36 different Nicklaus Design courses highlighted by Golf Digest, Golfweek, T&L Golf
(1/12/07) NORTH PALM BEACH, FLA.-Nicklaus Design started the New Year just as they ended the last–on top of the golf course design world.
Course rankings from Golf Digest, Golfweek and Travel & Leisure Golf, collectively, rated 36 different Nicklaus Design courses or communities featuring a Nicklaus course, with The Concession in Sarasota, Fla., taking top billing by being named the Best New Private Course in America by Golf Digest in its list of the Best New Courses 2006. The Concession, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, also made its debut in T&L Golf’s ranking of America’s Top 100 Golf Communities, while May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, S.C., topped the Nicklaus communities with its No. 2 spot in T&L Golf.
“What particularly impressed me about The Concession was how playable it is,” said Ron Whitten, Golf Digest’s architecture editor. “It offers plenty of challenges from the back tees, while from the member tees it offers different looks, different options and even a few surprises. It’s a course that probably reveals new things with every round.
“I could see how, for many golfers, The Concession could become an obsession.”
The Concession, a Signature Golf Course designed in association with Tony Jacklin, is named in honor of Nicklaus’ gesture of sportsmanship to Jacklin at the 1969 Ryder Cup, when the Golden Bear conceded a 2-foot putt on the final hole to the Brit that resulted in the first tie in Ryder Cup history. The Concession is a 7,470-yard, par-72 course and was created as the centerpiece to a 1,200-acre gated community.
“We are very proud of what we accomplished at The Concession,” Jack Nicklaus said. “We were pleased with the end result, even before the first tee shot was struck. This honor further validates what we felt all along, and that was we had something special in The Concession.”
The Concession offers an old-Florida golf experience that includes options for players of any skill level. With large groves of live oak, mature pines and open fields, the existing vegetation was the guide during the design process, according to Chris Cochran, senior design associate for Nicklaus Design.
“It is nice to see that those who played and reviewed the golf course recognized what the property had to offer, and that they appreciated what we did with it,” Cochran added.
Overall, Nicklaus Design had four courses make Golf Digest’s coveted Best New list. Other Nicklaus courses to make the 2006 honor roll include Champions Retreat Golf Club, just outside Augusta, Ga., which took No. 4 in the Best New Private category. Champions Retreat features three nine-hole layouts designed by Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player. The Bluffs (Nicklaus) and Island (Palmer) nines were honored by Golf Digest.
Bay Creek Resort and Club, a 7,417-yard Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Cape Charles, Va., was No. 3 on the list in the Best New Upscale Public (weekend greens fees of $75 or more) category. Bayside Resort Golf Club (Selbyville, Del.), the first Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Delaware, secured the No. 8 spot in the same category.
To be eligible for Golf Digest’s Best New Courses 2006, courses must have opened between May 1, 2005, and April 30, 2006. The panelist pool for this ranking is comprised of more than 800 low-handicap golfers who rate courses on a scale of 1-10 in five categories; shot values, design variety, resistance to scoring, memorability and aesthetics.
Nicklaus Design led the field of national designers/architects this year with four courses being honored by Golf Digest. This year’s selection of The Concession increased Nicklaus’ total to six winners since the Best New rankings began in 1983-’84. Previous winners were: Grand Cypress Resort (Orlando), Best New Resort Course 1984; The Loxahatchee Club (Jupiter, Fla.), Best New Private Course 1985; Kauai Lagoons Golf and Racquet Club (Kauai, Hawaii), Best New Resort Course 1989; Colleton River Plantation (Bluffton, S.C.), Best New Private Course 1993; and Nicklaus North (Whistler, B.C.), Best New Canadian Course 1996.
In addition to Golf Digest’s America’s Best New Courses 2006, Nicklaus Design made its mark on Golfweek’s Best Resort Golf Courses 2007. Ten Nicklaus courses made Golfweek’s list, including Harbour Town Golf Links (Hilton Head, S.C.) at No. 13. The Jack Nicklaus-Pete Dye co-design was the top showing for Nicklaus Design.
Other courses to make the list were May River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff (Bluffton, S.C.) at No. 21 and rounding out the top 25 of the list was The Challenge at Manele Bay (Lanai, Hawaii) at No. 24.
Grand Bear in Saucier, Miss., just outside Biloxi and Gulfport, came in at No. 34 on the list, and Ocean Hammock (Palm Coast, Fla.) finished at No. 35. Great Waters at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga., made the list at No. 38, and completed the list of Nicklaus Design courses in the top half of Golfweek’s Best Resort Golf Courses.
Kauai Lagoons made the 2007 list at No. 53 and Reflection Bay Golf Club at Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson, Nev., made the list at No. 63. Rounding out the list were Grand Cypress and PGA National-Champion Course (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) at Nos. 81 and 82, respectively.
Travel and Leisure Golf, recognizing the importance of how the golf experience ties into the residential component of a golf community, released their ranking of America’s Top 100 Golf Communities in the January/February issue of the magazine. The magazine named 26 communities that feature at least one Nicklaus Design course, up from 24 a year ago.
May River, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course which continues to collect accolades since opening in 2004, topped the list for Nicklaus Design at No. 2, after finishing No. 11 on last year’s list. Three others made the top 10–Mayacama (Santa Rosa, Calif.) at No. 4; Pronghorn (Bend, Ore.) at No. 8; and The Bear’s Club (Jupiter, Fla.) at No. 10.
Three other Nicklaus Design courses, The Greenbrier (White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.), Great Waters at Reynolds Plantation and Las Campanas (Santa Fe, N.M.), rounded out the top 25 on the list at Nos. 12, 22 and 25, respectively.
To be eligible for T&L Golf’s list, communities must have had offered property owners membership in an affiliated golf club. The magazine looks for communities with the best in home, golf and lifestyle opportunities. Those selected communities are rated in five categories, including golf, quality of housing, community amenities and activities, location, and what the magazine calls the X-factor or a combination of factors including tournament play, eco-friendliness and if there are any celebrity residents.
Other courses to make this year’s list were Shoal Creek (Ala.), Desert Highlands (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Desert Mountain (Scottsdale). Superstition Mountain, a 36-hole complex in Arizona that features Jack Nicklaus co-designs with sons Jack II and Gary, made the list. Old Greenwood (Truckee, Calif.) and Sherwood Country Club (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) represented Nicklaus’ work in California.
Two Nicklaus projects in Colorado–Castle Pines (Castle Rock) and Roaring Fork Club (Basalt)–and three projects in Florida–The Concession Golf Club and Residences, The Loxahatchee Club and TwinEagles (Naples)–made the list this year.
Hualalai (Kona, Hawaii) made the list again in 2007, and The Pinehills (Plymouth, Mass), which features a Jack Nicklaus II design, made its debut on the 2007 list. Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas and Montreux (Reno, Nev.) made the list among Nicklaus communities in Nevada.
South Carolina is home to four other Nicklaus Design projects on T&L Golf’s list in addition to May River at Palmetto Bluff. Completing the five for South Carolina are The Cliffs Communities (Travelers Rest), which features two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses; Kiawah Island; Colleton River Plantation; and The Reserve at Lake Keowee (Sunset).