The best Coore and Crenshaw golf courses


The partnership of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, the men behind new Byron Nelson home Trinity Forest, has been one golf’s most respected architectural teams for quite some time. And it all started back in the late 1980s, when the pair visited a site for a course that was never built. This came soon after Coore’s first course opened at Rockport Country Club in Texas, and Crenshaw—who had just won the 1984 Masters—was so impressed with Coore’s work, Crenshaw signed up to partner with the former Pete Dye associate. The talented duo has worked together for more than 30 years, producing some of the game’s most revered designs.

Here’s a look at those courses—ranked in the order our Golf Digest course-ranking panelists scored them based on our most recent America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses ranking and Golf Digest’s World 100 ranking.

10 . Colorado Golf Club, Parker, Colo.

Named Golf Digest’s sixth Best New private course in 2007, this Colorado layout is currently No. 124 on our latest Second 100 Greatest ranking. The venue for the 2013 Solheim Cup also hosted the 2019 U.S. Mid Amateur.

Courtesy of Jon Cavalier

9 . Streamsong (Red), Bowling Green, Fla.

This Everglades-meets-Ballybunion layout, which is how Ron Whitten used to describe the Red course at Streamsong after it opened in 2013, is the highest ranked of the three courses at central Florida’s new Streamsong Resort. Coore and Crenshaw worked with Tom Doak on which land each would use for their routings at Streamsong, a rare collaboration among competitors, but not surprising given their friendship. The Red course, which debuted inside the 100 Greatest in its first appearance, is ranked No. 102 on Golf Digest’s most recent rankings.

The eighth hole at Streamsong’s Red course.

8 . Sand Valley, Nekoosa, Wis.

Winner of our 2017 Best New award, Sand Valley made its debut on Golf Digest’s national rankings last year, placing 110th on America’s Second 100 Greatest, just one spot behind Cal Club. The bold and beautiful design in the middle of Wisconsin is inspired by Pine Valley and Sand Hills, but topped with its own personality. Sand Valley has wider panoramas, larger expanses of visible sand, fewer pines and bigger targets on each hole. And rather than the ultra minimalist Sand Hills, the design at Sand Valley involves more manipulation of the land: sculptured fairways, hand-carved sand scars, invented green sites, all done with such sophistication as to mislead most into believing such features were there from the beginning.

Courtesy of Ryan Farrow

The 10th hole at Sand Valley.

7 . Bandon Trails (Ore.)

Carved mostly out of wooded land though it starts and finishes among massive sand dunes, the facility’s third course, which opened in 2005, is the fourth-highest ranked course at Bandon Dunes—sitting at No. 69 on our latest ranking.

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon Trail course hole 1
Stephen Szurlej

The first hole at Bandon Trails

6 . Old Sandwich Golf Club, Plymouth, Mass.

Old Sandwich ranked 59th on our most recent 100 Greatest ranking. Carved out of the brush and sand just two miles from the ocean, Coore and Crenshaw utilized some rolling terrain and beautiful landscapes to create another minimalist design (see Sand Hills, below).

Old Sandwich GC hole 15
The Henebrys/Courtesy of Old Sandwich GC

The 15th hole at Old Sandwich G.C. in Plymouth, Mass.

5 . Barnbougle Lost Farm, Bridport, Australia

Sitting among towering Tasmanian sandscapes is this links course that was built to be the sister course of Tom Doak’s Barnbougle Dunes, No. 16 on our World 100. Lost Farm is currently No. 47 on our World 100.

Photo by Stephen Szurlej

Photograph by Stephen Szurlej

4 . Shanqin Bay, Hainan Island, China

Probably unknown by most casual American golfers, Shanqin Bay has been called by some the best course in Asia. Built on seaside sand dunes on China’s Hainan Island, Shanqin Bay sits at No. 14 on Golf Digest’s most recent World 100 ranking, down from its position on our previous world list.

Shanqin Bay Golf Course 8th hole
Courtesy of Shanqin Bay G.C.

The eighth hole at Shanqin Bay in China

3 . Friar’s Head, Baiting’s Hollow, N.Y.

Built on sandy bluffs along the North Shore of Long Island, Friar’s Head is another minimalist success by Coore and Crenshaw, which despite losing out on Golf Digest’s 2003 Best New Private survey to the Club at Black Rock in Idaho and Dallas National, Friar’s Head ranks far above those designs, continuing to rise in our 100 Greatest rankings—up to No. 15, its highest-ever position.

Evan Schiller

The ninth hole at Friar’s Head Golf Club in Baiting’s Hollow, N.Y.

2 . Cabot Cliffs, Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada

Cabot Cliffs Golf Course #16
John and Jeannine Henebry

The 16th hole at Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia.

On Cabot Cliffs, Golf Digest’s 2015 Best New honoree, Whitten wrote: “This is the second coming of Cypress Point, which in my mind was previously unmatched in its beauty, variety and thrills.” For a man not known for hyperbole, that is the highest praise. Cabot Cliffs was No. 11 on our most recent World 100 ranking.

1 . Sand Hills Golf Club, Mullen, Neb.

Perhaps most architecturally significant out of this group of courses, Sand Hills is regarded as one of the most natural golf courses ever built. As Golf Digest’s Whitten writes: “The golf course wasn’t so much designed as discovered,” and helped guide the later works of Coore and Crenshaw. Sand Hills is No. 9 on our most recent 100 Greatest ranking, tied for its highest position ever on our list.

Dom Furore

An overview of Sand Hills Golf Club in Mullen, Neb. (Photograph by Dom Furore)

Other notable Coore and Crenshaw courses:

Kapalua (Plantation) was the design duo’s first completed design. It underwent what team called an extensive “refinement” ahead of last year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions to restore to some of the course’s original design principles]( It ranks 130th on our most recent Second 100 Greatest and is 22nd among public courses.

Trinity Forest Golf Club, which has been the site of the AT&T Bryon Nelson, debuted on our Best in Texas ranking at No. 6. The innovative design finished runner-up in our 2018 Best New private category. Trinity Forest was less than a tenth of a point away from making our Second 100 Greatest ranking.

Ozarks National at Big Cedar Lodge earned our 2019 Best New public award.

Dormie Club: Narrowly missed making Golf Digest’s latest Second 100 Greatest ranking, and ranking 185th on Golf Digest’s 2015-2016 ranking, Dormie Club is No. 49 on our most recent 100 Greatest Public ranking.

Chechessee Creek in Okatie, S.C.: Like Dormie Club, made Golf Digest’s 2015-2016 ranking at No. 197, and narrowly missed in 2017-2018.

The Golf Club at Cuscowilla in Eatonton, Ga. — No. 11 on Golf Digest’s most recent Best in State rankings, the G.C. at Cuscowilla recently went full-private, previously being a 100 Greatest Public course.

Hidden Creek Golf Club: At No. 16 on our Best in New Jersey, Hidden Creek—near Atlantic City—is the rare Coore & Crenshaw course on the East Coast.

We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro) in Fort McDowell, Ariz.: One of Arizona’s top public courses, the Saguaro course is the top-ranked course at this stellar 36-hole facility.

We-Ko-Pa Golf ClubSaguaro Course #8 Fairway Fort McDowell, Arizona
Lonna Tucker

The eighth hole at We-Ko-Pa’s Saguaro course.

East Hampton Golf Club: The diverse 18-hole routing was No. 28 on Golf Digest’s 2015-2016 Best in State rankings.

Austin Golf Club: Ben Crenshaw enjoyed his layout so much in his hometown that he actually lives on property.

Bandon Preserve — The fun 13-hole par-3 course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort has become one of the most popular rounds to book at the resort.

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