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The World's Best Public Courses

Cigar Aficionado expert panel picks the best places you can play, plus names the top private clubs on the planet
Larry Olmsted
From the Print Edition:
Kurt Russell, May/June 2006

(continued from page 3)

Honorable Mention: Pebble Beach and the Greenbrier both made very strong showings and both have multiple lodging options, plenty of restaurants and a laundry list of activities. The Greenbrier even has a professional culinary academy on site.

Multiple-Course Resort, Abroad
Gleneagles
The other big Scottish resort finally got back at rival Turnberry, solidly thumping it and everybody else in a voting landslide. Gleneagles has what may well be the most complete array of non-golf activities on earth. Its off-road driving school, falconry program, shooting academy and equestrian center are all world-class, run by some of the top competitors in each sport with lavish, dedicated facilities and the best equipment, be it Land Rover Defender 110s or Beretta over/under shotguns. Throw in a Michelin-starred restaurant and a fancy new spa and you can understand why the leaders of the world chose this for the recent G8 summit.

Wide World of Golf's Hogan underscored the importance of non-golf activities here: "Gleneagles has so much to do that the three golf courses are almost a distraction."

Honorable Mention: Turnberry came in a distant second, with many of the same facilities as Gleneagles, but all on a small scale. Journalist, broadcaster and writer Michael Patrick Shiels was one of several Turnberry enthusiasts: "Time well spent in every way: a historical, luxurious, old-fashioned, quaint hotel with panoramic views, a world-class cozy bar and a variety of restaurants. A sweet, full-service spa, shooting range, off-road driving and two thoroughly enjoyable golf courses."

Single-Course Resort, U.S.
CordeValle, CA
A private club with limited on-site lodging for nonmembers, CordeValle is a hidden gem that offers first-rate golf and more than first-rate accommodations, which were taken over in January by Rosewood, the chain behind such stunners as Las Ventanas al Paraiso, one of the world's greatest resorts. CordeValle spans 1,700 acres and has 45 luxury cottages and villas, a lavish spa, hiking trails and even a full-blown winery, Clos La Chance. The men's locker room, complete with multiple hot tubs, steam room, vichy showers, sauna, flat-screen TVs, billiards and full bar, is a contender for the best of its kind anywhere.

Bill Hogan described the golf course as "the best between The Olympic Club and Cypress Point," and the facilities as "five-star plus." Robert Pedrero, who lives nearby, said, "At CordeValle you revel in the best of both worlds: the finest in private club ambiance, with all the service and facilities of a first-class boutique resort."

Honorable Mention: Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. Similar to CordeValle, with overnight guests in luxury cottages getting access to the otherwise private Nicklaus-designed May River course, plus a huge array of water sports, spa facilities and standout cuisine.

Single-Course Resort, Abroad
Kauri Cliffs
See write-up on page 80.
Honorable Mention: Once again, The Grove, outside of London, rounds out this decadent duo of 18-hole luxury escapes.

BEST COURSES WITHOUT LODGING

United States
Bethpage Black, NY
So completely did this course dominate the category that no other layout got more than one vote. Yes, it was extensively renovated for the 2002 U.S. Open, but long before that, loyal fans famously slept overnight in their cars in the parking lot for a shot at a tee time on this AW Tillinghast classic. Golf writer Jeff Wallach asked, "Where else can you play a U.S. Open course for under 50 bucks and also have access to four other lovely parkland layouts that don't dent your wallet?"


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