Thanks to its rich history and heritage, golf has witnessed the change of its playing fields throughout the years. The ambition to create unique golfing experiences and the quest for perfection has propelled the development of courses into masterpieces. We delve into the laborious efforts that have upgraded these venues, providing golf enthusiasts a harmonic balance of difficulty and visual appeal, in this investigation of the most improved golf courses in 2023. These changes, from course design advances to landscape renovations, represent the sport’s devotion and testify to golf’s eternal charm.
Ten Most Improved Courses in 2023
Augusta National Golf Club
The course’s first four holes, designed by George Cobb in 1958, are redesigned to enable the development of two additional cottages on the site. The new first hole plays 90 degrees to the right of its previous path, while the second hole plays to the same green position but from a different direction. The tee and green placements on the third and fourth holes are modified subtly, while the fifth through ninth holes remain intact.
Lancaster Country Club
Located seventy miles west of Philadelphia, this masterwork by William Flynn spans the Conestoga River many times and has gained national recognition as the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open site. In anticipation of the significant women’s golf event returning in 2024, architects Ron Forse and Jim Nagle have been refining the private course, especially by updating the bunkers and removing some trees to create more vistas of the terrain.
Woodlake Country Club
Woodlake, formerly housing two golf courses, fell on bad times and eventually shuttered late last decade. Kris Spence, an authority on Donald Ross, Maples’ mentor, is reviving the original Ellis Maples-designed course under new ownership. Spence considers Woodlake some of Maples’ most remarkable work and refers to his refurbishment as a “resurrection.” Before it advances into the hills, the course’s first six holes sit on the namesake’s 1,200-acre body of water.
KickingBird Golf Course
This city-center municipality just completed a $19 million makeover project that included many improvements, including a new clubhouse and cart barn, the golf course, and associated infrastructure. The 50-year-old course has undergone some architectural upgrades by architect Matt Dusenberry, and when all is said and done, its overseers aim to attract a PGA TOUR Champions tournament.
Dunas Course at Terras de Comporta
Continental Europe’s golf scene may transform significantly with the opening of David McLay Kidd’s new resort, the Dunas Course in Terras de Comporta, an hour south of Lisbon. The naturally sandy soil with the springy fescue lawn uniquely appears for Portugal. Saying that it might alter the golfing preferences of an entire nation, if not a continent, is not an exaggeration. Dunas is called ‘the Sand Valley of Europe’ due to its undulating terrain and landscapes. It took almost ten years to create, but the wait was well worth it.