Part 1 – Best Of Landscapes Unlimited Golf Course Builds

There are countless “best-of” lists attached to golf course architects. Unfortunately, it’s seldom anyone polls the Herculean work of golf course builders, a.k.a. the folks who construct courses we love.

Moving dirt, shaping bunkers, contouring fairways, undulating greens and installing irrigation is considered dirty labor by many. Not so much, though, as bringing courses to life from the ground up is as intellectual, strategic and precise as it comes – scientifically, artistically and fiscally.

Landscapes Unlimited is recognized as the undisputed leader in the golf course development and construction space. Its builds over 45 years are in the thousands in more than 30 countries.  Several courses are names we know, while others are more of the high-quality, neighborhood variety.  The company’s portfolio includes golf courses, country clubs, resorts and communities of myriad budgets, shapes and sizes.

To give golf course builders deserved respect, we put to task the naming of marquee Landscapes Unlimited new construction and renovation / re-build projects.  Here are five with more to follow in Part 2 of this series:

  • Sutton Bay (Agar, S.D.) – Great golf in the Mount Rushmore state – are you kidding me?  We’re not, fellas.  The 18-hole, 7,226-yard, par 72 layout ranks higher than courses hosting major, PGA and LPGA tournaments.  Sutton Bay is charming, rewarding, challenging, fair and pure in every sense of true golf tradition.  The exclusively private club sits above the spectacular landforms of the Missouri breaks and majestically overlooks the massive expanse of Lake Oahe.  Let’s not forget the spectacular hunting and fishing, as well as exquisite, mouthwatering buffalo steak, walleye and pheasant satisfying post-round appetites.  There are 18 single rooms, six king suites and eight-four-bedroom cottages.  Pierre Regional Airport is less than an hour away and two municipal airports accommodating private jets are about 30 minutes from Sutton Bay.  Find a way onto this course and irk your jealous golf buddies.

  • Dumbarnie Links (Leven, U.K.) – It’s no wonder this Clive Clark design was named “best Scottish golf experience,” besting Trump Turnberry, Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and others.  About 10 miles from St. Andrews, it opened in May 2020 and amazingly hosted the 2021 Women’s Scottish Open.  You’ll love the premier links layout with contemporary twists.  A wide variety of hole layouts weave in and out of omnipresent dunes along 1.5 miles of beach and water frontage.  Elevated tees give golfers full views of shots to come and represent a welcome departure from common Scottish links.  Short Par 4s are drivable for bombers and provide ample scoring opportunities for short hitters.  Bunkers and swales pop up for intermittent bark.  Tee it up from 7,600 yards – we dare you.

 

  • Torrey Pines (La Jolla, Calif.) – Widely recognized as one of the nation’s best municipal golf complexes, the South Course hosted the 2008 and 2021 U.S. Open and is home to the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open (along with the North Course).  It stretches to more than 7,700 yards for thrill seekers with deep bunkers and small greens adding to the difficulty.  With a green perched on a cliff, the par 3, No. 3 is ultra-intimidating and No. 4 plays along the cliffs, so don’t pull it left into the Pacific Ocean.   Bailouts are ever-present for higher handicappers.  The North Course maxes at 7,258 yards and is easier than its sister layout but equally as stunning with a cornucopia of interesting holes parallel to the sweeping ocean cliffs.

  • Turning Stone Resort Casino (Verona, N.Y.) – A short drive east of Syracuse lie three of the state’s best conditioned and most enjoyable layouts.  Kaluhyat is optically daunting, but receives most shots well, equalizing difficulty with playability.  Atunyote is the trio’s crown jewel and hosted PGA TOUR and other prestigious tournaments.  Shenendoah is the easiest to navigate and, thus, super enjoyable for novice and intermediate players.  Pristine conditions are the norm.  Turning Stone annually wins top awards from Golf Digest, Forbes, Travel + Leisure, USA Today and other media.  It’s golf and gaming experiences are a “must do.”

  • PGA National Resort & Spa (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) – Longtime host of the PGA TOUR’s Honda Classic, this superstar features four 18-hole layouts – The Champion, The Palmer, The Fazio and The Estate.  The Champion is famous for its “Bear Trap,” a series of three demanding holes considered the game’s toughest stretch.  Its new, innovative, 18-hole The Match Course encourages “match” versus “stroke” play and is ideal for competitions, wagering and quick rounds.  The scorecard doesn’t reference par or show tee markers.  The new, nine-hole The Staple Course is an exuberant take on modern par-3 courses – we’ll leave the rest of an assured fun round to your imagination.  Furthermore, there’s magnificent cuisine, fitness, pickleball, tennis, pool and spa offerings.  Guest rooms benefitted from a recent $100M investment in the property.  Don’t forget kids’ activities, a high-end chocolatier and ice cream shop.

Click here for Part 2 of “Best of Landscapes Unlimited Golf Course Builds.”