The list of nine golf courses in the U.S. that are set to open this year includes Stoatin Brae at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in Augusta, Mich., Shepherd’s Rock at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa., and The Summit Club in Summerlin, Nev.
As the golf industry continues to go through a period of natural correction, with annual course closures outweighing openings since the boom years of development over-saturated a lot of markets, new courses tend to be something truly special, with great design, terrific location or both, Forbes reported.
Below are nine courses (at eight properties) opening in 2017 that U.S. golfers should know about:
Stoatin Brae (Michigan) — Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort in Augusta, Mich., is expanding to 108 holes, with Stoatin Brae this year. To transform the rolling contours of a former apple orchard high above the Kalamazoo River Valley into a minimalist Scottish-style golf course, ownership turned to the Michigan-based Renaissance Design team managed by Tom Doak. Stoatin Brae means “grand hill” in Scottish Gaelic and the elevation of the property means the ever-changing wind patterns can change not just day-to-day, but hour-to-hour.
Shepherd’s Rock (Pennsylvania) — On July 12, Pete Dye will open a second course at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa., Shepherd’s Rock. Built on rolling terrain atop the Allegheny Mountains, the front nine is tree-lined and will require precision and accuracy while the back nine is more brawny; wide open with impressive vistas of the Laurel Highlands.
The Summit Club (Las Vegas) — The private Summit Club will be the centerpiece of a luxury community (253 homes) in Summerlin, Nev., 15 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. The 18-hole layout designed by Tom Fazio is set to open in the spring, but will only be available to homeowners who pay upwards of $2 million to live in the Discovery Land project. Beyond the spectacular desert golf and the proximity to downtown Vegas, the club’s on-course comfort stations feature treats from a margarita machine and tacos to homemade ice cream sandwiches.
Bayou Oaks Golf Course (Louisiana) — The new Bayou Oaks Golf Course in New Orleans City Park, which is scheduled to open in the spring, replaces 36 holes that were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The new championship-level course, which joins an existing 18-hole layout (The North Course), was designed by architect Rees Jones with aspirations that at some point it could host the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic. It’s a municipal course designed in the same category as a Bethpage Black or Torrey Pines. Bayou Oaks incorporates portions of the former East and West courses and includes historic oak trees and existing lagoons that are characteristic of the park. Perhaps most significantly, a portion of revenues will go toward helping schools and children in the local community.
Big Cedar Lodge – Gary Player Short Course (Missouri) — Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, continues to expand his Big Cedar Lodge property with a Gary Player short course that will open this spring. The layout, designed as a more accessible experience for families, juniors and newcomers to the game, is a collection of par-3 holes. It joins the par-3 Top of The Rock course (Jack Nicklaus design) and the championship Buffalo Ridge course (Tom Fazio) at Big Cedar Lodge. The family-friendly getaway in the Ozarks is also adding an 18-hole Coore/Crenshaw course in 2018.
Silvies Valley Ranch (Oregon) — This is the most unique new golf facility of 2017, with two reversible 18-hole courses built on a property with 27 greens (nine are shared). Silvies Valley (Ore.) Ranch will be a one-of-a-kind golf experience, as the Dan Hixson designed Hankins and Craddock courses are part of a 140,000-acre working cattle ranch and resort. The course direction will be reversed each day once it opens in July, and there’s more to come. Later this year, the Western retreat will open a fun 8-hole course of par-3 and par-4 holes carved into a steep-sided, narrow ridge of land (a razorback) that’s called McVeigh’s Gauntlet.
Sand Valley (Wisconsin) — In May, Mike Keiser will fully unveil his latest project amid more than 1,700 acres of sand dunes in Central Wisconsin. The first course at Sand Valley, designed by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, brings the big, bold playing style of a seaside links to the nation’s heartland. The layout is routed through meandering ridges and valleys, and a second course by David McLay Kidd is already in the works for the property.
Streamsong Resort – Black Course (Florida) — The Bowling Green, Fla., resort’s anticipated third course is set to debut this fall. Built by architect Gil Hanse, the designer of the 2016 Olympic course in Rio de Janeiro, the par-73 Black course is an expansive and strategic layout spread across rolling, sandy terrain that is reminiscent of the Sand Belt of Australia.