New Course Review
Course of the Month
Champions Course, TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, Arizona (public). Opened: November
Back in the 1980s, Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish were the dynamic duo of golf architects in the Southwest. Yet their Desert course at TPC Scottsdale always felt like an afterthought, especially given the splashiness of its sister eighteen, the Stadium, host of the FBR Open. Two decades later, this once lackluster city-owned layout has been completely made over and is crackling with life. Architect Randy Heckenkemper has added nearly seven hundred yards and grafted subtle contours onto the land. At the par-four eleventh, an extra ninety yards, a quartet of superbly placed bunkers and a strategic slope off the front-right corner of the green now combine with a backdrop of the McDowell Mountains to make the hole one of the region's best two-shotters. Rechristened the Champions course, the new layout boasts a slope of 140, up from a paltry 119. —Joe Passov
Architect: Randy Heckenkemper. Yardage: 7,115. Par: 71. Green Fees: $30–$129. Contact: 888-400-4001, tpc.com.
Players Course, Indian Wells Golf Resort
Indian Wells (resort). Opened: November
Coming on the heels of last year's reconstruction of its Celebrity course, this Coachella Valley resort debuts the Players, an overhaul of its former East course. Except for the mature corridors of hardwood trees, John Fought turned everything upside down, creating multiform bunkers with crisp edges and big, bold greens.
Architect: John Fought. Yardage: 7,376. Par: 72. Green Fees: $70–$185. Tee Times: 760-346-4653, indianwellsgolfresort.com.
The Deltona Club, Deltona (semiprivate). Opening: February
To accommodate new condominiums and a driving range, Bobby Weed has skillfully redesigned this course, formerly called Deltona Hills, thirty miles north of Orlando. His layout traverses fifty-foot elevation changes and sports fairways as wide as ninety yards, some of them marked by blow-out waste bunkers.
Architect: Bobby Weed. Yardage: 7,018. Par: 72. Green Fees: $65–$75. Tee Times: 386-789-4911.
Grand Reserve Golf Club, Bunnell (public). Opening: January
Bringing a much-needed affordable option to an area south of St. Augustine that's full of private clubs and pricey resorts, this project was resurrected after construction stalled eight years ago on a layout designed by veteran architect Bill Amick. The course, redesigned by Mike Beebe, stretches through dense sections of pine, cypress and wax myrtle, and its low-profile holes flirt with wetlands.
Architect: Mike Beebe. Yardage: 6,500. Par: 72. Green Fee: $40. Tee Times: 386-313-2966, capstonegolf.net.
Juliette Falls, Ocala (semiprivate). Opened: October
The broad, rolling topography and the sections of massive live oaks that outline this upscale course will surprise players who are unfamiliar with this part of north-central Florida. Waste areas and large cross bunkers cut into the lines of play to create strategic shot values. The eighth green is benched into the side of what was once a phosphate-mining pit.
Architect: John Sanford. Yardage: 7,239. Par: 72. Green Fee: $125. Tee Times: 352-522-0309, juliettefalls.com.
Brunswick Country Club, Brunswick (private). Opened: November
Because they grew up playing the course, the restoration of this 1939 Donald Ross design in southeast Georgia became a sentimental project for Mark Love and Davis Love III. Their work turned into an archeological discovery when the original green pads were unearthed beneath decades of accumulated topsoil. As a young player, Davis could never figure out why certain putts broke the way they did. But once the greens were stripped bare, he could see the "invisible" influence in the form of Ross's canny knobs and ridges.
Architect: Love Golf Design. Yardage: 6,800. Par: 72. Membership Inquiries: 912-264-4377, brunswickcountryclub.com.
Innsbrook Golf and Boating, Merry Hill (semiprivate). Soft opening: October (course will open to the public in April)
Water is the prevailing theme at this course on North Carolina's Inner Banks. Some holes curve around ponds while others back up against Salmon Creek, which flows into Albemarle Sound. Several par threes, including the fourteenth and seventeenth, play along these watery edges.
Architect: Arnold Palmer Design. Yardage: 7,463. Par: 72. Green Fees: $59–$69. Tee Times: 800-482-9012, innsbrookgolfandboat.com.
Founders Club at Pawleys Island, Pawleys Island (public). Opening: February
The former Sea Gull course, one of the first to open on Pawleys Island, near Myrtle Beach, has been leveled and rebuilt as the Founders Club, the latest addition to South Carolina's Waccamaw Golf Trail. The new look is inspired by Pine Valley: A quarter-million cubic yards of earth have been moved to enhance already significant elevation changes and create waste areas of pine and scrub.
Architect: Thomas Walker. Yardage: 7,007. Par: 72. Green Fees: $90–$160. Tee Times: 800-833-6337, classicgolfgroup.com.
Haig Point, Daufuskie Island (private). Opened: November
Rees Jones has returned to this quiet Lowcountry island to revamp the Signature course, which he first designed twenty-one years ago. He focused on bringing the course up to contemporary standards by adding new championship tees, rebuilding the greens to their original sizes and adding or repositioning bunkers to accentuate modern shotmaking angles. To open up views of Calibogue Sound, he removed dozens of trees.
Architect: Rees Jones. Yardage: 7,350. Par: 72. Membership Inquiries: 843-686-2000, haigpoint.com.
United Arab Emirates
The Dunes Golf Club, Dubai Sports City (semiprivate). Opening: February
The vanguard of a new generation of high-end courses in Dubai, this is the first solo design under Ernie Els. The windswept layout, managed by Troon Golf, twists through a fifty-million-square-foot compound that houses sports stadiums and academies as well as residential neighborhoods. Holes flow through sand dunes and large, wind-blown bunkers designed to mimic the surrounding desert.—Derek Duncan
Architect: Ernie Els. Yardage: 7,509. Par: 72. Green Fees: $190–$210. Tee Times: 011-971/4367-1080, vh.ae.