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Best on Deck

Ten new and coming course openings we’re resolved to visit in 2022
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Best on Deck

Ten new and coming course openings we’re resolved to visit in 2022

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new year means new opportunities for golf; thankfully, 2022 holds quite a few. Newly opened courses, notable facelifts and renovations, and even a resurrection of sorts—behold our list of New Year’s resolutions: courses we’re resolved to playing next year. With five abroad and five closer to home, let’s get started.

Landings Club: Magnolia
Savannah, GA
One of America’s most lauded golf communities, The Landings Club features six championship courses just outside of Savannah, one of the country’s most charming cities. Among them, its refreshed Magnolia course has our attention. One of two Arnold Palmer-designed tracks at the Club, Magnolia completed phase one of a stunning refresh just in time to host a Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament in November, and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Brandon Johnson with the Arnold Palmer Design Company oversaw the work, which included widening fairways, renovating and enlarging greens, and reducing bunkering. Overall, the greens gained something like 40% in surface area, which allowed Johnson to introduce new contouring and strategic opportunities, not to mention increased options for pin locations. Overall bunker square footage was reduced as well, with some reshaped, moved and contoured to better fit the fairways and to give the feeling of a more “open” playing experience, even as existing challenges have been bolstered. The result complements the pastoral setting amidst the oaks and marshland and makes an even more compelling argument to give The Landings a look. Artillery Punch and great golf? We’re in.

Landmand GC
Homer, NE
The first 18-hole new build from Tad King and Rob Collins (of Sweetens Cove fame), Landmand looks to be funky—in a good way—and we’re more than a little excited about it. The project is sited on what Rob Collins described as “an extraordinary piece of land” roughly 90 miles northeast of Omaha. It simultaneously evokes Scotland linksland and the American prairie and it gives Nebraska yet another epic golf destination, in addition to Dismal River, Sand Hills CC and others. The smallest green looks to be 2,500 square feet while the largest, on the par-4 No.17, boggles at a reported 40,000 square feet! For comparison, an NFL football field is 48,000 (without the end zones). We’re intrigued by the stretch from No.7 to No.11, which will see the 11th tee crossing the ninth and other intersetions of both play and hole views—like we said: “funky” (in a good way). Memberships are sold out but Landmand (“farmer” in Danish) will be open to the public, with a debut scheduled for mid 2022.

RainDance National
Windsor, CO

Another golf course community—this one far from sea level—RainDance National Golf & Country Club is set to open in July, and if the video recon and photos are anything to go by it’s going to be a stunner. A high plains links-style course from architect Harrison Minchew and designer/former PGA TOUR pro Fred Funk, the project could be the longest in North America, planned for 8,000 yards with about 250 feet in elevation changes. At roughly 4,800 feet above sea level, expect to bomb drives into huge, sweeping vistas and to contend with wind and distractingly beautiful canyon views along the way. They’re planning a “HORSE” course and a sledding hill as well, meaning we’re going to have a tough time deciding when to visit—but wearing a cowboy hat? No tough decision there: it’s a yes every day.

Raindanceresort.com

Omni PGA Frisco Resort
Frisco, TX
OK, sure, technically this isn’t opening until spring of 2023, but we’re keeping a close eye on it and hoping they might start taking reservations before the year is out. Maybe, maybe not, but we don’t want to miss 46 holes of golf designed by Gil Hanse and Beau Welling, including two championship courses, a lighted 10-hole short course and a two-acre putting area. Serving as the PGA of America’s new headquarters, the resort also will offer a wide array of guest rooms, golf villas, a rooftop infinity pool, spa, concert venues and more—essentially, it’ll be a huge playground for people who love to golf and relax, which is a fairly accurate description of everyone on Kingdom’s staff.
Omnihotels.com

 

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Thelido.com

The Lido
Nekoosa, WI

One of the more talked-about golf projects in recent memory, this ambitious build is using GPS-controlled tractors to resurrect a long-gone and mythologized C.B. Macdonald course—1,000 miles away from the original. The original opened in 1917, in Long Island, NY, and was hailed as “the finest course in the world” by Hall of Fame golf writer Bernard Darwin. Claude Harmon, 1948 Masters champ, went further, saying it was “the greatest golf course ever,” and the accolades kept coming. But then the Depression hit, followed by the U.S. Navy using The Lido as a base during WWII, and eventually the course was demolished—but it didn’t die. Kept alive in books and by media (Golf Channel once dubbed it “the greatest course you’ll never play”) and by a nostalgic online community that spent hours in chat rooms lamentiong its disappearance, it finally caught the attention of the Keisers: brothers Michael and Chris, developers of Sand Valley, and their father, Mike (Bandon Dunes). The Keisers found Peter Flory, an historian and competitive hickory player who pulled together an incredible amount of research on the club and did digital renderings as well—using a video game. Tom Doak joined the team and the resurrection began, aiming to replicate every contour and line, as close to the original as possible. Slated for a 2023 opening, there have been reports that a limited number of holes could be available to play in 2022—and so we’re shopping for new plus fours.

St Patrick’s Links
County Donegal, Ireland
Tom Doak’s first design on the Emerald Isle is, like so much of his work, an homage to the landscape. Doak took what used to be a good 36 holes of golf and re-shaped it into a sprawling, jaw-dropping 18, giving the Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort a links asset that will last for generations and giving lovers of the game another reason to cheer. Sited on what has been called one of the last remaining “perfect” undeveloped links sites in the country, the course opened in 2021 to predictably rave reviews. While we spent much of the season wistfully staring at our passport and cursing the pandemic, we’re looking to rack up some frequent flier miles soon. And to get a Guinness in Ireland because, really, it does taste better there. It just does.
Rosapenna.ie

Xaz G&CC
Oleiros A Ocuña, Spain
We want to go here because we like the name, which is fun to say, and because Stirling & Martin’s newest course looks to be muy bueno. Playing along rolling countryside that could seem English, the 6,700-yard course opened this year and is a study in charm and responsibility. It dances around the Pazo de Xaz estate, bringing streams and a lake into play on eight holes and framing its 17th century clubhouse (which soon could hold a small hotel) with tightly manicured fairways and greens, all of which benefit from an environmentally responsible irrigation management system. This is a proper country club and so there are other amenities as well, plus the entirety of Galicia and its preposterously good seafood beyond the front gates. If anyone suggests a trip here, the answer is “sí.”
Xaz.golf

Te Arai Links
Te Arai, New Zealand
Just down the road from Tom Doak’s much-praised design at the private Tara Iti Golf Club, Te Arai is scheduled to open to the public in late 2022, and we can hardly wait. There will be two pure links courses here, one from Coore & Crenshaw and one from Doak. The C&C course—the South Course—is complete, while Doak’s is set to begin early next year. Coore was quick to distinguish the site from Tara Iti’s, explaining to Golfweek that while that course is a bit more inland, Te Arai is defined by a huge dune ridge, similar to Pacific Dunes, and that the ocean is a significant part of the experience. No.’s 5 through 9 play right on the ocean, taking full advantage of New Zealand’s stunning topography, while other holes show similar respect, playing along natural landforms and taking a light touch with the near-perfect landscape. It’s a long flight to get here, but then good things are worth the effort—and from our experience, the victuals on Air New Zealand are pretty darn good.
Tearai.com

 

Cabot Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia
Because people with nice land seem to enjoy giving it to Coore & Crenshaw, another stunning course from the duo is set to open in 2022, this one on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. This is C&C’s first Caribbean design, in fact, and the advance images are simply breathtaking. That’s due to the fact that the pair was given 1.5 miles of coastline to work with, most of it featuring dramatic volcanic cliffs and bluffs that challenged the architects’ minimalist sensibilities. We’re guessing they figured it out, and regardless we’d be happy to visit for the views alone. Not a huge travel burden to get here, this one is on our shortlist—once it opens.

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Cabosaintlucia.com

Erbil Golf Club
Iraq
Why are we considering hauling our sticks to a country with a Level 4 U.S. travel advisory due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict and a host of other issues? Maybe blame it on cabin fever—or maybe it’s because course architect Cynthia Dye McGarey has managed it just fine while she’s been working on Erbil Golf Club, Iraq’s newest—and only—golf course. McGarey, niece to course-design royalty Alice and Pete Dye, told media that the course plays through a valley, with most holes bordering a stream and lakes, and that the landscape is comparable to that of Las Vegas. The centerpiece of an upscale gated community, we’re curious to see this when it opens in 2022—but first we might drop by Saint Lucia, which is closer, after all, and other things.

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