Valhalla Golf Club -- Louisville, Ky.Sure we remember the 2008 Ryder Cup, with Boo Weekley horsing around and the 2000 PGA Championship, where Tiger Woods outdueled Bob May, but what else jumps out, other than the attractive, if goofy, stacked rock 13th green? Jack Nicklaus crafted all kinds of strategic options into the layout, but none of it looks natural.
4 of 11Fred Vuich / SI
Olympia Fields (North Course) -- Chicago, Ill.
Site of the 1928 U.S. Open, the 1961 PGA Championship and 1997 U.S. Senior Open, this Golden Ager hit the snooze button for good at the 2003 U.S. Open. Jim Furyk mastered this perfectly pleasant classic parkland design to win his first major, but we challenge anyone to recall any of the holes that comprise the closing stretch.
5 of 11Evan Schiller
Medinah Country Club (No. 3) -- Medinah, Ill.
Three U.S. Opens, a pair of Tiger triumphs in PGAs and a Ryder Cup amid a densely wooded 7,561 yards undeniably confer “major” status on Chicago’s big brute, but its benign terrain, minimal memorability (clubhouse excepted) and three “signature” par 3s that look and play almost exactly alike -- each demanding a carry over Lake Kadijah -- make many wonder how this qualifies for anybody’s Top 10.
6 of 11Fred Vuich / SI
Bellerive Country Club -- St. Louis, Mo.
The site of the 1965 U.S. Open, 1992 PGA Championship and 2004 U.S. Senior Open, among others, is certainly testing … but interesting? No way. This Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed snoozer sports an arsenal of enormous, elevated greens inevitably fronted by bunkers, water or both. You face practically the same lengthy approaches and same recovery shots for 18 holes.
7 of 11David Cannon/Getty Images
Royal Lytham & St. Annes -- England
Site of 11 British Opens, this cramped, one-dimensional royal is littered with 206 bunkers, but not a single view of the sea. True, Bobby Jones hit a heck of a 2-iron here and Seve recovered from a parking lot in 1979, but the course itself, from the par-3 opener to the final green nestled uncomfortably close to the clubhouse, lacks drama and visual interest.
8 of 11Stan Badz/PGA Tour/Getty Images
Congressional Country Club -- Bethesda, Md.Venue for Rory McIlroy’s runaway U.S. Open win in 2011, among other historic majors, this course has endured more facelifts than Joan Rivers and Bruce Jenner combined. The par-3 10th proved dramatic enough, but outside of the tournament context, it’s just another forced-carry water hole. Other than the crowd-pleasing par-4 18th (formerly the 17th, formerly the 18th), there’s little to remember.
9 of 11Robert Beck/SI
Torrey Pines (South) -- La Jolla, Calif.
This muni you can play captured everyone's attention during Tiger’s unforgettable 2008 U.S. Open win, but what’s disappointing is a design that failed to take full advantage of its dramatic coastal setting. The cliff-top holes are overrated, since there’s no water to carry, as at Pebble Beach, and the inland holes are just plain dull, uphill slogs.
10 of 11Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Sahalee Country Club (North/South) -- Sammamish, Wash.
Undeniably handsome and refreshingly cool in August, this sedate 1969 Ted Robinson design is so hemmed in by trees, there’s no space for fairway bunkers (or gallery grandstands) and the flattish greens, guarded by simple, shallow, oval bunkers make for a vanilla-flavored playing experience. While Sahalee did host the 1998 PGA Championship and 2002 WGC-NEC Invitational, all we remember are leaves and branches.
11 of 11Laura Rauch/AP
Southern Hills Country Club -- Tulsa, Okla.
Site of three U.S. Opens and a quartet of PGA Championships, this Depression-era Perry Maxwell design is best known for stifling heat and humidity, awkward reverse cambered fairways, tree cover that looks the same from hole to hole and tame topography that belies the club’s name. At the 2001 U.S. Open, they even had greens mowed at different speeds to accommodate the old-fashioned contours.
You May Like
More Courses & Travel
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!