Quality over quantity. That's what best describes the state of new course construction, as well as the delicious nature of the two-year task presented GOLF MAGAZINE's more than 100 Course Ranking Panelists. Many of the top new designs are sprinkled in far-flung locations—Bulgaria, China and Nova Scotia—but these tough-to-find tracks have not escaped the watchful eyes of GOLF's august panel (see survey opposite page), which foresees a bumper crop of candidates for the Top 100s of 2013. Here's a preview of the leaders.
Joe Passov, chairman of the Top 100 Courses, is GOLF MAGAZINE's senior editor for travel and course rankings.
Designer: David McLay Kidd
Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. might have an advantage in 18 holes of match play against our sitting chief executive: Huntsman can hone his skills on his family's remarkable new private course on the Idaho-Wyoming border. Founded by his billionaire father, Jon Sr. (a chemical magnate and anticancer crusader who created the container that keeps McDonald's Big Macs warm), and run by his brother David, Huntsman Springs sits in the shadow of the Grand Tetons—but it's what's on the ground that is equally compelling. Kidd moved mountains of soil—more than four million cubic yards—to turn a vapid high desert tract into a visual treat. Rumpled terrain, 153 fescue-fringed bunkers, ball-swallowing wetlands and massive putting surfaces form the bulk of the challenge, along with a championship yardage of 7,331.
Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada
Designer: Rod Whitman
Turn loose Bandon Dunes' Mike Keiser on any coastal property and the result is likely to be successful. Whitman, an Albertan who prepped under Pete Dye and Bill Coore, built Canada's first authentic links for Keiser and codeveloper Ben Cowan-Dewar on a rolling plot that starts at an elevated bluff and descends to the beach. Every hole offers views of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but the most dazzling postcard is the tiny par-3 14th, a downhill pitch of 102 yards that overlooks the sea and is a dead ringer for the 7th at Pebble Beach. Ten holes opened in July, with the others to follow next spring.