GOLF Magazine "Top 10 New Courses You Can Play" in 2007

December 14, 2007

Golf Magazine by Joe Passov

The crop of candidates for our Top 10 New honors ran the gamut from the spiritual (Del Webb at Ave Maria) to the sinister (John Daly's Murder Rock Golf & Country Club), but the winners rose above the fray. Selected with input from our course-ranking panelists, editors and spies in the field, these are the best new public-access courses opened in 2007 - and the best new private and international tracks - and most of them can be played for a lot less than $100.

No matter where you live, there's a must-play newbie right around the corner. Residential courses tend to be like the golf communities they inhabit: relaxed, conventional and uncontroversial.

Cougar Canyon, located in the old mining town of Trinidad, halfway between Denver and Albuquerque, breaks that mold. Chris Cochran of Nicklaus Design has crafted a peril-filled track with the Sangre de Christo Mountains as a backdrop.

The formidable length from the tips is mitigated by the 6,000-foot elevation, but there's plenty of trouble here, starting with the 42 deep, black sand bunkers (a nod to the town's mining heritage).

The flattish front nine yields to jacked-up excitement on the back, notably at the stunnnig 163-yard 16th, which demands a short-iron dart over a yawning swath of Gray Creek to an island green that rests atop a 7,800-square-foot mesa.

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