Paced by Cabo del Sol’s 25-spot leap in the rankings, Nicklaus courses enjoyed a collective climb up GOLF Magazine’s biennial list of the Top 100 Courses in the World and U.S. The Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol, which opened in 1994 and underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation last year, jumped from No. 93 in 2001 to No. 68 in 2003 – the third-highest leap for any course in the world. In fact, all but one Nicklaus course ranked in the World or U.S. Top 100 improved its ranking.
Situated in the tip of the Baja peninsula along the 20-mile corridor between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, the Ocean Course has seven holes that play along the coastline and is the centerpiece of the 1,800-acre residential/resort community of Cabo del Sol. This 18-hole, award-winning course is one of the few courses in the world that offers dramatic views of mountain, desert and sea.
Muirfield Village Golf Club, with its newly re-designed 17th hole, increased its position in both rankings, climbing two spots to 37th in the world and up a place to No. 23 in the U.S. Muirfield Village is also ranked among Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Courses, and has been since opening in 1974.
Harbour Town in Hilton Head, S.C., Jack Nicklaus’ first course and a co-design with Pete Dye, moved up four spots to No. 40 in the U.S. and eight spots to No. 67 in the world. With a layout reminiscent of some of the old Scottish courses, a test of golf that places a premium on precision and not power, Harbour Town remains a favorite stop on the PGA Tour.
Shoal Creek in Alabama, a mainstay in the Top 100 for more than 23 years, was ranked 87th in the U.S.
The judging for Golf Magazine’s Top 100 is based on a panel of prominent players, architects, administrators and journalists from across the world. Taking numerous elements into consideration, all 86 panelists assign a grade to each of the 545 nominated courses to compile the “Top 100 Courses.”