Mountain Division Best in State Rankings 2016
Eight states in our West Region are updated in the second of nine US regional revisions
Top 100 Golf Courses inaugurated its Best in State rankings for the United States four years ago so we’re now conducting our second biennial review of those charts. In 2014, we published the revised standings for the fifty States in four news releases, covering four rather large geographical areas.
This year, we’ve decide to extend our reporting across nine distinct divisions and this is the second of those announcements, covering the West region Mountain States of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
We’ve also expanded the number of courses that we display for every State (apart from Wyoming, which retains a Top 10 chart) so, for the Mountain Division, we’ve increased our coverage from 130 to 195 courses. Arizona now features a Top 50, Colorado has a Top 40 and Nevada a Top 30.
All told, there are only 6 Mountain courses ranked in our Top 100 for the United States so the region isn’t exactly a hotbed for high quality golf courses at a national level. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of interesting layouts worthy of closer examination within the eight states that are under scrutiny.
The Canyon course at Forest Highlands retains its number 1 status in the Grand Canyon State listings. A Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish co-design that debuted in 1988, it was reviewed last year by our US Consultant Fergal O’Leary, who awarded it a 5-ball mark, along with the following comment: “It’s a manicured course that doesn’t play “firm and fast” so to some extent it feels like target golf, however, this doesn’t (at all) take away from the demanding nature of the course.”
Three courses make significant upward moves within the Top 10 portion of the state chart: Desert Highlands, an early 1980s Jack Nicklaus track (up three to number 3), Whisper Rock (Lower), where Phil Mickelson teamed up with Dallas-based architect Gary Stephenson to turn a boulder-strewn area in the Sonoran Desert into a very special golf venue (up three to number 8) and Pine Canyon, a Jay Morrish solo design from 2004, which is the centrepiece of a residential community in Flagstaff (up eight to number 9).
In order to expand our Arizona listings to a Top 50, we’ve added twenty new courses to the state chart and this raft of newcomers is headed at number 22 by Talking Stick (North), which is one of two 18-hole courses laid out by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw in the late 1990s for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community within their luxury hotel and casino resort near Scottsdale.
|1||Forest Highlands (Canyon)||No change|
|3||Desert Highlands||Up 3|
|4||Whisper Rock (Upper)||Down 1|
|5||Stone Canyon||No change|
|6||We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro)||Up 1|
|8||Whisper Rock (Lower)||Up 3|
|9||Pine Canyon||Up 8|
|10||Desert Forest||Down 6|
|11||Forest Highlands (Meadow)||Down 3|
|12||Troon Country Club||Up 3|
|13||Desert Mountain (Chiricahua)||Down 1|
|16||Seven Canyons||Down 3|
|18||Dove Mountain (Saguaro & Tortolita)||Up 1|
|19||We-Ko-Pa (Cholla)||Down 5|
|20||Desert Mountain (Geronimo)||No change|
|21||Desert Mountain (Renegade)||No change|
|22||Talking Stick (North)||New entry|
|23||Troon North (Monument)||Down 5|
|24||Talking Rock||Up 2|
|25||Scottsdale National||Up 2|
|26||Chaparral Pines||Down 4|
|27||Troon North (Pinnacle)||Down 3|
|28||TPC Scottsdale (Stadium)||New entry|
|29||Boulders (North)||Down 4|
|30||Ventana Canyon (Mountain)||No change|
|31||Gallery (North)||Down 2|
|32||SunRidge Canyon||New entry|
|33||Gallery (South)||New entry|
|34||Boulders (South)||New entry|
|35||Apache Stronghold||New entry|
|38||Ak-Chin Southern Dunes||New entry|
|39||Gold Canyon (Dinosaur Mountain)||Down 11|
|40||La Paloma (Ridge & Canyon)||New entry|
|41||Laughlin Ranch||New entry|
|42||Ventana Canyon (Canyon)||New entry|
|45||Starr Pass (Rattler & Roadrunner)||New entry|
|46||Talking Stick (South)||New entry|
|47||Desert Mountain (Cochise)||New entry|
|48||Grayhawk (Talon)||New entry|
|49||Grayhawk (Raptor)||New entry|
Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Arizona Best in State courses
Tom Doak’s “inland links” layout at Ballyneal is still our number 1 course in the Centennial State. Such is the quality of this fabulous new millennium design, it’s also ranked very highly in both our US Top 100 and World Top 100 charts so don’t expect to see it displaced from the top of the state listings anytime soon.
Rising one place to the runner-up position in our revised Colorado chart, Cherry Hills is a 1922 William Flynn layout that Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design company extensively renovated in 2009. Site of numerous national amateur and professional championships down the years, the course also climbed eight spots to number 87 in our US Top 100 chart when it was revised four months ago.
Three other courses make significant upward moves with the state Top 10: the 2007 Jay Morrish design at Ravenna in Littleton (up three to number 7), the 1984 Jack Nicklaus Signature course at Country Club of the Rockies in Edwards (also up three to number 8), and Tom Fazio’s 1995 design at Maroon Creek near Aspen (up four to number 9).
Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Colorado Best in State courses
Shadow Creek (North) remains our number 1 course in the Silver State. Constructed for casino mogul Steve Wynn from a barren, featureless desert site outside Las Vegas by Tom Fazio in 1989, this totally artificial – yet seemingly natural – track was seen by some at one time as the eighth modern wonder of the golfing world so it just goes to show what can be achieved when money is no object.
Four hundred and fifty miles northwest of Las Vegas, a couple of 18-hole layouts near Lake Tahoe take small steps in the right direction in our new state listings, with both rising two positions. At number 2, Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw’s 2009 production at Clear Creek, just outside Carson City, is a much-admired, rugged mountain track and at number 8, the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Montreaux Golf & Country Club is an annual PGA Tour stop, hosting the Barracuda Championship (formerly the Reno-Tahoe Open).
|1||Shadow Creek (North)||No change|
|2||Clear Creek||Up 2|
|4||Southern Highlands||Up 1|
|6||Wolf Creek||Down 3|
|7||Edgewood Tahoe||No change|
|9||Wynn Las Vegas||No change|
|10||Coyote Springs||Down 2|
|11||Las Vegas Country Club||Up 1|
|13||Rio Secco||Up 4|
|14||Reflection Bay||New entry|
|15||Bali Hai||New entry|
|16||Bear's Best||Up 2|
|17||Royal Links||New entry|
|18||Las Vegas Paiute (Wolf)||Down 4|
|19||TPC Summerlin||Down 6|
|20||TPC Las Vegas||No change|
|21||Incline Village (Championship)||Down 6|
|22||Oasis (Palmer)||New entry|
|24||Las Vegas Paiute (Sun Mountain)||Down 5|
|25||Las Vegas Paiute (Snow Mountain)||New entry|
|26||Boulder Creek (Desert Hawk & Coyote Run)||New entry|
|27||Badlands (Desperado & Diablo)||New entry|
|28||Falcon Ridge||New entry|
|29||Genoa Lakes (Lakes)||New entry|
|30||Primm Valley (Lakes)||New entry|
Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Nevada Best in State courses
The Paa-Ko Ridge(1st & 2nd) layout in Sandia Park was our number 1 course in the Land of Enchantment when we first established our state listings in 2012 and it remains top of the standings after our latest round of re-rankings. Designed by Ken Dye and opened early in the new millennium, the original 18-hole course had an additional 9-hole circuit added to the layout in 2005 to form a fantastic 27-hole facility.
Rising one place to number 2 in our New Mexico chart, the Sunset course at Las Campanas is the newer and slightly shorter of two Jack Nicklaus courses that are laid out within an exclusive country club located just outside Santa Fe. The Golden Bear marked the opening of the course with a match against Ben Crenshaw in “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” television series soon after it debuted in 2000.
|1||Paa-Ko Ridge (1st & 2nd)||No change|
|2||Las Campanas (Sunset)||Up 1|
|3||Black Mesa||Down 1|
|4||Las Campanas (Sunrise)||No change|
|5||Pinon Hills||No change|
|6||Twin Warriors||Up 1|
|8||University of New Mexico (Championship)||Up 2|
|9||Pueblo de Cochiti||No change|
|10||Sierra del Rio||Down 2|
|11||Inn of the Mountain Gods||New entry|
|12||Red Hawk||New entry|
|15||Rockwind Community Links||New entry|
Click the link to see full details of our 2016 New Mexico Best in State courses
Tom Fazio’s Glenwild design in Park City is still on top of the ranking chart for the Beehive State. Unveiled in 2001, this course is routed around a wandering creek with a number of associated lakes so keeping the golf ball dry is imperative on this 7,541-yard layout.
The Championship course at Sand Hollow, a John Fough design located near Hurricane, makes an impressive leap from number 8 to 2, just coming up short of the Fazio layout, but it’s one to watch out for next time around.
|2||Sand Hollow (Championship)||Up 6|
|3||Victory Ranch||Up 1|
|4||Salt Lake Country Club||Up 1|
|5||Promontory Club (Canyon)||Down 3|
|7||Promontory Club (Painted Valley)||Down 4|
|8||Red Ledges||Down 2|
|9||Entrada at Snow Canyon||No change|
|11||Soldier Hollow (Gold)||New entry|
|12||Thanksgiving Point||New entry|
|13||Coral Canyon||Down 3|
|14||Willow Creek||New entry|
|16||Ledges of St George||New entry|
|17||Wasatch Mountain (Mountain)||New entry|
|18||Park Meadows||New entry|
|19||Sunbrooke (Point & Woodbridge)||New entry|
Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Utah Best in State courses
Another Tom Fazio design, Gozzer Ranch, comfortably holds onto the number 1 slot in the Gem State. Ranked inside the top half of our US Top 100 chart, the course isn’t quite a “typical Fazio” layout, as discovered by this reviewer: “Without question or debate, Gozzer Ranch looked, felt, and played so much like a Coore & Crenshaw with its ragged edges to bunkering, wonderful use of fescue, holes perfectly placed on the land… the front nine is very good, but the back nine is nothing short of superb.”
The highest of five new entries in our expanded Top 15 chart is Rock Creek at number 6, a recent Tom Weiskopf design located on the cliff tops overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene. It was originally meant to be an additional 18-hole layout for the adjacent Black Rock development (which is number 2 in the Idaho chart) but the same gentleman who owns the Rock Creek Cattle Company in Montana acquired the property and he’s decided to give his Idaho course a very similar name.
|1||Gozzer Ranch||No change|
|2||Black Rock (Jim Engh)||No change|
|3||Hunstsman Springs||No change|
|4||Tamarack (Osprey Meadows)||No change|
|5||Circling Raven||No change|
|6||Rock Creek||New entry|
|7||Coeur d'Alene||Down 1|
|9||Teton Springs (Headwaters)||No change|
|10||Sun Valley (Trail Creek)||Down 2|
|11||Idaho Club||Down 4|
|12||Hillcrest Country Club||New entry|
|13||Blue Lakes||New entry|
|14||Jug Mountain Ranch||New entry|
|15||Quail Hollow||New entry|
Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Idaho Best in State courses
The Rock Creek Cattle Company course prevails as the number 1 track in the Treasure State. Tom Doak routed the eighteen holes across a rather remote, rugged landscape, with wide, Kentucky blue-grassed fairways offering all sorts of approach options to heavily-contoured greens. As might be expected of a Doak course, there’s more than enough design interest on every hole to keep golfers totally engaged from start to finish on this layout.
Closing in just behind this
nationally-ranked layout, two courses climb two places in the chart.
The first of these is Wilderness Club at number 2, a Nick Faldo
layout from 2009 which is appropriately named due to its remote
location outside of Eureka, near the Canadian border.
course, at number 3, is Stock Farm Club, a late-1990s Tom Fazio
design that’s laid out in Bitterroot Valley, near Hamilton.
|1||Rock Creek Cattle Company||No change|
|2||Wilderness Club||Up 2|
|3||Stock Farm||Up 2|
|4||Iron Horse||Down 2|
|5||Old Works||Down 2|
|6||Spanish Peaks||No change|
|7||Yellowstone Club||Up 1|
|8||Black Bull||New entry|
|9||Yellowstone Country Club||New entry|
|10||Northern Pines||Down 1|
|11||The Ranch Club||Down 4|
|12||Whitefish Lake (North)||New entry|
|13||Eagle Bend (Eagle & Bear)||New entry|
|14||Whitefish Lake (South)||New entry|
|15||Canyon River||Down 5|
Click this link to see full details of our 2016 Montana Best in State courses
The Equality State retains a Top 10 ranking chart which is headed by Tom Fazio’s Shooting Star, a Jackson Hole layout that has water in play at more than half the holes. Two other courses move up the listings: Snake River in Jackson Hole (up three to number 2) which is a Tom Weiskopf design from 2006, and Rochelle Ranch in Rawlins (up one to number 9), where Ken Kavanaugh set out the course in 2004.
|1||Shooting Star||No change|
|2||Snake River||Up 3|
|3||3 Creek Ranch||Down 1|
|4||Powder Horn (Mountain & Stag)||Down 1|
|5||Teton Pines||Down 1|
|6||Jackson Hole||No change|
|7||Devils Tower||No change|
|8||Three Crowns||No change|
|9||Rochelle Ranch||Up 1|
|10||Bell Nob||Down 1|
Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Wyoming Best in State courses
We always welcome your thoughts when we carry out our re-ranking process so please let us know what you think if you have a strong opinion about any one of our eight newly updated US Best in State charts. What layout have we omitted or maybe there’s a course that really shouldn’t be included? Perhaps there’s one positioned too high up in the listings or one sitting too far down? Whatever your feelings are, please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page if you’d like to get in touch with us.
Top 100 Golf Courses