. Especially the 13th hole, a 605 yard par 5 where driver is not an option off the tee (for longer players) with a creek cutting across the entire fairway at 285 yards. The fairway ends 270 off the tee, water begins at 285 and then requires a carry of 303 yards to make it over the creek from the tee. But in general, this is a decent course and provides what it was intended to provide for the airmen on the base. (2012)


Sunkist, Biloxi, MS (Roland Robertson/1): The major saving grace of this course is the greens. These are some of the best greens in the area. Excellent contours, great speed, very smooth. But the holes are not that great beyond the greens and the routing is not the best either. This is just an average course with not much strategic merit but having a very good set of greens. (2012)


Marcus Pointe, Pensacola, FL (Earl Stone/1): This course would be a 4 with some additional width and easier walks. The new greens that were build in the summer of 2012 are quite good and have a lot of movement and interest. Overall, this course is fair, and fairly priced, but there just is nothing special here. (2012)


Quail Creek, Fairhope, AL (Barney Shull/1): Fair and moderately priced municipal course in Alabama. The course has a decent set of greens which makes up for some deficiencies in routing and elsewhere. (2012)


Carolina Colours, New Bern, NC (Bill Love/1): The individual holes are fair but there is no flow to the course and the distance between holes is huge in some places. On top of that, the greens are average at best. (2012)

2
Star Hill, Cape Carteret, NC (Russell T. Burney/10+): This course has 3 nine hole loops, none of which are anything great. None of the 27 are much above average, and while none are much below average either, given the short length of the place and odd nature of how the holes are placed, its just not a good course. (2004)

Brandywine Bay, Morehead City, NC (Ellis Maples, Bruce Devlin/2): Routed over flat, swampy land, course turns into a mud pit whenever it rains, especially in winter. Nothing of note here. (2001)

Carolina Pines, Havelock, NC (NLE) (Ron Borsett/3): Course has a very good view from the green of the par 5, 15th, looking over the Neuse River. Other than that, the course has very little to offer. (2001)

Bogue Banks/Country Club of the Crystal Coast, Pine Knoll Shores, NC (Maurice Brackett/3): A few good holes down near the Sound don’t make up for the short length and odd nature of many of the inland holes. Good only if staying within a mile or two and want to play golf with in walking/stumbling distance of where you are staying. (2000)

Southern Wayne, Mt. Olive, NC (Designer Unknown/1): OK course, nothing really to note. (1999)

Minnesott, Araphoe, NC (Russell T. Burney/3): OK course that could have used its river frontage better (it doesn’t use it at all except for the parking lot). No real good holes, no terrible ones. (2002)

Fairfield Harbor (Shoreline), Bayboro, NC (NLE) (Rees Jones/1): The one hole (9th) on the water does not make up for the 17 average and below average holes surrounding it. (1998)

Coharie, Clinton, NC (Ellis Maples/6): Routed over decent, rolling land, the course manages to stumble home with a very weak finish to an otherwise average round. (2001)

Rock Creek, Richlands, NC (Jerry Turner/10+): Course would probably be better if they had the funds to maintain it better. While it does have some odd holes, it has some holes of interest. However, given its maintenance status and lack of bunkering, it falls in somewhere a little below average overall. (2004)

Paradise Point (Scarlet), Camp Lejuene, NC (Fred Findlay/5): The sister course to the Gold, and certainly the little sister. Very little of interest, it serves its purpose as a beginner and high-handicap course. (2002)

Pine Hollow, Clayton, NC (Maurice Brackett, Bob Moore/5): A few good holes surrounded by a bunch of average and below average ones. Worth a look, but not if other options in the area are available. (2004)

Lochmere, Cary, NC (Gene Hamm/1): Another course built over very flat ground that tends to be very wet after a rain. Nothing special, especially with other options in the area. (2004)

Riverwood, Clayton, NC (David Postlethwaite/1): Could possibly be given a One rating, especially given the houses on the property now. Nothing really good to report. (2004)

Wil-Mar, Raleigh, NC (Gene Hamm/10+): Course is very short by modern standards and have a few holes that have become obsolete with current technology. The two par 5’s on the back nine are the best on the course and it does have a good variety in its par 3’s. But the course overall just lacks in many areas. (2009)

Hillandale, Durham, NC (Designer Unknown/5): Decent course, odd in places, just an OK course. (2007)

Wildwood Green, Raleigh, NC (John LaFoy/1): Housing course with little to offer. (2006)

Sanford GC, Sanford, NC (Donald Ross/1): Front nine is fairly distinctive and is certainly original Ross. The back nine is far more suspect as to whether or not it was designed by Ross or someone else. (2006)

Quail Ridge, Sanford, NC (Ellis Maples/1): Could be better if maintained in better condition. The routing is fairly solid, though it does have some poor holes on the back nine. (2007)

Lake Worth, Lake Worth, FL (Theodore Moreau, William Langford/1): The only thing that makes this course a Two is the Lake/Ocean views on just about every hole. The holes themselves are fairly interchangeable, but the views make this course a place to see. (2008)

The Saints, Port St. Lucie, FL (David Wallace/3): Another course with little to offer other than a place to have a good time. Nothing to see architecturally. (2008)

Olde Liberty, Youngsville, NC (Joel Moulin, Michael Gleason/2): Course is average, at best, from start to finish and the near impossible walkability of the course drops it down. Once the housing development is finished, it will probably fall to a One, or, in all honesty, depending on how tight the houses are to the fairways, a Zero; it’s just not that good to start with. (2009)

Teton Lakes, Rexburg, ID (Billy Casper/1): Good marks for having a few holes cross the Teton River. Other than that, nothing much to report. (2008)

Windy Harbor, NavSta Mayport, FL (Willard Byrd/1): While the back nine is certainly better than the front, the course is just not that great. Supposedly a Ross, but its hard to see that in the course. (2010)

Sewell’s Point, NavSta Norfolk, VA (Donald Ross/1): Another supposed Ross design where any Ross features are very hard to spot. Nothing great to offer other than cheap green fees. (2009)

Jacksonville, Jacksonville, NC (Clyde Johnston, Fuzzy Zoeller/3): The clubhouse overshadows the golf course, and the clubhouse is not exceptional. Enough said. (2003)

Eaglewood (Eagle), Langley AFB, VA (NLE) (Ed Ault/10+): The beginner/practice course at Eaglewood. Course is maintained fairly bare bones, but provides a fun game for people pinched for time or looking to practice on the course in peace. (2011)

Iroquois, Louisville, KY (Robert B. Harris/1): The going rate when I played was $6 for 18 holes. I wasn't disappointed. Keep that price in mind when setting expectations here. Course is cheap and offers golf, something that is sadly lacking in the golf world today. (2011)

The River, Bunn, NC (George Renault/1): The holes that lie in the hill area of the course are decent, the ones down in the flat lands near the river are not great. And the Tar River does not even come into play. (2012)

Osceola, Pensacola, FL (Bill Melhorn/1): This course was probably better before it's recent renovation. At present the course has two par 3's that the golfer plays, then walks directly backwards down the entire length of the hole in order to get to the next tee. Parts of the course are solid but other parts are just not great. (2012)

Lake Forest-Daphne, AL (Designer Unknown/1): Nothing of note. Once again, $10 was the going rate, base expectations off that. (2012)

Raleigh Golf Association, Raleigh, NC (Designer Unknown/1): It's been close to 8 years since I played here, but I had forgotten I had played here at all and even now struggle to remember anything at all about the course now that I recall playing. That should tell everything one might need to know about it. (2005)

Fishhook, Palmer, AK (Designer Unknown/1): Small scale nine hole facility just outside the town of Palmer. I wouldn't recommend driving from Anchorage to play here, but if out playing Palmer Golf Course, make the ten minute drive out to see this one. While I do rate it low, it's quite cozy and certainly a "throwback" to older times in golf. (2012)


Bayou Vista, Gulfport, MS (Floyd Trehern/1): This is a fair course, but nothing special. Course is very short, under 6000 yards, and the conditioning is spotty, but for $12 to walk, it's a fine place to play.


1
The Links, Adams Creek, NC (NLE) (Frank Marmarose, Tom Johnson/7)
Quaker Neck, Trenton, NC (NLE) (Russell T. Burney/3)
Rockfish, Wallace, NC (Designer Unknown/3)
Duplin, Kenansville, NC (Designer Unknown/5)
Country Hills, McLeansville, NC (Chris Bryant/1)
Methodist PGM, Fayetteville, NC (Ross Forbes/2)
Brevofield, Wake Forest, NC (Earl Brevoort/1)
Meadowbrook, Garner, NC (NLE) (Designer Unknown/1)
Monticello, Browns Summit, NC (NLE) (Horace Faucett, Luke Lambeth/1)
The Hamptons, Hampton, VA (Michael Hurdzan/1)
Lakeshore, Durham, NC (J. M. Utley, Sr./1)
Links at City Park, Portsmouth, VA (Ault, Clark and Associates/1)
Fletcher's Landing, Jacksonville, NC (John Fletcher/1)
Crystal Palms Par 3, Pelletier, NC (NLE) (Eddie McNeil and Phil Johnson/3)
High Pointe, Eight Mile, AL (Designer Unknown/1)
NCSU University Club, Raleigh, NC (Designer Unknown/1)

For the courses listed above, a blanket entry will do. These courses are just not very exciting and certainly poor quality. These courses would not survive in most areas. However, the first four listed are the only courses within a 30-45 minute drive of their location. The rest are just courses that serve a purpose of cheap golf. None of these courses would I play given any additional options, and in the case of two of them (not to say which two) I would go to the range rather than play them again, even if they were the only option. Steer clear if possible.

Heath Tres Par 3, Hampton, VA (Designer Unknown/1): I give this course its own entry simply because it ranks a fair bit below the other 1's, but doesn't fit my definition of a zero. Artificial turf greens, artificial turf tees (and not the "good" stuff, either) and it's located within sight (and smell) of an active landfill. Nothing else to be said, really.

0
Links at Bodega Harbour, Bodega Bay, CA (Robert Trent Jones, Jr./1): If ever a golf course has been blessed with such an exceptional site, I have not seen or heard of it. Yet this course comes in as so average as to be mind blowing. Homes are so close to many of the fairways that the course becomes nearly unplayable in high winds, with players actually having to aim for houses in order to not hit houses on the opposite side. This course offers views of the Pacific Ocean on all 18 holes, but in the worst possible teasing way, once the player does get near the ocean on hole 16, the ocean is nowhere to be seen once in the fairway and the green. This course is certainly one of the biggest letdowns that will ever be seen.


"Unique" Rankings
Annapolis GC, Annapolis, MD--1/7 (Charles Banks/1): This course today may be one of the worst maintained courses a person will ever see. The fairways have no turf grass, just weeds. Some of the greens are quite literally unplayable and the ones that are playable have little interest. However, for someone interested in golf course design, the course has much to offer. Golf Course Architect George Bahto said the bunkers Charles Banks designed here  "were some of the largest, deepest and best I have ever seen." The course contains at least three of the Charles Blair MacDonald school of architecture template holes; the 4th is a Redan, the 7th is a Road, and the 8th is an Eden. The bunkers are no longer sand, but grass. However, the bones of a great course are still visible to those who can spot them. The huge original green sites are still visible on every hole. The original bunkering is still visible and the routing is nearly the same today as it was 80+ years ago. For the student of architecture, this course is probably a 7, almost a "must-see." However, for someone without the time or inclination to look for subtle, and barely visible, features, the course is a 1, and only that because the scale does not go lower.

Isle Dauphin, Dauphin Island, AL—1/6 (Charles Maddox/1): This course was in the Golf Digest Top 100 at one time. Which I can believe based on just how good the routing is. This course ebbs and flows through the round as good as any course I have played, Pebble Beach included. But for some reason the management of the course let it degrade to the point that I would not recommend that anyone, under any circumstances spend good money to play here. Very sad, because the holes are very, very good.

Upcoming Reviews
RTJ @ Capitol Hill (Judge)- 5
RTJ @ Capitol Hill (Senator)- 4
RTJ @ Capitol Hill (Legislator)- 4
RTJ @ Silver Lakes (Mindbreaker/Heartbreaker/Backbreaker)- 4
RTJ @ Silver Lakes (Short)- 4
East Lake- 7
RTJ @ Grand National (Lakes)- 5
Stone Mountain (Mountain)- 4
Clovernook- 4
Moss Creek- 3
Highland Oaks (Magnolia/Highlands/Marshwood)- 4
Highland Oaks (Short)- 3
TPC Sawgrass (PLAYER'S Stadium)- 8
Kittyhawk (Eagle)- 3
TimberCreek (Pines/Dogwood)- 3
Sound of Freedom- 2
Salem Glen- 3
Bear Trail- 3
South Shore- 3
LaTourette- 3
Lake Presidential- 5
Baltimore (East)- 7
Fairway Hills- 2
University of Maryland- 4
Silver Lakes- 3
Bethpage (Red)- 5
Bethpage (Black)- 8
Brookville- 5
Community Golf Course (Hills)-2
Community Golf Course (Dales)-2
Ash Brook- 3
High Mountain- NLE
Spooky Brook- 3
Galloping Hill- 4
Bethpage (Blue)- 4
Bethpage (Green)- 4
Old Orchard- 5
Charleston Springs (South)- 4
Hominy Hill- 4
Suneagles- 4
Cedar Creek- 2
Colleton River (Dye)- 6
Slammer & Squire at WGHoF- 4
Bulle Rock- 7