tucked away on the eastern coastline of the Dominican Republic or tucked away
in the tiny Southern Colorado town of Trinidad, Cap Cana and Cougar
Canyon Golf Links continue to make big names for themselves.
For the second year in a row, the Punta
Espada course at Cap
Cana topped Golfweek’s ranking of the “Best Courses of the Caribbean and Mexico”—a
2010 list of 50 that featured nine Nicklaus courses, including three in the
top eight and seven in the top 20. Meanwhile, Cougar Canyon was named to Golfweek’s ranking of the 100 “Best Resort Courses”—the sixth national
award the Nicklaus Design course has received since opening in late 2007.
Cougar Canyon, at No. 14, was among 14 Nicklaus Design courses
recognized by the magazine’s ranking of the top resorts in the U.S. Of the Nicklaus
entries, six were new to the list—a number that topped all designers.
Within the golf-rich state of Colorado, Cougar Canyon was the
only course that made the top 50 and only one Colorado layout other made the
top 100. Cougar Canyon was also the newest course listed in the top 20.
“Receiving so much national recognition in such a short period of time
is a testament to the quality of the design and the superb condition and presentation
of the course,” said Cougar Canyon Director of Golf Operations Matt Reams.
In addition, Cougar Canyon was one of four Nicklaus Design courses
to take the No. 1 spot in their respective state in Golfweek’s state-by-state
ranking of the top public-access courses. Nicklaus Design had 23 courses make
the list, including 12 in the top five of their states. The other courses to
earn top billing were Bayside Resort (Delaware), Old
Works (Montana), and Ross
Creek Landing (Tennessee).
In the ranking of the Best Courses of the Caribbean and Mexico,
and following No. 1 Punta Espada, were eight Mexican gems by Nicklaus, who
has been voted the country’s top designer for four straight years by BEST’s
Golf Guides to Meixico. At No. 6 was Vista Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, followed
at No. 8 by the Ocean Course at Cabo del Sol in Los Cabos. Both courses at
the Four Seasons Punta Mita, north of Vallarta, made the top 20, with Pacifico at No. 12 and Bahia at No. 20. Bahia is celebrating its official opening on
Monday, Nov. 16, with an appearance by the Golden Bear. At No. 14 is Eldorado
Golf & Beach Club in San Jose del Cabo, followed at by its neighbors, Puerto
Los Cabos (No. 16) and Palmilla (No. 23). Rounding out the Nicklaus entries
was No. 28 Moon
Spa & Golf Club in Cancun.
Leading the Nicklaus list of top resort courses at No. 11 was
first design, Harbour Town Golf Links, a collaboration with Pete Dye in Hilton
Head, S.C., which opened in 1969.
The other Nicklaus courses and their ranking were: The
Club at Pronghorn in Bend, Oregon (21); May
River Golf Club at Palmetto Bluff in
Bluffton, S.C. (26); Challenge at Manele Bay in Lanai, Hawaii (29); The
Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz. (33); Great
Waters at Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. (36); Ocean
Course at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast, Fla.
(48); Grand Bear in Saucier, Miss. (52); Four
Season Resort Hualalai in Kona,
Hawaii (58); Kiele Course at Kauai Lagoons in Kauai, Hawaii (72); Bay
Creek Resort & Club in Cape Charles, Va. (92); The
Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (96); and The
Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Ariz. (100).