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US West South Central Division Best in State Rankings 2018

11 May, 2018

US West South Central Division Best in State Rankings 2018

Four States in our South Region are revised in the third of nine US divisional updates.

We first created our US Best in State rankings in 2012 so this is the fourth biennial update of those charts. The first time we reappraised the standings for the fifty States we did so by dividing this enormous golfing nation into four large geographical groups, which, in hindsight, was probably just a little too cumbersome.

Two years ago, we spread the exercise across nine more manageable divisions and that’s what we’re doing again now, with this edition focusing on the four West South Central States of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

A total of 160 courses are featured across this four-state division, allowing us to publish Top 20 tables for Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, along with a Top 100 listing for Texas.


The Arkansas state listings have been extended by adding another five courses in this update. Our number 1 in the Natural State remains Tom Fazio’s new millennium layout at Alotian Club, which occupies three hundred acres of hilly, forested terrain outside Little Rock. The course is the private property of billionaire investment banker Warren Stephens, a member of Augusta National, who spent a considerable proportion of his personal fortune constructing a layout in the mould of its more famous counterpart in Georgia.

The highest new entry at number 7 on the state chart is the Ridges at Village Creek in Cross County, a 27-hole facility crafted by Andy Dye, which nestles in the massive Village Creek State Park. Laid out across a local landform known as Crowley’s Ridge, the North and East nines at this public course form the 18-hole combination of first choice within a delightfully natural setting.

Not too far behind at number 10, the Ken Dye-designed course at Mystic Creek Golf Club in Union County is the second newcomer to appear in the Arkansas rankings. Opened for play five years ago, this semi-private course was built with a large construction budget inside a 510-acre real estate development on the outskirts of El Dorado, with fairways hewn from the dense pine woodlands that dominate the surrounding environment.


Click this link to see full details of our 2018 Arkansas Best in State courses


The course at Squire Creek Country Club is still the number 1 track in the Pelican state. A Tom Fazio layout which was first unveiled in 2002, this 18-hole layout is one of a number of sporting amenities available to members within a sizeable residential development near the small town of Choudrant in Lincoln Parish. Fairways framed by native grasses are routed around wetland areas, creeks and small lakes which are spread out around a stunning landscape. It’s also the home course for the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs golf teams.

The highest new entry in our Top 20 appears at number 9. Located an hour’s drive north of downtown New Orleans, the 18-hole layout at Money Hill Golf & Country Club lies on land that has been developed over many years by the local Goodyear family, with the course set on a former tung oil plantation. Ron Garl designed Money Hill twenty years ago in such a way that the closing holes are laid out around a large spring-fed lake, ensuring that every round here ends in dramatic style.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Squire Creek No change
2 Country Club of Louisiana No change
3 The Bluffs Golf Resort No change
4 TPC Louisiana No change
5 Oakbourne No change
6 Koasati Pines Up 6
7 Black Bear Down 1
8 Country Club at Golden Nugget Up 12
9 Money Hill New entry
10 Contraband Bayou Down 1
11 Gray Plantation Down 4
12 Carter Plantation Down 1
13 English Turn Down 5
14 Southern Trace Down 4
15 Metairie Up 4
16 Audubon Park Up 1
17 Baton Rouge Down 4
18 Tamahka Trails Down 3
19 University Club of Baton Rouge Down 1
20 Atchafalaya at Idlewild Down 6

Click this link to see full details of our 2018 Louisiana Best in State courses


The Championship course at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa holds onto its position at the top of the Sooner State rankings. Host venue for three US Opens, four USPGA Championships and a raft of other USGA national amateur events, this mid-1930s Perry Maxwell design is currently the only West South Central course listed in our World Top 100 so don’t expect it to be knocked off the top perch in the state anytime soon. Earlier this year, the club announced Gil Hanse would spearhead an extensive renovation project aimed at restoring their classic design as part of a $19m facility upgrade.

Golf journalist and regular Top 100 contributor M James Ward had this to say about the course a few months ago: “the Perry Maxwell design is artfully and brilliantly routed… the putting greens, as one might expect, are especially treacherous… the course is well-served by a number of dog-leg holes – shaping shots is essential at Southern Hills… those fortunate enough to play it will enjoy the genius of what Maxwell has so wisely provided.”

The biggest climber in the new chart is the old A. W. Tillinghast layout at Oaks Country Club in Tulsa which leaps ten places up to number 10. Largely unaltered for almost ninety years, the course underwent an extensive renovation by Bill Bergin four years ago when he used old photos and maps to assist with the rebuilding of fairway and greenside bunkers and the reconstruction of tees and greens, all of which was intended to recapture the original 1920s design values of its esteemed architect.

Rank/ Course Move
1 Southern Hills No change
2 Oak Tree National No change
3 Karsten Creek No change
4 Patriot Up 1
5 Golf Club of Oklahoma Down 1
6 Oklahoma City No change
7 Twin Hills Up 2
8 Territory Down 1
9 Oak Tree (West) Down 1
10 Oaks Country Club Up 10
11 Oak Tree (East) Down 1
12 Tulsa Down 1
13 Jimmie Austin No change
14 Dornick Hills Down 2
15 Stillwater No change
16 Hillcrest Up 3
17 Chickasaw Pointe Down 1
18 Cedar Ridge No change
19 Forest Ridge Down 5
20 Winstar (East & South) New entry

Click this link to see full details of our 2018 Oklahoma Best in State courses


The Texas Top 100 has fourteen new entries, most of them arriving between position 75 and 100, but the highest newcomer in the Lone Star State listings, the Tiger Woods and Beau Welling design at Bluejack National in Montgomery, hurtles straight into the chart at number 1. Although a golf course has existed on the property since 2001, when the former Blaketree National Golf Club opened for play, it was only after a complete redesign by Woods and Welling that the reborn 18-hole layout first gained national prominence at the start of 2016.

A recent reviewer thought the design team “showed surprising restraint by how few bunkers they used and by how lay of the land this design is.” He continued: ”the strength of this course is in the interest on and around the greens and how the firm and tight conditions give the player choices… by clearing the areas under the trees, they have eliminated the most time consuming and least enjoyable part of golf, searching for wayward shots, so rounds are always played at a nice pace.”

The 18-hole layout at Austin Golf Club near Spicewood enjoys a low key location some thirty miles from the state capital, just off highway 71. A Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw design, the course has made steady progress in our Texas table – rising from number 27 in 2012 to number 13 in 2014 then number 8 two years ago – and it climbs another two places to the new number 6 slot. There’s no residential element to the club and there are no country club amenities, just golf amongst the live oaks, cacti, native grasses and scrubland found on typical Texas Hill Country terrain.

Another Coore and Crenshaw course to make a big impact in Texas is their new layout at Trinity Forest Golf Club close to downtown Dallas, which is a highly-placed new entry at number 23. Host venue for the 51st edition of the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament in May 2018, Trinity Forest has so far attracted mixed reviews, ranging from a “fun and challenging course” to “hugely disappointing… I was not impressed.” It’ll be interesting to see what the top professionals on the PGA Tour make of it when they tee it up here next week.

Unfortunately we've taken the decision to de-list Wolf Point Ranch. The club's owner sadly died in July 2016 due to injuries sustained following a fall. Since the accident, course maintenance has been cut back and the 475-acre property is on the market for $7,700,000, which on balance seems to be a small price to pay for a golf course dubbed the “St. Andrews of Texas” and only one of eighteen courses featured in Tom Doak’s “Gourmet’s Choice” in The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses Volume 2 .

Rank/ Course Move
1 Bluejack National New entry
2 Whispering Pines Down 1
3 Dallas National No change
4 Colonial Down 2
5 Brook Hollow Down 1
6 Austin Golf Club Up 2
7 Preston Trail Down 2
8 Cordillera Ranch Up 1
9 Champions (Cypress Creek) Down 2
10 Spanish Oaks No change
11 Boot Ranch No change
12 Carlton Woods (Nicklaus) Up 1
13 Carlton Woods (Fazio) Down 7
14 Escondido No change
15 Austin Country Club Up 3
16 Miramont Down 4
17 Vaquero Down 2
18 Pine Dunes Up 2
19 Briggs Ranch Down 3
20 Barton Creek (Fazio Canyons) Down 3
21 Rawls Course at Texas Tech Up 5
22 TPC Craig Ranch No change
23 Trinity Forest New entry
24 Barton Creek (Fazio Foothills) Down 5
25 Shady Oaks Down 2
26 Oak Hills Down 5
27 Lochinvar Up 2
28 Black Jack's Crossing Up 4
29 Horseshoe Bay (Summit Rock) Up 1
30 River Oaks Down 6
31 Houston Country Club Up 4
32 Royal Oaks CC Dallas Up 8
33 Shadow Hawk Down 5
34 Walden on Lake Conroe Down 7
35 TPC San Antonio (Oaks) Down 4
36 Amarillo Up 11
37 Lakewood Country Club Up 19
38 Lakeside Country Club Up 20
39 Northwood Club Down 2
40 Hills of Lakeway (Hills) Down 7
41 TPC Las Colinas Up 12
42 Champions (Jack Rabbit) Up 19
43 Stonebridge Ranch (Dye) Down 9
44 Golf Club of Houston (Member) Up 1
45 Wolfdancer Down 4
46 Royal Oaks CC Houston Up 25
47 Crown Colony Up 5
48 Woodlands (Tournament) Up 18
49 Old American Down 10
50 Butterfield Trail Down 12
51 Horseshoe Bay (Ram Rock) Down 15
52 Palmilla Beach Up 3
53 Golf Club of Houston (Tournament) Down 4
54 Dallas Athletic Club (Blue) Down 4
55 Maridoe Up 7
56 Rockport Up 9
57 La Cantera (Palmer) Down 6
58 Cowboys Down 4
59 The Tribute Down 15
60 Deerwood Down 14
61 TPC San Antonio (Canyons) Up 2
62 Traditions at Texas A&M Down 14
63 Bent Tree Up 6
64 Woodforest Up 14
65 Mira Vista Down 8
66 Cimarron Hills Down 7
67 University of Texas Up 18
68 Comanche Trace (Hills & Valley) Down 8
69 Dallas Country Club Up 1
70 Brackenridge Park Up 2
71 Texas Star Down 3
72 Quarry Golf Club Down 30
73 Ridgewood Up 17
74 Stevens Park Down 10
75 Meadowbrook Farms New entry
76 Hills of Lakeway (Flitrock Falls) Down 33
77 Cottonwood Valley New entry
78 Bentwater (Grand Pines) Down 1
79 Rock Creek Resort New entry
80 Cypresswood (Tradition) Down 13
81 BraeBurn up 10
82 Links at Land's End New entry
83 Lakes at Castle Hills Up 4
84 La Cantera (Resort) Down 9
85 San Antonio New entry
86 Gentle Creek Up 2
87 Woodlands (Player) Up 11
88 Memorial Park Down 12
89 Max A. Mandel Down 5
90 Dallas Athletic Club (Gold) Up 3
91 Westwood New entry
92 Eagle Pointe New entry
93 Midland Down 14
94 Horseshoe Bay (Apple Rock) Down 11
95 Moody Gardens New entry
96 Lubbock New entry
97 Barton Creek (Palmer Lakeside) Up 2
98 Willow Creek Golf Club New entry
99 Wilderness at Lake Jackson New entry
100 Starr Hollow New entry

Click this link to see full details of our 2018 Texas Best in State courses

If you have any strong feelings about our re-ranked US Best in State listings then by all means share them with us. Which course did we overlook or have we listed one that shouldn’t be quoted? Perhaps we have a layout too high in the state chart or maybe one that’s lying too low? Whatever you’re thinking, please click the “Respond to this article” link at the top or at the bottom of this page if you’d like to give us some feedback.

Jim McCann
Top 100 Golf Courses


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