When the Duke's Course opened in St. Andrews a decade ago, the Peter Thomson layout at Craigtoun Park overlooking the old town was supposed to be the perfect parkland antidote to the crucible of the coastal links below. But it was widely considered a consolation prize for anyone who couldn't snag a tee time on the Old Course, Kingsbarns, the New or the Jubilee. Enter Herb Kohler. The Wisconsin plumbing-fixture magnate acquired the Duke's as part of his purchase of the Old Course Hotel in 2004 and hired former Pete Dye associate Tim Liddy to improve it. The redesigned Duke's opened in June, bearing a heathland look. Liddy replaced deep, high-faced bunkers with flatter and wider ones featuring frayed edges. The sixteenth hole, formerly a wide-open par four, now plays as a demanding one-shotter, its green protected by swaths of gorse and heather. The eighteenth runs along the flat of a ridge, no longer a tedious uphill slog. It is one last reminder that the Duke's is a second thought no more.
Duke's Course, Craigtoun Park, St. Andrews, Fife. Architects: Peter Thomson, 1995; Tim Liddy, 2006. Greens Fees: $95$180. Tee Times: 011-44/1334-474-371, akohlerexperience.com.