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US Mid-Atlantic Division Best in State Rankings 2016

11 July, 2016

US Mid-Atlantic Division Best in State Rankings 2016

Three states in the Northeast Region are re-ranked in the eighth of nine US divisional updates

We continue our Best in State re-ranking process for the United States of America with new listings for courses situated in the Mid-Atlantic division. This eighth and penultimate article in our series of US reappraisals snapshots the very strong golfing states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

As part of our review strategy, we’re extending our coverage of courses in the USA and this expansion will be reflected across just about every state in the country. For example, in this Mid-Atlantic division, we’re adding forty new tracks across the three states, representing an increase of 30%.

New Jersey

The top five positions in the Garden State remain exactly as they were when we last updated our standings two years ago, which means Pine Valley is still the number 1 course. After ten years at the top of our World Top 100 chart, this George Crump classic was displaced by Cypress Point as the best golfing layout on the planet when we revised our global listings in November last year. Such a fall from grace is relative, of course.

Climbing three spots to number 8 in our new state chart, Hollywood is a Walter Travis Golden Age design that has been worked on by a number of architectural firms down the years, most recently by Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design. Last month, a reviewer describer his playing experience on the course in the following terms: “I could happily be a member here and never get bored of the course… Hollywood plays over sandy ground that provides firm and fast playing conditions. The layout itself feels grand and is routed across a large canvas.”

Essex County Country Club makes a prodigious leap up the New Jersey table, rising eleven places to just outside the Top 10 at number 12. Formed in 1887, the club is one of the oldest in the country, moving to its present location in 1916. Seth Raynor and Charles Banks reworked A. W. Tillinghast’s original design a decade later and the course has been modified a number of times since then, most notably by Brian Silva when he upgraded the fairway and greenside bunkers.

The highest new entry appears at number 15 and it’s Morris County, another Seth Raynor design that dates back to 1916. Originally listed on the Top 100 website as a GEM, Morris County Golf Club started out in 1894 as a women-only club and had played host to both the Women's and Men's US Amateur championships before the turn of the 19th century. One of our contributors commented as follows: "As soon as I saw the first fairway, I knew I would love the place and I did. That fairway and many others reminded me of the land at Minneapolis GC and White Bear Yacht Club in MN... rolling with huge mounds and nary a flat lie anyplace, wonderfully roly-poly and Humpty Dumpty."


Click this link to see full details of our 2016 New Jersey Best in State rankings

New York

The top thirteen courses in the Empire State are all nationally ranked – indeed, all but two of these top tracks are included in our World Top 100 chart – which is a fair indication of the high quality of courses that you’ll find in this part of the country. Shinnecock Hills remains virtually unchallenged at the top of the state chart and this brilliant old William Flynn layout will once again play host to the best golfers in the world at the US Open in 2018 and 2026.

Swapping places, A.W. Tillinghast’s West course at Winged Foot drops down one spot to number 4, with Seth Raynor’s fabulous Golden Age design at Fishers Island rising one place to number 3. It’s quite remarkable to think this fabulous old track was largely overlooked by many golf publications in their rankings until recent times. Thankfully, this special seaside track is now getting the recognition it fully deserves.

Further down the newly updated New York chart, two near century-old Donald Ross courses make significant upward moves: Whippoorwill (up thirteen to 19) lasted only two years before it was redesigned by Charles Banks in 1930 and Wykagyl (up ten to 23) has been revamped many times since its debut in 1920, with the latest Coore & Crenshaw makeover mainly involving the addition of bunkers and removal of trees.

Another big climber is St George’s Golf & Country Club, up nineteen positions to number 25, situated on the north shore of Long Island. Laid out by Devereux Emmet in 1917, the course has undergone a really positive transformation in recent years, thanks in no small part to the restoration skills of Gil Hanse and the application of the architect’s masterplan by Superintendent Adam Jessie, who arrived from Shinnecock Hills a decade ago.

1Shinnecock HillsNo change
2National Golf Links of AmericaNo change
3Fishers IslandUp 1
4Winged Foot (West)Down 1
5Friar's HeadNo change
6Bethpage (Black)No change
7Garden CityUp 1
8Oak Hill (East)Up 1
9Quaker RidgeUp 1
10MaidstoneUp 1
11SebonackDown 4
12Winged Foot (East)No change
13Piping RockNo change
14Creek ClubUp 3
15Sleepy HollowDown 1
16AtlanticDown 1
17Hudson NationalDown 1
18FenwayUp 2
19WhipoorwillUp 13
20DeepdaleUp 1
21Westchester (West)Down 3
22Oak Hill (West)Up 1
23WykagylUp 10
24EngineersUp 1
25St George'sUp 19
26MonroeUp 4
27The BridgeUp 9
28Crag BurnUp 7
29Country Club of RochesterDown 2
30Bethpage (Red)Down 2
31Manhatton WoodsUp 3
32Country Club of BuffaloUp 5
33Old OaksNew entry
34East HamptonUp 6
35Century CCNew entry
36Meadow BrookUp 2
37YahnundasisNew entry
38LeatherstockingDown 12
39Sands PointNew entry
40Turning Stone (Atunyote)Down 21
41Siwanoy Country ClubNew entry
42Trump Golf Links Ferry PointNew entry
43SouthamptonNew entry
44Sagamore ResortUp 2
45Glens FallsNew entry
46Turning Stone (Kaluhyat)Down 15
47MetropolisNew entry
48RavenwoodDown 6
49Pound RidgeNo change
50Paramount CC New entry
51Timber BanksNew entry
52Country Club of TroyDown 4
53Saratoga NationalDown 31
54InwoodDown 4
55Grossinger (Big G)New entry
56Old Westbury (Outlook & Woods)Down 11
57WesthamptonNew entry
58Links at Hiawatha LandingDown 34
59Montauk Downs State ParkDown 18
60TuegegaDown 17

Click this link to see full details of our 2016 New York Best in State rankings


The Keystone State listings are headed by the Henry and William Fownes-designed Oakmont course, where this year’s US Open was held. It’s a notoriously tough track but a recent reviewer had this to say about his playing experience: “fairway landing areas are generous… only a few greens – generally on the shortest holes – are completely surrounded by bunkers. So unlike other difficult courses… playing a running approach is quite feasible – or even preferable – in many cases.”

There’s not too much movement at the top end of the state rankings, except for a couple of notable Saucon Valley climbers: the 1960s William & David Gordon Weyhill course (up six to number 8) has undergone a recent Fazio Golf restoration whilst the Grace course is another highly regarded co-design by the same father and son architectural team and it hurtles fourteen places up the Pennsylvania standings to number 16.

Another significant climber is A. W. Tillinghast’s Wissahickon course at Philadelphia Cricket Club (up seventeen to number 19), which was closed for twelve months in 2013, allowing Keith Foster to carry out an extensive renovation of the layout. The highest newcomer on the chart is Gulph Mills – a Donald Ross design that opened in 1919 – where Gil Hanse has been consulting since the start of the new millennium.

1OakmontNo change
2Merion (East)No change
3AroniminkNo change
4Fox ChapelNo change
5Laurel ValleyUp 1
6Lancaster (Old)Up 1
7Saucon Valley (Old)Up 1
8Saucon Valley (Weyhill)Up 6
9Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon)Up 17
10Philadelphia (Spring Mill)No change
11LehighNo change
12Huntingdon Valley (Toomey & Flynn)Down 7
13Rolling GreenDown 4
14HuntsvilleDown 2
15Country Club of ScrantonUp 3
16Saucon Valley (Grace)Up 14
17Pittsburgh Field ClubUp 7
18ApplebrookUp 3
19Nemacolin Woodlands (Mystic Rock)Down 6
20Manufacturers'Up 7
21SunnehannaUp 2
22LookawayDown 3
23Gulph MillsNew entry
24Ace ClubUp 9
25Stonewall (Old)Down 9
26AlleghenyUp 2
27Country Club of YorkNew entry
28Kahkwa ClubNew entry
29Longue VueUp 2
30Moselem SpringsUp 5
31Commonwealth NationalUp 1
32White ManorDown 12
33Bedford Springs (Old)Down 16
34TotteridgeDown 12
35Olde StonewallDown 20
36Whitemarsh ValleyUp 5
37Glenmaura NationalDown 12
38Philadelphia Cricket Club (Militia Hill)Down 9
39Rolling RockDown 3
40NevillewoodDown 3
41Glen MillsDown 7
42Hershey (West)Up 1
43InniscroneNew entry
44WyncoteDown 2
45French CreekDown 6
46Green ValleyDown 6
47ToftreesNew entry
48BerkleighDown 2
49Penn National (Founders)Down 11
50Chestnut Ridge (Tom's Run)Down 6
51LederachDown 6
52JeffersonvilleNew entry
53Merion (West)Down 3
54Locust ValleyNew entry
55Galen HallNew entry
56Cobbs Creek (Olde)New entry
57Makefield HighlandsDown 8
58Penn National (Iron Forge)Down 11
59Mount AiryNew entry
60Raven's ClawDown 12

Click this link to see full details of our 2016 Pennsylvania Best in State rankings

As always, we’re delighted to receive feedback when we carry out a re-ranking exercise so please feel free to tell us what you think about our three revised US Best in State charts. We’d like to think you’ll concur with our published listings but perhaps you have a different view of things. Whatever your thoughts are, please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page to let us know your views.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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