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 we stroll into 2019, 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 new U.S. remodel of the year
Valley of the Eagles Golf Club
6,941 Yards, Par 72
Pair the name “Nicklaus” with “Ohio” and the results are typically magical. Valley of the Eagles is proof that the magic is alive and well. Nicklaus Design transformed a tired and ultimately shuttered private club called Spring Valley into a layout that truly befits its name. It soars. Gone is the mundane routing, countless trees and tangled, overgrown brush. What’s left are a few familiar hole corridors, some gorgeous specimen trees and the handsome rolling property. New is virtually everything else.
The Nicklaus Design team, with associate David Savic leading the way, crafted a fun, compelling new spread, with standouts that include the 276-yard, par-3 fifth, which demands an aerial approach over water and bunkers to an elevated green, and its petite counterpart, the 120-yard, par-3 10th. The best hole might be the 569-yard, par-5 18th, a risk/ reward jewel that twice asks for water carries.
Most remarkable is how the Nicklaus team revived a spectacular Midwestern property with a clearing job that reveals nature’s wonders, amid a strategic routing that takes full advantage of those wonders. Steep valleys, sizable hills, exposed rock outcroppings and a ten-story shale cliff are in view, in play or both. The Black River twists through the terrain, yielding beauty and multiple decision-making opportunities. Spring Valley was forgettable. Valley of the Eagles is anything but. Call it Nicklaus magic.
Nicklaus Design and GOLF.com are operated by the same holding company, 8AM Golf.