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​US Mid-Atlantic Division Best in State Rankings 2018

16 August, 2018

US Mid-Atlantic Division Best in State Rankings 2018

Our Best in State biennial re-ranking process for the United States of America is almost finished as we’ve now completed eight of the nine divisional revisions. In this edition, we re-appraise three Mid-Atlantic states located in the north east of the country, namely New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

We feature a total of 170 courses across the three states, with no fewer than twenty-five of these layouts listed in our US Top 100. Indeed, fifteen of those tracks also reside within our World Top 100 so describing this is as a high-powered golfing region is by no means overstating its importance in the national and international scheme of things.

New Jersey

In the Garden State Top 50, sixteen courses move up or remain in the same position, twenty-five fall down, and nine drop out to be replaced by new entries. At the top of the table, Pine Valley Golf Club retains its number 1 status and in Volume 3 of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses book, it was one of only three courses to score full marks (10 out of 10) from Tom Doak and each of his three co-authors.

The architect had this to say about George Crump’s timeless masterpiece: “If you believe that a golf course is the sum of its holes, then there is no course that dares challenge Pine Valley: any one of its 18 holes would be a welcome addition to almost any other course… the most overlooked aspect of Pine valley is its terrific set of short par-4 holes. Their inclusion has actually helped the club not overreact to changes in technology, and make it the complete design.”

A couple of 18-hole tracks make admirable upward moves in the New Jersey chart and both have attracted very positive reviews from our regular contributor M. James Ward. The first of these layouts is the Banks course at Forsgate Country Club in Jamesburg (up nine to #14) where he finds it “particularly shocking that many self-proclaimed golf cognoscenti often gloss over [its] qualities.” The second layout is the Bay course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, close to Atlantic City (up nine to #41), which “is blessed with a quality routing that constantly keeps players moving around.”

Rising thirteen spots to number 20, the highest climber in the new state standings is Montclair Golf Club in Essex County, where 27 holes laid out by Donald Ross in 1922 were supplemented by another nine holes from Charles Banks six years later. Our regular contributor Paul Rudovsky visited the club recently and commented as follows: “The property is extremely hilly and given I was planning on playing 36 holes or more, I took a cart as it would be a very tough walk otherwise. I played the Banks Nine (#4) then #2 because these were the two nines used when the 1985 US Amateur was held here. Being a Ross design, #2 certainly felt different to #4. The lack of geometrical lines was very obvious but of course the greens were diabolical.”

The highest placed newcomer arrives at number 25 and it’s the Short Course at Pine Valley which was brought into play for the members in 1992. The ten holes of this layout were designed by Tom Fazio and Ernie Ransome to emulate a number of the holes on the main course. “Eight of these ten holes are close reproductions of approach shots on the big course,” according to Tom Doak, “and the ‘tees’ are fairways so you can play from anywhere you like. It’s an excellent solution for the club, because no original design was going to be good enough to get regular use.”


Click the link to see full details of all courses in our latest New Jersey Best in State rankings

New York

The top three places in the Empire State listings are unchanged from the chart that was published two years ago, which means the course at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is still the state number 1. Host to this year’s US Open, this stellar track from Howard Toomey and William Flynn rides very high in our American and global Top 100s – only Cypress Point sits above it in these rankings – and it will be the focus of world-wide golfing attention when the USGA’s flagship Open event is held here again in 2026.

It’s a particular favourite of Matt Ward who wrote this about the course last year: “Shinnecock is blessed with ideal land – rolling but never so abrupt as to distort shots to the point where luck, rather than skill, is the determining factor. The routing is second to none. You’re taken to all corners of the property – all the attributes of the land are brought to the forefront… Shinnecock mandates control with not only various clubs – but with knowing when to shape shots and apply the appropriate trajectory to secure the desired result. The final element is conditioning which cements the first three characteristics… it means a linking of turf quality to what the game of golf calls upon.”

There’s not much movement within the Top 10 positions for New York but, just outside the top tier, three courses make notable progress.

Wykagyl Country Club near New Rochelle (up eight to number 15) has been renovated in the last few years by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. The landscape is fairly rugged in that part of Westchester County and our US Consultant Fergal O’Leary terms the terrain “rocky and undulating, which is glorious for golf as it offers endless options for doglegs and exciting greensites.”

Three hundred miles further northwest of Wykagyl, just outside Rochester, Monroe Golf Club (up six to number 20) is an old Donald Ross design that has been tastefully reworked by both Brian Silva and Gil Hanse over the last thirty years. Beautifully routed, with many of the greens tilted back to front, it’s a largely undiscovered gem that’s only now becoming more widely known. A reviewer summed the course up a while back by stating: “Monroe shows that grand New York State golf is not the sole domain of the New York City metro area.”

On the North Shore of Long Island in Suffolk County, the Devereaux Emmet-designed course at St George’s Golf & Country Club (up six to number 19) is shoe-horned into a tight tract next to the State University of New York Stony Brook Campus. Paul Rudovsky visited the club recently and had this to say about a layout where Gil Hanse has been consulting since 1999: “Viewing the course from adjoining roads made me salivate… this place looked incredible... and it was. Firm and fast in near perfect condition, it has rolling, wide fairways (except for #12) which offer great strategic options, brilliant bunkering and interesting greens with every trick in the book“.

A little further down the table, three other courses make a significant double-digit leap up the chart. First of all, there’s a pair of century-old Donald Ross designs at Glens Falls Country Club in Warren County (up nineteen to #26) and Tuegega Country Club in the foothills of the Adirondacks (up seventeen to #43). Then there’s Paramount Country Club (up fourteen to #36), which was built for the founder of Paramount Pictures by A. W. Tillinghast in 1920 and restored within the last five years by former Tom Doak associate, Jim Urbina.

The highest new entry at number 39 is the course at North Shore Country Club on Hempstead Harbor, where C.B. Macdonald, Seth Raynor and club professional Robert White worked together on the redesign of the original Glenwood Country Club layout in 1915/16. Featuring trademark replica holes from Raynor such as a Cape at the 7th, Redan on the 9th and Eden at the 10th, the course is under the watchful eye of Tom Doak and his Renaissance Golf Design company as they’ve been consulting here for some time now.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Shinnecock Hills No change
2 National Golf Links of America No change
3 Fishers Island No change
4 Friar's Head Up 1
5 Winged Foot (West) Down 1
6 Bethpage (Black) No change
7 Garden City No change
8 Maidstone Up 2
9 Quaker Ridge No change
10 Winged Foot (East) Up 2
11 Oak Hill (East) Down 3
12 Sebonack Down 1
13 Piping Rock No change
14 Whippoorwill Up 5
15 Wykagyl Up 8
16 The Creek Down 2
17 Sleepy Hollow (Upper) Down 2
18 Westchester (West) Up 3
19 St George's Up 6
20 Monroe Up 6
21 Fenway Down 3
22 Atlantic Down 6
23 Engineers Up 1
24 Hudson National Down 7
25 Deepdale Down 5
26 Glens Falls Up 19
27 Meadow Brook Up 9
28 Country Club of Rochester Up 1
29 Country Club of Buffalo Up 3
30 Southampton Up 13
31 The Bridge Down 4
32 Oak Hill (West) Down 10
33 East Hampton Up 1
34 Crag Burn Down 6
35 Century CC No change
36 Paramount CC Up 14
37 Trump Golf Links Ferry Point Up 5
38 Leatherstocking No change
39 North Shore New entry
40 Sunningdale New entry
41 Bethpage (Red) Down 11
42 Silo Ridge New entry
43 Tuegega Up 17
44 Pound Ridge Up 5
45 Glen Oaks (White & Blue) New entry
46 Huntington New entry
47 Park CC New entry
48 Sands Point Down 9
49 Old Oaks Down 16
50 Turning Stone (Atunyote) Down 10
51 Manhatton Woods Down 20
52 Country Club of Troy No change
53 Rockaway Hunting Club New entry
54 Mahopac New entry
55 Sagamore Resort Down 11
56 Yahnundasis Down 19
57 Inwood Down 3
58 Siwanoy Down 17
59 Westhampton Down 2
60 Metropolis Down 13
61 Ravenwood Down 13
62 Trump National - Westchester New entry
63 Turning Stone (Shenendoah) New entry
64 Saratoga National Down 11
65 Onondaga New entry
66 Grossinger (Big G) Down 11
67 Conklin Players Club New entry
68 Links at Hiawatha Landing Down 10
69 Old Westbury (Outlook & Woods) Down 13
70 Montauk Downs State Park Down 11

Click the link to see full details of all courses in our latest New York Best in State rankings


The top three positions in the Keystone State chart haven’t altered since we began compiling Best in State rankings in 2012 so Oakmont Country Club comfortably holds onto its number 1 billing. The father and son architectural team of Henry and William Fownes devised this titan of a tough track back at the start of the 20th century and it’s been testing the best golfers in the world ever since then, evidenced by it hosting nine US Opens, five US Amateurs, three PGA Championships and two Women’s Opens.

This extract from a recent Matt Ward post sums up the allure of such a golfing behemoth: “Oakmont has always been about a penal style of architecture – the Fownes were not interested in treating half-hearted shots with anything other than tough love… But the aspect that elevates Oakmont beyond the torture chamber reputation is the pedigree of the [tournament] winners who have been able to climb the Mount Everest in golf in America. In many ways, Oakmont rivals Muirfield in being able to identify those with the most consummate of golf skills.”

Bursting into the state Top 10 at number 4 after an eleven-place jump, the Old course at the Country Club of Scranton comprises the original Walter Travis-designed Pines and Willows nines from the late 1920s, which were renovated six years ago by Tom Marzolf. Despite misgivings about some of the bunker work carried out in 2012, our man Fergal O’Leary thought last year that “the club doesn’t get the praise it truly deserves as it’s certainly a US Top 100 golf course.” Well, twelve months down the line, the Old course now hurtles up the Pennsylvania state chart with a national ranking position of number 86 for good measure.

The highest of five new entries debuts at number 32 and it’s the North course at Stonewall, near Elverson in Chester County. The Old course was the first 18-hole layout to open at this golf facility twenty five years ago when it was one of Tom Doak’s first golf projects, designed along with Gil Hanse. The North course was unveiled a decade later, playing from a separate clubhouse, with Tom Doak partnering Don Placek this time to create a more open layout than its older sibling, allowing golfers a wider range of options off the tee. According to the architects, greens on the North course were built to permit “more changes of strategy due to hole to hole locations than the original 18 holes”.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Oakmont No change
2 Merion (East) No change
3 Aronimink No change
4 Country Club of Scranton (Old) Up 11
5 Fox Chapel Down 1
6 Lancaster (Meadow Creek & Dogwood) No change
7 Philadelphia Cricket Club (Wissahickon) Up 2
8 Huntingdon Valley (Toomey & Flynn) Up 4
9 Philadelphia (Spring Mill) Up 1
10 Lehigh Up 1
11 Saucon Valley (Old) Down 4
12 Sunnehanna Up 9
13 Laurel Valley Down 8
14 Rolling Green Down 1
15 Manufacturers' Up 5
16 Saucon Valley (Weyhill) Down 8
17 Gulph Mills Up 6
18 Saucon Valley (Grace) Down 2
19 Applebrook Down 1
20 Stonewall (Old) Up 5
21 Huntsville Down 7
22 Pittsburgh Field Club Down 5
23 Allegheny Up 3
24 Nemacolin Woodlands (Mystic Rock) Down 5
25 Kahkwa Club Up 3
26 Country Club of York Up 1
27 Lookaway Down 5
28 The Ace Club Down 4
29 Longue Vue No change
30 Moselem Springs No change
31 Rolling Rock Up 8
32 Stonewall (North) New entry
33 Whitemarsh Valley Up 3
34 Merion (West) Up 19
35 Bedford Springs (Old) Down 2
36 Glenmaura National Up 1
37 Commonwealth National Down 6
38 Olde Stonewall Down 3
39 White Manor Down 7
40 Nevillewood No change
41 Glen Mills No change
42 Philadelphia Cricket Club (Militia Hill) Down 4
43 Nemacolin Woodlands (Shepherd's Rock) New entry
44 French Creek Up 1
45 Hershey (West) Down 3
46 Green Valley No change
47 St Clair (Championship) New entry
48 Wyncote Down 4
49 Totteridge Down 15
50 Galen Hall Up 5

Click the link to see full details of all courses in our latest Pennsylvania Best in State rankings

We don’t produce definitive rankings but we do publish what we believe to be the most informed listings that you’ll find anywhere. Your opinion matters to us so if you think we could have done better with any of these three newly revised US Best in State charts then please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page to share your thoughts.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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