Is this the Hottest Golf Destination in America?

There aren't many brand new, high-quality, and publicly accessible golf courses opening these days, but one U.S. region seems to be cranking them out like cookies.

One course is already ranked among the nation's best public layouts. A second, also by a respected architectural team, opened earlier this month. A third opens in two weeks, and a fourth is going to be one of the most talked about courses next year.

The craziest part is, the region where all these courses are located has never really been on most peoples' short list of "golf destinations."

But that is changing...fast.

Amid nationwide news of course cutbacks and closures, is any other region more quickly, dramatically, and consistently improving its quality-golf quotient than the Pacific Northwest?

Oregon's Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is only part of the story. It opened the Tom Doak/Jim Urbina-designed Old Macdonald last year (already ranked among the nation's best public layouts), and next year, it'll open Bandon Preserve, 13 holes by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.

But it's the state of Washington that is currently making some noise, boasting two brand new courses within 80 miles of Seattle.

The first opened earlier this month at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. Its new Rope Rider course is an 18-hole design by Peter Jacobsen and Jim Hardy.

In two weeks, another new 18-hole layout will open: Salish Cliffs Golf Club, a Gene Bates design, at the Little Creek Resort & Casino in Shelton. If these photos are any indication it's going to be a good one...

Let's not forget Washington's other recent additions.

Palouse Ridge at Washington State University opened in 2008 and was quickly recognized as one of the best university courses in country.

Making headlines just prior to that was Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, which last year hosted the U.S. Amateur and is scheduled to host the U.S. Open in 2015.

By the way, I purposely phrased my earlier line as a question, because there may be other pockets of positivity worth noting.

To that point, are there other areas of the country you feel are trending up in terms of quality golf, maybe even more than Washington state and the Pacific Northwest? Please share your comments below.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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Is this the Hottest Golf Destination in America?
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