The 10 Most Picturesque Golf Courses in America

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2015

The 10 Most Picturesque Golf Courses in America

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    What makes for a picturesque golf course? While the answer may be subjective, here's the definition from Merriam-Webster:

    a: resembling a picture; suggesting a painted scene
    b: charming or quaint in appearance

    We'll stick with idea that these courses present many views worthy of commemorating in a picture. 

    Admittedly heavy on courses played on the PGA Tour as well as top-ranked courses on national lists, this ranking lays out one version of the most picturesque courses in the United States. 

    Have any thoughts on what locations ought to make the list? Let us know in the comments. 

    Click through for the 10.

Augusta National

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Routinely ranked as the greatest golf course in the United States by Golf Digest, Augusta National is picturesque from seemingly every angle.

    The Masters television coverage reveals this fact every year as the verdant fairways and endless varieties of flora fill the screen. 

    And while the Alister Mackenzie-designed course's wide fairways, pristine bunkering and tight mowing around the greens do create a beautiful course, it's the way the impeccably maintained course sits on a beautiful piece of property, overflowing with the remnants of its former nursery, that makes Augusta so spectacular. 

Cypress Point

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    Another Alister Mackenzie track, Cypress Point's brilliance owes much to the splendor of its location. 

    Golf Magazine's commentary on the course stated, "Cypress Point starts by spreading its Mackenzian fingers through the dunes as if to grab a firm hold on dry land, so it can dangle its lower extremities into the Pacific with confidence."

    If there were no course in the spot where Mackenzie plotted out Cypress Point, the coastal and dune-laden scenery along the Pacific would still be impressive. With the course, it's one of the most scenic layouts in the United States.

National Golf Links of America

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    Perhaps not as widely known to golf fans as many of the other entries on this list is the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, New York.

    The Charles Blair McDonald track features holes inspired by some of the greatest golf holes in the world: Eden and Road Hole at St Andrews and Sahara from Royal St. George's.  

    The more-than-300 acre property is one the first and best examples of classic links styling in the United States. The National has some of the most scenic links holes in the U.S. and is the embodiment of classic, East Coast, seaside links design. 

Pebble Beach

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    One of the most well-known courses in the United States, Pebble Beach is on the same track of land as Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, California.

    The Jack Neville and Douglas Grant-designed course opened in 1919. The holes that run along the Pacific Ocean are some of the most scenic in the world, including the famed 17th and 18th. 

    A beautifully maintained track on the rugged coast of California with mind-blowing views of the Carmel Bay, the course was built along what was formerly a scenic route along the coast—a pretty good indication of the quality of the scenery. 

Pine Valley

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    Located in the New Jersey Pinelands, Pine Valley is a truly unique track of 620 acres. 

    A hodgepodge of great architects succeeded George Crump in developing the New Jersey marvel: H.S. Colt, A.W. Tillinghast, George C. Thomas Jr., Walter Travis and Hugh Wilson. 

    One of Crump's fundamental principles, that no hole should be visible from another, creates some truly unique views.

    Pine Valley is a truly special and singular track.

Bandon Dunes

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    Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a coastal paradise in Coos County, Oregon, that features wide rolling fairways and vast expanses of gorse over four courses: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails and Old Macdonald. 

    Unlike the other entries on this list, this incredible piece of coastal property features four courses. Thus, in a sense, it's the most scenic, as with the most holes, these are the most scenic views. 

    Much like Pebble Beach and Cypress Point, the Bandon courses are laid out on an incredible piece of oceanfront property. However, having some of the best architects in the game design the courses elevates the Oregon golfing paradise to another level.

Sand Hills

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    Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw-designed Sand Hills was built around the principle of moving as little earth as possible and working with what nature gave the designers. 

    Fortunately, the Sandhills of Nebraska property offered the designers a beautiful, hilly, combination of prairie grass and sand dunes. 

    Coore and Crenshaw reportedly wandered the property, evaluating its natural contours and identifying more than 100 potential holes. Settling on 18, all that had to be done was mowing and adding irrigation. 

    A unique, visually stunning track.

Desert Highlands

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    We need a desert course on this list.

    The unique aesthetic the Southwestern United States offers demands inclusion on any "most scenic" list. We tend to preference seaside courses, traditional layouts and links-style golf over courses in desert climates. 

    Desert Highlands is a sort of stand-in for the distinct aesthetic of desert golf and its one-of-a-kind scenery. 

Whistling Straits

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    Herbert Kohler's Wisconsin masterpiece suggests the links courses of England and Scotland. 

    A scenic view of Lake Michigan, rolling greens, wide fairways and nearly 1,000 bunkers give Whistling Straits its distinct look. 

    As Golf Digest indicated in the "Greatest Courses" ranking, "Pete Dye transformed a dead-flat abandoned Army air base along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan into an imitation Ballybunion."

    The result of those efforts: a bounty of brilliant views.

Pinehurst No. 2

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    After its 2011 restoration, Pinehurst No. 2 is again one of the most scenic courses in the United States. Combining an abundance of North Carolina pines with a beautifully routed track amid native grasses, the restored Pinehurst No. 2 is splendid, as golf fans found out during the 2014 U.S. Open. 

    Regarding the changes, Golfweek's Bradley S. Klein wrote: 

    Donald Ross’ most famous design from a century ago has been utterly transformed through a restoration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw that is as radical and path-breaking as any in the history of golf-course architecture. The result is stunning. 


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