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America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses The game’s oldest ranking, established in 1966- By Golf Digest



By: Golf Digest
Photo By Stephen Szurlej
May 2011

The biennial 2011 ranking of America’s 100 Greatest Courses is ready for its close-up. And for the first time in the list’s history, it has something completely different: 101 courses. We had a tie at No. 100, which left us no choice but to make room for an odd number of courses for the first time. Established in 1966, the game’s oldest ranking, this list is considered the leading symbol of golf-course excellence and integrity.


INDEPENDENT CHECK: Golf Digest retained PricewaterhouseCoopers to oversee the tabulation of our rankings of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses and Best in State.

Rank* Course Name Yards Par Points
1. (1) AUGUSTA NATIONAL G.C.Augusta, Ga. / Alister Mackenzie & Bobby Jones (1933) 7,435 72 72.87
2. (2) PINE VALLEY G.C.Pine Valley, N.J. / George Crump & H.S. Colt (1918) 7,057 70 72.49
3. (3) SHINNECOCK HILLS G.C.Southampton, N.Y. / William Flynn (1931) 7,041 70 69.36
4. (5) OAKMONT C.C.Oakmont, Pa. / Henry Fownes (1903) 7,255 71 69.01
5. (4) CYPRESS POINT CLUBPebble Beach / Alister Mackenzie & Robert Hunter (1928) 6,525 72 69.00
6. (6) PEBBLE BEACH G. LINKSPebble Beach / Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919) 6,828 72 68.56
7. (7) MERION G.C. (East)Ardmore, Pa. / Hugh Wilson (1912) 6,886 70 68.54
8. (8) WINGED FOOT G.C. (West)Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923) 7,258 72 66.81
9. (13) SAND HILLS G.C.Mullen, Neb. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1994) 7,089 71 66.70
10. (15) NATIONAL G. LINKS OF AMERICASouthampton, N.Y. / C.B. Macdonald (1911) 6,935 72 66.62
11. (9) FISHERS ISLAND CLUBFishers Island, N.Y. Seth Raynor & Charles Banks (1926) 6,566 72 66.50
12. (16) CRYSTAL DOWNS C.C.Frankfort, Mich. / Alister Mackenzie & Perry Maxwell (1931) 6,518 70 66.22
13. (10) SEMINOLE G.C.Juno Beach, Fla. / Donald Ross (1929) 6,836 72 66.17
14. (New) THE ALOTIAN CLUBRoland, Ark. / Tom Fazio (2004) 7,480 72 65.88
15. (14) PACIFIC DUNESBandon, Ore. / Tom Doak (2001) 6,633 71 65.86
16. (18) THE COUNTRY CLUB (Clyde/Squirrel)Brookline, Mass. / Willie Campbell (1895) / Alex Campbell (1902) 7,033 71 65.85
T17. (12) CHICAGO G.C.Wheaton, Ill. / C.B. Macdonald (1894) Seth Raynor (1923) 6,846 70 65.75
T17. (22) WHISTLING STRAITS (Straits)Haven, Wis. / Pete Dye (1998) 7,362 72 65.75
19. (19) MUIRFIELD VILLAGE G.C.Dublin, Ohio / Jack Nicklaus & Desmond Muirhead (1974) 7,366 72 65.65
20. (17) WADE HAMPTON G.C.Cashiers, N.C. / Tom Fazio (1987) 7,218 72 65.51
21. (11) OAK HILL C.C. (East)Rochester, N.Y. / Donald Ross (1925) 7,145 71 65.47
22. (31) RIVIERA C.C.Pacific Palisades, Calif. / George C. Thomas Jr. & W.P. Bell (1926)/td> 7,298 71 65.05
23. (20) MEDINAH C.C. (No. 3)Medinah, Ill. / Tom Bendelow (1928) 7,561 72 65.01
24. (23) OAKLAND HILLS C.C. (South)Bloomfield Hills, Mich. / Donald Ross (1918) 7,445 72 64.98
25. (21) PRAIRIE DUNES C.C.Hutchinson, Kan. / Perry Maxwell (1937), Press Maxwell (1957) 6,759 70 64.96
26. (25) THE OCEAN COURSEKiawah Island, S.C. / Pete Dye (1991) 7,356 72 64.88
27. (26) THE OLYMPIC CLUB (Lake)San Francisco / Sam Whiting (1924) 7,112 71 64.79
28. (33)BANDON DUNESBandon, Ore. / David McLay Kidd (1999) 6,732 72 64.27
T 29. (28) CASTLE PINES G.C.Castle Rock, Colo. / Jack Nicklaus (1981) 7,696 72 64.18
T29. (38) THE HONORS COURSEOoltewah, Tenn. / Pete Dye (1983) 7,450 72 64.18
31. (41) SHADOW CREEKNorth Las Vegas, Nev. / Tom Fazio (1990) 7,560 72 64.15
32. (30) BALTUSROL G.C. (Lower)Springfield, N.J. / A.W. Tillinghast (1922) 7,400 72 64.07
33. (36) SAN FRANCISCO G.C.San Francisco / A.W. Tillinghast (1918) 6,828 71 63.93
34. (New) FRIAR’S HEAD G.C.Baiting Hollow, N.Y. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2002) 6,846 71 63.79
35. (24) VICTORIA NATIONAL G.C.Newburgh, Ind. / Tom Fazio (1998) 7,239 72 63.77
36. (29) BETHPAGE STATE PARK (Black)Farmingdale, N.Y. / Joseph H. Burbeck & A.W. Tillinghast (1936) 7,468 71 63.70
37. (32) PINEHURST RESORT (No. 2)Pinehurst, N.C. / Donald Ross (1935) 7,491 72 63.60
38. (34) SOUTHERN HILLS C.C.Tulsa, Okla. / Perry Maxwell (1936) 7,150 71 63.52
39. (42) CANYATA G.C.Marshall, Ill. / Bob Lohmann & Mike Benkusky (2004) 7,258 72 63.45
40. (35) THE GOLF CLUBNew Albany, Ohio / Pete Dye (1967) 7,430 72 63.44
41. (45) TPC SAWGRASS (Players Stadium)Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. / Pete Dye (1980) 7,215 72 63.29
42. (27) THE G.C. AT BLACK ROCKCoeur d’Alene, Idaho / Jim Engh (2003) 7,130 72 63.22
43. (60) PEACHTREE G.C.Atlanta / Robert Trent Jones & Bobby Jones (1947) 7,414 72 63.21
44. (39) SEBONACK G.C.Southampton, N.Y. Jack Nicklaus & Tom Doak (2006) 7,534 >72 63.16
45. (57) PETE DYE G.C.Bridgeport, W.Va. / Pete Dye (1994) 7,308 72 63.04
46. (48) KINLOCH G.C.Manakin-Sabot, Va. Lester George & Vinny Giles (2001) 7,203 72 62.96
47. (47) LOS ANGELES C.C. (North)Los Angeles / George C. Thomas Jr. (1921) 7,236 71 62.85
48. (83) EAGLE POINT G.C.Wilmington, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2000) 7,258 72 62.83
49. (49) ARCADIA BLUFFS G.C.Arcadia, Mich. / Rick Smith & Warren Henderson (2000) 7,300 72 62.77
50. (84) SAHALEE C.C. (South/North)Sammamish, Wash. / Ted Robinson (1969) 7,003 72 62.72
51. (64) INTERLACHEN C.C.Edina, Minn. / Willie Watson (1911) 6,975 72 62.67
52. (51) SPYGLASS HILL G. CSE.Pebble Beach / Robert Trent Jones (1966) 6,953 72 62.63
53. (53) GARDEN CITY G.C.Garden City, N.Y. / Devereux Emmet (1899) 6,911 73 62.52
54. (37) BUTLER NATIONAL G.C.Oak Brook, Ill. / George Fazio & Tom Fazio (1974) 7,523 71 62.49
55. (77) LAUREL VALLEY G.C.Ligonier, Pa. / Dick Wilson (1959) 7,327 72 62.43
56. (40) INVERNESS CLUBToledo, Ohio / Donald Ross (1919) 7,255 71 62.37
57. (52) MILWAUKEE C.C.River Hills, Wis. H.S. Colt & C.H. Alison (1929) 7,094 72 62.31
58. (46) RICH HARVEST LINKSSugar Grove, Ill. Jerry Rich & Greg Martin (1999) 7,687 72 62.26
59. (59) DALLAS NATIONAL G.C.Dallas / Tom Fazio (2002) 7,372 72 62.17
60. (43) OLYMPIA FIELDS C.C. (North)Olympia Fields, Ill. / Willie Park Jr. (1922) 7,205 70 62.16
61. (69) EAST LAKE G.C.Atlanta / Donald Ross (1915) 7,374 72 62.10
62. (82) THE ESTANCIA CLUBScottsdale / Tom Fazio (1995) 7,314 72 62.05
63. (80) BANDON TRAILS Bandon, Ore. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2005) 6,765 71 62.01
T64. (56) DOUBLE EAGLE CLUBGalena, Ohio / Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf (1992) 7,175 72 61.96
T64. (58) KITTANSETT CLUB Marion, Mass. / William Flynn & Frederic Hood (1922) 6,811 71 61.96
66. (61) SCIOTO C.C.Columbus, Ohio / Donald Ross (1916) 7,106 71 61.94
67. (54) CHERRY HILLS C.C.Cherry Hills Village, Colo. / William Flynn (1923) 7,348 72 63.22
68. (78) THE PRESERVE G.C.Carmel, Calif. / Tom Fazio, J. Michael Poellot & Sandy Tatum (2000) 7,067 72 61.89
69. (93) SYCAMORE HILLS G.C.Fort Wayne, Ind. / Jack Nicklaus (1989) 7,340 >72 61.85
70. (55) FOREST HIGHLANDS G.C. (Canyon)Flagstaff, Ariz. / Jay Morrish & Tom Weiskopf (1988) 7,007 71 61.82
71. (99) BLACKWOLF RUN (River)Kohler, Wis. / Pete Dye (1990) 7,404 72 61.81
72. (50) SHOAL CREEK Shoal Creek, Ala. / Jack Nicklaus (1977) 7,234 72 61.79
73. (44) THE QUARRY AT LA QUINTA La Quinta, Calif. / Tom Fazio (1994) 7,083 72 61.72
74. (New) MOUNTAINTOP G. & LAKE CLUBCashiers, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2006) 7,127 70 61.69
75. (63) FLINT HILLS NATIONAL G.C.Andover, Kan. / Tom Fazio (1997) 6,946 71 61.62
76. (71) PLAINFIELD C.C.Plainfield, N.J. / Donald Ross (1921) 7,125 72 61.59
77. (66) CONGRESSIONAL C.C. (Blue)Bethesda, Md. / Robert Trent Jones (1962) 7,278 72 61.58
78. (76) ARONIMINK G.C.Newtown Square, Pa. / Donald Ross (1928) 7,190 70 61.57
T79. (92) CALUSA PINES G.C.Naples, Fla. / Michael Hurdzan & Dana Fry (2001) 7,200 72 61.55
T79. (72) MONTEREY PENINSULA C.C. (Shore)Pebble Beach /Mike Strantz (2004) 6,956 72 61.55
81. (87) SAGE VALLEY G.C.Graniteville, S.C. / Tom Fazio (2001) 7,331 72 61.46
82. (79) MAYACAMA G.C.Santa Rosa, Calif. / Jack Nicklaus (2001) 6,785 72 61.44
83. (94) HUDSON NATIONAL G.C.Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. / Tom Fazio (1996) 7,122 70 61.43
84. (95) VALHALLA G.C.Louisville / Jack Nicklaus (1986) 7,540/td> 72 61.36
85. (62) EUGENE C.C.Eugene, Ore. / Robert Trent Jones (1967) 7,020 72 61.34
86. (91) HAZELTINE NATIONAL G.C.Chaska, Minn. / Robert Trent Jones (1962) 7,674 72 61.30
87. (New) DIAMOND CREEK G.C.Banner Elk, N.C. / Tom Fazio (2003) 7,175 70 61.24
88. (New) KAPALUA (Plantation)Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1991) 7,263 73 61.19
T89. (New) BOSTON G.C.Hingham, Mass. / Gil Hanse (2004) 7,062 71 61.17
T89. (New) OLD SANDWICH G.C.Plymouth, Mass. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (2005) 6,908 71 61.17
91. (70) GALLOWAY NATIONAL G.C.Galloway, N.J. / Tom Fazio (1995) 7,104 71 61.16
92. (74) SHOREACRESLake Bluff, Ill. / Seth Raynor (1921) 6,527 71 61.08
T93. (86) MAIDSTONE CLUBEast Hampton, N.Y. / Willie Park Jr. & Jack Park (1924) 6,423 72 61.07
T93. (88) SOMERSET HILLS C.C.Bernardsville, N.J. / A.W. Tillinghast (1918) 6,659 >71 61.07
95. (New) BALLYNEAL G. & HUNT CLUBHolyoke, Colo. / Tom Doak (2006) 7,147 71 61.06
96. (100) CROOKED STICK G.C.Carmel, Ind. / Pete Dye (1964) 7,516 72 61.00
T97. (67) THE PRINCE COURSEPrinceville, Kauai, Hawaii / Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1990) 7,309 72 60.96
T97. (65) WINGED FOOT G.C. (East)Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923) 6,792 72 60.96
99. (New) FOREST DUNES G.CRoscommon, Mich. / Tom Weiskopf (2002) 7,104 72 60.93
T100. (75) HARBOUR TOWN G. LINKSHilton Head Is. / Pete Dye & Jack Nicklaus (1969) 6,973 71 60.91
T100. (97) OCEAN FOREST G.C.60.91 Sea Island, Ga. / Rees Jones (1995) 7,321 72 60.91

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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

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  1. AJ

    Dec 30, 2012 at 12:05 am

    SO neat to see a course from my hometown Flagstaff on this list. Love golfing at Forest Highlands and it is an amazing course. Well deserved spot on the list.

  2. Qwerty

    Feb 21, 2012 at 1:01 am

    Don’t get me wrong, Sahalee is a great 27 holes but it is grossly over rated. imo it should not make the top 100. For pure shot value I’d put it 4th in the state of WA.

  3. Stephen Davis

    Feb 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I am curious on how someone becomes a Golf Digest course rater. Any idea?

  4. Gifted Golfer

    Feb 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the information. I am going to research some of these golf courses.

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Coming Up: A Big Golf Adventure



My name is Jacob Sjöman, and I’m a 35-year-old golf photographer who also enjoys the game we all love. I will be sharing some experiences here on a big golf trip that we are doing. With me I’ve got my friend Johan. I will introduce him properly later, but he is quite a funny character. According to Johan, he is the best golf photo assistant in the world, and we will see about that since this is probably his biggest test yet doing this trip. Previously on our trips, Johan almost got us killed in Dubai with a lack of driving skills. He also missed a recent evening photo shoot in Bulgaria while having a few beers to many… and that’s not all.

Anyway, the last couple of days I’ve been packing my bags over and over. I came home from the Canary Islands this Sunday and I’ve been constantly checking and rechecking that we’ve got all the required equipment, batteries, and that the cameras are 100 percent functional and good to go for this golf trip. I’m still not sure, but in a couple of minutes I will be sitting in a taxi to the airport and there will be no turning back.

Where are we going then? We are going to visit some of the very best golf courses in New Zealand and Australia. There will be breathtaking golf on cliffsides, jaw-dropping scenic courses, and some hidden gems. And probably a big amount of lost balls with a lot of material produced in the end.

I couldn’t be more excited for a golf journey like this one. Flying around the globe to these special golf courses I’ve only dreamed about visiting before gives me a big kick and I feel almost feel like a Indiana Jones. The only thing we’ve got in common, though, is that we don’t like snakes. Australia seems to be one of the worst destinations to visit in that purpose, but all the upsides are massive in this.

First, we will take off from a cold Stockholm (it’s raining heavily outside at the moment) and then we will do our first stop at Doha in Quatar. Then after two more hours, we are finally heading off to Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, a mega-flight of 16 hours. I believe that could very well be one of the longest flights available for a ordinary airplane. I need to check that.

Flights for me usually mean work, editing photos from different golf courses I’ve visited, writing some texts, editing some films, and planning for the future. Last time, though, I finally managed to sleep a little, which is a welcome progress for a guy that was deadly scared of flying until 2008.

Now, I am perfectly fine with flying. A few rocky flights over the Atlantic Sea to Detroit helped me a lot, and my motto is now, “If those flights got me down on the ground safely, it takes a lot of failures to bring down a plane.”

Anyway, I hope you will join me on this golf trip. Stay tuned!

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Streamsong’s New Black Course Might Be Its Best Course



Up until four years ago, there wasn’t a lot to see or do in the flat stretch of Polk County, Florida, between Tampa and Orlando. That all changed in 2012 with the opening of Streamsong Resort, the wildly popular destination that seamlessly combines rugged golf courses and sophisticated indoor spaces in a way that’s completely unique and altogether appealing.

With its Red Course (designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw) and Blue Course (designed by Tom Doak) firmly established among the finest public courses in the country, Streamsong unveiled its newest member of the family, the Black Course on September 25. Designed by Gil Hanse (designer of the Olympic Golf Course in Brazil, Castle Stuart in Scotland, and Mossy Oak in Mississippi), the Black Course has been among the most highly anticipated course openings in recent years.


Gil Hanse at the Streamsong Black course opening event.

Weighing in at 7,337 yards and a healthy 74.7 rating/135 slope from the back tees, the Black Course is both a beauty and a beast. In the spirit of its predecessors, Hanse has beautifully incorporated elevation and undulation to create a track that is visually stunning and challenging to play. The rolling land, resurrected from its previous life as a phosphate mine, has a firm sandy base that evokes the look and feel of the links-style tracks in the Melbourne Sandbelt in Australia. And in constructing the course, Hanse selected turf grasses that give maximum roll out and encouraged conditioning that allows the same kind of creative shotmaking that is available on links courses.

Streansong Resort Black Course

No. 10 at Streamsong Black

While there is a premium on shotmaking, The Black Course puts equal, if not more value, on good decision making. Throughout the journey you can choose to be Joe Citizen or G.I. Joe, going for safety or going for glory. Hole No. 4, a 601-yard par-5 features a cantilevered split fairway that gives the player several routes to negotiate the path home based on ability and the conditions of the day. Nos. 6 and 14 are short par 4’s that tempt the big hitter to go for broke, but failure results in a trip to one of the Black Course’s yawning bunkers or open sandy areas, both signature features of Hanse’s recent designs.

Perhaps the most prominent feature of the course are the sprawling greens that have contours that border on the surreal. Speaking of borders, there are none on the greens. Hanse decided to go with large greens that come right out to the fairway, allowing putting opportunities from almost anywhere. The most dramatic of the greens complexes is No. 9, a 450-yard par-4. Players hit a blind second shot into a “punch bowl” green that literally has to be seen to be believed. You’ll be talking about it after the round… whether you finish the hole with a 3 or an X.

Another distinctive feature is found on the par-4 13th, which features two greens that are alternated daily to give players another challenge and another story to tell after the round.


The Streamsong Black clubhouse

The clubhouse, designed by the award-wining Alonso Architechts (who also designed the Streamsong Lodge), is as stunning an accomplishment as the golf course. Employing the forward-looking design concept of the Lodge, the minimalist glass-and-steel design offers breathtaking views of the Florida sunrises and sunsets whether you are in the cool indoors or next to the Gauntlet putting green outside. And the Bone Valley Tavern is a showcase for Executive Chef Mike Ford’s mouth-watering food and craft cocktails (try the Black Martini).


Throughout the day of the preview and ribbon-cutting, there was a sense of pride and joy more similar to the delivery of a newborn than the opening of a golf course. Hanse was emotional while giving his opening remarks, giving special acknowledgment to his Lead Designer Jim Wagner.

“I am so proud that Jim’s name is beside mine on the plaque that says who designed the course,” Hanse said while fighting back tears. His passion was shared by all, including those present from parent company Mosaic, which owns some 200,000 acres in the area, including the resort property.

“This is a labor of love and I am proud of and grateful for everyone who contributed to making this happen,” said Rich Mack, the Mosaic executive who is the visionary behind Streamsong.


No. 9 at Streamsong Black

Those who expect to get a run at Streamsong Black had better get moving. Management officials said they’re already talking reservations for 2018. Anyone fortunate enough to get a slot will not be disappointed.

“We were aware of the level of excellence here at Streamsong, and we knew we had to meet that standard,” Hanse said. “But we also wanted to do something different, something special. We wanted to make a course that was beautiful and challenging, but above all it should be fun.” These will be welcome words to the traveling golfer who is faced with ever longer and more difficult resort courses.

In an industry that specializes in tradition but often lacks vision, Streamsong has planted a beacon on the horizon for what the future of the resort golf experience can and should be.

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A Legacy of Excellence: Primland Resort is a Hidden Jewel in the Virginia Hills



Recently, the attention of the golf world was focused on North Carolina as the PGA Championship was being held at Quail Hollow in Charlotte. I was there for three days and while the golf and the hospitality were great, the heat and humidity left me feeling like I had spent three days in a car wash.

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Fortunately, relief was on the way in the form of a trip to Primland Resort, located in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Typically it is about a 2.5-hour drive from Charlotte to Primland, but I had some special help in shortening the trip. Mercedes-Benz, a partner of the PGA of America, was kind enough to provide transportation in the form of a 2017 Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet. Outfitted with a 3.6-liter AMG BitTurbo that cranks out 362 horsepower, the C43 goes from 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds and from Charlotte to Primland in not a lot more than that. Fully loaded with leather interior, state-of-the-art stereo, 9-speed transmission and enough room for clubs, my suitcase and a beautiful hitchhiker (didn’t happen), the C43 was the perfect combination of power and finesse. To avoid the law dogs I won’t say exactly what my top speed was on the way to Primland, but suffice it to say that if it was a golf score I would have been worse than a double bogey golfer. To quote the great humanist philosopher Ferris Bueller, “If you have the means, I highly recommend it.”

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So the C43 put me in just the right mood to visit one of the most exclusive golf destinations in the country, a description that fits Primland despite its comparatively low profile. The vision of Primland’s founder, energy magnate Didier Primat, was to create a place of “immense beauty” for his guests that features refined dining, world-class golf and other exceptional outdoor experiences. Didier Primat died unexpectedly in 2008 at the age of 64, but he had instilled the commitment in his eight children, and they have continued the pursuit of resort perfection.

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Spread over 12,000 mountain acres, Primland is sprawling and somehow intimate at the same time. Accommodations at the resort range from the simple to the sumptuous. Rooms and suites in the Lodge make you feel like you’re in one of those 5-star European chalets where stars and royalty go to avoid paparazzi. Natural wood and stone floors combine with high tech and a Continental attention to detail (huge bathrooms, automated window shades, down pillows, extra large robes) give you that special feeling that only the best places seem to generate. Guests can choose from the comfort of the Lodge, choose one of the cottages that are perfect for groups, or opt for the simplicity and seclusion of the rustic cabins known as “Treehouses.” The views, as you would expect from a treehouse, are amazing.

Tree House, Cooper's Hawk

A “Treehouse.”

The acclaimed Highland Golf Course is as spectacular as the rest of the resort. Featuring breathtaking views of the peaks and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the course was designed and opened in 2008 by renowned architect Donald Steel (his portfolio includes work at Enniscrone, Royal County Down and The Old Course at St Andrews). The Highland course does indeed give the feel of a Scottish highlands links, with plenty of undulation in the fairways and a variety of humps and moguls guarding entry to the greens like buried sentries. Playing as apar-72 (150 slope/75.1 rating) at just over 7,000 yards from the tips, the course is both beauty and beast, especially if the wind kicks up.

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The course offers demanding tee shots that have either deep forest or steep falloffs into the valleys below ready to swallow errant attempts. The greens are massive, allowing for a wide range of interesting pin placements. Featuring bent grass from tee to green, the track is immaculately maintained, a testament to the work of Head Pro Brian Alley and Superintendent Brian Kearns. “This is a course that has that certain something; you never get tired of looking at it or playing it,” Alley says.

The Lodge Pinnacles Suite

The Lodge Pinnacles Suite.

PGA Tour stars Fred Couples and Jay Haas agree, as they are on the host professional staff at Primland and are frequently on property. The critics also agree, with Golf Magazine rating the track as No. 2 among Courses You Can Play in Virginia. Golf Digest has it as No. 31 among Public Courses in America. I had the opportunity to play a round on The Highland course with Haas, who was there hosting an outing and celebrating his wife Jan’s birthday. Haas demonstrated exactly what is need to score well; always be thinking one shot ahead and take advantage of scoring opportunities when they are presented. I hit the ball about the same distance as Haas and had a great ball striking day, but a few wayward wedges and over-ambitious approaches cost me. I shot an 82 and Haas put up a 66 like he was taking candy from a baby.

Primland Aerial

Off the course, Primland offers a full menu of options to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you. There is an outdoor center that features sporting clays, ATV treks, hiking, biking, fly fishing, and more. If you want to do something the property doesn’t offer, the eager and experienced staff will likely be able to accommodate you. If you are more of an indoor cat, the world-class spa is available to massage your cares away. There is also a private theater where you can screen your favorite movies.

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The Observatory.

A unique feature of Primland is the Observatory, a domed silo that has been modified to house a powerful telescope that gives spectacular views of the planets and stars. The Observatory is available by appointment, and it shouldn’t be missed.

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As for the dining experiences, they are also stellar. If you want to get fancy, try Elements, where the farm to table menu and wine selection are both outstanding. If you want to stay casual, try the 19th Pub (note: they make a PERFECT martini).

19th Pub (1)

The 19th Pub.

Founder Didier Primat loved the outdoors and was a committed to providing a place where people could come and experience it. Whether you are playing golf, riding horses, shooting clays or watching shooting stars, it’s impossible to spend time at Primland without acquiring Didier’s affection for this special patch of land. It’s a little out of the way, but definitely worth the trip.

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19th Hole