GOLF’s Top 100 course panelists are among the most respected and well-traveled course evaluators in the game. They’re also keen to share their opinions. In this GOLF.com series, we’ll unlock their unvarnished views on all questions course-related. The goal is not only to entertain you but also to give you a better understanding of how to understand and appreciate golf course architecture. You can see GOLF’s latest Top 100 Courses in the World ranking here, and our Top 100 Courses in the U.S. here. Meet all of our Top 100 panelists here.
Though this past year did not allow for the kind of travel many of us might have liked, a number of our course raters still managed to get out and about. Here, as part of our 2020 recap, we’ll let them break down the most memorable of golf architecture and golf courses in 2020.
Which golf courses are you most looking forward to seeing in 2021?
Steve Lapper (has played 84 of the World Top 100): This list is long. I’d like to see Moraine, Kirtland and Sand Valley (vestiges of a canceled 2020 trip), get back out West to see Sheep Ranch and am looking forward to a late-summer trip across the pond that will begin in Wales and possibly include Norway’s Lofoten Links. I’m sure there will be adventures in between!
Thomas Brown (has played 95 of the World Top 100): Have to make up for lost time. In conjunction with major events, I have trips scheduled to Royal St. George’s for the Open Championship and to Japan’s masterpiece at Hirono after the Olympics in order to study Martin Ebert’s revisions. Gil Hanse/Jim Wagner’s CapRock Ranch in Nebraska and the recently opened Les Bordes (New) in France are two new designs I am keenly anticipating as well. Visits to Ardfin and Dumbarnie Links in Scotland are two other goals. My reach goal is to see Frank Pont’s revisions to Tom Simpson/Harry Colt’s The Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro in Madrid, Spain. And 2021 is an exciting year for several high-profile golf-course construction projects. Neil Crafter and Paul Mogford’s Arm End Golf Course in Tasmania, Australia, is also on my must-see list.
Michael Pelliccione (has played 60 of the World Top 100): I’m looking forward to finally going to the Pacific Northwest and seeing places like Sheep Ranch and Gamble Sands. I also wouldn’t mind checking out The Prairie Club as well. While you’re there, might as well see the work by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner over at CapRock Ranch. Lastly, Wolf Point has been on my radar, and for good reason. What Mike Nuzzo and Don Mahaffey did there on a relatively flat piece of property was surely magical. That’s the beauty of golf-course rankings, as it gets you out of your comfort zone. You’ll see courses that make the list you’d never think of going to. From there you’ll explore an entire region of great golf-course architecture.
Joe Andriole (has played all of the World Top 100): Sheep Ranch and the remodeled Brook Hollow are among the few bucket-list courses I’ve yet to experience. Looking forward to returning to Jasper and Banff, two great courses that I believe should be in the World Top 100.
Tim Gallant (has played 62 of the World Top 100): To say I’m excited to see Tom Doak’s St Patrick’s course in Ireland would be the understatement of the year. The photos look spectacular, and it may be one of the last true links courses that is developed in GB&I for some time. While I’m there, I’m hoping to check out Carne, Enniscrone and County Sligo, as well as a few other courses off the beaten path.
Adam Messix (has played all of the World Top 100): Tom Fazio has built a new course for the High Hampton Resort, in North Carolina, that is on a magnificent piece of property and will certainly draw rave reviews. The restored Brook Hollow and the renovated Whispering Pines, both in Texas, are must-see courses as well. CapRock Ranch has been on the radar for a long time, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.