The 12 Most Beautiful Courses I’ve Played

Like almost everything in golf, it’s all subjectivity, with very “objective” moments. One of those rare objective moments is that golf courses are beautiful—like, really beautiful. The best part: they come in all shapes and sizes, locations and styles. Below is a list of the 12 most beautiful courses I’ve played, up to date to October 15, 2019.

Merion Golf Club (East) — Ardmore, Pensilvania

Aside from the architectural brilliance, or the championship pedigree rivalled by almost none, Merion is also drop-dead gorgeous after the restoration project by Gil Hanse & Co, which cleaned up bunkers, improved grassing lines, improved greens, and more. Over some fairly aggressive inland topography, this Hugh Wilson design stuns throughout.

Pacific Dunes — Bandon, Oregon

Built in 2001, Pacific Dunes is a Tom Doak masterpiece, weaving in and out of sand dunes, blooming gorse and of course, the Pacific Ocean. Stunning views are all over, and the routing utilizes that, having ocean holes and inland holes on both nines, keeping the variety while impressing around the entire property.

Read my full thoughts here.

The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Club — Banff, Alberta

This one needs almost no introduction, but the Stanley Thompson may be the single most beautiful golf course on the planet (Cypress Point… TBD). Situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains in stunning Banff, Alberta, this world-class golf course is routed between mountains and the Bow River, with Thompson’s routing taking full advantage of the stunning beauty of one of Canada’s best resort towns.

Read my full thoughts here.

Rock Creek Cattle Company — Deer Lodge, Montana

If there’s a golf course that summarizes the wild west better than Rock Creek Cattle Company, I’ve yet to see or hear about it. This 2008 Tom Doak design is in “Big Sky Country,” and is quite literally full of the longest views the planet has to offer over the rolling Montana landscape.

Read my full thoughts here.

The Quarry Ranch — La Quinta, California

No shame to the big course at The Quarry at La Quinta, which is no slouch, either, but the short course–The Quarry Ranch–is stunning. Situated in the Coachella Valley, this Tom Fazio design showcases what he does best: builds pretty golf courses.

Read my full thoughts here.

Sutton Bay (Championship) — Agar, South Dakota

Drive four hours from civilization (and cell service), and you arrive at Sutton Bay, a Graham Marsh design overlooking Lake Oahe (which flows from the Missouri River) on some beautiful land. In the same way Rock Creek Cattle Company encompasses the wild west, Sutton Bay beautifully defines inland, North-American links golf.

Read my full thoughts here.

Aldarra Golf Club — Sammammish, Washington

Tom Fazio’s lone design in Washington, Aldarra is known for being quite difficult. But it’s absolutely stunning, with snow-capped mountains for most of the year in sight, and long views heading east away from Seattle.

Read my full thoughts here.

Le Club de Golf Memphrémagog — Magog, Quebec

About 20 minutes north of Vermont, this Thomas McBroom design occupies some pretty good land, and McBroom’s usual, wild bunkering stands out in the Northeast landscape.

Predator Ridge Golf Resort (Ridge) — Vernon, British Columbia

With views of Okanagan Lake, rock outcroppings, big, rugged white sand bunkers, and the usual Doug Carrick width, Predator Ridge’s Ridge course is a hit on all accounts. It’s perhaps the best example of British Columbia’s beautiful, mountainous topography, and highlights the golf-thick region the best.

Read my full thoughts here.

Öviinbyrd — MacTier, Ontario

Another McBroom design, but this one is a lot more subdued than Memphrémagog. Instead, “Ö” utilizes the natural Muskoka landscape, relying on swamps, rock outcroppings, and rolling topography to create one of Canada’s most beautiful courses.

Read my full thoughts here.

Big Sky Golf Club — Pemberton, British Columbia

Whistler is a stunning area, and while the golf manages to be somewhat disappointing given the reputation, the views are, well, not. Mountains and swamps, this Bob Cupp & John Fought feels like the mountains stare down at you, towering thousands of feet over Big Sky.

See more of Big Sky here.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club — Southampton, New York

One of America’s true links golf experiences thanks to its proximity to the ocean, Shinnecock Hills is a beautiful walk and stunning golf course, even with the lack of ocean views (which was surprising). The red heather is stunning, and the way it all blends in with the natural topography is among the best in the world.

What’s the most beautiful course you’ve played? Lots of good options I left out of my own list! Let me know your favorite on some of my social medias, or below in the comments!

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