1. Northern Michigan-One of golf's best-kept secrets, this region is brimming with new courses. Heading the list are a new Gary Player course, Northern Knight, currently under construction; a Lee Trevino course set to begin construction in 1999 at Grand Traverse Resort; Bay Harbor at Boyne Highlands (referred to as the "Pebble Beach of the Midwest"); and the Fountains at the Garland Resort, a Ron Otto design.
2. Central Florida-Two of the most talked-about public courses in this region are the recently opened Celebration Golf Club, a 6,786-yard course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Jr. in Celebration (the new town being developed near Orlando by a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company); and Grand Haven in Palm Coast, slated to open in the fall. This 7,000-yard, 18-hole course designed by Jack Nicklaus has towering mature oaks and palmetto forests that weave alongside the Intracoastal Waterway.
3. Destin, FL-Slated for fall openings in this oceanside resort town in northwest Florida are two 18-hole championship courses-Regatta Bay, designed by Bob Walker, and Kelly Plantation, a joint design by Fred Couples and Gene Bates.
4. Doral Golf Resort (Miami, FL)-The legendary golf resort has put the teeth back in its most celebrated course, The Blue Monster. PGA Tour star Raymond Floyd and golf course architect Ted McAnlis collaborated on the extensive restoration, which included lengthening the course, changing bunkers, and reshaping greens. The Doral has also restored its Gold Course to world-class standards.
5. World Golf Village (St. Augustine, FL)-A sprawling, 400-acre project eight miles north of St. Augustine, the village will encompass the World Golf Hall of Fame, 54 holes of golf, a golf academy, and a 300-room hotel. It will open in phases, beginning in 1998.
6. Indian River Plantation (Stuart, FL)-The Champions Club at Summerfield, a Tom Fazio design, has joined the resort's two other courses.
7.Players Club at Heron Bay (Coral Springs, FL)-Opened last spring, Heron Bay, designed by PGA Tour pro Mark McCumber, plays 7,268 yards from the back tees with 109 bunkers.
8. Hualalai Golf Club (Big Island, HI)-The first golf facility to be named a PGA Tour Resort, the year-old Jack Nicklaus-designed course chiseled into the lava fields on the North Kona coast is rimmed by the Pacific Ocean. The Tour's criteria for the designation is five-star accommodations (there is a 243-room Four Seasons Resort bordering the course), a championship golf course capable of holding a Tour event, and other amenities, including tennis facilities, health spa, and beach.
9. Kiawah Island Resort (Kiawah Island, SC)-Open since September 1996 is the new Gary Player course called Cougar Point, which was built over the former site of the Marsh Point Course.
10. Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Pinehurst, NC)-To celebrate its 100th birthday, Pinehurst utilized Tom Fazio to design its eighth course, the Centennial. The new 7,092-yard course skirts an old sand pit, a manufactured dune ridge, and freshwater marshes.
11. The Woodlands (Braselton, GA)-Perhaps the most appropriately named course in the nation, this 6,738-yard, Denis Griffiths-designed layout is carved from deep forest with fairways averaging only 35 to 40 yards wide.
12. The General at Eagle Ridge (Galena, IL)-Designed by two-time U.S. Open champion Andy North and golf course architect Roger Packard, the 18-hole General is slated to open for public play this spring.
13. Poppy Ridge Golf Course (Livermore, CA)-A public-access, 27-hole complex designed by Rees Jones an hour east of San Francisco, this course is links golf personified, with only a single tree on site.
14. Aviara Resort (Carlsbad, CA)-According to Ed Seay, executive vice president of the Arnold Palmer Design Company, Aviara, near San Diego, is one of the most visually spectacular courses the firm has ever designed.
15. Raven Golf Club at Sabino Springs (Tucson, AZ)-Called one of the most beautiful desert courses ever built, this new Robert Trent Jones, Jr. layout is carved into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
16. Tournament Players Club at the Canyons (Las Vegas, NV)-This is the latest in the PGA Tour's network of Tournament Players Clubs (TPCs), which comprises 21 courses from Florida to California and five satellite clubs in Asia. Each domestic TPC was specifically designed to serve as an annual host of a PGA or Senior PGA Tour event. Raymond Floyd consulted on this layout.
17. Westin Rio Mar Beach Resort & Country Club (Puerto Rico)-The Ocean Course, designed by Tom and George Fazio, was renovated and reopened last August. It was joined recently by the new, Greg Norman-designed River Course.
18. Paradise Island Golf Club (Nassau, Bahamas)-One of the Caribbean's most beautiful layouts, this 6,780-yard, par-72 layout offers a full or partial ocean view from every hole. The course was recently renovated as part of a massive $125 million restoration of the Atlantis Resort.