Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club
Arcadia, Mich. (1998)
Rick Smith and Warren Henderson clear-cut 245 acres of Lake Michigan-fronting bluffs to expose rugged terrain that was crafted into an Irish-inspired links. The 225-foot elevation change may not feel like a true links, but the artfully shaped features and fescue-dotted dunes more than compensate.
Whistling Straits (Straits)
Haven, Wis. (1998)
Athough Pete Dye’s creation similarly fronts Lake Michigan, the site had none of Arcadia Bluff’s natural features. Dye and developer Herb Kohler crafted a Ballybunion-inspired monster out of a flat airbase. The course has hosted the 2004 PGA Championship and will welcome this year’s U.S. Senior Open, July 5–8.
Kingsbarns Golf Links
St. Andrews, Scotland (2000)
At this mother of all links conversions, Mark Parsinen and Kyle Phillips assembled a team of talented shapers to craft benign farmland into a links. They were so successful that visiting Americans have a hard time imagining the property was ever anything but pure linksland.
Bayonne Golf Club
Bayonne, N.J. (2006)
Eric Bergstol’s hugely expensive remediation of an environmental wasteland features massive grassy dunes and stunning New York City skyline and harbor views. Several holes on this exclusive links were inspired by gems like North Berwick’s Redan and Lahinch’s Dell hole.
Chambers Bay Golf Course
University Place, Wash. (2007)
At this newly open layout, Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Jay Blasi shifted a million cubic yards of abandoned gravel pit and transformed it into an impressive looking links overlooking Puget Sound. The course features several combined fairways reminiscent of the Old Course at St. Andrews.
By no means is Castle Stuart the first links to be “created” out of non-linksland. The last 10 years have seen many such projects; here are the five most prominent.
By: Geoff Shackelford