Our bucket list: 9 courses our staff can’t wait to finally play in 2022

A view of Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.

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Whether it be hitting the road to cover pro events, visiting a new course opening or just playing on our own time, our staffers get around. But no one can get everywhere. Here are eight courses on our staff’s wish list for 2022. Scroll down and take notes — maybe one of your next tee times will be at one of these gems too.

9 courses our staff can’t wait to play in 2022

Alan Bastable, executive editor: Only two of Seth Raynor’s designs are true daily-fee courses. One, at Thousand Island CC, is in upstate New York — like, way upstate, 100 miles north of Syracuse. The other, at Rock Spring GC, is 30 minutes north of my central New Jersey home, in West Orange. Despite its proximity to me, I’d never heard of Rock Spring until a year or two ago, partly because of the abundance of top-shelf courses in my area and partly because for most of its nearly 100-year existence Rock Spring was private. No invite, no access. That changed in 2019 when the town — urged on by residents who wanted to protect the green space — bought the club off its then-owner, nearby Montclair Golf Club, and hired management company KemperSports to convert it into a daily fee. Now, anyone can enjoy the Raynor design — complete with all his signature template touches, including a Redan green at the 3rd — for as little as $40. Sign me up!

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Sean Zak, senior editor: I’d like to keep this realistic, but still implausible. I wanna play Shoreacres in 2022, the private club just north of Chicago. As a new resident in the Windy City (who has been lucky enough to play Chicago Club), that one seems next on the list.

Dylan Dethier, senior writer: Gold Mountain. As the curator of Muni Mondays and the only member of our company who lives in the Pacific Northwest, I consider it abject failure that I haven’t yet made the trek to Bremerton, Wash., to play one of the nation’s preeminent municipal facilities. Gold (Jerry, Gold!) Mountain is No. 1 on my bucket list and if we get to this same column this time next year and I still haven’t played it, I’ll have nobody to blame but myself.

Tim Reilly, director of social media: The Palm Beach Par-3 course is on my radar for 2022. That’s right, a par-3 course. Why? Because I love par-3 courses. Some of my most fun golf experiences have occurred on pitch and putts. But this isn’t your normal pitch and putt. Holes range from 81 to 211 yards, and the course runs between the Atlantic Ocean and Florida’s beautiful Intracoastal waterway. My father and I take an annual trip to Mets spring training in Port St. Lucie. This year, we need to make the short drive over to Palm Beach from the airport. (Oh, and like always, Fishers Island remains atop my private-club bucket list. Gotta dream, right?)

An aerial view of the Palm Beach Par-3.

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Josh Berhow, managing editor: I spent most of 2021 playing golf in Minnesota, but in 2022 I need to venture west to Nebraska. Reason No. 1: I like road trips. There’s something peaceful about your own car driving down the highway en route to somewhere special. Reason No. 2: I really want to play The Prairie Club and Wild Horse, two public Nebraska spots that offer awesome linksy, rolling Great Plains golf. The Prairie Club has two courses plus a 10-hole short course (with no tee boxes!) and Wild Horse, at under $70, is one of the best values around. Or at least it’s said to be. Hopefully in 2022 I find out for myself.

Zephyr Melton, assistant editor: The Loop at Forest Dunes is on my radar for 2022. Northern Michigan has tons of great golf options, but The Loop intrigues me the most thanks to its unique design. One day, you play the course in one direction while the following, the routing is flipped. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it from my coworkers, and in 2022 I’m going to check it out for myself.

The Loop at Forest Dunes.

Sean Zak

James Colgan, assistant editor: My TRUE bucket list courses for 2022 lie on Long Island, where I grew up peering over the fences (literally) into many of the greatest golf courses on earth. But for the sake of choosing a location that’s accessible to the general public, I’ll cross the country for a radically different selection: Chambers Bay. The much-maligned U.S. Open host has fallen into favor among course-design types in the years since its unfortunate debut, and, from what I understand, on a sunny afternoon, it might well be the world’s most underrated muni. I’ve spoken to plenty of people who have played Chambers over the years, and none have anything other than deeply held admiration for Robert Trent Jones Jr.’s work. I’ve also never been to Seattle, and have been longing to make a trip to my first Kraken game. Why not cross both off the bucket list?

Nick Piastowski, senior editor: I’m a fall-temps player (think 50s and 60s), but there’s always been one problem — in the places I’ve lived, I’ve caught that for just about a month, and it’s winter. I think I’ve found an answer. The spot includes the weather I’m looking for, one of the world’s most iconic courses, rates in the vicinity of half off(!) from peak season — and a brewery nearby. I’m very much eyeing a late-year trip to Pinehurst. Thirty-six in late November or early December, with a brew or two afterward, feels like a great way to end the 2022 golf year.

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