US Mid-Atlantic Division Best in State Rankings 2020

14 December 2020 Respond to this article

US Mid-Atlantic Division Best in State Rankings 2020

We’re closing in on the conclusion of our Best in State re- ranking process for the USA with this, our penultimate revision for the Mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

In such a high quality golfing division, where twenty-seven of the courses are listed in our US Top 100, we’ve acquired additional local knowledge that now allows us to extend our listings in this northeast region by more than a third to a total of 235 courses.

Without further ado, we’re going to dive straight in to our Mid-Atlantic reappraisal, starting with the Garden State of New Jersey, where we’ve added another twenty-five tracks to the fifty that we already featured.


New Jersey

It’s no surprise whatsoever to discover the course at Pine Valley Golf Club in Clementon stays firmly embedded as the No. 1 layout in New Jersey. It is, after all, second to only Cypress Point at the top of both our national and global Top 100 charts. All eighteen holes of George Crump’s Camden County masterpiece have been in play for just over a hundred years now and they collectively form one of the toughest tracks in all of golf.

Pine Valley Golf Club

Pine Valley Golf Club

Our Florida correspondent Marc Bender posted these comments four months ago: “there is no course that offers a greater variety of 18 unique and fabulous holes with this level of continuity… the attention to every little architectural detail of the course is unparalleled. The balance of holes, use of the terrain, and the green complexes is incredible. Little difference exists between the least memorable hole and the most memorable hole; that’s how good each and every one of them is.”

Ten of the top twelve chart places remain unaltered, so the first real movement of significance occurs with the Highlands course at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, rising six spots to #18, which is the position it previously held in 2016. A late 1990s Hurdzan/Fry co-design from when those two architects were working in partnership, this layout is complemented by a fantastic 18-hole par three course called The Hickory, offering a really diverse 36-hole experience at the club.

Hamilton Farm - Highlands course

Hamilton Farm - Highlands course

Also climbing six spots to #26, the course at Arcola Country Club in Paramus is the sum product of three English-born architects – Herbert Haydn Barker, Willard G. Wilkinson and Robert Trent Jones Sr. – who fashioned the fairways over a fifty-year period between 1909 and 1958. Our US Correspondent Fergal O’Leary played at Arcola last year and felt it was “a truly wonderful club that has a lot to be proud of.”

Arcola Country Club

Arcola Country Club

The first of our new additions arrives at #23 and it’s the course at Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle, which was originally established back in 1923 when Robert White laid out an initial 9-hole track. Described by our regular contributor M. James Ward as “one of the most underappreciated courses in the Garden State,” this layout hosted the US Girls’ Junior Championship in 1990 and it’s just undergone an extensive restoration exercise by Andrew H. Green.

Another place to greatly benefit from a recent restoration is the course at Watchung Valley Golf Club (new at #29) which started out in the late 1920s as a layout planned by Seth Raynor but construction was carried out by Marty O’Loughlin, the Plainfield professional, who oversaw the build after the architect’s untimely death. George Waters has completed a project to polish the Raynor template holes and integrate them seamlessly with the style of the other holes that has evolved over time.

Watchung Valley Golf Club

Watchung Valley Golf Club


Rank/ Course Move
1 Pine Valley No change
2 Somerset Hills No change
3 Plainfield No change
4 Ridgewood (East & West) Up 1
5 Baltusrol (Lower) Down 1
6 Baltusrol (Upper) No change
7 Hollywood No change
8 Galloway National No change
9 Essex County Country Club No change
10 Bayonne No change
11 Mountain Ridge No change
12 Hidden Creek No change
13 Forsgate (Banks) Up 1
14 Morris County Down 1
15 Trump National (Old) - Bedminster Up 3
16 Ridge at Back Brook Up 3
17 Metedeconk National (1st & 3rd) Down 1
18 Hamilton Farm (Highlands) Up 6
19 Liberty National Down 2
20 Atlantic City Down 5
21 Montclair (Second & Fourth) Down 1
22 Hackensack Up 1
23 Manasquan River New entry
24 Alpine CC Down 2
25 Pine Valley Short Course No change
26 Arcola Up 6
27 Knickerbocker Up 4
28 Trump National (New) - Bedminster. Up 2
29 Watchung Valley New entry
30 Black Oak Down 4
31 Due Process Stable New entry
32 Hamilton Farm (Hickory) Up 3
33 Montclair (First & Third) New entry
34 Royce Brook (West) New entry
35 Crystal Springs (Ballyowen) Down 14
36 Shackamaxon New entry
37 Twisted Dune Down 10
38 Shore Gate Down 9
39 Spring Brook New entry
40 Trump National - Philadelphia Down 6
41 Medford Village Down 8
42 Riverton New entry
43 Seaview (Bay) Down 2
44 Architects Down 16
45 Canoe Brook (North) Up 2
46 Knoll (West) Down 1
47 Trump National - Colts Neck Down 1
48 Glen Ridge Up 1
49 North Jersey CC Down 11
50 Neshanic Valley (Ridge & Lake) Down 11
51 Pine Barrens Down 11
52 Crestmont New entry
53 Hominy Hill Down 16
54 Spring Lake Down 4
55 Bedens Brook Down 13
56 Upper Montclair (South & West) Down 12
57 Woodcrest New entry
58 Laurel Creek New entry
59 Hawk Pointe New entry
60 Ballamor Down 24
61 Scotland Run Down 13
62 Royce Brook (East) New entry
63 Canoe Brook (South) New entry
64 Echo Lake New entry
65 Little Mill (Blue & White) New entry
66 Old York New entry
67 Heron Glen New entry
68 Tavistock New entry
69 Running Deer New entry
70 Panther Valley New entry
71 Preakness Hills New entry
72 Vineyard National at Renault New entry
73 Blue Heron Pines New entry
74 Crystal Springs (Wild Turkey) Down 31
75 Essex Fells New entry


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


New York

Such is the strength in depth at the top of the table in New York, the first eighteen courses are all listed in our US Top 100 – and eight of these layouts also occupy positions in our World Top 100 – so with those figures in mind, we’ve decided to expand our state chart to a Top 100, bringing an additional thirty courses under the golfing spotlight in the Empire State.

The leading five courses stay exactly as they were after we refreshed the standings two years ago, which means the 18-hole layout at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton retains its No. 1 status. Golf has been played here since 1891, the year that Willie Davis set out an initial twelve holes, and the course has been modified a couple of times since then, first by C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor during World War I, then by Howard Toomey and William Flynn in the early 1930s.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

All the top amateur tournaments have been played here – including the US Amateur, US Women’s Amateur, US Senior Amateur and the Walker Cup – along with five editions of the US Open, the last of which was hosted two years ago. This prestigious event is due to return to Long Island for the 126th staging of the championship in another six years, when the club’s illustrious layout will once again take centre stage.

Three courses make double digit upward moves in the new chart.

Rising twelve to #31, the course at Teugega Country Club in Rome is a Donald Ross design dating back to 1921. The club was formed in 1899 and members played on a 9-hole layout next to the Mohawk River until a decision was made by the committee to move from their old waterlogged location five miles north to a new site on the southern shores of Delta Lake. Walter Hatch supervised construction, but Donald Ross made several site visits, even securing his first hole in one at the short par three 7th during a round on the new course.

Teugega Country Club

Teugega Country Club

Advancing fifteen to #44, the course at Westhampton Country Club in Westhampton Beach is one of Seth Raynor’s earliest solo designs from 1915 which Gil Hanse restored a decade ago now. “A truly wonderful layout with plenty of fun for good measure,” is what Fergal O’Leary said about the course in his review last year. “It’s a shot-maker’s paradise and we walked off the 18th green wanting more.”

Westhampton Country Club

Westhampton Country Club

Up ten places to #50, the course at Metropolis Country Club in White Plains was founded in 1904, with Herbert Strong completing his first ever design here. A.W. Tillinghast remodelled the layout in the late 1920s and it was further altered at different times by Joe Finger and his design partner Ken Dye before Ron Forse carried out a new millennium restoration.

Metropolis Country Club

Metropolis Country Club

M. James Ward thought last year the layout had “clearly improved in terms of strategic interest” with the recent removal of trees. Furthermore, he felt “the visual dynamics are clearly improved and turf quality has clearly benefitted from the added air flow... place Metropolis in another area of the USA where the overall competition is not that keen and the overall standing would likely be more noticeable.”

Leading the mass infiltration of newcomers into the New York listings, the course at Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove appears at #49. The club’s initial course was laid out by committee members but Devereux Emmet became the first architect to put his design stamp on the property in 1920. Others, such as Herbert Strong and Seth Raynor, made early changes to the course while Tom Fazio is credited with replacing all the greens eight years ago.

Nassau Country Club

Nassau Country Club

Writing in his golf travel blog, Paul Rudovsky had this to say about Nassau when he played it a while back (as he chased down every venue to have hosted the US Amateur); “here is a course that never was on a top 100 and probably never will be... but a fun, fun course to play.”


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 No change
5 Winged Foot (West) No change
6 Garden City Up 1
7 Bethpage (Black) Down 1
8 Maidstone No change
9 Winged Foot (East) Up 1
10 Quaker Ridge Down 1
11 Piping Rock Up 2
12 Oak Hill (East) Down 1
13 Sebonack Down 1
14 Whippoorwill No change
15 The Creek Up 1
16 Sleepy Hollow (Upper) Up 1
17 Wykagyl Down 2
18 St George's Up 1
19 Glens Falls Up 7
20 Monroe No change
21 Westchester (West) Down 3
22 Engineers Up 1
23 Meadow Brook Up 4
24 Country Club of Buffalo Up 5
25 Fenway Down 4
26 Hudson National Down 2
27 Oak Hill (West) Up 5
28 Atlantic Down 6
29 The Bridge Up 2
30 Southampton No change
31 Teugega Up 12
32 Crag Burn Up 2
33 North Shore Up 6
34 Leatherstocking Up 4
35 East Hampton Down 2
36 Century CC Down 1
37 Deepdale Down 12
38 Bethpage (Red) Up 3
39 Sunningdale Up 1
40 Huntington Up 6
41 Sands Point Up 7
42 Paramount CC Down 6
43 Trump Golf Links Ferry Point Down 6
44 Westhampton Up 15
45 Silo Ridge Down 3
46 Old Oaks Up 3
47 Country Club of Rochester Down 19
48 Country Club of Troy Up 4
49 Nassau New entry
50 Metropolis Up 10
51 Park CC Down 4
52 Pound Ridge Down 8
53 Rockaway Hunting Club No change
54 Manhatton Woods Down 3
55 Mahopac Down 1
56 Glen Oaks (White & Blue) Down 11
57 Fresh Meadow New entry
58 Seawane Club New entry
59 Knollwood New entry
60 Siwanoy Down 2
61 Apawamis New entry
62 Laurel Links New entry
63 Onondaga Up 2
64 Schuyler Meadows New entry
65 Saratoga National Down 1
66 Hollow Brook New entry
67 Tuxedo Club New entry
68 Niagara Falls CC New entry
69 Turning Stone (Atunyote) Down 19
70 Golf Club of Purchase New entry
71 Yahnundasis Down 15
72 Inwood Down 15
73 Trump National - Westchester Down 11
74 Sagamore Resort Down 19
75 Cherry Valley New entry
76 Ravenwood Down 15
77 Southward Ho New entry
78 Old Westbury (Overlook & Woods). Down 9
79 GlenArbor New entry
80 Montauk Downs State Park Down 10
81 Irondequoit New entry
82 Saratoga Golf & Polo New entry
83 Trump National - Hudson Valley New entry
84 St Andrew's New entry
85 Brook-Lea New entry
86 Turning Stone (Shenendoah) Down 23
87 Garden City Country Club New entry
88 Powelton Club New entry
89 Conklin Players Club Down 22
90 Rye New entry
91 Noyac New entry
92 Long Island National New entry
93 Bellevue New entry
94 Pelham New entry
95 Mansion Ridge New entry
96 Turning Stone (Kaluhyat) New entry
97 Seven Oaks New entry
98 Links at Hiawatha Landing Down 30
99 Links at Greystone New entry
100 Spring Lake (Thunderbird) New entry


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


Pennsylvania

Like New York, the top five layouts in Pennsylvania remain in the same order, so the course at Oakmont Country Club remains in the No. 1 slot. Located outside Pittsburgh, on the south bank of the Allegheny River, Oakmont’s reckoned to be one of the toughest tracks in American golf. Industrialist Henry Fownes and his son William devised this layout back at the start of the last century and William (who won the US Amateur in 1910) is said to have continued working on it right up until he died in 1950. It’s due to host the US Amateur in August next year, the sixth time the championship has been staged here.

Oakmont Country Club

Oakmont Country Club

Our International Correspondent David Davis commented last year, following his second visit to the club: “the routing is as good as anything on the planet … the bunkering and the greens really steal the show.” Javier Pintos, our Argentina Correspondent, also posted: “all the long holes are downhill and the short ones uphill so there you admire the design and the balance the course has.”

There’s very little movement in the upper reaches of the new chart but casting an eye a little lower reveals a few upward motions of note.

The course at Longue Vue Club (up five to #24) in Verona is exactly a hundred years old this year, having been designed by Scottish professional Robert White in 1920 then renovated by A. W. Tillinghast fifteen years later. Set two hundred feet above a bend in the Allegheny River, the layout “is certainly among the best in the Keystone State” according to M. James Ward. It’s also due to co-host the US Amateur in 2021.

Longue Vue Club

Longue Vue Club

The Old course at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort also moves up five rungs on the ladder. Dating back to 1895, the layout had improvements made by A.W. Tillinghast (1912) and Donald Ross (1923) before a new millennium Ron Forse restoration revitalized the set-up, introducing new bunkers and mounds to build on the strategy and variety already inherent on the course.

Omni Bedford Springs - Old course

Omni Bedford Springs Old course

White Manor Country Club’s 18-hole layout in Malvern (up to #32) reverses the fall from grace it suffered two years ago when it slipped seven places in the listings. The club was established in 1948 at Paxton Hollow but moved sixteen years later to its current location, where William and David Gordon laid out a new course for the members. Bobby Weed then renovated this layout in 2002.

White Manor Country Club

White Manor Country Club

The progression made by the Militia Hill course at Philadelphia Cricket Club in Plymouth Meeting (up nine to #33) more than makes up for a drop of four places which took place during our 2018 revision exercise. When this Hurdzan/Fry co-design was unveiled in 2002, it meant the club was the only one in the United States to have had a course built in each of the last three centuries as its St. Martins 9-holer emerged in 1895 and its 18-hole Wissahickton layout took shape in 1922.

The first of ten new entries in our enlarged Pennsylvania chart debuts at #35 and it’s the course at Llanerch Country Club in Havertown, where the 1958 PGA Championship was first contested as a stroke play event. Originally designed by Alex Findlay in the 1920s, the layout was reconfigured by J.B. McGovern, Donald Ross’s associate, after World War II. Last year, Brian Schneider from Renaissance Golf Design was appointed to carry out a renovation: “To make the golf course as fun, engaging, and visually attractive as possible.”

Llanerch Country Club

Llanerch Country Club


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


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

Next up in our final release are the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Jim McCann
Editor
Top 100 Golf Courses