FOR MOST GOLFERS—excepting always the fortunate herd which heads for the South—wintertime is a tough passage. They drive by their home courses and their eyes meet the bleakness of snow, slush or frozen ground, everything drably white and black and gray, not one green blade of grass, not one lousy buttercup. It is enough to drive a man to brooding. The golfer, a talented brooder at any time, begins to dwell, as he never does in the heat of a summer round, on the variegated beauty of the natural settings in which he pursues his game: the soft, green, breeze-swept courses along the edge of the sea; the rolling meadowland courses, with bright seasonal flowers busting out along the borders of the holes; mountain courses, where the best line off the first tee is a yard to the left of that topmost pine; tropical courses; lakeside courses, and that plain course down the road that becomes extraordinarily beautiful when spring or autumn touches it. Several more weeks of long, hard waiting still lie ahead until, as Geoffrey Chaucer, an early outdoor man, put it, the sweet showers of April have pierced the drought of March to the root, and once again the majority of our golf courses are ready to handle the traffic. In the meantime, to cheer the winter-bound golfer whose reverie on a dream course never gets too far before the images blur, SI presents for his comfort and pleasure an album of five golf holes—all of them excellent tests of skill, but beyond this, for immediate purposes, all of them, quite simply, beautiful golf holes.
At the Augusta National, built on the site of one of the South's great nurseries, the touchy 11th tumbles down a lush green slope to the pin
A golfing pilgrim from Marblehead, Mass. prepares to take a divot from the "ould sod" on the blooming 18th hole at Killarney in County Kerry
The bold, massive Canadian Rockies—and closer at hand, the cool, dark, evergreen forest—frame the rolling fairways at Banff in western Canada
On the 9th hole at Ponte Vedra on Florida's east coast, the pin on the famous island green lies 150 deep blue yards from the tee
This is the view looking down from the tee on the short 14th hole at Pine Valley in New Jersey, one of the world's toughest courses and, in autumn, one of the most beautiful