What makes Pine Valley so great anyway?

Pine Valley, New Jersey

GOLF released its latest ranking of the top 100 golf courses in the world, with Pine Valley once again coming in at No. 1. Here’s why.

LC Lambrecht

GOLF’s Top 100 students are among the most respected and well-traveled golf course evaluators in the industry. They are also interested in sharing their opinions. In this GOLF.com series, we reveal their unvarnished views on all things course-related. Check out the latest news from GOLF The 100 Best Courses in the USA, The 100 best courses in the world, The 100 best courses you can play, Best Municipal Courses in USA, The 100 best short courses and 100 Best Courses in the UK and Ireland. Meet all our You can find the 100 best panelists here.

GOLF recently released its latest ranking of the top 100 golf courses in the world, with Pine Valley once again coming in at No. 1. Most golfers will never set foot on the exclusive private course, and it’s not an Augusta National golf course that we can see on our television screens. So help them understand: What makes Pine Valley so great anyway?

Will Davenport (panelist since 2020): Every single shot at Pine Valley is equal parts beautiful and sophisticated, as if the entire place was built to perfectly frame the shot. It is a course made up of 18 very different but perfectly complementary holes. The dangerous bunkers, pine-lined corridors, devilish greens and artful doglegs are perfectly formed yet always natural in their embrace of the land. Pine Valley is truly in a class of its own.

Bill Hogan (panellist since 1998): Pine Valley was the first course I ever played. Every tee shot I said to myself, “Wow. What a great hole.” Eighteen times in a row!

Jeff Lewis (panellist since 2003): One of the most unusual circumstances in golf course architecture is a course without a bad hole. Pine Valley is on that very short list. It also has this really interesting pedigree in that almost every major architect of the time was present and had their hands on it at some point. The final point I think is that Pine Valley has a lot of central obstacles that lay the foundation for interesting golf courses. Boring courses tend to push aside the things you need to think about, while creative courses put them in front of you and force you to make decisions.

Josh Sens (panelist since 2015): Since this is a safe place, I have to confess here that I have never played Pine Valley. But the fact that so many well-traveled design fans think it’s better than Cypress Point, Shinnecock and Royal Melbourne is enough to convince me that there must be something to its unicorn status. (Though I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of ​​a better design than Royal Melbourne or a nicer walk than Cypress Point.) The only criticism I’ve ever heard about Pine Valley comes from a ground game fanatic: Who feels like that that the course doesn’t offer enough opportunities to direct shots onto the greens? But this is where you really get into serious quibbles, which is partly why discussions/debates about price rankings are simultaneously interesting and borderline absurd.

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Ian Walker

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