Best New or Returning Courses on Tour in 2020

By Ryan Asselta

 

For the most part the traveling circus of professional golf tours visit many of the same venues year after year. On the PGA Tour, January begins in Hawaii, springtime swings through Augusta, and the fall takes golfers to wine country.

But each year we’re also treated to a either a few new courses on tour, or some old gems we haven’t seen in a while. Here’s a look at the top new or returning courses on the PGA Tour, LPGA, PGA Tour Champions, and international golf events.

 

PGA TOUR

TPC Harding Park—San Francisco, Calif.

PGA Championship, May 2020

2020 Tour Courses

The PGA Championship will visit the Bay Area in May as TPC Harding Park will host the year’s second major championship. The public golf course set alongside Lake Merced in San Francisco most recently hosted the WGC Match Play in 2015 and the Presidents Cup in 2009.

Designed by Willie Watson and Sam Whiting, Harding Park gained fame when Byron Nelson won back-to-back San Francisco Opens there in the mid-1940s, and later played host to the Lucky International for most of the 1960s. Names like Gary Player, Jackie Burke, Ken Venturi, and Tiger Woods have all been victorious at Harding Park.

Winged Foot (West Course)—Mamaroneck, N.Y.

U.S. Open, June 2020

2020 Tour Courses
(Photo by L.C. Lambrecht.)

 

June will mark the first time our national championship will be played at the Mamaroneck, N.Y. golf course since 2006, when Phil Mickelson’s 72nd hole meltdown led to Geoff Ogilvy’s one and only major victory.

The West Course will be long, narrow, and guarded by thick rough with grand green complexes. The A.W. Tillinghast layout underwent an extensive restoration project, spearheaded by Gil Hanse, who attempted to bring the course back to what Tillinghast had envisioned. That included the removal of trees as well as the expansion of the greens to their original size.

St. George’s Golf and Country Club—Toronto, Ontario, Canada

RBC Canadian Open, July 2020

2020 Tour Courses
(Photo by Ian Andrew)

 

For the first time in 10 years, the RBC Canadian Open returns to St. George’s Golf and Country Club in the west end of Toronto. This year will mark the fifth time the club has hosted the Canadian Open, having last visited the Stanley Thompson designed course back in 2010 when Carl Pettersson was crowned champion. Australian golfer Joe Kirkwood Sr. won the first Canadian Open played at St. George’s in 1933.

 

INTERNATIONAL EVENTS

Royal St. George’s Golf Club—Sandwich, Kent, England

The Open Championship, July 2020

(Photo by Angus Gray)

 

It’s been nine years since The Open Championship has visited the southern coast of England and Royal St. George’s. The last playing in 2011 invokes memories of an emotional Darren Clarke hoisting the Claret Jug in victory, winning the first major title of his career at age 42. This year The Open returns to the historic course for a 15th time.

The course along the Kent coastline was founded in 1897 and designed by Dr. Laidlaw Purves. Just seven years after the club’s inception, Royal St. George’s became the first English course to host The Open Championship in 1894.

The “Maiden” hole provides spectators with one of the most unique views in golf, as fans can sit atop the massive dunes that surround the 6th green.

Kasumigaseki Country Club—Saitama, Japan

Tokyo Olympic Games, August 2020

After a successful return in Rio 2016, Olympic golf is once again back on the 2020 calendar. The Summer Games in Tokyo will feature the men’s and women’s golf competition at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

The club was originally founded in 1929 and redesigned by C.H. Alison who transformed Kasumigaeki into a challenging 36-hole layout. The East Course, which will host the Olympic competition, was renovated by Tom Fazio in 2016 and has long been considered one of Japan’s most treasured golf courses.

Whistling Straits—Sheboygan, Wis.

Ryder Cup, September 2020

(Photo by L.C. Lambrecht)

 

The Pete Dye designed layout along the shores of Lake Michigan will enter the international spotlight for the first time in 2020.

After hosting PGA Championships in 2004, 2010, and 2015 as well as the U.S. Senior Open in 2007, the Straits course will welcome the Ryder Cup in September.

The golf course should provide a dramatic backdrop for match play, but don’t expect the Wisconsin layout to supply much of a homefield advantage for the United States. Unlike past years, U.S. Captain Steve Stricker is expecting a neutral layout due to the course’s natural topography.

 

LPGA

Champions Golf Club—Houston, Texas 

U.S. Women’s Open, June 2020

A golf course rich in history, Champions Golf Club will play host to the U.S. Women’s Open in 2020.

The Cypress Creek Course at Champions is a traditional, tree-lined course and has previously hosted the 1967 Ryder Cup and the 1969 U.S. Open as well as the Tour Championship on five different occasions.

The list of names associated with Champions is a who’s who in golf history. The club was founded by Masters champions Jackie Burke and Jimmy Demaret, while Ben Hogan captained the U.S. Ryder Cup team that was victorious in 1967. Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, and Tiger Woods have all won at Champions.

 

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Newport Country Club—Newport, R.I.

U.S. Senior Open, June 2020

Newport Country Club in RI

The USGA is heading back to its roots in 2020, as Newport Country Club will host the U.S. Senior Open in June. One of the five founding members of the USGA, Newport was established in 1893 and hosted the first ever U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur 125 years ago.

The links course along the Atlantic Ocean in Rhode Island was originally designed by William Davis and later extended to 18 holes by Donald Ross. The course was later redone by A.W. Tillinghast in 1924.

Tiger Woods won the U.S. Amateur at Newport in 1995 and Annika Sorenstam was victorious at the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open in the most recent high-profile event played at the club.