The sports world is awash in high-profile superstars, whether it's Tom Brady, Lebron James or Pebble Beach. But perhaps the only thing better than witnessing greatness in action is stumbling upon a phenom where you least expect it.
So in tribute to the emergence of Jeremy Lin from the end of the New York Knicks' bench, we've recalled some of the best unsung golf courses.
Brandon Tucker: Dunmaglas Golf Club in northern Michigan
The next morning we arrived at the tee at this little unknown course a few minutes away with a tiny clubhouse and less than half the green fee for an 8 a.m. tee time. I was hungover and assumed this would be a 'filler round' before heading over to the Tom Fazio Premier at Treetops for a twilight play.
But about halfway through the front nine, as my eyes began to clear, I realized I was playing what would be come one of my new favorite courses in a state loaded with great ones. Dunmaglas sits on 886 acres, winds up and down through a mix of open, heathland-like hills, while others are cut tightly through forest. The setting is as pleasant as they come, while there are some tough holes, too.
I will admit I'm not wild about Dunmaglas's finishing hole. Hopefully 'Super Lintendo' finishes his 2012 campaign stronger.
Jason Deegan: Pennard Golf Club in Swansea, Wales
None of my previous rounds at resort courses across America could have prepared me for my first golf trip overseas and Pennard Golf Club. The day before, I played my first round of links golf at Royal Porthcawl, the undisputed best course in Wales, but it was nearby Pennard that blew me away.
The land was wild and unkept sitting on a plateau 200 feet above sea level; hence the nickname “Links in the sky.”
There were quirks that I didn’t know existed on legitimate golf courses: cows and people roaming through the open land, and greens surrounded by electric wire to protect the putting surfaces from wildlife.
At one point, I asked my local playing partner, 'Which way is the hole?' Looking in all directions, only windswept hills and dunes were visible.The views of the surrounding cliffs, sea and ruins of Pennard Castle were spectacular. When I heard that Tom Doak was a fan of Pennard, it justified why I had fallen so hard for the place.
Pennard might be just 6,267 yards long, but yard for yard, it might just be the most memorable course I’ve ever seen.
Mike Bailey: Grapevine Golf Course near Dallas-Ft. Worth
Often, when you least suspect it, a course that you think will be ordinary at best turns around and surprises you. That's sometimes the case with municipal layouts, and I found a great example in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area last year.
The Dallas area has some of the best muni courses in the country, but one in particular blew me away. The folks at Grapevine Golf Course don't like it when you refer to it as a 'municipal course' because of the negative connotation associated with munis. It was easy to see their point. Grapevine is both well-kept and interesting, designed by one of the legends of the game, Byron Nelson.
Nelson did the first 18 holes of the 27-hole facility with the late Joe Finger in 1979. He left his imprint on the Pecan Nine's fourth hole in particular, insisting that a pecan tree near the green remain. To this day, most players will have to work their approach shot around that tree.
D.A. Weibring and his Irving-based design firm, Golf Resources, Inc., added another nine holes in 1999, bringing it to 27 wonderful golf holes that work around lakes, doglegs and even some elevation changes for one of the most interesting courses in the DFW area. The original 18 holes received a renovation in 2002-2003.
The green fees are minimal, the staff friendly and the clubhouse atmosphere is fun, making this one terrific surprise for folks who come in and play it for the first time.