Six Most Underrated Golf Courses on the PGA Tour Circuit

Mike LynchContributor IIIOctober 14, 2011

Six Most Underrated Golf Courses on the PGA Tour Circuit

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    The PGA Tour Season runs a grueling 10 months, from January to October.  Given the length of the season, several great golf courses are able to fly under the radar to casual observers.  When I say these courses are underrated, it has to do with the event more so than the course itself.

    The golf junkie and most players will rave about these venues.  To a casual fan, however, a course can be underrated if it is not hosting a top-level event.  Make no mistake, these courses rival any seen on the PGA Tour's biggest events.

6. The Old White TPC

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    The White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia course is host to The Greenbrier Classic in July. Originally designed in 1914, the course is a history lesson in golf course architecture.  It is the work of CB MacDonald and Seth Raynor, considered by some to be the fathers of American golf design.

    The course suffered neglect over the years and much of the original design was lost.  Thanks to a dedicated restoration team, the course was returned to its former glory.  Its comeback was complete when it hosted The Greenbrier in 2010.  The course is a Par 70 and plays 7,210 yards.

5. Sea Island (Seaside)

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    St. Simons Island is home to six PGA Tour golfers.  That should give you an idea of the quality of golf in the area.  The Seaside Course hosts the McGladrey Classic on the PGA Tour Fall Series.  2011 marks the second year of the event.  The course opened in 1929, plays at 7,055 yards and is a par-70.  Golf.com ranks it as the 25th best public course in America.

4. Monterey Peninsula Shore Course

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    This is a course that gets bullied by its neighbors.  Pebble Beach, Cypress Point and Spyglass Hill join Monterey on the California coast.  The course was inserted into the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2010.  Unfortunately, camera crews show little of the action away from Pebble.

    The Shores course was originally opened in 1929, but underwent a major redesign last decade.  It is a par-70, playing 6,838 yards.  Golf.com ranks it as the 73rd best course in America.

3. Colonial Country Club

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    The Crowne Plaza Invitational is held in Fort Worth, following The PLAYERS Championship.  This is not ideal positioning for a tournament, given the latter's importance to the PGA Tour.  However, Colonial has a very rich history.  It is nicknamed Hogan's Alley, for Ben Hogan's five victories.  Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead have also won at Colonial.

    The course opened in 1935 and was the host of the 1941 US Open.  It plays 7,204 yards with a par-70 total.  The course is vulnerable in calm conditions, but can still bite with some help from the wind.  Golf.com ranks it as the 81st best course in the country.

2. Harbour Town Golf Links

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    A tragedy was avoided when The Heritage was able to acquire RBC as a sponsor for 2012.  Harbour Town was designed by Pete Dye and opened in 1969.  Arnold Palmer was the first winner of the tournament.  

    The course marked a shift in golf architecture in the United States.  The style of the time was big greens, fairways, bunkers and water hazards.  This style was exemplified by Robert Trent Jones.  Dye turned this around with his tight shot makers course in Hilton Head.  It also had a much more unique set of holes then what was being built.

    Golf.com ranks this as the 45th best course in America.  It is a par-71 playing 6,973 yards. 

1. Riviera Country Club

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    Riviera should be hosting one of the premier PGA Tour events each season.  The Northern Trust Open is not a bad event, but the timing is poor.  It is played between the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the WGC Matchplay.  Riviera suffers the cruel fate of having one of the only better courses on tour played prior to it.  It's also followed by perhaps the strongest field of any event in the world.

    Riviera hosted the 1948 US Open, along with the 1983 and 1995 PGA Championships.  It dates back to 1926 being designed by George Thomas.  It is a par-71 and plays just under 7,300 yards. Golf.com ranks it as the 20th best course in America.