Even at small schools like Michigan's Grand Valley State, golf is the big game on campus. With trustees earmarking donations for golf facilities, dazzling new tracks now grace Notre Dame, Washington, South Carolina, Auburn and Clemson. North Carolina recently renovated its course, and Florida, which just won the NCAA Men's Championship, is doing the same. While the classics at Colgate, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona State and Mount Holyoke still rank among the elite, we've opened admission to some newer tracks that college coaches are raving about.
1. Karsten Creek Golf Club, Blue Course, Oklahoma State, Stillwater, OK
Architect: Tom Fazio,1994. Yardage/Slope: 7,095/142. Green Fees: $85; $225 unaccompanied. Tee Times: 405-743-1658. Home to the 2003 Men's NCAA finals, this serene yet brutally tight layout routes through the same spectacular terrain as Southern Hills. Fantastic finishing sequence.
2. Duke University Golf Club, Durham, NC
Architects: Robert Trent Jones Sr., 1957; Rees Jones,1994. Yardage/Slope: 7,111/139. Green Fees: $40-$80. Tee Times: 919-681-2288. The site of this year's NCAA Men's finals, this parkland layout winds through thick Carolina pines. Its forgiving fairways belie devilish difficulty around the greens.
3. Ohio State University Scarlet Golf Course, Columbus, OH
Architect: Alister Mackenzie, 1938. Yardage/Slope: 7,141/132. Green Fee: $60.* Tee Times: 614-459-4653. The course at Nicklaus and Weiskopf's alma mater will host its tenth NCAA Championship next year and places a premium on accuracy, strategy and endurance.
4. Stanford University Golf Course, Stanford, CA
Architects: William P. Bell, George C. Thomas Jr., 1930. Yardage/Slope: 6,778/136. Green Fees: $75-$90.* Tee Times: 650-323-0944. Tiger's college course has teeth. It opens with a dramatic 507-yard par five and finishes with a downsloping, heavily bunkered par four—with numerous challenges in between.
5. The Course at Yale,
New Haven, CT
Architects: Charles Blair Macdonald, Seth Raynor,1924. Yardage/Slope: 6,749/132. Green Fee: $100.* Tee Times: 203-432-0895. Wear and tear has been a problem, but a new endowment promises to restore the course to classic, score-busting condition—with its blind shots, hellishly deep bunkers and enormous, multitiered greens.