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s biennial Top 100 Courses in the World Rankings are determined by a 100-strong international panel whose members include major-championship winners, architects, journalists and a cadre of connoisseurs who have played all of the world's top 100 courses. Although there are no set-in-stone criteria they must follow, we have confidence in their sense of what constitutes "greatness" in a course. Muirfield Village Dublin, Ohio Jack Nicklaus/Desmond Muirhead, 1974 29. Most tee times are made by calling 619-570-1234 up to seven days in advance, starting at 7 p.m. Other options include staying at either The Lodge at Torrey Pines or the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, both of which offer packages with tee times. Jack Nicklaus once said of Merion, "Acre for acre, it might be best test of golf in the world." At less than 7,000 yards from the tips, what makes Merion so distinctive -- and testing -- is its remarkable variety. There are blind shots, links-style holes that feature firm, fast-running fairways, forced carries and a remarkable mix of short and long holes. 23-29), though the South pulls solo duty for the weekend. Weekend packages that include two rounds at Torrey Pines and two nights accommodation start at 9 per night. Twenty years after Donald Ross designed Aronimink, he visited the layout and declared, “I intended to make this course my masterpiece, but not until today did I realize I built better than I knew.” Set into a rolling, wooded tract in suburban Philadelphia, Aronimink rose to prominence after hosting the 1962 PGA Championship won by Gary Player. The famous par-4 11th, where Bobby Jones clinched the 1930 Grand Slam, is slashed by a creek, while the par-4 16th demands a shot over an abandoned stone quarry that is filled with wild growth of trees and shrubs. Venue for the 2013 Walker Cup Match, NGLA, or "National," as it's known, offers the greatest variety of strategic holes and greens in golf. For the lucky few who have access to super-exclusive Cypress, they're privileged to enjoy the best walk in the sport. Toss in a storied hilltop clubhouse and a remarkably varied routing among heaving undulations and you have what Johnny Miller calls, "Golf's Holy Grail -- a genius course." As Alister Mac Kenzie himself must have felt about his 1928 design, it's almost inconceivable that land this stunning was made available for golf. La Jolla, California Thanks to Bethpage Black and Harding Park, municipal courses are back in vogue as venues for big-time tournaments.
It's an unforgettable gallop through trees, sand and scrub. Colt, one of the giants of early 20th Century architecture, called this 1910 design "the least bad course" he had ever built, proving as Tom Doak memorably puts it, he "was no Muhammed Ali when it came to self-promotion." One of the most lightly played private clubs in Britain, this quiet enclave features wide, wooded fairways, gigantic bursts of rhododendrons in springtime and a back tee yardage under 6,100.
A superb, strategic delight, it is stern but fair, with heather, gorse, rough and bunkers that must be avoided at all costs.
Its bleak, heathland setting won't set anyone aglow but as a test of character and shotmaking, Walton Heath has few peers.
The presence of a windmill next to the 16th green and the legendary lobster lunch adds to the ambience. 6,828 yards, par 72 Green fees: 5 800-654-9300\n Service Considering the price, you might expect champagne and caviar at every tee. \n Pace of Play Crammed behind groups of camera-clickers, we crawled around in five and a half hours without encountering a marshal.
Pioneer American architect Charles Blair Macdonald admittedly crafted holes alongside Great Peconic Bay to mimic the greatest he had seen in his travels across Scotland and England, yet in many cases, his are better.