Top 100 Golf Courses of the USA 2014
Our latest US Top 100 is unveiled
15 December 2013
In January 2012, we decided to abandon our US Top 250 rankings because we found it too difficult to define the positions for US courses in the ranking range of 150 to 250. Instead, we promised to develop and extend our US Best In State rankings and focus on providing the best possible list of the Top 100 Golf Courses of the USA.
For 2014, we included more data from an even wider range of sources, but our final rankings offer rather less change than two years ago. However, there is still a fair level of movement as courses settle towards their plateaux.
Cypress Point and Pine Valley continue to slug it out at the very top of the US national rankings. Mathematically, Cypress came incredibly close to knocking Pine Valley off the top, but Pine Valley prevailed once again. The National Golf Links of America makes a bold upward move to 5th place. The two big US tabloids (Golf Magazine & Digest) do not hold the NGLA in the same high esteem as we do, which surprises us because most golfers we know rate the National well inside their personal US Top 10.
Eight new entries push eight very solid courses off the hundred and into the Best In State rankings. All of a sudden, Florida starts to punch somewhere nearer its fighting weight thanks to the Red and Blue courses at Streamsong bursting into the chart. If Streamsong could find room for a White course, there would be no need to fly the Stars and Stripes at this aspiring golf resort.
The Plantation course at Kapalua (straight in at 86) suggests that resort courses really can hold their own in the top rankings alongside a majority of private facilities. Talking of which, the Upper joins the Lower at Baltusrol in our hundred for the first time and Aronimink, White Bear Yacht Club and Holston Hills also make their debut. Finally, we welcome back Galloway National, which narrowly missed out on a place in 2012 having been ranked inside our US Top 100 since 2006.
Los Angeles (North) jumps eleven places to 21st as the magnitude of Gil Hanse’s restoration finally dawns and there’s a meteoric rise of forty places (to 54th) for the California Golf Club of San Francisco. According to our US Correspondent, Fergal O’Leary: “Since the outstanding restoration of the MacKenzie bunkers and routing by Kyle Philips, the ‘Cal Club’ has gone from strength to strength… The restoration has been the catalyst for the club's rising national ranking, and I can only anticipate continued future success.”
Boston Golf Club leaps up thirty places to 59th and, according to one of our reviewers, “this hidden away club is back on its feet financially and continues to impress… Bay Staters often find themselves debating preference between Boston and nearby Old Sandwich. Having played them both multiple times, my feeling is that Gil Hanse’s design variety and consideration for all skill levels will tip the scales towards Boston making it the course I’d rather play every day”.
There’s a rise of nineteen places for Nanea, which for some unfathomable reason has never been ranked in the national hundred by Golf Digest. Fergal O’Leary made the following comment: “I'm currently playing the Top 100 golf courses in the US and the World and am almost finished with the challenge. When I stepped onto the first tee at Nanea, I had a similar reaction to how Monty described Loch Lomond… Wherever Nanea is ranked, it should be higher.”
Yeamans Hall is another of our high climbers but this club is also out of favour with Golf Digest’s panellists. The course does split opinion and one of our reviewers reckons “the club itself is off the charts amazing… A real throwback and a true delight to be there… It gets all the hype associated with Raynor designs, but man I don't understand the adulation.”
A rise of twenty places for Essex County Club continues our theme of bucking the trend of the magazine ranking panels. One of our reviewers sums it up perfectly: “Essex was once home to Donald Ross and his legacy can be felt throughout the course. His old house is located by the 15th tee box, and the course is a testament to his craft. I have played a number of Ross courses, including Pinehurst #2 and many of the top Ross courses around Boston, and I always come back to Essex as my favourite.”
Europeans may hold Medinah (No.3) in the highest regard and it’s an undeniably good golf course that staged the European Ryder Cup miracle of 2012, but many aficionados feel that this old classic has been injured by the “Open Doctors” and is now too much toil and not enough fun. The No.3 course drops a painful thirty-three places in our 2014 rankings.
We suspect our new US Top 100 will not gain universal approval, but we’ve given these new rankings deeper consideration than ever before. If you have any comments or feedback, I’d love to hear from you. Just for the record, I’d like to remind you that Top 100 Golf Courses is truly independent and we have no association with any magazine publication.
If you would like to help improve our US golf course rankings, please get in touch. Our new Best In State rankings will be published soon, so please keep an eye on the Top 100 website and our social networking channels for the latest updates.
Finally a big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to post course reviews online. Please keep them coming, it’s your reviews that cut to the chase and make the Top 100 website come alive.
Click to see in detail our new 2014 Top 100 Golf Courses of the USA
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