Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ultimate Golf Bucket List


I recently put together a bucket list as a goal to visit my favorite course designers Coore and Crenshaw. It got me thinking, what would be my bucket list of Top 10- must play courses? You know, the ones that if you got invited to play you would hop on a plane and fly across the country or the world to play. THOSE ones?


Before we get to the courses, here are some that are in the "close but not quite" category. Places I would love to play but just didn't make it: Torrey Pines (North and South), Royal Melbourne, San Francisco/California Club/Lake Merced, Lahinch, Makai, LACC, the Quarry, Streamstrong (Red), Bethpage (Black), Pacific Grove, Cabot Cliffs, Kapalua, Pasatiempo and Cruden Bay.

In looking through my list below, one thing is clear, I have a thing for the sea.

Most of the courses that DID make it (with two notable exceptions) have links to the sea, whether as a true links course or at least you can enjoy links sausages near the sea. There is something about the sea air and the views which put these courses over the edge for me. With that proviso, awaaaaaay we go!

10. Shinnecock (USA): There is a theory I once heard that the music that you liked at 16 becomes your favorite music throughout your life. All other music is crap in comparison. For me and Shinnecock, it is all about Corey Pavin's miracle 4 wood to win the tournament amongst the swales of grass. Aside from that memory, this course just exudes beauty, just look of these pics! The history of this course, the beauty, how could you not want to play it? http://www.shinnecockhillsgolfclub.org/

9. Bandon Dunes (USA): 4 amazing courses in one resort. How can you choose just one? They have a Coore Crenshaw course and other amazing tracks but for today, I think we should choose Bandon Dunes, the original. The course looks amazing and with the undulations and wind, this course really makes you think and engages every aspect of your attention and your game which makes this a MUST play for me. http://www.bandondunesgolf.com/golf/golf-courses/bandon-dunes

8.  New South Wales (Australia): The first non-US course on the list and its a doozy. Near Sydney but miles away from a city feel, this course is perched on a small spit of land right on the ocean. The reviews of this course are all amazing and the holes look out of this world but I think my favorite is number 5.  http://www.nswgolfclub.com.au/welcome/index.mhtml

7. Ocean Course Kiawah Island (USA): While I blog extensively about the Masters, while I might pine extensively about the British and Scottish Opens, while there are tourneys I avidly watch, if I could only watch one golf tournament a year, it would be the Ryder Cup. The passion, the teamwork, the this is my favorite tournament bar none. Kiawah is an amazing Southern US island with world class courses particularly the Ocean Course which hosted the aforementioned Ryder Cup. This is a beauty that I need to play ASAP. http://www.kiawahresort.com/golf

6.  Royal County Down (UK): I am American, no question but like most of us mutts, I adhere to identities outside of the US particularly my Irish heritage. There are so many great Irish courses but tops on this list has to be RCD. When I heard that RCD was going to be the course for the Irish Open I pressed record faster than you can say "Jack Rabbit Slims" so I could soak in every bit of this course. It looked amazing on TV and I am guessing looks 20 times better in person. I mean, c'mon just LOOK AT THIShttps://www.royalcountydown.org/

5.  Pebble Beach (USA): This course is always on top 10 lists. It seems almost cliche that it appears on my list but there is a reason its on here and its for this picture alone. The history of this course, the location, how can you not play this? Well the price is a bit much but for a bucket list save your pennies and play this track!  http://www.pebblebeach.com/

4.  Augusta National (USA): The only non-links course on this list but on this list for a reason. There are three reasons to play Augusta 1) The history. Freddie's chip staying up on 12, Nicklaus in 86, Jordan destroying the course. 2) This course is the gold standard for green. Of course, this has some lousy consequences as other courses spend way too much water and fertilizer but to play the original immaculately maintained course must be a thing to behold. 3)  The exclusivity. To make this list a course gets on here party if you get a call to play you go, no questions asked. I doubt anyone in the golf community would ever hang up on a call from Augusta.

3. North Berwick Golf Club (UK): This is the top public course on my list and if the top 2 courses weren't private, this might in fact be number one on my list. It has beautiful views of the sea, deep in the golf coast of Scotland. But that isn't what makes this course tops on my list. Instead, every single review lists this course as one of the best in the world but quirky. This is probably exhibit A for quirkiness. For me, its not just enough to play a nicely manicured course, it has to be engaging and make you think. It has to show you something unusual and memorable. This course as this in spades and I want to go. http://www.northberwickgolfclub.com/

2. Sand Hills (USA): One of the ultimate links courses and yet it is not anywhere near the ocean. In fact this course is in the middle of Nebraska. An ultra exclusive club that is super tough to get on but super worthwhile. Just check out this glowing review! Triple bonus points goes to the fact that Coore and Crenshaw designed this beauty which puts it close but not number one on my list.

I GOT ON! Check out my review here! http://www.coorecrenshawquest.com/2016/09/99-holes-in-heartland-sand-hills-golf.html

1. Cypress Point (USA): This course has it all. An iconic hole? Check. An amazing stretch of holes by the sea that are immaculately cared for and almost every hole memorable? Check. What puts this course over the top of all others is the exclusivity. Almost no one can play this course unless you know a member and get a coveted invite. I have no idea who is a member of this course or how I could get on but my golfing life would be complete if I could play this track. This course is the very definition of fly-and-play as soon as the phone rings.

So, that's it, that is the list. Overall I think a pretty good collection eh? What's on your list, what's numero uno? Tell me in the comments!

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