Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive



 Zagat's Top Ten Golf Courses; Bandon Dunes (OR) Edges
Whistling Straits (WI) for 'Best Course' Honors
NEW YORK, March 28, 2007 - With The Masters Tournament right around the corner, Zagat Survey today released its 2007/08 Guide to America's Top Golf Courses, covering 1,075 courses in the U.S., Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The results reveal a nation full of opportunities for those of us unlikely to ever play Georgia's esteemed Augusta National course. Based on the experiences of over 6,250 avid golfers who played 560,000 rounds of golf in the last twelve months, on average, each course in the guide was visited by at least one surveyor every day of the year.
"The 6,250 savvy, avid golfers who participated in this survey make one thing very clear," said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. "You don't have to be in the PGA or play professionally to enjoy access to a lifetime's worth of high-quality links, challenging courses and incredible natural beauty."
This year's winners include: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes (OR), which edged out Whistling Straits, Straits (WI) by a stroke to win Best Course honors. List of Top Ten courses in order, are:
  1. Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes (OR)
  2. Whistling Straits, Straits (WI) 
  3. Bandon Dunes, B.D.C., Coos Bay, OR    
  4. Arcadia Bluffs, Traverse City, MI     
  5. Bethpage, Black, Long Island, NY      
  6. Cascata, Las Vegas, NV*               
  7. Kiawah Island, Ocean, Charleston, SC  
  8. Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula, CA
  9. Kapalua, Plantation, Maui, HI 
  10. Shadow Creek, Las Vegas, NV
The top newcomers this year are Lake of Isles, North (CT) and Ross Bridge (AL). And the gorgeous Pebble Beach (CA) once again ranks as the guide's Most Popular course.

Other awards go to: Greenbrier (WV) which won in both the Top Service and Top Facilities categories; Willingers (MN) as Best Budget Course ($50 and under); and, perhaps since it's located in Las Vegas, surveyors agreed that Cascata (NV) offers the Best 19th Hole around. More winners, by special feature, include:

  • Accommodations:  Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI
  • Conditioning/Scenic: Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Coos Bay, OR
  • Environmentally Friendly: Bethpage, Long Island, NY
  • Expense Account ($200+): Bandon Dunes, Pacific Dunes, Coos Bay, OR
  • Fine Food Too: Bandon Dunes, Coos Bay, OR
  • Instruction/ Practice Facilities:  Kiawah Island, Charleston, SC
  • Women-Friendly: Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula, CA
In addition to ratings and reviews of the best public, semi-private and resort layouts, the new guide includes listings of urban driving ranges and 100 private courses. The guide also includes travel tips and a variety of revealing statistics about America's golfers and golf courses.
Golfers -- Dedicated and Committed: One thing is clear about golfers in this country -- they take their sport seriously. Nearly three-quarters (72%) have been playing golf for at least 10 years and nearly half of our surveyors (44%) shoot in the 80s or better. In addition to the frequency with which they play (7.5 rounds a month), nearly two-thirds have scheduled trips specifically so they could play a famous course and 70% say they're planning to take between one and three golf-specific vacations in the next 12 months.
Going Beyond the Greens: With 49% of respondents reporting that accommodations are a key factor in choosing a golf vacation destination (after course cost and quality), many courses have taken to offering the complete resort experience. Osprey Meadows (ID), for example, is tucked away at the Tamarack Resort and offers hiking, fishing and rafting after the 19th hole. Lake of Isles (CT) is directly across the street from Foxwoods Resort & Casino, and fast on the heels of the Ritz-Carlton Orlando comes the new Ritz- Carlton Members Club near Sarasota (FL).
Playing the Kids Tees: Golf is becoming more and more of a family sport and that means the kids are starting young. Courses like Southwood (FL), the layouts at Pinehurst (NC) and the Robert Trent Jones track at Palmetto Dunes (SC) have all instituted a separate set of kids' tees. The Baytowne option at Sandestin (FL) even takes it a step further, offering a children's yardage book.
The Economics of the Game: Being a serious player these days appears to imply a willingness to seriously spend. Over the last 12 months, our surveyors spent an average of nearly $775 on equipment in order to keep their game up to par. And 54% say they are willing to spend $200 or more to play a round on a top ranked or famous course.
Taking After the Airlines: Taking a cue from the airline industry, many courses are adjusting their fees to reflect seasonal demand and preferred tee times. Troon North (AZ) changes its prices eight times throughout the year to reflect different demand based on the calendar. The Wilds (MN) runs an autumn special where green fees are pegged to the temperature outside. And all of Crystal Springs' (NJ) courses offer prime, twilight and super-twilight rate adjustments.

The Gulf Coast Comes Back: After repairing the damage from Hurricane Katrina, the major Gulf Coast clubs are back in business. After a 2006 renovation, TPC Louisiana will once again host a PGA Tour event. Carter Plantation near Baton Rouge (LA) is back and better than ever. And Tom Fazio's Fallen Oak at Beau Rivage (MS) has finally made its debut.
Golfers -- Taking Care of Themselves: Finally, as Tiger Woods has made clear, being in shape is an important part of everyone's game and, according to the survey, the image of the beer-guzzling golfer is apparently way off- base. When asked what they purchase as the cart comes around, more than half (53%) say they stick to water or juice, 11% say it's an energy bar that keeps them going and 6% say fruit or a sports drink. Just 15% choose beer as their refreshment of choice. That said, there is of course the 19th hole ...
Rating Categories: Every course in America's Top Golf Courses 2007/08 is rated on a series of variables including (a) course, (b) facilities, (c) services, and (d) value. The guide informs readers about whether courses are carts only, make caddies available, have restricted tee times or are 'guest- only' facilities. It includes data on yardage, USGA rating and slope. Finally, in addition to state-by-state listings, the guide supplies 34 useful indexes, including Noteworthy Newcomers, Celebrity Designs, Practice Facilities, Outstanding Accommodations, Environmentally Friendly, Budget and many others.
The 2007/08 America's Top Golf Courses guide ($15.95) was edited by Craig Better, Shelley Gallagher, Tom Mackin, Joseph Passov, and Robert Seixas. It is available at bookstores and other retail outlets, through or by calling 888/371-5440.
About Zagat Survey, LLC
Zagat Survey is the world's leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure content. With more than 250,000 surveyors, Zagat Survey rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories. Zagat content is available in print, on the Web, on the Palm and Windows Mobile operating systems, on BlackBerry, on mobile phones, and on TV. For more information, visit


Zagat Survey, LLC 



Also See: 2007 Zagat Survey U.S. Hotels: The Peninsula Chicago Rated No. 1 Large Hotel, the Four Seasons Big Island, Hawaii is the No. 1 Large Resort / November 2006


To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch

Home | Welcome| Hospitality News | Classifieds| One-on-One |
Viewpoint Forum | Ideas&Trends

Please contact Hotel.Onlinewith your comments and suggestions.