For this installment of #MotivationMonday, Greenland Apparel thought they would share their top 5 favorite U.S. Golf Courses. Make one of these courses your must-play golf destinations. Greenland Apparel is sure they will not disappoint.
1. Pine Valley Golf Course, New Jersey
George Crump & H.S. Colt / 1918 / 7,057 yards / Par 70
Tucked into the pine barrens of southwest Jersey, Pine Valley Golf Course blends multiple styles of course design. Designer George Arthur Crump laid out very specific guidelines when he designed his one and only course; no more than two consecutive holes should play in the same direction; and players shouldn’t be able to see any hole other than the one they were playing. He also felt that a round of golf on his course should require a player to use every club in the bag. By forcing the golfer to play a more strategic game of golf, Pine Valley Golf Course lives up to the hype. After his death and unofficial launch of the first eleven holes in 1914, the course was completed by H.S. Colt, A.W. Tillinghast, George C. Thomas Jr. and Walter Travis. Hugh Wilson and his brother.
Membership is highly exclusive, male-only and requires an invitation by the board of directors. Guests are allowed to play with a member, and women are permitted to play on Sunday afternoons.
2. Cypress Point Club, California
Alister Mackenzie / 1928 / 6,524 yards / Par 72
Hailed as Alister Mackenzie’s best work, Cypress Point remains a great example of classic golf courses. With its cypress trees, sand dunes, and jagged coastline, Cypress Point was not always America’s favorite course. In 1970, Golf Digest was quoted in saying, “It’s not surprising that good players might find Cypress Point wanting: it has several easy holes and a weak finisher.” Since then, it has made a statement by not changing its original architecture. Cypress remains timeless and charming. Today’s superintendent even re-established Mackenzie’s unique and original bunkering with the help of old photographs.
Management of Cypress Point Club requires all players to have caddies. Because there are only 275 estimated members, and only a small number of local members most of the tee times are used by guests.
3. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, New York
William Flynn / 1931 / 7,041 yards / Par 70
Besides claiming to be the oldest formally organized golf course in the United States, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was also the first to allow women to play, which it did from the very beginning. Shinnecock is a link-style golf course in the town of Southampton on Long Island. It has hosted the U.S. Open four times in three centuries and is scheduled to host again in 2018. It was also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. This early style links course was heavily remodeled by C.B. Macdonald, and then completely replaced (except for three holes) by William S. Flynn in the early 1930’s.
In 2005 Shinnecock Golf Club found itself in a dispute over the lands on which the golf club presides. The Shinnecock Indian Nation claim that their land was illegally seized in a land grab back in 1703. The Nation filed a lawsuit against the state seeking the return of the 3,500 acres in Southampton around the tribes reservation and billions of dollars in reparations.
4. Merion Golf Club, Pennsylvania
Hugh Irvine Wilson / 1912 / 6,886 yards / Par 70
In 1910, the membership for Merion Golf Club decided to build a new course and chose a 32-year member and Princeton University graduate to design it. Several of Merion East’s course designs were derived from Hugh Wilson’s seven month research trip to London and Scotland. Located in a suburb northwest of Philadelphia, Merion Golf Club boasts two courses, the East Course, and the West Course. The East Course has consistently been ranked in America’s top 100 golf courses, and has hosted the U.S. Open 5 times, most recently in 2013. This small course packs a heavy punch. With its twisting fairways edged by creeks, randomly strewn rough, out-of-bound stakes, canted greens and dangerous bunkers, big hitters have trouble mastering its playfulness.
All of the pins on the East course are topped with wicker baskets instead of the typical flag. As the story goes: Hugh Wilson was in England studying their golf courses, when he happened upon a local sheep herder and his flock. These shepherds held staffs that they used for herding, and the staffs held wicker baskets. The baskets would hold their lunch high enough so the sheep could not reach it. Wilson then decided to use the baskets at Merion, though the idea was never verified.
5. Oakmont Golf Club, Pennsylvania
Henry Fownes / 1903 / 7,255 yards / Par 71
This course, the only design by Henry Fownes, opened in 1903. With a crew of 150 men and a little under two dozen mule teams, Henry Fownes spent a year building Oakmont on old farmland. The oldest top ranked golf course in the United States, Oakmont Golf Club sits near Pittsburgh’s northeast suburbs of Plum and Oakmont. The Pennsylvania Turnpike separates the eastern seven holes and the rest of the course. Once thousands of trees planted in the 1960’s were removed, Oakmont’s original penal design was re-established, with the game’s most nightmare causing bunkers. Designer and architect placed a bunkers, deep drainage ditches and ankle deep rough whenever and wherever he saw a player hit an offline shot. Oakmont also boasts the games fastest putting surfaces which will likely be slowed down for the upcoming U.S. Open in 2016.
Oakmont has hosted the U.S. Open eight times, more than any other course, and will host the tournament again in 2016. It has also played host to three PGA Championships, five U.S. Amateurs, three NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships and the U.S. Women’s Open twice. Oakmont has hosted 21 championships, far outranking any other golf course in this category.