Top 25 most improved U.S. courses in 2016 on Golf Advisor



In golf, comeback stories are the best ones. At Golf Advisor, we're always excited to uncover the next golf course that is on the rebound.

Courses can struggle with their ratings for a variety of reasons. It can be as simple as flooding or drought, and as complicated as struggles between ownership and management. We looked at how golf courses fared with their ratings year-over-year to find the ones who improved the most. We found 25 facilities in the U.S. that improved their overall rating by a full star (out of five) or more.

In the past decade, more golf courses have closed all together than come out on the other side. But, in other cases, there is hope and a renewed dedication. In the case of this year's No. 1 course, it meant news owners, greens and investment back into the course.

We hope this best-of list, out of all the ones we do each year, ends up on the resume of some very dedicated staff members. You've worked hard over the past year, and your efforts are being noticed by your customers. Many of these facilities will admit there is still some upside to be gained.

For golfers, we hope that if you live in the area of one of the following courses and had given up on it after a bad experience in the past, you'll give them a second look.

Each of these 25 courses have a unique reason as to why things went wrong and what's been going right. Visit each course guide page to see what reviewers have had to say about each facility's bounce back. If you've played a course recently that has stepped up its game, be sure to let them know the effort is paying off with a course review of your own.

Top 25 most-improved courses in the U.S. in 2016

25. Forest Hill Golf Course

Drummond, Tenn.
YoY Improvement: 1.00
2016 Recommend to a friend: 100%
What they're saying: "The staff is very friendly, the menu has changed and the food is now excellent."

24. St. Peters Golf Course

Saint Peters, Mo.
YoY Improvement: 1.03
2016 Recommend to a friend: 86%
What they're saying: "Improved lots of areas over the last several years making it more enjoyable."

23. The Champion Turf Club at St. James

Port Saint Lucie, Fla.
YoY Improvement: 1.04
2016 Recommend to a friend: 96%
What they're saying: "They put some effort and time into this course and it is worthwhile!"

22. Orgill Park Golf Course

Millington, Tenn.
YoY Improvement: 1.05
2016 Recommend to a friend: 86%
What they're saying: "I've been playing Orgill for the last 16 years and it's in the best condition I've ever seen."

21. La Tourette Golf Course

Staten Island, N.Y.
YoY Improvement: 1.06
2016 Recommend to a friend: 83%
What they're saying: "The course was in great shape and so were the greens."

20. Challenge Golf Club

Graham, N.C.
YoY Improvement: 1.06
2016 Recommend to a friend: 76%
What they're saying: "A lot of work has been done to improve course conditions and it is showing."

19. Cathedral Canyon Golf Club

Cathedral City, Calif.
YoY Improvement: 1.07
2016 Recommend to a friend: 80%
What they're saying: "The course is in the best shape i have seen for a while."

18. Cedar Crest Golf Club

Murfreesboro, Tenn.
YoY Improvement: 1.07
2016 Recommend to a friend: 88%
What they're saying: "Everyone there have put in a lot of work in the off season."

17. Classic Golf Club

Spanaway, Wash.
YoY Improvement: 1.07
2016 Recommend to a friend: 90%
What they're saying: "Since the course has cleared out a bunch of trees, it makes it much more friendly to the avg. golfer."

16. Geneva Farm Golf Course

Street, Md.
YoY Improvement: 1.10
2016 Recommend to a friend: 72%
What they're saying: "I was treated as if I was a regular and made to feel very welcome."

15. Coweta Club at Arbor Springs Plantation

Newnan, Ga.
YoY Improvement: 1.12
2016 Recommend to a friend: 78%
What they're saying: "Carts were new and in great working order. "

14. Heron Lakes Golf Course

Houston, Tex.
YoY Improvement: 1.12
2016 Recommend to a friend: 100%
What they're saying: "Significantly under new ownership; many positive changes throughout."

13. The Club at Rebecca Creek

Spring Branch, Tex.
YoY Improvement: 1.13
2016 Recommend to a friend: 88%
What they're saying: "The new owners continue to make improvements to the course."

12. Championship at Fred Arbanas Golf Course

Kansas City, Mo.
YoY Improvement: 1.13
2016 Recommend to a friend: 92%
What they're saying: "Greens are always in good shape, especially since they re-did them a few years ago."

11. Norman Course at PGA West

La Quinta, Calif.
YoY Improvement: 1.13
2016 Recommend to a friend: 97%
What they're saying: "Each [of us] voted to add the Greg Norman course into the rotation for next year."

10. Harvey Penick Golf Course

YoY Improvement: 1.15
2016 Recommend to a friend: 57%
What they're saying: "I like going here to work on my short game and it did the trick."

9. Rocky River Golf Club At Concord

Concord, N.C.
YoY Improvement: 1.15
2016 Recommend to a friend: 91%
What they're saying: "These greens were even better than most of the private courses I recently played."

8. Stoneybrook Golf Course

Columbia, Tenn.
YoY Improvement: 1.24
2016 Recommend to a friend: 94%
What they're saying: "It is in as good a shape as I have seen in years."

7. Blue Heron Golf Course

Carnation, Wash.
YoY Improvement: 1.29
2016 Recommend to a friend: 94%
What they're saying: "New cart paths, better maintenance of greens....fantastic club house with a yummmy happy hour."

6. Boulder Oaks Golf Club

(Formerly Meadow Lake Golf Course)
Escondido, Calif.
YoY Improvement: 1.32
2016 Recommend to a friend: 81%
What they're saying: "Redesign and renovation actually created a more interesting layout than the original."

5. Gleneagle Golf Course

Arlington, Wash.
YoY Improvement: 1.32
2016 Recommend to a friend: 88%
What they're saying: "You can really see the hard work paying off for the ground crew!"

4. Oakbrook Golf Club

Lakewood, Wash.
YoY Improvement: 1.46
2016 Recommend to a friend: 95%
What they're saying: "Good job to all involved with bringing this gem back to life!"

3. Bacon Park Golf Course

Savannah, Ga.
YoY Improvement: 1.55
2016 Recommend to a friend: 79%
What they're saying: "Renovation to the original Donald Ross design has made the course more fun to play."

2. The Club at Emerald Hills

Hollywood, Fla.
YoY Improvement: 1.60
2016 Recommend to a friend: 100%
What they're saying: "One of the top 3 courses I've played in Florida."

1. Oaks National Golf Club

Kissimmee, Fla.
YoY Improvement: 1.83
2016 Recommend to a friend: 70%
What they're saying: "The new owner's promise of improvements was an understatement!"

Jan 23, 2017



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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.