Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Ghost Creek) North Plains, Ore.
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A horseshoe-shaped rock wall frames the eighth; the 12th is backdropped by the Colorado National Monument. As always, with Dye, it’s tougher than old beef jerky from the tips, but pure fun if you choose the correct set of tees. ($36-$82) Perhaps the best bang for the buck in the United States, this Gil Hanse/Jim Wagner/Geoff Shackelford design 45 minutes north of L. engages at every turn, thanks to an easy-to-walk routing with tremendous variety that allows for run-up shots galore. ($79-$119) Home to the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic, where winners include Jordan Spieth, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson, the TPC Deere Run was warmly received upon its 2000 opening, including a ringing endorsement by 2003 champ Vijay Singh. Toss in massive oaks, sycamores and rock outcroppings and you have a handsome package. Bay Harbor Golf Club (Links/Quarry) Bay Harbor, Mich.
Plenty of grin-inducing vistas of the Mahoosuc Range await, including a dandy at the 443-yard, par-4 18th. As a quartet, the par-3s rank among the game’s most memorable, with holes 8, 12 and 17 offering vertigo-inducing plunges. ($59-$229) This early Pete Dye masterpiece kicked off the Palm Springs resort golf boom when it debuted in 1980. Weibring and Chris Gray injected an astonishing amount of variety into the layout, with holes that tumble up and down the slopes of the Rock River foothills, doglegging this way and that and which culminate in a splendid mix of green complexes.
Dense forests, deep ravines and a plethora of water hazards further spice up the play. ($39-$269) Back on the rota for the PGA Tour’s 2016 Career Builder Challenge (formerly the Bob Hope Classic and Humana Challenge), Pete Dye’s west coast follow-up to Sawgrass pays brilliant, if brutal homage, right down to the island-green par-3 17th and the scary par-4 closer that wraps around a massive lake. This means extra-wide, pine-framed fairways, festooned with spectacular, sprawling bunkers, as well as massive, artfully contoured greens and their surrounds, which demand touch and ingenuity—and perhaps multiple plays—to figure out. ($39-$279) With nine holes designed by the team of Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish and the other nine a Weiskopf solo effort, there’s sure to be a signature drivable par-4. Gurgling streams, lakes and a bevy of sprawling bunkers add beauty and menace. This 44-year-old, Tampa-area layout sports Carolina-like towering pines and surprisingly hilly terrain, along with fiercely trapped, elevated greens. ($64-$130) Few courses are as aptly named as this remote seven-year-old layout set in northwest Montana, 10 miles south of the Canadian border. ($70-$225) Talk about history—Walter Travis, Babe Zaharias and Don January have all won at ACCC—and the term “birdie” was born here. ($79-$169) Softened over the years, but still worthy of the Mike Strantz signature, the 18-year-old True Blue remains among Stantz’s finest designs and it’s easy to see why. A mostly open course, True Blue provides beauty and peril with lakes, marshland and plenty of scrub-filled natural sandy areas. ($199-$250) The younger sibling to the Barton Creek Fazio Foothills course is a 16-year-old Tom Fazio creation that sits two miles from the resort. ($129-$190) The Manshantucket Pequots pioneered the tribal casino-resort with their prosperous Foxwoods in southeastern Connecticut, yet it wasn’t until 2005 that they had a course worth bragging about. ($95-$190) This 15-year-old Davis Love III creation stands out in a town loaded with great golf. ($100-$130) Towering sandhills, remarkable variety in landscape-shaping and plenty of alternate routes to get from tee to green characterize this Pinehurst-area, 1998 Mike Strantz design.
($90-$324) Arnold Palmer and Bay Hill have been synonymous since 1965, when Arnie shot 66 and waxed Jack Nicklaus in an exhibition. Tiger Woods owns eight Tour triumphs at Bay Hill and captured the 1991 U. The downhill 16th, its banana-shaped green jutting out island-style into a lake, is unforgettable. ($70-$215) This 2010 Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw creation hews closely to the duo’s winning design formula. At 6,200 feet, with mountain backdrops, both distance control and green-reading vex the best. The downhill plunge at the par-5 5th and the long par-4 8th that’s backdropped by a lake are two of the Midwest’s best. Wolf Creek’s holes either plunge downhill or climb uphill, nearly all of them cocooned by massive sandstone formations and enormous canyon walls. ($165-$350) Back in 2006, Ernie Els gushed, “Copperhead is the best golf course the PGA Tour visits in Florida.” Who are we to argue with the Big Easy? ($99-$125) Famous since its 1982 opening for the par-3 16th that’s adorned with 50,000 colorful flowers, the central Wisconsin course benefited from a 2015 renovation that featured two new par-3s, four re-designed holes and improved shot options and playability, courtesy of original architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., associate Bruce Charlton and former associate Jay Blasi. The view of Lake Superior from the first tee is, well, superior. Omni Barton Creek Resort (Fazio Canyons) Austin, Tex.
Strategic options abound, with grassy slopes, slender streams and perfectly slotted traps all well-poised to snare the careless shot, proving the adage here that you reap what you sow. At Cascata, a Caesars Entertainment property, you get all that—and more. Franz put back hardpan sand dotted with wiregrass that frames the re-grassed fairways and greens, yanked out 400 trees and reinstituted Ross’ width, angles and strategies. Rough-covered sidehill lies and a fistful of volcano bunkers will drain any golfer—except perhaps Colin Montgomerie, who captured the 2015 Senior PGA Championship here. Two standouts: the par-4 16th, with stone-dappled cascades of water bisecting the fairway, and the massive par-4 18th, which demands a bite-off-as-much-as-you-can-chew drive over an inlet of the lake. Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Ghost Creek) North Plains, Ore. Much like Turnberry in Scotland, where fairways were once airplane runways, The Glen Club is a testament to an imaginative architect and his skillful shapers.