In the half decade that we’ve compiled lists of each year’s best new courses, some bona fide pilgrimage sites have topped our charts. Cape Kidnappers, Tom Doak’s odyssey along the sea cliffs of New Zealand, was our first Course of the Year, in 2004. Subsequent winners Bandon Trails, Ballyneal and Chambers Bay identified the broad landscapes of the American West as prime soil for cutting-edge golf design, a trend that shows little sign of abating: Six of the ten courses on this year’s list are either in the Rocky Mountains or lie west of them. But 2008’s top honor comes ashore in the Kingdom of Fife. There, in golf’s cradle, the ribbon has been cut on one of the most ambitious (and controversial) designs in recent memory—a course that is certain to keep golfers talking for years to come.

By Bob CullenBrandon TuckerDan RaleyDerek DuncanJoe PassovMike OffitRobert ThompsonThomas Dunne and Tom Ferrell