Architects’ Choice: 60-51

Architects’ Choice: 60-51
Toby Ingleton
By Toby Ingleton

We’re counting down the Golf Course Architecture Architects’ Choice Top 100 Golf Courses in the World, as voted for by over 240 golf course architects from 28 countries across the globe.

Today we reveal which courses feature in positions 60-51 on our list:

60. Maidstone
New York, USA
Willie Park Jr., 1922

Willie Dunn had laid out the first few holes at Maidstone in 1894, but the course as it is now really took shape in 1922, when Willie Park Jr. oversee the redesign of the course to include the newly acquired sand dunes that are home to the current stretch from hole four to the fifteenth.

59. Prestwick
Ayrshire, Scotland
Tom Morris, 1851

When Willie Park Sr edged out Old Tom Morris in the first Open Championship at Prestwick in 1860, the course was a loop of 12 holes. By 1882, Old Tom had extended the course to 18 holes and it remains an eccentric and unique insight into the traditions of the game. “Prestwick reminds us that some blind shots and unique bunkering add character and adventure to the game,” says Vicki Martz.

58. Royal Liverpool
Merseyside, England
Robert Chambers, George Morris, Harry Colt, 1869

Originally laid out in 1869 by Robert Chambers and George Morris, and extended to 18 holes in 1871, Hoylake was built on a racecourse and the land was used for both golf and horse racing in its first few years. Following its successful return to the rota in 2006, after almost 40 years of absence, the club will again hold the Open Championship in 2014.

57. Spyglass Hill
California, USA
Robert Trent Jones, 1966

One of four courses in a five mile radius along the northern California coastline to make our Top 100, the opening five holes at Spyglass Hill occupy the same dune system as neighbouring Cypress Point, before the routing takes golfers back into the Del Monte forest.

56. St Andrews (New)
Fife, Scotland
Tom Morris, 1895

“The New Course at St Andrews ticks every box for challenge, variety, beauty, charm, accessibility and history. It is ranked as my number one as it combines more of these qualities than any other course I have seen, without losing anything in the process. And its par four tenth is the finest hole I have yet played,” says William Swan of Swan Golf Designs.

55. Utrecht De Pan
Harry Colt, 1929

Colt’s expert routing at De Pan makes the most of the surprisingly undulating heathland, with holes weaving among the sand hills and pine forest.

54. Morfontaine
Picardy, France
Tom Simpson, 1927

Simpson’s philosophy was that a course should ask tough questions of the good golfer, but remain playable for those with less ability. This is exemplified at Morfontaine and the work done by Kyle Phillips over the past ten years, including a new green on the twelfth, has been handled with great sensitivity to Simpson’s original intentions.

53. Sunningdale (New)
Surrey, England
Harry Colt, 1923

For those familiar with the Sunningdale of modern times it is quite a shock to see historic photos of the wide open common land with barely any trees in sight. In recent years the club has worked to take the New course back towards this more open heath feel, with tree clearance helping the heather to prosper and providing greater differentiation of character between the two courses at Sunningdale.

52. Royal Aberdeen
Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Archie Simpson, Robert Simpson, James Braid, 1888

Formed in 1780, Royal Aberdeen is one of the oldest clubs in the world, and had been in existence for over 100 years before moving to its current site at Balgownie. Niall Glen says: “I am yet to see a more stunning sequence of golf holes than the front nine at Balgownie.”

51. Walton Heath (Old)
Surrey, England
Herbert Fowler, 1904

The Old course at Walton Heath was Fowler’s first design, commissioned by his brother-in-law and club founder Sir Cosmo Bonsor. Known for its heather, beautiful and terrifying in equal measure, Walton Heath is also home to Fowler’s New course, which remains relatively untouched from its original design.

Check the website tomorrow for the courses that made it into positions 50-41 on our Top 100 list.

A full report of the Top 100 – including the observations of golf course architects – will be sent to Golf Course Architecture monthly e-mail newsletter subscribers on July 12th. Sign up for free by entering your email address in the e-mail newsletter box on the home page of this website.

Architects’ Choice: 100-91| 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | the full report