““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
The Best Modern Golf Courses in the Southeastern U.S.
Our series on America's best golf courses continues with a look at the three best modern courses in the Southeastern U.S., as determined by Golfweek magazine's handpicked panel of 385 course raters. The raters, who are students of architecture, attend national workshops and each evaluate 15 to 20 courses per year.
Here's what distinguishes the top modern courses in the Southeastern U.S., according to Golfweek architecture editor Bradley S. Klein. We've also included information on the most convenient places to land your business jet near each course.
Pete Dye Golf Club, Bridgeport, W.Va.
The master craftsman of the devilish arts spent 15 years converting a coal field into a theatrical golf course-no wonder they named it after him. Pete Dye's genius for turning vernacular landscape into playable golf ground has never been on grander display, not with a below-ground mine, a massive coal seam, railway bridges and loading stations all incorporated into these mind-boggling holes. It's rated fifth on Golfweek's best-modern-courses list and has been thrilling visitors for more than a decade.
Harrison-Marion County (CKB) 7,000-ft runway, one-mile drive. FBO: KCI Aviation, (304) 842-3591.
TPC at Sawgrass-Stadium Course, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Pete Dye's most photographed-and most controversial-creation is just coming out of a six-month renovation. The 25-year-old layout, ranked 12th on Golfweek's best-modern-courses list, always had a famed island green par-3 17th hole and weird mounding everywhere. Now it also has newly improved drainage, firmer fairways and 250 additional yards, bringing the par-72 layout to 7,215 yards. As home to the PGA Tour's Player's Championship annually, it hosts some pretty good golfers, which is why, to accommodate them, the kick points (that is, "down slopes") in the fairway were also changed, from a measly 287 yards to a beefier 330.
Craig Municipal (KCRG) 4,004-ft runway, 19-mile drive. FBOs: Craig Air Center, (904) 641-0300, (888) 277-6326; Sky Harbor Aviation, (904) 641-8555, (877) 641-8555. St. Augustine (KSGJ) 7,996-ft runway, 22-mile drive. FBOs: Galaxy Aviation, (904) 824-1995, (800) 840-1995; St. Augustine Airport Authority, (904) 209-0090.
Kinloch Golf Club, Manakin-Sabot, Va.
Architect Lester George, who was a terrain analyst in the Army, teamed up with Virginia amateur golf legend Vinny Giles to create this bold layout west of Richmond, Va. It features lots of alternate path holes and flawlessly manicured conditions, including the tightest L-93 bentgrass fairways to be found anywhere in the country. This quiet, private membership enclave ranks 10th on Golfweek's best-modern-courses list.
Richmond International (RIC) 9,003-ft runway, 29-mile drive. FBOs: Aero Industries Inc., (804) 222-7211; Million Air, (804) 222-3700, (800) 962-5262; Richmond Jet Center, (804) 226-7200.