Monarch Dunes, Nipomo (public)
This central-coast course—nearly fifteen years inthe making—is built atop Nipomo Mesa, a deep swath of sand once covered with eucalyptus trees. Many of the trees were incorporated into the design, while the sand was used to create a series of humps and dunes, echoing the oceanfront across U.S. 1 and providing plents of random bounces and rub of the green.
ARCHITECT: Damian Pascuzzo. YARDAGE: 6,810. PAR: 71. GREENS FEES: $70-$85. TEE TIMES: 805-343-9459, monarchdunesgolf.com.
Baytowne Golf Club at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Sandestin (resort)
Reopened: February 1
Architects seldom get to edit their own work, but twenty-one years after Baytowne's debut, Tom Jackson got just that chance. He reconfigured the green complexes to stidden the challenge, with notable achievement at the monstrous par-five ninth, bringing a lake into play on all three shots.
ARCHITECT: Tom Jackson. YARDAGE: 6,804. PAR: 71. GREENS FEES: $79-$119. TEE TIMES: 800-622-1038, sandestin.com.
West Pines Golf Club, Douglasville (public)
Opened: December 26
The city of Douglasville recently this once dilapidated workhorse and sculpted it into one of the Atlanta region's best municipal values. Bill Bergin stripped the course to its bones before rerouting the holes among the property's lovely pines, streams and hardwood groves.
ARCHITECT: Bill Bergin. YARDAGE: 6,832. PAR: 71. GREENS FEES: $29-$34. TEE TIMES: 678-391-1600, westpinesgc.com.
Red Tail Run Golf Club, Decatur (public)
Opening: April 25
Ray Floyd attempted to emulate features of Shinnecock Hills and Prarie Dunes on this central Illinois site. Including windblown bunkers, firm turf and greens that bleed into surrounding landforms. Holes thirteen through secenteen veer into a difficult section of woods known as Raymond's Turn.
ARCHITECT: Ray Floyd/Signature Design Services. YARDAGE: 7,351. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $21-24. TEE TIMES: 217-422-2211, redtailrun.org.
Centennial Golf Club, Medford (semiprivate)
Though set in a valley with stirring views of Oregon's south-central mountains, this course has native shrubbery planted along its fairways that gives it a heathland feel. The aura is enhanced by steep, grass-faced bunkers and gently contoured greens that look as though wrought by horse and plow.
ARCHITECT: John Fought. YARDAGE: 7,323. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $43-$72. TEE TIMES: 877-893-4653, centennialgolfclub.com.
Lederach Golf Club, Lower Salford Township (public)
Golfers will have to think their way around this course in rolling farm country north of Philadelphia. Refreshingly, Kelly Blake Moran brings the ground game into play by utilizing the property's natural ridges and valleys. His various center-line hazards, fluid green complexes and alternate lines of play also command strategic attention.
ARCHITECT: Kelly Blake Moran. YARDAGE: 7,045. PAR: 71. GREENS FEES: $35-$75. TEE TIMES: 215-513-9877, lederachgolfclub.com.
The Club at Strawberry Creek, Kenosha (semiprivate)
Former Chicago Bear Jay Hilgenberg is a partner in this soon-to-be-private club south of Milwaukee, where Rick Jacobson has laid broad holes across an exposed landscape of grassy dunes and deep, circular bunkers. Given how open the course is, wind plays a central role in the design, bringing cross-hazards into play on day and making them merely an afterthought the next.
ARCHITECT: Rick Jacobson. YARDAGE: 7,113. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $80-$100. TEE TIMES: 262-857-8400, strawberrycreekclub.com.
COURSE OF THE MONTH
Teeth of the Dog, Casa de Campo
La Romana, Dominican Republic (resort)
Reopened: December 15
Given all the accolades it's received, including being ranked as the best course in the Caribbean last year by readers of T+L GOLF, Teeth of the Dog could have easily rested on its laurels. But eighty-year-old Pete Dye, who designed the course in 1970, pried open its jaws last year for some improvements. He resurfaced the greens with paspalum grass, making them more heat and salt tolerant, pushed back tees, sharpened angles and created new bunkers. Teeth of the Dog has reopened with many of its holes transformed. The fifth, a jewel of a par three cantilevered into the sea, remains a wee pitch to a tiny green from the forward tees but a different shot altogether from a new set of markers at the brink of a sea wall 175 yards away.
ARCHITECT: Pete Dye. YARDAGE: 7,450. PAR: 72. GREENS FEES: $135-$200. TEE TIMES: 888-212-5073, casadecampo.com.do. —Brian McCallen