Pikewood National

A view of Pikewood National Golf Club
J. Robert Gwynne/John Raese, 2009

Built by two mining executives with no previous design experience, Pikewood National is pure golf for avid players. This walking-only course covers seven-plus miles with major elevation changes, and the hike is more than worth the effort to experience one of the game’s most scenic and best conditioned layouts. Located on top of a mesa, 30-mile views are routinely afforded across three different states. Pikewood’s collection of one-shot holes is second to none, including the 5th, which is backed by a natural waterfall, and the 12th, with its expertly contoured modified Redan green. The three-shot holes are notable, too, led by the horseshoe 8th, which plays around a gaping, rocky depression. The relative paucity of bunkers adds to the design’s distinctiveness. How these first-time architects built so many world-class greens is worthy of conversation. Best of the bunch might be the bunkerless 11th green complex with a wicked surface that slopes from front to back. (Photo: Pikewood National)