Golf Club at Ravenna
Littleton, Colorado (Private)
Decorated with the type of sandstone monoliths that spawned Colorado’s legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre, this striking layout south of Denver rattles and hums with the intensity of a U2 concert, earning every bit of its 75/149 rating. Throughout the round, bunkers in various forms (blowouts, pots, trenches and fingers) harmonize with quirky geological formations, forested slopes and rippled fairways to create deceptive approaches and often illegible putts. A trio of forced-carry par threes highlights the front nine, which is routed along the piedmont, affording better views of downtown Denver than of some of the landing areas. A giant hogback leads to the testy back nine, where the three-club plunge from tee to green on the par-three sixteenth becomes even more dramatic thanks to an optional "betting tee" shielded from the green by a wall of mature trees. —Jon Rizzi
Architect: Jay Morrish. Yardage: 7,263. Par: 71. Membership Inquiries: 877-339-1600, ravennagolf.com.
Stonebrae Country Club
Hayward, California (Private)
David McLay Kidd’s soon-to-open Castle Course in St. Andrews is keeping his publicists busy, but Kidd’s Stonebrae Country Club overlooking San Francisco Bay delivers a similar one-two punch of expansive vistas and strategic golf. Kidd courses tend to reward shots that are well-played rather than simply well-struck. Stonebrae’s par-four fifth is a perfect example: Slightly longer than three hundred yards, it is drivable yet dicey. Mountains were moved at this private club, but Kidd deftly covered his tracks, and the result is a course that appears to have been merely nipped and tucked into the rolling hillside. —Scott Gummer
Architect: David McLay Kidd. Yardage: 7,140. Par: 72. Membership Inquiries: 510-728-7878, stonebrae.com.
The Home Course
DuPont, Washington (Public)
Washington State knows how to clean up a mess. Like Chambers Bay twelve miles to the north, the Home Course was built on a former brownfield. Mike Asmundson’s breezy links-style design contains the concrete remnants of munitions dumps. Tread lightly on that huge mound in the fairway on fifteen: It’s a buried dynamite bunker. Clean lines and a spare beauty characterize the layout, which opens and closes with panoramic views of Puget Sound. Why the name?Two regional golf associations own the course and plan to make it a statewide headquarters of golf. —Dan Raley
Architect: Mike Asmundson. Yardage: 7,437. Par: 72. Greens Fees: $31–$55. Tee Times: 866-964-0520 or 253-964-0520, thehomecourse.com.