Golf Advisor’s List of Top 50 Courses in the United States, Generated by More Than 100K Golfer Reviews, Revealed Today on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive Show

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJanuary 26, 2017, 8:11 pm

List Features Golf Courses That Everyday Golfers Say are the Best to Play

 Eight New Courses in the Top 10; 37 New Courses Overall 

 

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2017) – Golf Advisor today announced its anticipated, annual list of Top-50 golf courses in the United States, revealed from more than 100,000 authentic reviews posted in 2016 from golfers who use and depend on the world’s leading golf course ratings and review website.

“Other golf course ranking lists are great at showcasing courses many golfers aspire to play, but Golf Advisor's Top 50 and other ‘Best of’ lists, compiled by everyday golfers, help provide a new perspective to golfers looking to play the best courses,” said Golf Advisor Managing Editor Brandon Tucker. “They can book these courses with confidence, knowing other golfers like them found their experiences to be exceptional values. Our Top 50 includes a few bucket-list courses, but there are plenty more from coast-to-coast that golfers on a more limited budget can afford.”

Unlike rankings published by various golf publications, which normally are geared toward architecture or history and conducted by a panel of industry insiders, the Golf Advisor Top 50 is totally consumer-driven.  Ages, handicaps and budgets of golfers using the site run the gamut, so the nearly 600,000 reviews Golf Advisor has accumulated showcase the golf course characteristics that are most important to avid golfers across the country.  In addition to rating course layout, the Top 50 list also rates other subcategories like staff friendliness, pace of play, value and more. More than 2,000 U.S. golf courses were considered, having received the minimum 15 reviews to qualify for the Top 50. 

Unlike other industry rankings, Golf Advisor's Top 50 has plenty of volatility year-to-year due to changes in consumer tastes. These swings can range anything from conditioning and weather the destination experienced to new pricing.  The 2016 list includes eight new courses within the top 10 that were not included on the 2015 list and 36 new courses overall.

The current list includes heavily-publicized courses like Harbour Town Golf Links, Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club, Bayonet Golf Course and French Lick Resort. But more often than not, the list includes many highly affordable and unknown courses.

Below is Golf Advisor’s list of Top 50 Courses.  An asterisk signifies a course new to the list; a 2015 ranking appears in parentheses. To read about the methodology behind the list, as well as see the review pages for each course included, click here:

 

  1. Ram’s Hill Golf Club – Borrego Springs, Calif. (#13)
  2. *The Georgia Club – Statham, Ga.
  3. *Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head Island, S.C.
  4. *Kiva Dunes Golf Course – Gulf Shores, Ala.
  5. *Eagle Eye Golf Club – Bath Township, Mich. (#5 in 2014)
  6. *AK-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club – Maricopa, Ariz.
  7. FarmLinks Golf Club – Sylacauga, Ala. (#7)
  8. *Quintero Golf Club – Peoria, Ariz.
  9. *Glendarin Hills Golf Club – Angola, Ind.
  10. *Kelly Plantation Golf Club – Destin, Fla.
  11. *The Jewel Golf Club – Lake City, Minn.
  12. Yocha Dehe Golf Club – Brooks, Calif. (#1)
  13. Mission Inn Resort & Club (El Campeón Course) – Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. (#2)
  14. *Thistle Golf Club – Sunset Beach, N.C.
  15. *Arrowhead Pointe Golf Course at Lake Richard B. Russell – Elberton, Ga
  16. *Heritage Ranch Golf & Country Club – McKinney, Texas
  17. *Woodstock Country Club – Woodstock, Vt. (#4 in 2014)
  18. Bayonet & Black Horse (Bayonet Course) – Seaside, Calif. (#45)
  19. *Classic Club – Palm Desert, Calif.
  20. *Chariot Run Golf Course – Laconia, Ind. (#3 in 2014)
  21. *Bowes Creek Country Club – Elgin, Ill.
  22. Cedarbrook Country Club – Elkin, N.C. (#15)
  23. *French Lick Resort (Dye Course) – French Lick, Ind.
  24. Royal Hylands Golf Club – Knightstown, Ind. (#12)
  25. Scotch Hall Preserve – Merry Hill, N.C. (#14)
  26. *Los Caballeros Golf Club – Wickenburg, Ariz.
  27. *Southern Hills Plantation Club – Brooksville, Fla.
  28. *Hiland Park Country Club – Queensboro, N.Y.
  29. Wilderness Golf Course – Lake Jackson, Texas (#41)
  30. *Wild Rock Golf Club (Championship Course) – Wisconsin Dells, Wisc. (#8 in 2014)
  31. *Tunica National – Tunica, Miss.
  32. *Crumpin-Fox Club – Bernardston, Mass.
  33. *Red Hawk Run Golf Course – Findlay, Ohio
  34. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort (Sun Mountain Course) – Las Vegas, Nev. (#4)
  35. Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort (Snow Mountain Course) – Las Vegas, Nev. (#23)
  36. *Squaw Valley Golf Course (Apache Links Course) – Glen Rose, Texas
  37. *Harbor Links at Sagamore Resort – Liberty, Ind.
  38. *Edgewater Golf Club – Lancaster, S.C.
  39. Grand Bear Golf Course – Saucier, Miss. (#30)
  40. *PGA West (Greg Norman Resort Course – La Quinta, Calif.
  41. Ojai Valley Inn and Spa – Ojai, Calif. (#32)
  42. *Royal Manchester Golf Links – Mount Wolf, Penn.
  43. *Mirimichi Golf Course – Millington, Tenn.
  44. *Heritage Hill Golf Club – Shepherdsville, Ky.
  45. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club – Orlando, Fla. (#5)
  46. *Moody Gardens Golf Course – Galveston, Texas
  47. *Baywood Greens – Long Neck, Dele.
  48. *Sunriver Resort (Woodlands Course) – Bend, Ore.
  49. *Grand Cypress Golf Club (North/South Course) – Orlando, Fla.
  50. *TPC Sawgrass (Dye’s Valley Course) – Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Consistent, steady growth has been par for the course since Golf Advisor launched in early 2014.  A 2016 summary of key measurement metrics showed that page views, unique visitors and visits all increased by more than 50 percent year over year.

About GolfAdvisor.com

GolfAdvisor.com is the leading source of golf course ratings and reviews by golfers, for golfers.  Currently featuring nearly 600,000 golf course reviews of more than 10,000 courses around the world, GolfAdvisor.com is designed as a one-stop, customized destination for golfers of all levels to find honest recommendations from their peers and be offered the opportunity to provide their own feedback about any course they play, anywhere, anytime.  The site also features an expert editorial staff that provides daily articles, photography, travel tips and much more.  From any computer or mobile device, golfers can submit star-based ratings on public and private courses, alike, for categories such as pace of play, difficulty, conditions, staff friendliness, value, food and beverage.  Golfers also can follow GolfAdvisor.com on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


FALLING

J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

"Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

"The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

"Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

BORN IN 1912

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.


BORN IN 1949

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.


BORN IN 1955

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57

Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


EUROPE'S BIG 5

Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.


BORN IN 1980

Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.