Best Jack Nicklaus Designed Golf Courses

Best Golf Course Designs by Jack Nicklaus

Jack Nicklaus once described golfers as masochists obsessed with punishing themselves on tough golf courses, and man does he serve up a favorable dish for them to eat. Nicklaus-designed courses use the lay of the land in dramatic settings to create numerous doglegs, naturally protected greens and consistently inconsistent fairway stances. And while we can’t advise you on how to navigate a sidehill lie or pay for your membership at the Golden Bear’s Muirfield Village, we can direct you to 18 of the best courses designed by Jack Nicklaus—one for each of his major victories.

Pinehills Golf Club - Nicklaus Course
  • Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • Representing the best of New England golf, the Nicklaus Course at Pinehills Golf Club exemplifies one of the Golden Bear’s golden rules when designing a golf course—respect the natural lay of the land. The Nicklaus Course at Pinehills Golf Club is carved into Plymouth’s age-old glacial landforms with natural dips and mounds, looking as if the terrain formed just for Nicklaus to create a golf masterpiece.
Nicklaus North Golf Course
  • Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
  • Wedged in the middle of remarkable mountain ranges, Nicklaus North Golf Course embodies everything beautiful about mountain-style golf. Snow-capped peaks, majestic fir trees and emerald-colored lakes are all part of this Golden Bear gem found just outside the cobblestone walkways and street side cafes of Whistler, British Columbia. Truly one of the finest courses in North America, Nicklaus North is among elite company as one of the few courses that bear the Nicklaus name.
Great Bear Golf & Country Club
  • East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Set alongside the Delaware Water Gap, Great Bear Golf & Country Club is an aesthetically pleasing course that integrates three lakes, several streams and wetlands into the design. Great Bear features numerous doglegs carved through a vast forest exemplifying Nicklaus’ core design philosophy to avoid “runway holes” and force golfers to shape the ball differently from hole to hole.
Old Works Golf Course
  • Anaconda, Montana
  • The layout at Old Works Golf Course takes Nicklaus’ ideation of not disrupting the natural lay of the land to a whole new level. Recognized as the first ever course built on a Federal EPA Superfund site, Old Works incorporates many relics of the historical site, including a century-old copper smelter. From the flue and oven remains to the black slag that borders the fairways, Old Works takes you on an 18-hole journey through the West’s Second Industrial Revolution.
Grand Traverse Resort - The Bear
  • Alma, Michigan
  • Mimicking the style of his mentor’s habit for designing tough layouts, Jack Nicklaus took a page out of Pete Dye’s book when creating Grand Traverse Resort - The Bear. While The Bear demands you to play strategically and control the ball around perfectly placed bunkers and hazards, the natural beauty of Northern Michigan atones for any crooked numbers that may creep onto your scorecard.
Grand Bear Golf Course
  • Saucier, Mississippi
  • Located six miles into the DeSoto National Forest where no two holes run parallel to one another and there’s not a house or road in sight, it’s hard to find a more quiet and remote golf course than Jack Nicklaus’ Grand Bear Golf Course. Praised by locals for feeling as secluded as Augusta with the excitement of Pinehurst, Grand Bear is a perfect place to tee it up on your next trip to the Bayou.
The Bull at Pinehurst Farms
  • Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Set on an enormous 418 acres of former Wisconsin farmland, The Bull at Pinehurst Farms is a Jack Nicklaus masterpiece that combines parkland style golf and links-style terrain. Set up to play hard but fair and with many holes moving left to right, The Bull begs for golfers to hit a vintage Nicklaus butter cut that lands softly on the green and rolls up tight to the pin.
The Golf Club at Mansion Ridge
  • Monroe, New York
  • Sitting on an historic estate with landmarks predating the American Revolution, The Golf Club at Mansion Ridge transports you back in time to when fighting for independence took precedence over fighting to find the fairway. Sculpted masterfully by Jack Nicklaus in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, Mansion Ridge incorporates stately woodlands and natural elevation changes to create a top golf destination in the Hudson Valley.
The Club at Pronghorn - Nicklaus Course
  • Bend, Oregon
  • Etched around ancient lava formations, The Club at Pronghorn - Nicklaus Course features rugged rock ridges and outcroppings that intertwine harmoniously with serene fairways and greens. Throw in magnificent views of the Cascade Mountains and you end up with one of the most scenic and naturally undisturbed courses in the Pacific Northwest.
Golf Club at Dove Mountain - Wild Burro/Tortolita
  • Marana, Arizona
  • The 18-hole combination of the Wild Burro and Tortolita Courses at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain includes Jack Nicklaus’ favorite nine on the property (Wild Burro) and the back nine for the Accenture Match Play Championship (Tortolita). Featuring panoramic views of the Tortolita Mountains and secluded canyon areas, the Golf Club at Dove Mountain is a premier desert golf destination of the Southwest.
Palmilla - Mountain/Ocean Course
  • San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
  • Part of a 27-hole, Jack Nicklaus masterpiece, the Mountain and Ocean Course combination at Palmilla is a breathtaking transition between two very contrasting landscapes. The Mountain Course is a rugged nine-hole layout located inland in San Jose del Cabo while the Ocean Course essentially plays no more than a pitching wedge away from the Sea of Cortez at all times. This distinct combination at Palmilla manufactures the feeling of playing two entirely different courses while simply passing the halfway house to the next tee.
Old Corkscrew
  • Estero, Florida
  • As its name suggests, Old Corkscrew twists and turns through the immaculate mature oak, pine and cypress trees native to Southwest Florida. Nicklaus uses the natural water features to shape the design and line the inside of the various dogleg holes at Old Corkscrew. The visibility of the hazards allows for golfers to visualize their landing spots, but it’s easy to lose focus in the natural beauty at Old Corkscrew.
The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort
  • Palm Coast, Florida
  • Considered a top-five course in Florida, The Ocean Course at Hammock Beach Resort is a golfer’s paradise on the scenic coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Complying to Nicklaus’ affinity for creating tough closing holes, the final stretch of four holes at The Ocean Course is dubbed “The Bear Claw,” and it challenges golfers to fight the wind and claw their way to makeable par putts. Endless views of the Atlantic Ocean compensate for any lapse on the closing stretch at The Ocean Course.
Bear Mountain Golf - Mountain Course
  • Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • Set atop an 1,100-foot mountain, Bear Mountain Golf - Mountain Course is one of the most dramatic settings of any Jack Nicklaus-designed course. Equipped with striking elevation changes and endless views of Victoria, British Columbia, The Mountain Course beautifully contrasts rugged cliff sides and rock formations with serene rolling fairways and calm, links-style fescue to create a perfect balance between raw natural features and flawless course design.
Reflection Bay Golf Club
  • Henderson, Nevada
  • Usually a stickler for building courses on raw landscapes, Nicklaus digs deep into his bag of tricks in the design of Reflection Bay, a serene golf experience found only a signature Nicklaus 1-iron away from the Las Vegas Strip. Shaped by the manmade, 320-acre Lake Las Vegas and set amongst stately mansions, Reflection Bay Golf Club is an outlier in Jack Nicklaus’ repertoire, but it’s anything but a gamble for those looking for a great course in Las Vegas.
Cabo del Sol - Ocean Course
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Described as “the best piece of golf property I’ve ever seen,” by Jack Nicklaus, Cabo del Sol - Ocean Course combines desert, mountain and ocean-style golf into a remarkable test. Widely regarded as three of the most scenic holes in all of golf, the final stretch at the Ocean Course borders the striking coastline of the Sea of Cortez and is a culmination of the exquisite setting at Cabo del Sol.
PGA WEST - Nicklaus Tournament Course
  • La Quinta, California
  • Highlighted by striking desert landscape, the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST is Nicklaus’ finest desert design. Featuring lush fairways and greens framed by the barren land of the Coachella Valley, Nicklaus Tourney (as the locals call it) is modeled after the Golden Bear’s game in its commitment to welcoming tee shots and demanding ingenuity around the greens. A perennial favorite for Palm Springs visitors and residents alike, Nicklaus Tourney is a definite must play in the “Golf Capital of the World.”
Harbor Shores Golf Club
  • Benton Harbor, Michigan
  • Shaped by four distinctly different terrains, Harbor Shores Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus design that dramatically changes settings from woodlands to sand dunes to ravines to riverbeds in a way that makes it a crowning achievement to Nicklaus’ design skills. Toss in big views of Lake Michigan and pristine course conditions and Harbor Shores Golf Club becomes a place that’s fit to host a professional tournament or just a day out with good golf buds.