There are currently over 500 new golf courses either in advanced planning or under construction in over 100 countries across the globe. Here’s our picks for the best new courses set to open in 2020.
Dumbarnie Links, Scotland
Surprisingly, only 20% of golf courses in Scotland are true links, so Dumbarnie will be a welcome addition to the country’s already outstanding roster of venues. Early reviews suggest legendary courses like Muirfield, Carnoustie and Royal Troon are about to get a worthy rival. This new layout has been draped across 345 acres of sandy links land with stunning views over the the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh. The site is part of the Balcarres Estate owned by Lord Anthony Balniel, whose family has been resident since the 16th century. Set to open in May 2020, it was designed by English former Ryder Cup player Clive Clark.
The £16 million project features firm and fast fescue playing surfaces and a combination of traditional sod-stacked pot bunkers and natural traps surrounded by tall grasses. At least 14 holes have sea views of Largo Bay and the tees are mostly elevated with some as high as 60 feet above their respective fairway. This opens up breathtaking sea views and over 500 beach-side dunes add to the links-style charm. The par-4 17th, which features a 300-year-old stone wall, could become the signature hole. Golfers can either play safe to the left to a generous fairway or drive over the wall with the help of the prevailing wind to a green protected by 10 pot bunkers.
Hoiana Shores, Vietnam
Hoiana Shores Golf Club is the most ambitious resort development ever undertaken in Vietnam, the most active golf development market in the world. Set to open in early 2020, this links design is located on the shoreline south of Hoi An in central Vietnam and will be the first facility within a new $4 billion, 985-hectare five-star resort featuring over 1,000 rooms, suites and villas.
Designed by legendary architect Robert Trent Jones II, this par-71, 7,401-yard layout is defined by its wonderful shapes and contours and close proximity to the beach. Early in the round greens are nestled into dunes, while later on golfers are treated to more open vistas. The closing stretch begins right along the water before the 17th and 18th play back to the clubhouse into the prevailing wind. Red lanterns will be used instead of flags at each hole, a nod to Hoi An being affectionately known as ‘The City of Lanterns’. The greens are grassed with Tif-Eagle Bermuda, while the fairways and tees use Zeon Zoysia, a drought-tolerant turfgrass developed to provide firm, fast conditions in equatorial regions.
Sheep Ranch at Bandon Dunes, US
Sheep Ranch will become the fifth 18-hole course at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort when it opens for play in June 2020. The respected architectural partnership of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed the new layout which sits on 140 acres north of the resort’s Old Macdonald course. The Tom Doak designed Pacific Dunes, widely considered the best of the resort’s existing courses, is rated by All Square as the world’s 18th best course, but early reviews of Sheep Ranch suggest that ranking could soon be toppled.
The course boasts a mile of ocean acreage, compared to a combined two miles at Bandon’s other courses. Another thing that makes Sheep Ranch stand out is not just its grass traps instead of sand bunkers, but its varied shoreline. Rather than sitting linearly on the coast, it moves in and out along peninsulas offering the opportunity to play over cliffs from the tees, reminiscent of Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. The grass here is fescue and the natural contours of the land are wonderfully used. Golfers are encouraged to use their ground game with most greens open fronted allowing for creative run-ups.
Mickelson National Golf Club, Canada
Phil Mickelson is relatively new to course design, but this new layout from the American superstar is highly anticipated and set to open later in 2020. Mickelson National, located just outside of Calgary in Canada, will be fully private with 18 holes of championship golf designed by ‘Lefty’, whose portfolio most notably includes Whisper Rock in Arizona, which opened in 2001.
Over two million cubic feet of soil was moved to create this layout which features ravines, dramatic elevation changes and a creek which runs throughout. Stretching over 240 acres, it has great variation with water hazards and landscaping that reflects the rolling foothills of the nearby Rocky Mountains. The fairways are generous and framed by playable rough and then by thick and treacherous fescue. The well contoured greens offer an exceptional variety of sizes and shapes and are protected by false fronts and green-side bunkering. Reflective of Phil as a player, this promises to be a bold and entertaining design across rolling parkland golf with a strong links feel.