151. The Highland Course at Primland
Donald Steel (2006)
The Highland Course at Primland sits atop a mountain plateau overlooking some of the most unusual scenery in America, a deep river valley dotted with tall spirals of rock called the Pinnacles of the Dan River. The course design by veteran British architect Donald Steel is austere in its green contours and bunkering, as if not to overpower the setting. Aided by his then-associates Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert (who have since formed their own very successful partnership, Mackenzie & Ebert), Steel routed holes along ridges, over chasms, down valleys and into sideslopes, always offering a safe alternative to every perilous carry. There’s a stretch of three straight holes – 13 through 15 – with no sand, because dense trees and deep gulleys are hazards enough. Primland is Smoky Mountain majesty.
Second 100 Greatest History: Ranked from 2013 to current. Highest ranking: No. 103, 2013-2014. Previous ranking: No. 149.
Panelist comments, The Highland Course at Primland
“Primland’s Highland Course is something that every golfer does in his or her lifetime. The spectacular views and attention to detail is wonderful.”
“There is no course that I have seen with higher Design Variety than the Highland Course at Primland. The holes are long, short, dogleg left, dogleg right, uphill, downhill, narrow, wide, and everything in between. It would be difficult to imagine a course more diverse if you had 18 separate architects complete the design.”
“In general, I feel that mountain golf courses are a bit contrived, typically hitting up or down the mountain. You never really get that feeling on this property, as it’s large enough to utilize wider landforms.”