The Golf Course Report
Seven courses to seek out this summer.
This year marks a renaissance in golf; after a 112-year absence from the Olympic Games, athletes from across the globe will tee off in Rio de Janeiro this summer. And as golf’s profile has risen, its players are looking for links that are new, updated and have more amenities. From renowned (and renewed) courses that wow; to fun-infused greens; and extraordinary designs garnering attention from critics, these seven establishments are shaking old standards and changing how the game of golf is played.
Bluejack National, Montgomery, TX
Just outside of Houston at the private golf club Bluejack National, you’ll find the first U.S. course Tiger Woods designed, which formally opened in June. Yes, it has a famous designer and professional look and feel. For instance, pine trees and oaks surrounding a strategic course full of elevation changes comparable to Augusta. But the course is player- and family-friendly, jettisoning a dress code and adding a 10-hole practice course that’s ideal for kids.
The Loop at Forest Dunes, Roscommon, MI
Another ode to St. Andrews—which on occasion allows golfers to play 18 holes in reverse—golf course architect Tom Doak wanted to bring that bit of irreverence to the States. The result: a course nestled in Northern Michigan’s Huron National Forest that’s designed to be played in either direction. Set to open June 27, you’ll need a few days to experience The Loop, so stay at Forest Dunes’ golf villas or cottages (more of which are being added thanks to high demand for the course).
City Park Golf Course, New Orleans, LA
Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on much of New Orleans, including the 1,300-acre City Park, which at one point in its history included four courses. But tee time will soon improve in the Big Easy: The city is constructing a brand new championship-level golf course, part of a $24.5 million project that will include a new clubhouse and a course that utilizes a "low-profile" design style, using existing features like the park's Live Oak trees and existing lagoons as apart of the layout. Depending on your skill level, you can traverse between 5,000 and 7,200 yards. And it's open to the public.
Olympic Golf Course, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The massive establishment is full of wide fairways that have been compared to The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland (said to be the birthplace of golf). Construction took place in the Marapendi area, which had seen environmental degradation; constructing the course more than doubled the number of vegetation and wildlife species in the area, according to a 2016 report commissioned by the State of Rio de Janeiro Department of Justice. After the Olympic Games, Brazil hopes the par 71 course will increase local interest in the sport.
Rosewood CordeValle, San Martin, CA
Secluded and luxurious, Rosewood CordeValle is no stranger to prestigious pros, but this year the course is in the limelight as the site of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open, July 4 to 7—one of the last opportunities for ladies to qualify for Rio. While updates like verticutting (a mowing technique), aerifications, and overseeding will ensure ideal event conditions, CordeValle has also made changes to accommodate all kinds of athletes. In 2015, the wine country resort introduced three and six-hole loops making it possible to simply sample the championship course; and a new intro-to-golf social hour mixes an instructional lesson with signature cocktails.
True Blue Golf Club, Myrtle Beach, SC
Fun-seeking golfers head south to True Blue Golf Club, a top-rated course set on a historic 18th century plantation. On top of a dramatic course that never disappoints and always challenges, this past November, the club introduced GolfBoards, an alternative to carts, as a means of transportation between holes. Think of these as surf-style carts controlled by a thumb throttle with four-inch turf tires. You’ll feel like you’re on a surfboard or skateboard, which is way cooler than carts.
TPC River Highlands, Cromwell, CT
This favorite of PGA Tour pros and host of the Traveler’s Championship enjoyed an off-season face-lift. The multi-million dollar project worked on two major areas: the greens themselves and the fan areas. With final touches being completed in time for the August event, the course will boast more of an amphitheater style for viewing, rebuilt and restyled bunkers, green improvements for new pin placements and infrastructure help around cart paths and the lake bank.