SEBONACK GOLF CLUB
Southampton, New York (private)
If Ballyneal tops our list, then surely Sebonack is a close second. When your immediate neighbors are Shinnecock Hills and the National Golf Links of America, the bar for success is about as high as it can get, but owner Michael Pascucci cleared it with room to spare. Starting with the odd-couple design team of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak, the entire process was marked by innovative thinking. Sometimes this is obvious—Sebonack’s greens are some of the wildest built in recent memory. Other times it’s much more subtle—the green-to-tee tie-ins and amorphous teeing areas (they’re not boxes) are beautiful reminders of the care that went into every detail. None of this would matter, of course, if there weren’t a host of great holes, and boy, is there ever. While the dazzling par-five eighteenth along Great Peconic Bay speaks for itself, we can also fall in love with the short par-four fifth, for its masterful strategic use of perhaps the most unremarkable corner of the property.
ARCHITECTS: Jack Nicklaus and Tom Doak. YARDAGE: 7,286. PAR: 72. MEMBERSHIP INQUIRIES: 631-287-4444, sebonack.com.
TOM FAZIO COURSE AT PRONGHORN
Bend, Oregon (private)
Like any good seductress, Fazio’s high-desert layout at Pronghorn, an upscale real estate community in central Oregon, lures you in slowly. Full enchantment doesn’t begin until the par-three fourth, where from a tee perched between leaning junipers you have to carry a sprawling waste bunker to reach the green. But it’s the next par three, the eighth, that sets the heart racing. When blasting rock to create a site for the sunken green, Fazio’s crew discovered a pair of ancient lava tubes and used them to help frame the hole. (Bring a sweater for the must-see tour of the caves.) Overall, the front nine is picturesque and difficult, and the back is sportier thanks to a variety of long and short holes. Between the two, the infatuation is complete.
ARCHITECT: Tom Fazio. YARDAGE: 7,447. PAR: 72. MEMBERSHIP INQUIRIES: 800-541-9424, pronghornclub.com.