Golfweek's Best New Courses of 2009-10 is loaded with high-end privates, but some value plays exist
My first knee-jerk reactions to Golfweek’s Best new Golf Courses for 2009-2010: Old MacDonald, the newest links course at Bandon Dunes Resort may as well have been given the No. 1 spot when Mike Keiser gave the green light for construction.
And secondly, good grief there are a lot of high-end private courses with accompanying residential communities attached to them. By my count, 7 of the top 10 are empty-the-trust-fund privates. The second ten are mostly upscale semi-private and resort courses.
But within these forty courses served up by Golfweek, there are some bargain plays, which deserve a tip of the cap, because few developers seem willing to build a $40 golf course anymore.
The overachiever of the bunch goes to Wine Valley Golf Club in Washington, a top ten pick that has green fees at $60-75 - that’s about $200 cheaper than the next public golf course in the Top 10. Rack rate at Old Mac is $265, while French Lick’s Dye Course (No. 10) is north of $300 (though the rate structure tries to steer you towards stay-and-play packages at the resort).
There were a handful of $50 or less courses (based on website rack rates) that made Golfweek’s list:
Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, N.C. State’s new home course.
CommonGround Golf Course, a redesign effort by Tom Doak near Denver.
Highlands of Elgin, a municipal course in Illinois.
National Golf Club of Louisiana, a master-planned community near Lake Charles but with affordable golf.
One glaring omission to the Top 40 list in my opinion is the Makai Golf Club at St. Regis Princeville. Renovation projects seem to be included on the Best Of list, like the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm (Formerly TPC Avenel) and the Badlands Desperado and Diablo nines in Las Vegas.
Anyone who has played the new Makai knows that it’s a very different, greatly improved resort course than before. It has the best mix of scenery and challenge on Kauai, at least until Poipu Bay Golf Course reopens and Kauai Lagoons eventually finishes its enhancements, then it will be a close call.
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