Nov 2, 201102:45 PMRick Pledl

A slow death

Want more evidence of the dearth of golf course construction in the United States? Here’s some: An annual listing the best new golf courses in America is dying a slow death.

The annual “Best News Courses” list compiled by Golfweek magazine contains just 25 courses, compared to 40 new courses on the list released in October 2010. And here’s the kicker: The list no longer looks back just one year. To create the 2011 list, Golfweek editors and course-raters changed their criteria and considered facilities that opened in the last two calendar years.

According to Golfweek, the 2011 list “focuses on quality over quantity,” in order “to better reflect the current pace of golf course development in the United States.” In other words, there’s precious little golf course development today in the United States.

Thus, Old Macdonald in Bandon, Ore., designed by Tom Doak and Jim Urbina, was the top-rated course on the list in 2010, and it remains in the top spot on the 2011 list.

In fact, 15 of the 25 courses on this year’s “Best New Courses” list also appeared on the 2010 list, which gives you a pretty clear indication why Golfweek changed its criteria. Without the change, this year’s list would have contained just 10 courses, unless Golfweek had relaxed its standards.

The other courses on both lists, all of which opened for play in 2010, are:

No. 2 – The Patriot, Owasso, Okla. (No. 4 in 2010)
No. 4 – The Prairie Club (Dunes), Valentine, Neb. (No. 12 in 2010)
No. 5 – Chicago Highlands, Westchester, Ill. (No. 11 in 2010)
No. 6 – Lodestone, McHenry, Md. (No. 20 in 2010)
No. 7 – TPC San Antonio (Oaks), San Antonio, Texas (No. 14 in 2010)
No. 11 – The Prairie Club (Pines), Valentine, Neb. (No. 21 in 2010)
No. 12 – Highlands of Elgin, Elgin, Ill. (No. 26 in 2010)
No. 14 – Conestoga, Mesquite, Nev. (No. 28 in 2010)
No. 15 – TPC San Antonio (Canyons), San Antonio, Texas (No. 24 in 2010)
No. 17 – Meadow Brook, Richmond, R.I. (No. 29 in 2010)
No. 21 National GC of Louisiana, West Lake, La. (No. 36 in 2010)
No. 22 – Manitou Passage, Cedar, Mich. (No. 37 in 2010)
No. 23 – Sequoyah National, Whittier, N.C. (No. 39 in 2010)
No. 25 Shining Rock, Northridge, Miss. (No. 40 in 2010)

There are no Wisconsin courses on either “annual” list.

The full “Best New Courses” list was published in the Oct. 28 issue of Golfweek.

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About This Blog

Editor Rick Pledl joined Killarney Golf Media in 1995. A longtime member of the Golf Writer’s Association of America, Pledl is also an award-winning outdoor writer. He previously worked as a freelance journalist and as a reporter at various daily and weekly newspapers in Wisconsin. Email him at rpledl@wisgolfer.com.

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