New golf courses of 2018: how are they doing?

Some highly anticipated courses were scheduled to open in 2018. We checked in to see how they are faring so far.

One of my favorite articles to research and write in January was a preview of brand-new courses set to debut over the course of the year to come. Although the last few years have been lean in terms of new course openings, there is still plenty to look forward to, and the average quality of those courses seems to get higher each time the calendar turns over.

Our 2018 piece is here for your reference. Now, here’s how things are going at the much-anticipated new courses we mentioned:

Sand Valley Golf Resort (Mammoth Dunes) – Rome, Wisc.

“Mammoth” is a good way to describe the scale – and popularity – of David McLay Kidd’s newest creation at the Mike Keiser-developed resort in central Wisconsin. Brad Klein was one of a handful of golf media on hand for the course’s grand opening this May. Here’s how he described it:

“This place is big. Like, ginormously expansive on a scale that’s playfully indulgent and at times overwhelming to the golf senses.”

Golf Advisor readers who have visited Mammoth Dunes have showered the course with praise. Reviewer 1011 said, “MAMMOTH means MAMMOTH- Fairways, waste areas, bunkers, greens, elevation changes, views, all larger than life. Hard to miss a fairway as most are 100yds wide or more but if you do you're in native (heavy) sand.”

Big Cedar Lodge (Ozarks National) – Ridgedale, Mo.

Ozarks National is almost ready for the spotlight. The Coore & Crenshaw design – the fourth course at Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris’ Big Cedar Lodge property outside Branson - opens this fall. Coore and Crenshaw’s path-of-least-disturbance philosophy should allow the natural scenery to steal the show here; the course is built along the top of a ridge overlooking the region. Morris isn’t done – he’s hired Tiger Woods’ and his design firm to build Payne’s Valley, another championship course, which may be ready for play sometime in 2019.

Pinehurst Resort (No. 4 Course) – Pinehurst, N.C.

Technically this isn’t a wholly new course, but Gil Hanse’s transformation of No. 4 is so comprehensive that even Pinehurst members are unlikely to see much in common between Hanse’s creation and the Tom Fazio design it is replacing. Taking cues from the opening up of No. 2, Hanse’s main goal is to showcase the sandy, scrubby nature of the land on which the resort was built.

Pinehurst Resort is now accepting tee times for the new No. 4, which officially opens September 20.

Arcadia Bluffs (South Course) – Arcadia, Mich.

Dana Fry, who along with then-partner Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Ron Whitten designed 2017 U.S. Open host Erin Hills, has just put the finishing touches on the South Course, which will provide quite a contrast to Arcadia Bluffs’ lakeside (Michigan, that is) original eighteen. Fry and current partner Jason Straka took inspiration from the great Chicago Golf Clubb when designing the South Course. That means you can expect squared-off greens, flay-bottomed bunkers and a brain-teasing 18-hole puzzle.

Getaways recap: Arcadia Bluffs

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Sage Run Golf Club – Bark River, Mich.

Sage Run, the second Paul Albanese/Chris Lutzke course owned by Island Resort & Casino, gave Michigan’s Upper Peninsula another high-quality golf option as soon as it opened earlier this summer. Whereas Sweetgrass is a fairly open, meadow-style course, Sage Run is more woodsy. Its corridors are wide, but there’s a distinct wilderness feel, as well as a drumlin – a glacier-formed hill – that golfers will play up, down, over and around as they navigate the property.

In case you’re thinking of heading up to Sage Run this summer or fall, be advised that it’s still rounding into shape. Golf Advisor reader ajmager writes, “This course is still raw, but that’s expected considering it has only been open for a few weeks…However, the fairways were in pretty good shape and the greens were in very good shape.”

The Links at Perry Cabin – St. Michaels, Md.

Perry Cabin will come to be known as the last work by Pete Dye, whose health has forced his retirement from the profession he helped revolutionize over the last 50 years. Son P.B. helped Pete fashion this course on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, not far from one of the Mid-Atlantic’s best resorts, the Inn at Perry Cabin. The Links has many Dye touches, including railroad tie-lined water hazards and a replica of his famous 17th at TPC Sawgrass. The course is in its soft-opening stages and will officially open this fall.

Baylands Golf Links – Palo Alto, Calif.

The slowdown in new course construction has prompted an uptick in course redesigns and renovations, especially at municipal facilities. Baylands’ complete redesign, by Forrest Richardson, has given Silicon Valley-area golfers a good reason to step away from their computers and out into the fresh air.

Our own Jason Deegan played the course recently and had this to say: “Richardson brought to life an otherwise dull parcel of land. No longer are the fairways as flat as the runways of the adjacent Palo Alto Airport. Wadsworth Construction shaped humps and bumps everywhere. From the 6,110-yard blue tees where most golfers will play, the round starts (464 yards) and ends (489 yards) with very reachable par 5s. A handful of trees - hundreds were cut down, leaving only a few in play - expertly guard the final green.”

Corica Park (South Course) – Alameda, Calif.

About an hour north of Baylands, more NorCal muni golfers have reason to celebrate, as the long-anticipated total redesign of Corica Park’s South Course opened June 20. Rees Jones’ team did a little something different here, giving the course a distinct Australian Sandbelt feel, which works nicely on the open site. Jason Deegan also played this course and is a fan, writing, “What most impressed me was the hole variety.”

Copper Rock Golf Course – Hurricane, Utah

Construction is finishing up at this Dale Beddo design, which should open in the fall.

Bobby Jones Golf Course – Atlanta, Ga.

On track to open sometime this fall, Bobby Jones has a lot of people interested to see how the reversible nine-hole layout will play. Also in development is the Cupp Links, a six-hole junior loop beside the practice facility whose holes will be 50- to 70 yards long. Some significant tree clearing, dubbed a “massacre” by some, has ruffled feathers locally, but everything is moving ahead.

The Nest Golf Course at Friday Harbour – Innisfil, Ontario

The stylish new Friday Harbour Resort is nearing completion of its Doug Carrick-designed course, The Nest. Property owners at the resort will have the chance to play the course as soon as this weekend, while resort guests and the general public will wait until Spring 2019.

TPC Colorado – Berthoud, Colo.

This Art Schaupeter design, the fist TPC to be built in the Centennial State, is located about 50 miles north of Denver and about 20 miles south of Fort Collins, along the Lonetree Reservoir. It will measure almost 8,000 yards from the back tees, but will play somewhat shorter due to the elevation. Still, the 780-yard par-5 13th is expected to be a beast. The course, which has a growing membership and is expected to be a private club eventually, is offering public tee times from $175, and will open fully later this month.

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Toughest Tracks: TPC Colorado's 13th hole
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Toughest Tracks: TPC Colorado's 13th hole

Tempest Golf Club – Gladewater, Texas

This Jeff Brauer redesign of the former Southern Hills Country Club is expected to open in September. With rates topping out at $65, it should provide solid value for golfers in east Texas, as well as a home for the First Tee of the Piney Woods.

Ohoopee Match Club – Ohoopee, Ga.

This super-exclusive, match play-only private club designed by Gil Hanse is open, but due to the buttoned-up nature of the club, not much public information is available. If you get an invite, savor it and let us know your thoughts!

Valley of the Eagles Golf Club - Elyria, Ohio

We didn't mention it in our piece earlier this year, but this public course totally redesigned by Jack Nicklaus is now open. A few holes play along and over the Black River.

Have you play any of these or other courses that have debuted in 2018? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
Commented on

I work very near the Corica South course and have yet to play it because it costs anywhere from $75-125! Cost is a real factor for those of us who aren't golf writers and millionaires. You might want to cover that aspect of golf courses in the future.

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I've played Ohopee Match Play and it is unquestionably one of Gil Hanse's best designs. The course has gentle considerable width, gentle undulation, and a varied set of superbly strategic greens complexes. It is uber-exclusive and private, but groveling for any access.

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I played what was suppose to be the last Pete Dye Sr. Golf course called Mystic Rock at the Newmacolin Resort in Pennsylvania last September. What a beautiful course and very long even though I'm a Senior and played the gold tees. An absolute gem . I highly recommend it . The staff are great and the atmosphere is above reproach.

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The TPC Colorado is the second TPC course to be built in Colorado. TPC Plum Creek opened in 1984 and when the tour pulled, it became an of and on again public course.

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New golf courses of 2018: how are they doing?