I played the Island outside of Dublin last May, and thought it was amazing! The best use of dunes as backdrops. I’m not sure if it’s really unknown though.
Moonlight Basin in Big Sky MT. Newer Nicklaus design the course was insanely hard but the views and shot variety were sublime!
The Harvester Golf Club in Rhodes Iowa. Doesn’t get much press but is on some top 100 lists. In the middle of nowhere and has a fantastic layout.
Pine Dunes is unbelievable!
Solid drive… not kidding. US travellers must put in some serious miles. More importantly the weather is never guaranteed round my end (West Lancs). Hasn’t stopped raining for what seems like years! Its getting annoying, especially with the quality of courses near me!
But if you can get in the area, id advise stay there or near by, there are many many courses up to West Lancs standard, and many considered better.
El Campeon course at Mission Inn in Howey in the Hills, FL is legit. I’m pretty sure it is one of the oldest courses in Florida. Could use a tree removal but its good. Prices are cheap too. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than 80 bucks. Only thing that sucks is that they make you take a cart.
Maybe it isn’t unknown but Holston Hills in Knoxville,TN is legit. It’s an old Ross course that has never really had enough money over the years to screw it up with a bad 70’s and 80’s restoration. Serious width off the tee. Plus has one of the best volcano holes around. @thefriedegg had a write up about it. Great mix of holes long and short. They have a really good tournament there every May that I try and play in. Par 3 8th is a gem of a shorty.
Panmure Golf Club in Scotland. It’s close to Carnoustie, and is one of the most underrated courses in the world in my opinion. Hogan practiced here before he won the Open in '53. Top links track, always firm & fast, great clubhouse.
How difficult would it be to get on Lost Dunes?
It’s not too hard if you know a member or have your club call. My dad played it about 10 years ago when my uncle was a teaching pro. He made a call and they arranged a reciprocal round at his course. I’ve never had the privilege of playing but it seems like a place that would accommodate someone who made a polite phone call.
Agreed. Incredible property. Silly money for membership though.
On the subject of both unsung England and courses that fly under the radar, here are a couple of thoughts:
London is hardly bereft of good places to play, with the Surrey sand belt boasting a clutch of Top 100 tracks. Plus St George’s and the Kent links courses aren’t far away. But somewhere very few people have heard of even in the U.K. is Hadley Wood on the north side of the city. Like all UK clubs, it’s private, but they take visitors for a green fee and it’s not far from the city centre. It’s one of very few tracks designed by Mackenzie before he left for the US and while it doesn’t have the history and finesse of Augusta or Royal Melbourne, you can definitely see him settling on things he took with him for the rest of his career. And if you play it in summer when it’s dry you better bring your A game on the greens. They are, with no exaggeration, terrifying. You could easily 4 putt 12 times. And 5 putt the rest.
The other insider info I’ll share is the North Norfolk coast, with Royal Cromer, Sherringham, Royal West Norfolk (known as Brancaster) and Hunstanton. I can’t tell you how good these courses are and how amazing no one’s ever really heard of them, even in the UK. Brancaster is just so … I can’t even say. Idiosyncratic. Bonkers. Mesmerising. Beautiful. Brutal. All those and more. Nothing can prepare a foreigner for that place. It’s beyond classification.
I’m not comfortable using this forum to push other sites (especially my own!) but have a read of the blog I wrote about Brancaster last year:
Probably this little cottage course called Beaumaris. It’s a private little yacht/golf club on lake muskoka in Ontario. Course is tight, long par 3’s, fast greens. Unreal condition and fast rounds
Black stone GC in Defuniak Springs, Fl
Lol - Scott Van Pelt is a frequent sighting here for what it’s worth
I was a friend of a friend just tagging along. Not sure how difficult it would be.
Glade Springs - Stonehaven, Cobb, and Woodhaven courses in WV. Stonehaven best of the bunch, great courses at a fair price.
Ak Chin Southern Dunes just south of Phoenix comes to mind. Incredible golf course with plenty of #width and #angles. It’s a hell of a bargain too.
I’ve played Windswept Dunes a couple times. I did enjoy the layout quite a bit. The first time we played it, there was a snake on at least 3 of the tee boxes that slithered away as we walked up. If snakes freak you out, this may not be the place for you. Just don’t go wandering off of the fairway too far and you’re good to go, though!
Lawsonia DEFINITELY one of the most underrated places to play in the US…but it’s on a handful of Top 100 lists now that they went full-on “Andy Johnson” and removed a bunch of trees (course is 1000x better because of it FWIW). Still a killer 36 combination for $100 total