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US Pacific Division Best in State Rankings 2016

25 April, 2016

US Pacific Division Best in State Rankings 2016

Five States in the West Region are updated in the first of nine US divisional revisions

Top 100 Golf Courses inaugurated its Best in State rankings for the United States in 2012 so this is the second biennial update of those listings. Two years ago, we published the revised standings for the fifty States in four geographical groupings. This time around, we plan to spread the announcements across nine distinct Divisions, starting with the five Pacific States of California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska.

We’ve also extended the number of courses that we feature in nearly every state. For the Pacific Division, we’ve increased our coverage from 120 to 195 courses, thanks mainly to doubling the size of the Californian chart from a Top 50 to a Top 100. In total, there are 17 Pacific tracks ranked in our national Top 100 for the United States so it’s a division that’s hardly lacking in high quality golf courses.


The Top seven places in our Californian listings remain exactly as they have been since 2014 so that means Alister MacKenzie’s Cypress Point remains in the number 1 position – hardly a surprise when you consider it’s also our current US and World No. 1. The course attracted an excellent review last year when somebody posted a wonderful pictorial account of their visit (having spent more than a year carefully planning the trip beforehand ) and their comments ended with the wish that “many more readers of this site get the chance to play [the course], because it really is an experience like no other”.

One of only two courses to make upward moves within the Top 10 standings, California Golf Club of San Francisco rises two places to number 8. Originally laid out in the 1920s, “the Cal Club” was extensively renovated by Kyle Phillips in 2007/8 and the results of that fabulous upgrade are now reflected in the layout’s latest chart position. Mention must also be made to another couple of courses which the same architect has revived with extensive makeovers in recent years: Menlo (at number 48) and Wilshire(at number 50), which are two of the highest new entries in our latest Top 100 for the Golden State.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Cypress Point No change
2 Pebble Beach No change
3 San Francisco No change
4 Riviera No change
5 Los Angeles (North) No change
6 Olympic Club (Lake) No change
7 Pasatiempo No change
8 California Up 2
9 Valley Club of Montecito Down 1
10 Spyglass Hill Down 1
11 Monterey Peninsula (Shore) No change
12 Bel-Air Up 4
13 Mayacama No change
14 Preserve No change
15 Quarry at La Quinta No change
16 Torrey Pines (South) Down 4
17 Stone Eagle No change
18 Madison Up 1
19 Martis Camp Club Up 3
20 CordeValle No change
21 Monterey Peninsula (Dunes) Up 3
22 PGA West (Stadium) Down 4
23 Sherwood Up 2
24 Rustic Canyon Up 8
25 Lahontan Up 6
26 Links at Spanish Bay Down 3
27 Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe No change
28 Barona Creek Down 2
29 Tradition Up 6
30 Meadow Club Up 3
31 Shady Canyon Down 10
32 Bighorn (Canyons) Down 4
33 Pelican Hill (Ocean South) Down 3
34 Bighorn (Mountains) No change
35 Vintage Club (Desert) Down 6
36 Rancho Sante Fe Up 1
37 Olympic Club (Ocean) Down 1
38 Vintage Club (Mountain) Up 1
39 Stanford University Up 1
40 Eldorado Up 3
41 Pelican Hill (Ocean North) Down 3
42 TPC Harding Park Down 1
43 Trump National - Los Angeles Up 4
44 Pauma Valley New entry
45 Saddle Creek Up 1
46 La Purisima Down 4
47 Maderas Down 3
48 Menlo CC New entry
49 Poppy Hills New entry
50 Wilshire New entry
51 Indian Wells (Players) Down 6
52 Cayote Moon New entry
53 San Diego New entry
54 La Costa (Champions) New entry
55 Lakeside New entry
56 La Quinta (Mountain) New entry
57 Half Moon Bay (Ocean) Down 9
58 Shadow Ridge New entry
59 PGA West (Palmer Private) New entry
60 Desert Willow (Firecliff) Down 10
61 Toscana (South) New entry
62 Reserve Down 13
63 Bayonet & Black Horse (Bayonet) New entry
64 Sandpiper New entry
65 Pacific Grove New entry
66 Claremont New entry
67 Granite Bay New entry
68 PGA West (Nicklaus Private) New entry
69 Lake Merced New entry
70 Aviara New entry
71 Dark Horse New entry
72 Old Greenwood New entry
73 Grand GC San Diego New entry
74 Ironwood (South) New entry
75 Indian Wells (Celebrity) New entry
76 Bayonet & Black Horse (Black Horse) New entry
77 Mission Hills (Pete Dye Challenge) New entry
78 Classic Club New entry
79 Torry Pines (North) New entry
80 TPC Stonebrae New entry
81 Journey at Pechanga New entry
82 Monarch Beach New entry
83 Silverado (North) New entry
84 Peninsula G&CC New entry
85 Wente Vineyards New entry
86 Saticoy New entry
87 PGA West (Nicklaus Tournament) New entry
88 Grizzly Ranch New entry
89 Poppy Ridge (Merlot & Zinfandel) New entry
90 Porcupine Creek New entry
91 Winchester Country Club New entry
92 Whitehawk Ranch New entry
93 Annandale New entry
94 Sonoma New entry
95 Yocha Dehe New entry
96 SilverRock (Arnold Palmer Classic) New entry
97 Nicklaus Club - Monterey New entry
98 Olympic Club (Cliffs) New entry
99 Schaffer's Mill Club New entry
100 Orinda New entry

Click the link to see full details of our 2016 California Best in State rankings


We’ve expanded our chart for the Beaver State by 50% to create a Top 30 and the top four positions are all occupied by courses from the iconic Bandon Dunes Resort. Tom Doak’s Pacific Dunes layout holds onto the number 1 position and the architect’s second design at this venue, Old Macdonald, climbs one place to the runner-up spot at number 2. All four 18-hole layouts at this popular golf destination are firmly ensconced in our US Top 100 table so it’s really hard to argue against anybody who claims Bandon is the best golf resort in the country.

Two hundred and seventy miles further northeast of Bandon, the Pronghorn Club at Bend offers its residential members two terrific tracks. The rather unimaginatively named Fazio (designed by Tom Fazio in 2006) edges up two places to number 5 in the state listings and its older sibling, the Nicklaus (laid out by Jack Nicklaus in 2004), moves up one position to number 8. Another private facility, Portland Golf Club, enters the Top 10 at number 10 and some might be aware of the historical importance of this course, having hosted the first Ryder Cup after World War II in 1947.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Bandon Dunes (Pacific Dunes) No change
2 Bandon Dunes (Old Macdonald) Up 1
3 Bandon Dunes (Bandon Dunes) Down 1
4 Bandon Dunes (Bandon Trails) No change
5 Pronghorn (Fazio) Up 2
6 Eugene Down 1
7 Pumpkin Ridge (Witch Hollow) Down 1
8 Pronghorn (Nicklaus) Up 1
9 Crosswater Down 1
10 Portland Up 1
11 Tetherow Down 1
12 Waverley Up 4
13 Pumpkin Ridge (Ghost Creek) Up 1
14 Columbia Edgewater (Macan) Down 1
15 Broken Top No change
16 Aspen Lakes New entry
17 Juniper New entry
18 Running Y Ranch Down 6
19 Bandon Crossings Down 1
20 Sandpines New entry
21 Black Butte Ranch (Glaze Meadow) New entry
22 Oregon New entry
23 Brasada Ranch New entry
24 Black Butte Ranch (Big Meadow) New entry
25 Salishan Down 8
26 Eagle Point Down 6
27 Reserve Vineyards (South) Down 8
28 Tokatee New entry
29 Astoria New entry
30 Reserve Vineyards (North) New entry

Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Oregon Best in State rankings


We’ve added another five courses to our Washington listings, where Chambers Bay remains the Evergreen State’s number 1 track, despite tumbling down the US national chart that we published four months ago. The course was widely criticised during last year’s US Open for the performance of its putting surfaces but, despite conditioning issues, it’s still regarded by many commentators as one of Robert Trent Jones Jnr’s better designs.

New at number 2, we have David McLay Kidd’s Gamble Sands, which first opened for play in 2014. Set out on top of a sandy mesa within a huge 1,000-acre property, the course lies – in the words of its architect – in a ”once in a lifetime site every golf designer dreams of, rolling sand dunes overlooking a large body of water… no homes, no other development around, just golf on sand, golf as it was truly meant to be.”

Rank/ Course Move
1 Chambers Bay No change
2 Gamble Sands New entry
3 Sahalee (South/North) Down 1
4 Aldarra Down 1
5 Wine Valley No change
6 Tumble Creek Down 2
7 Seattle Up 2
8 Salish Cliffs Up 2
9 Palouse Ridge Down 3
10 Royal Oaks Down 2
11 TPC Snoqualmie Ridge Down 4
12 Fircrest Up 2
13 Gold Mountain (Olympic) Down 1
14 Loomis Trail Up 2
15 Desert Canyon Down 2
16 Semiahmoo Down 1
17 Suncadia (Prospector) Up 2
18 Canterwood Down 7
19 Port Ludlow (Tide & Timber) Down 1
20 Trophy Lake Down 3
21 Indian Canyon New entry
22 Tacoma Up 3
23 Washington National Down 3
24 Creek at Qualchan New entry
25 McCormick Woods New entry
26 Inglewood Down 5
27 Apple Tree New entry
28 Plateau Down 6
29 Suncadia (Rope Rider) New entry
30 Indian Summer Down 7

Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Washington Best in State rankings


There are now 30 courses in our standings for the Aloha State and another David McLay Kidd design, Nanea, retains the number 1 slot. Paul Rudovsky played this ultra-exclusive track on the Big Island last March. Paul (aka Rudo) is closing in on playing every course that has ever appeared on a World Top 100 ranking list: “This is a very very private club. It is simply exquisite, and fun to play, but it also very much values its privacy, and I shall respect that… What you might not expect is the difficulty associated with reading its greens, which are heavily influenced by the slope from Mauna Kea down to the Pacific Ocean. The course is one of the very few that is both challenging and fun to play. If you get the opportunity, do not let it pass.”

Positions 2, 3 and 4 in the new Top 30 all remain as they were then, at number 5 (up two spots), we have the 1993 Jack Nicklaus design at Manele on Lanai Island which a reviewer last year described as “maybe the most visually stunning course you will ever play… almost every hole has spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean… this is my idea of Paradise.”

A little further down the chart, two of our ten new entries arrive inside the Top 10: Kukui’ula at number 8 is a tremendous Tom Weiskopf layout on the island of Kauai that debuted in 2010 and Kohanaiki at number 9 is a remarkable Rees Jones design – routed around Ahu rock shrines and hundreds of anchialine pools – which was finally unveiled in 2013, five years after its scheduled opening date.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Nanea No change
2 Kapalua (Plantation) No change
3 Princeville (Prince) No change
4 Mauna Kea No change
5 Manele Up 2
6 Kuki'o No change
7 Hokuli'a Down 2
8 Kukui'ula New entry
9 Kohanaiki New entry
10 Hualalai (Ke’olu) Down 2
11 Waialae Down 1
12 Poipu Bay Down 1
13 Hoakalei New entry
14 King Kamehameha New entry
15 Turtle Bay (Palmer) No change
16 Hualalai (Hualalai) Down 4
17 Princeville (Makai) Down 8
18 Wailea (Gold) Down 5
19 Koele Down 5
20 Wailea (Emerald) No change
21 Mauna Lani (North) Down 3
22 Ko'olau Down 6
23 Kauai Lagoons (Kiele) Down 6
24 Mauna Lani (South) Down 5
25 Waikoloa Beach (King's) New entry
26 Kapalua (Bay) New entry
27 Ko Olina New entry
28 Ka‘anapali (Royal Ka‘anapali) New entry
29 Puakea New entry
30 Mid Pacific New entry

Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Hawaii Best in State rankings


The Last Frontier State is the only one in the United States where we list fewer than ten courses. Our number 1 is still Bill Newcomb’s thirty-year-old Anchorage course, located just outside the state’s most populous city. With the Robert Trent Jones Jnr course at Eagleglen closing two years ago and dropping out of our state rankings, we have a new entry at number 4, Settlers Bay, to take its place in our new Top 5 chart.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Anchorage No change
2 Moose Run (Creek) Up 1
3 Chena Bend Up 1
4 Settlers Bay New entry
5 Palmer No change

Click the link to see full details of our 2016 Alaska Best in State rankings

We always like to hear what you think about our re-ranking process so please let us know your opinion of our five newly updated US Best in State charts. What course(s) have we missed or is there one (or more) that really shouldn’t be listed? Perhaps there’s one riding too high or languishing too low in the standings? Whatever your impressions are, please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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