The best new golf courses for the summer

The seasons affect individual golf courses differently, depending on their geographic regions and climates. Once the snow clears in the north or the rainier seasons dry up in the west, players are often left with courses that have evolved from previous summers.

Some tracks undergo rerouting, consideration, or replanting, essentially changing their physical playing conditions. Others have new pavilions, toilet blocks or other facilities. The most ambitious places offer entirely new routes.

The pandemic and resulting golf boom has caused many of these evolving properties to accelerate or expand their plans, resulting in a selection of new playing experiences. The following collection of distant courses offers the world of golf a new look or a new challenge for this spring and summer.

Horseshoe BayHorseshoe Bay, Texas

The city of Austin continues to grow beyond its seams with tech companies and other business players migrating to the Texas capital. When the money arrives, the outer suburbs and their attractions develop.

A sprawling resort town near the shores of Lake LBJ Reservoir, Horseshoe Bay is known as much for its water attractions as it is for its golf courses. Still, its classic trio of Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed trails and a Jack Nicklaus creation for private members make Horseshoe Bay one of the best stops in the Lone Star State.

The 7,000+ acre resort is completing a long term US$70 million renovation with the Trent Jones Apple Rock course receiving a significant upgrade. For 2022, Horseshoe Bay has added the Cape Rock Clubhouse, providing a new social HQ for all four courses on the property.

Princeville Makai Golf ClubPrinceville, Kauai, Hawaii

The public course on the lush island of Kauai, cluttered by Mark Zuckerberg, is the masterpiece of the legendary Robert Trent Jones Jr. On a recent tour conducted with the man himself, the course designer, resident from Kauai and poet has highlighted how his love of the local terrain led him to dig holes in elevation changes and through natural bodies of water.

Unfortunately, seven greens at Princeville Makai were vandalized in 2021. While restoring greens can be a difficult process, Makai’s putting surfaces are now fully restored and open for two putt visits.

Scottsdale National Golf Club—Scottsdale, Arizona.

Scottsdale National Golf Club

John Scott Lewinski

Players only have access to Scottsdale National if they are a member, member guest, or friend of PXG founder Bob Parsons. If you manage to enter, you will see a feat of golf engineering. Before the project began, the stretch of Arizona desert that is now home to Scottsdale National’s two full courses, The Mine Shaft and The Other Course, and the playful par three Bad Little Nine, was a completely empty stretch of sand and disused.

Working with designers Dick Bailey and Jay Morrish, everyone from routers to greenskeepers have built completely original courses. The result is a very literal human oasis in the Valley of the Sun.

Puerto Los Cabos—San Jose Del Cabo, Baja, Mexico

You’ll have to forgive the very active dust in Puerto Los Cabos as this 2,000-acre community is undergoing construction and renovations as of this writing. Its residents (and the public) can enjoy a rare occurrence in golf: the convergence of designs from superstars Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.

Norman’s effort makes full use of the ocean views and keeps the game fun and friendly. Both Nicklaus designs are more challenging, especially with their signature Golden Bear greens that make target golf essential for effective scoring.

Tom Fazio Golf Club at Santa Lucia Preserve—Carmel, California.

The Tom Fazio Golf Club is a private course nestled in the Santa Lucia Preserve community approximately eight miles from Main Street. You will have to play as a guest of a friendly resident or search for real estate around these parts. Still, it’s worth a try as Fazio’s creation makes full use of the surrounding hills of Carmel and the nearby redwood forest.

The addition of Fazio Golf Club for 2022 is its new practice facility. Added a healthy dose of Bermuda grass with an extended driving range that mirrors the fairways of the course. In keeping with Preserve’s commitment to the environment, the practice area will capture stormwater for irrigation, saving up to 4 million gallons per year in irrigation use.

Five Forts Golf Club—St. George’s Bermuda

Five Forts Golf Club’ St. George’s Bermuda.

John Scott Lewinski

The new St. Regis resort in St. George’s, Bermuda is now home to the magnificent Five Forts Golf Club. Originally based on a design by Robert Trent Jones, Five Forts is named after a set of original British ramparts built nearby to defend the island against non-golfers.

An executive nine-hole course (no par five holes), the layout takes full advantage of the terrain’s natural elevation changes and ocean views. The finisher at number nine is the signature hole with a tee box overlooking a bay of fishing boats and ending on a green nestled on a small peninsula.

Reynolds Kingdom of Golf – Lake Oconee, Georgia

Known for its five elite public courses (including Great Waters, one of Jack Nicklaus’ highest-rated builds), Reynolds Lake Oconee also features the Kingdom of Golf, a full-service training and education facility.

For the 2022 season, The Kingdom will offer its guests the Blake Adams Kingdom Experience. Adams, a former PGA Tour player and Director of Player Development for The Kingdom, will play with guests and play a game full of entertaining stories and occasional coaching.

Michael C. Ford