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Legendary American golfer Tom Weiskopf recently passed away and left a lasting legacy of superb golf courses featuring his trademark drivable par 4s. We take a look at his best designs.
The Ohio native claimed 16 PGA Tour events between 1968 and 1982, with his best year coming in 1973 when he won seven tournaments including the 1973 Open at Royal Troon. He also tied second at the Masters four times and was runner-up at the 1976 US Open and third at the 1975 US PGA.
Following his playing career, Weiskopf became a celebrated course architect working initially in partnership with Jay Morrish before establishing his own practice. We pick out his best work.
The vacation region of Los Cabos in Baja California is home to two of Mexico’s best golf courses. The Jack Nicklaus designed Ocean Course opened in the mid 90s, which was then followed in 2001 by Weiskopf’s Desert Course. Designed with ocean views at every hole, it has a number of shorter par 4s that tempt big hitters to go for the green off the tee. There’s some great water features on the final two holes providing a memorable finish to the round.
Weiskopf said: “This is one of the most unique courses I have designed… and some of the best terrain for golf anywhere in the world. My design incorporates traditional bunkering, expansive greens, wide fairways, multiple tee areas, natural waste areas and spectacular ocean views.”
The Rosewood Hotel Castiglion del Bosco in located in the glorious Italian region of Tuscany and is home to a brilliant Weiskopf designed golf course, his only design in continental Europe. The 18-hole layout at Club Castiglion del Bosco reflects the surrounding region known as Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of rolling hills, cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves.
Part of one of the oldest and best preserved estates in Italy, it’s a challenging parkland-style course that’s highly manicured with natural water features, generous fairways and glorious views. Though private, it’s accessible to guests staying at the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco as a one-time-only membership discovery experience, and it’s well worth it.
Famously a very ‘hands-on’ designer, Weiskopf got stuck for four hours above his waist in a Scottish peat bog at 5:30am while out considering a re-design to the 14th hole. A tree branch saved him, and had he not been six-foot-three he may never have seen the 1993 completion of one of the best modern designs in the UK. Set along the banks of Loch Lomond with views to Ben Lomond Mountain, its stunningly beautiful.
Along with Jay Morrish, they designed the course to have an American feel in a Scottish setting. Arranged in two loops, the first eight holes run through pine forests along the banks of the Loch, while the final ten are cut through by several burns and streams ending up next to a small cove at the three-tiered 18th green. The 14th particularly is an excellent short par four that is reachable for the long hitters who can carry wetlands and chase it onto the green via a narrow apron. Home to the Scottish Open between 1996-2010, Weiskopf said this course was his “lasting memorial to golf”.
The home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour has probably the most famous stadium hole in golf: the par-3 16th. With its amphitheatre surroundings, 16,000 fans go crazy here each season soaking up the party atmosphere. Tiger Woods’ ace at this hole in 1997 put the course on the world golfing map. The layout by Weiskopf, along with then-partner Jay Morrish, is full of risk-reward holes across the back nine.
With over three decades of tournament action, TPC Scottsdale has cemented its place as one of the PGA Tour’s most recognisable venues with a layout wonderfully sculpted from the Sonoran Desert, set against the backdrop of the McDowell Mountains.
Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, a superb five-star luxury resort set in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, is home to two Weiskopf designed world-class golf courses. The Monument Course plays slightly easier than its sibling, The Pinnacle Course, and together they offer a brilliant golfing experience in an incredible desert setting.
Opened in 1990, the lush fairways wind through the Sonoran Desert by a variety of cacti and mesquite towards large, raised greens. The long par-5 third is perhaps the standout hole with an enormous rocky edifice in the middle of the landing area. This ‘monument’ was kept by Weiskopf and worked into the design and gave the course its name.
The Pinnacle Course, opened in 1995 alongside The Monument Course, is a visually stunning layout that will fully test your golfing skills while you marvel at the spectacular desert and mountain views. In a tribute to Royal Troon’s world famous Postage Stamp hole, the course’s 16th hole is named the ‘Post Card’. Longer than that diminutive but infamous hole, danger awaits here too in the form of large bunkers, a pond and planted vegetation.
The title hole is the 10th which rises to a hillock from where you get superb views of the golf course and the surrounding desert. Parts of some fairways are hidden behind boulders and hills and there’s huge greens surrounded by large bunkers and sloping terrain which challenge golfers on every approach shot.
Weiskopf worked on a redesign in 2000 at this members-only championship course in California. It’s now due to host the PGA Championship in 2028. In the past it has hosted more than 10 USGA events, including five US Opens. The Lake Course will also host the 2032 Ryder Cup, the first time that this event will be held on America’s west coast since 1959.