Hale Irwin recognizes that most golf courses have only one signature hole. But you don’t win the U.S. Open three times and rack up 87 professional victories in a storied PGA career by doing what everybody else does. So when Mr. Irwin unveiled his design for The Links at Cottonwoods in March of 1998, he included two signature holes: the 13th, a par 5 extending to a whopping 600 yards, and the 16th, a par 3 with a nerve-racking island green. In 2012, readers of Golf Digest presented Mr. Irwin with a 4.5-star rating in the magazine’s “Best Places to Play” section for his audacious design and willingness to flout convention.
His distinctive pair of holes highlights a pristine, 18-hole stretch of Scottish-style links, complete with wide fairways pestered by strong seasonal winds but free of wandering sheep that chew on argyle socks. As players chase dimpled orbs across the Meyer Zoysia fairways and tap them over the Champion Bermuda greens, they’ll encounter water-bordering play on more than half of the holes.
Course at a Glance:
Wedgewood Golfers' Club and North Creek Golf Course integrate the scenic landscapes of northern Mississippi into their par 72 layouts, taking golfers across rolling hills and rippling waterways.
The North Creek course's bermuda-grass fairways weave along the edges of Horn Lake Creek with a relatively open layout and mounded terrain that channels the links-style charm of golf's Scotch-Irish forebears. Slightly easier than its counterpart, North Creek caters to clubbers of all stripes with four tee options and optional bumper greens.
North Creek Golf Course at a Glance:
Cleaved through a combination of dense tree lines and intervening ponds, The Wedgewood course's bermuda-grass fairways sprawl across 6,863 yards of arduous terrain. With trees hugging most holes, and water hazards kissed against the underside of two doglegged fairways, the course frequently forces players into tough course-management decisions, such as when to smash a driver, when to play lay-up with a three-wood, and how to coerce fellow golfers into giving you unlimited mulligans. Though challenging from the back tees, the course's inventive layout is forgiving enough for players of all abilities.
Wedgewood Golfers' Club at a Glance:
Ranked in Golfweek's Best Courses You Can Play in Indiana, the course at Prairie View Golf Club is situated on 206 acres of environmentally protected land along the White River with scenic prairieland and five lakes. The Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design features natural wetlands with a rushing stream that comes into play on four holes, forcing players to demonstrate deft control or gilled golf bags. On the front nine, the prairie setting invites harsh winds to blow across bentgrass fairways, often knocking shots off course. As players make the turn onto the back nine, they notice a marked difference in the environment, as open prairies give way to tall sycamore, oak, beech, and cottonwood trees lying just beyond the Kentucky bluegrass rough. Across the river lies Conner Prairie, a historical re-enactment village whose elegant, 1830s-era style was adopted for the design of the course's 15,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Course at a Glance:
The 18-hole golf course at Greystone Country Club rollicks through the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, skirting past rocky outcroppings and pristine waterfalls. Architect Kevin Tucker molded the course to take advantage of these natural features, and then expanded upon them with additions such as the resplendent zoysia fairways and mini verde greens. The result is an outdoorsy challenge that forces players of all skill levels to demonstrate proficiency with every club in the bag, from the putter to the putt-conceding magic wand. After shaking hands on the 18th green, groups can then retire to the club's bar and grille, The Nines, where french fries can help tally overall scores.
Course at a Glance
Cypress Creek Golf Course slinks through Greystone subdivision, adding up to a 7,392-yard length that requires accuracy and length in equal measure. Designer Kevin Tucker drew up the course blueprint with aqua in mind; golfers confront water on 13 of the course’s 18 holes. Players must clear a meandering creek on the par-5 3rd hole, nimbly avoiding it off the tee, on their approach. Both hole 12 and hole 18 take hard doglegs left around a lake, while the par-3 16th hole features a dramatic shot into a unique island green, reminiscent of the famous 17th hole of the TPC at Sawgrass’s Stadium Course.
Course at a Glance: