Planting your peg on the first tee of a great new course is like waking up on Christmas morning. You may have some idea about the gifts that await, but the surprise is half the fun. As each hole unfolds, it’s akin to unwrapping one present at a time. Each hole, and course, is different, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. As the calendar year comes to a close, GOLF.com will unveil its best of the best when it comes to new courses of 2018. Check the December 2018 issue of GOLF magazine for the full lineup.
On the tee: The best municipal course renovation of the year
Corica Park (South)
6,874 Yards, Par 72
Rees Jones is no stranger to reviving tired municipal courses—Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines (South) are testament. Now add another South course to the list. At Corica Park, owned by the city of Alameda and a mere six miles from downtown Oakland, Jones hit the refresh button on a worn-out 1957 Billy Bell Jr., design that was 15 years past its prime. Together with Steve Weisser and two principals from Greenway Golf Management, George Kelley and Marc Logan, Jones transformed the pedestrian if once-popular track into virtually a brand new layout that channels the strategy- infused Melbourne Sandbelt courses of Australia.
Fast-running fairways, run-up ramps into low-slung greens, artfully configured bunkers and wispy native fescue grasses grace the layout. The drivable par-4 eighth, the burly par-4 12th and the reachable par-5 15th are standouts. Corica Park is easily walkable, full of options, and golfers have flocked from near and far to try it out since its late June opening. It may never host a U.S. Open, but Corica Park (South) is a major winner in its own right.