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Top 100 Golf Courses - "BiteSize" - May 2016

Thanks for reading our May BiteSize update, which this month focuses on the continued rollout of our US Best In State rankings, where we’ve completed our biennial appraisal of sixteen States in the West South Central, East South Central and South Atlantic Divisions of the country. We continue to extend our US Best In State rankings where we believe it’s warranted and in this update we present our first Top 100 ranking list for Texas. We’ve also expanded the number of courses we display for fifteen of the sixteen States; only Florida remains unchanged, where we maintain a Top 100 for the Sunshine State. We’re grateful to everyone who has assisted – if you can help us to further improve our Best In State rankings, please get in touch. 

Also in this month’s edition we’ve published the first Brazilian Top 20, which presents a totally different picture to our previous iteration. It’s all change at the top of the table and we’ve uncovered a couple of outstanding new courses ahead of an exciting year in the country’s long history.

Our new South African Top 100 is also released in this edition and it’s all change for the Rainbow Nation. It’s possibly the biggest shake up we’ve ever made and we’re of the opinion that we’ve still got a way to go before we’ve found the right balance. If you know golf in South Africa, be sure to let us know what you think of our new chart.

Top 20 Golf Courses of Brazil 2016

We’ve added another five courses to our Brazilian standings in this latest revision. For the first time ever, we have a new national No.1 and No.2. We also have a brand new entry at #4, which suggests that golf in Brazil is not resting on its laurels. The most exciting course to open recently in South America bowled onto the stage in 2015 after many years in the making and Tom Fazio believes the golf experience is “unlike any in the world”.

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Top 100 Golf Courses of South Africa 2016

Two years ago, when we last updated our South African Top 100 chart, we stated, “this latest list will raise a few eyebrows”. Well, the results of the 2016 re-ranking exercise for the Rainbow Nation will do that and a lot more besides because there’s plenty of movement in our new chart – indeed, only two courses hold onto the same position as last time. We don’t know the statistical probability of that happening, actually.

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2016 Alabama Best in State rankings

An additional five courses have been added to the Cotton State of Alabama, where the number 1 layout is still Shoal Creek, an early solo design from Jack Nicklaus. Host venue for the USPGA Championship in 1984 and 1990, a reviewer succinctly summed up the course in the following terms last month: “most fairways are wide and half of them have enough hazards to require some thinking off the tee. Greens are nicely contoured and slick.”

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2016 Arkansas Best in State rankings

The Arkansas state chart has been extended to a Top 15, which means we’ve added five extra courses in this revision. Our number 1 in the Natural State is still Alotian, a new millennium offering from Tom Fazio. Laid out across three hundred acres of a hilly, wooded landscape near Little Rock, the course is the private golfing playground of a billionaire investment banker who spent a sizeable chunk of his wealth having a dream course built to exacting standards.

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2016 Delaware Best in State rankings

The First State of Delaware has been expanded to a Top 15 chart, with the South course at Wilmington Country Club holding onto the top spot. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Snr, it’s the longer and tougher of two 18-tracks that opened with a year of each other at the club in the early 1960s. The club has since hosted numerous important amateur championships.

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2016 Florida Best in State rankings

We maintain a Top 100 chart for the Sunshine State of Florida, which might appear to be rather a lot of courses to feature in just one state but in actual fact it represents less than 10% of the overall number of courses within post-war America’s golfing capital. Miami and Palm Beach were once the main state hotspots for golf but Orlando, the Panhandle and Naples have witnessed unprecedented growth in the last thirty years.

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2016 Georgia Best in State rankings

We’ve added ten courses to our chart for the Peach State of Georgia, where Augusta National retains its position at the top of the standings. For 99.99% of golfers, it’s just a pipe dream to play here but one of the Top 100 Team did just that a few years back. Meantime, and back to this year’s Masters tournament, who would have dreamt it would all start to unravel for the defending champion at the short par three 12th on the last day?

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2016 Kentucky Best in State rankings

Five courses have been added to our chart for the Bluegrass State of Kentucky, where the top three tracks remain in the same position as last time. That means another Nicklaus design, Valhalla, retains its place at the top of the standings. The site of three recent USPGA Championships, as well as host venue for the Ryder Cup in 2008, the course offers golfers an archetypal “game of two halves” with a fairly flat, open front nine followed by a tree-lined back nine.

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2016 Louisiana Best in State rankings

We’ve added another ten tracks to our Louisiana state listings, where Squire Creek holds onto its number 1 status. A Tom Fazio layout that debuted in 2002, the course occupies a central position within a large residential development where native grasses attractively frame the fairways. Wetland areas, small lakes and creeks threaten on occasion but the aquatic element is never too penal.

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2016 Maryland Best in State rankings

Things are rather static in the Old Line State of Maryland – where five courses have been added to its ranking chart – with the top six positions all staying exactly as they were when we last re-ranked in 2014. Baltimore (East) is therefore the state number 1 and it’s a course with a stellar tournament pedigree, having hosted the USPGA Championship, US Amateur, Walker Cup, Women’s US Open and three US Senior Players Championships.

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2016 Mississippi Best in State rankings

We’ve doubled the size of our Magnolia State chart, where we now feature a Top 20. Fallen Oak retains the number 1 position in the new state rankings and this 2006 Tom Fazio design – home to the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic on the Champions Tour – is available exclusively to guests of the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi.

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2016 North Carolina Best in State rankings

The Tar Heel State chart has been augmented with another ten courses so we now feature a Top 60 for North Carolina, where Pinehurst (No.2) remains the number 1 track. A recent reviewer had this to say about the course: “I had never played it pre Coore & Crenshaw renovation but can imagine that the course that’s there now is a huge improvement… from an architectural perspective it’s sheer genius with some of the most interesting greens you may ever see…”

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2016 Oklahoma Best in State rankings

We’ve doubled our coverage of courses in the Sooner State, where we now feature a Top 20, and the Championship course at Southern Hills remains our number 1 track. Laid out by Perry Maxwell in the 1930s, this wonderful 18-hole layout has attracted three US Opens and four USPGA Championships down the years, along with half a dozen USGA national amateur events. The course is also ranked very highly in our US Top 100 chart and it was a new entry in our recently updated World Top 100.

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2016 South Carolina Best in State rankings

We’ve increased the number of courses in our chart for the Palmetto State of South Carolina by 50%, adding another twenty-five tracks to form a Top 75. The Ocean course at the Kiawah Island Resort remains as the number 1 golfing layout in the state and it also sits comfortably within our US Top 100 and World Top 100 charts so don’t expect to see it knocked off the top perch anytime in the near future.

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2016 Tennessee Best in State rankings

The Volunteer State listings have been extended to a Top 20, which means we’ve added an extra five courses in this revision. The top four courses all retain the same position as last time so, by default, the Honors Course is still the state number 1. It’s also comfortably positioned within our USA Top 100 chart, rising two places to number 51 when we last updated the national ranking six months ago.

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2016 Texas Best in State rankings

Whispering Pines retains the top spot in our revised Texan listings. A new millennium track by Chett Williams of Nicklaus Design, the course is something of a testing ground for top amateur players. Our Argentina Correspondent captained his national team in the club’s Spirit International Golf Championship a few years back, at a time when fellow competitors such as Martin Kaymer and Jason Day were about to embark on their professional careers.

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2016 Virginia Best in State rankings

The Old Dominion state listings have been extended to a Top 40, which means we’ve added ten extra courses in this revision. Still the state number 1, Kinloch Golf Club was host venue for the US Senior Men’s Amateur Championship in 2011. It’s a new millennium co-design from Lester George and Vinny Giles that’s routed around a 70-acre lake, with an additional par three 19th hole intended as a tie-breaker.

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2016 West Virginia Best in State rankings

The number of courses in our Mountain State of West Virginia chart has been increased by 50% to fifteen. There’s not much movement within the new table, indeed all of the top five courses remain in the same position as last time, meaning that Pete Dye retains the top spot in the state standings. There’s a quite a story attached to the length of time it took to convert the site of an old coal mine into a championship golf course.

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Have you downloaded our Scottish publication yet?

Top 100 Golf Courses of Scotland 2016-2017 was recently published in Kindle format, which can be enjoyed on any device with Kindle’s free App. This latest title in the Top 100 series is jam-packed full of previously unreleased material and it includes an insight from our Editor and Scottish Correspondent, Jim McCann, who has played every layout in the Scottish hundred.

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