The final 10: Our list of the best golf courses in each state closes
I’m not sure how one decides which golf course is the best in any given state. The criterion for choosing the “best” course will likely vary with whoever has the task of picking the list.
The courses can be found in large cities. From Dallas to Louisville, Pittsburgh to Las Vegas modern interstate highways will take you to them. Others are located in less famed hamlets including Manakin-Sabot, (Va.) or Eureka (Mont.). Some are found in golfing meccas such as Augusta, Pinehurst and Pebble Beach, even though the latter is not the course of its namesake location.
Here then are the last ten courses on the list.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Sutton Bay, Sutton Bay. Graham Marsh designed this course that overlooks beautiful Lake Oahe. The surrounding views and a challenge to all types of golfers await anyone who plays Sutton Bay.
The website shows a photo that suggests a “prairie” feel and a cart path that can be better described as a road!
TENNESSEE: The Honors Course, Chattanooga. Pete Dye designed a course to honor amateur golf. The course has hosted 18 amateur championships.
An aerial view of the course shows a lot of water. If too many of your golf balls find the bottom of the wet stuff, you can always choose to visit the Choo Choo, which reminds me of a funny story. See me, ask me.
TEXAS: Dallas National Golf Club, Dallas. A Tom Fazio design, Dallas National boasts five sets of tees to accommodate many different golfers. The course is tucked away from busy city life despite the address.
A photo shows MANY beautiful bunkers filled with white sand. The traps are indeed beautiful in a photo, not so much when you are trying to hit a golf ball out of one!
UTAH: Glenwild Golf Club, Park City. Yet another Tom Fazio design, one thing jumps out at me about Glenwild. The snowcapped peaks of the Rockies would distract me from playing, as I love scenic views on golf courses.
If you have seen the Rocky Mountains in person, you know that view does not occur around here.
VERMONT: Ekwanok Country Club, Manchester. Walter Travis and John Duncan Dunn designed this members-only course that opened in 1899 as another center for amateur golf.
With the Green Mountains as a back drop, this course can be played as a guest of a member. The chance for a lobster clambake after the round makes me think finding a member would be a good idea.
VIRGINIA: Kinlach Golf Club, Manakin-Sabot. A relatively new course designed by Lester George, the name of the course and the name of its location alone make it intriguing.
Opening in 1999 Kinlach has some distinct Scottish influences.
WASHINGTON: Chambers Bay, University Place. Robert Trent Jones II designed Chambers Bay, the sight of the 2015 U.S. Open. Built along Puget Sound, the course has a Silver Signature Sanctuary certification. The Audubon Society issues this if you incorporate nature preservation into the planning.
If you remember from three years ago, the course took a lot of criticism because the greens looked like cauliflower. Given my penchant to avoid foods such as cauliflower, I was not impressed with the course, though I would like to see it today.
WEST VIRGINIA: Pikewood National Golf Club, Morgantown. Many of the golf courses that made this list would be unavailable for most of us to play. For Pikewood National I will unequivocally say “I will never play this course.” You will soon find out why.
Donald Ross and Alister Mackenzie designed this members-only course that wants to preserve the traditions of the game. That means players must walk and carry their own clubs or take a caddy.
Now you know. No carts?!? No play!
WISCONSIN: The Straits at Whistling Straits, Kohler. Another Pete Dye design, Whistling Straits hosted a recent PGA Championship. Do you remember the tournament where Dustin Johnson was penalized for grounding his club in a bunker? Yes, that was at Whistling Straits.
USGA rules were modified for that event and it involved bunkers. Because there were so many places on the course that were sandy, officials decided that all sandy areas would be considered bunkers. DJ hit one so far off the beaten path that his ball ended up in a somewhat remote sandy area.
As spectators surrounded his ball and stood in what was deemed a bunker, Johnson grounded his club — in front of an official, no less — and was later assessed a two-stroke penalty.
The course is outstanding however, and will host the 2020 Ryder Cup.
WYOMING: Three Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole. I have not seen this Rees Jones design, but I have been to Jackson Hole. Any course that will allow you to observe wildlife and has the Teton Range in the background has to be incredible.
If you go here, make sure you turn out for the wild west shootout staged each evening in the center of town. A scenic raft ride on the Snake River at daybreak should be included in your itinerary as well.
By the time you leave Jackson Hole, golf might just be the furthest thing from your mind.
So there’s your list of the best course in each state. If you get a chance to play any of these let me know. I’ll duly note it in a future column and will be forever jealous!
Al Stephenson is the golf columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.
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