New Golf Course: Game-changing Designs
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Game-Changing designs that rate a hole in one

By Stephanie Georgopulos

Golf's most in-demand architects have spent the last few years cooking up landscapes that literally take the game to new heights. Much like the designers of the new Chevrolet Impala, who—in a similarly impressive marriage of form and function—have combined a sleek sculpted exterior with state-of-the-art aerodynamics for a ride as breathtakingly smooth as the perfect swing.

So pack your clubs into your Impala’s spacious trunk and make your own history at one of these must-play destinations.

Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course
Laredo, Texas

This city-owned course opened in October 2012, bringing much-needed positive buzz to South Texas. The Max, as it’s commonly called, was designed by world-renowned architect Robert Trent Jones II, whose courses have hosted every major golf tournament in the world, and makes the most of its beautiful views of the Rio Grande and Mexico. The course appeals to players of all levels, as it has a “course-within-the-course” structure that allows golfers to play anywhere from three to eighteen holes and from 5,000 to 7,297 yards. Family tees also allow adults to play with their children; if you’re looking to get your young ones into the game, this is the course to visit.

Salish Cliffs Golf Club
Shelton, Washington

This Washington state course, owned and operated by the Squaxin Island Tribe, was voted Best in State by Golf Digest, even though it is less than two years old. The architect behind this up-and-coming spot is the award-winning Gene Bates, who is responsible for designing California’s Bayonet Golf Course, one of the toughest courses in America. A quick drive from Olympia and an hour’s drive from Seattle, Salish Cliffs boasts elevation changes of over 600 feet and 360-degree views of the Kamilche Valley.

Streamsong Resort (Red & Blue Course)
Polk County, Florida

Voted Best New Golf Course You Can Play 2012 by Golf magazine, this two-course Central Florida resort needs to make your short list of destinations to venture to this year. Streamsong Red’s holes, designed by sought-out course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, share a home with sand dunes, lakes and natural bunkers. Streamsong Blue architect Tom Doak created his course by working with natural contours and dramatic rises and falls in elevation. Both courses are visually striking and equally worthy of your best backswing.

Old Macdonald
Bandon, Oregon

This course—the oldest in this roundup—has been revered since its birth in June 2010, and for good reason. The layout pays homage to Charles Blair Macdonald, father of American golf course architecture and founder of the U.S. Golf Association. Tom Doak, along with architect Jim Urbina, used Macdonald’s historic courses, like Long Island’s National Golf Links of America, for inspiration. If you want to play a new course with a classic touch, this is the trip for you.

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Stephanie Georgopulos is an editor at Thought Catalog. Her work has been featured on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Awl, Gizmodo, The Next Web, Refinery 29 and elsewhere. Email her at or follow her on Twitter @omgstephlol.


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