RGD's Best Holes: A Golf Architect's Perspective

One of the most intriguing aspects of modern golf architecture is the elusive nature of individual golf holes. Architects seldom discuss the signature holes on their courses, opting instead to focus on the overall golfing...

One of the most intriguing aspects of modern golf architecture is the elusive nature of individual golf holes. Architects seldom discuss the signature holes on their courses, opting instead to focus on the overall golfing experience. At RGD, we believe that every hole is equally important and contributes to the overall greatness of the course.

Our goal is not to create 18 signature holes, but to design a collection of exceptional holes that challenge and delight golfers of all skill levels. We strive to create a diverse range of holes, each with its own unique characteristics and strategic elements.

Let's take a closer look at some of our favorite holes from various courses:

Par Threes

4th Hole - Riverfront - 165 yards, par 3

Riverfront - 4th Hole The par-3 fourth hole at Riverfront offers a dramatic experience, with the tee and green positioned on peninsulas surrounded by tidal marshes. This strategic design ensures a challenging shot while providing a beautiful backdrop.

7th Hole - Barnbougle Dunes - 120 yards, par 3

Barnbougle Dunes - 7th Hole Our "Little Devil" at Barnbougle Dunes is a short par 3 that demands precision. With a small crowned green, a menacing bunker, and a deep valley, this hole requires careful club selection and shot execution.

9th Hole - Stonewall (North) - 180 yards, par 3

Stonewall (North) - 9th Hole The 9th hole at Stonewall (North) showcases the natural beauty of the landscape. From the elevated tee, players must navigate bunkers and a rocky stream to reach the well-protected green.

13th Hole - Barnbougle Dunes - 206 yards, par 3

Barnbougle Dunes - 13th Hole Inspired by Dr. MacKenzie's undulating greens, the 13th hole at Barnbougle Dunes features a massive green set in a wild bowl of sand dunes. Players must carefully control their shots to avoid the circus putt and secure a favorable score.

15th Hole - High Pointe - 182 yards, par 3

High Pointe - 15th Hole The 15th hole at High Pointe is nestled on a hill, offering breathtaking views and a challenging shot. With a large fronting bunker and a narrow entrance to the green, players must make confident club choices to achieve success.

17th Hole - CommonGround - 255 yards, par 3

CommonGround - 17th Hole Our public course in Denver features the long par-3 17th hole, designed to evoke the timeless work of Donald Ross. The strategic placement of bunkers and the unique green design make this hole a true test of skills.

Short Par Fours

1st Hole - Old Macdonald - 340 yards, par 4

Old Macdonald - 1st Hole Our goal with the opening hole at Old Macdonald was to provide forgiveness and allow golfers to ease into their round. With a wide fairway and a strategically placed green, this short par 4 offers a memorable start to the game.

4th Hole - Barnbougle Dunes - 299 yards, par 4

Barnbougle Dunes - 4th Hole At Barnbougle Dunes, we unintentionally created a par 4 under 300 yards due to the conversion from meters. Despite its length, this hole presents a variety of strategic options, with a unique green site nestled among the dunes.

8th Hole - St. Andrews Beach - 362 yards, par 4

St. Andrews Beach - 8th Hole From a high tee, the 8th hole at St. Andrews Beach offers a picturesque view of the fairway winding its way around a small hill. Players must carefully navigate the undulating fairway and position themselves for a controlled approach shot.

7th Hole - Ballyneal - 347 yards, par 4

Ballyneal - 7th Hole Ballyneal boasts the most unusual green design we've ever created on the 7th hole. With a mowed slope on the left and bunkers on the right, players must carefully strategize their approach to ensure a favorable position on the green.

12th Hole - Ballyneal - 377 yards, par 4

Ballyneal - 12th Hole The 12th hole at Ballyneal features a challenging green with two separate terraces, creating a distinct visual and strategic challenge. With natural contours in the fairway, players must carefully navigate the terrain to set up a successful approach shot.

6th Hole - Pacific Dunes - 316 yards, par 4

Pacific Dunes - 6th Hole Despite being a relatively unremarkable stretch of property at Pacific Dunes, the 6th hole offers an exciting challenge due to its length. The narrow green perched above a deep bunker on the left demands accuracy and strategic shot selection.

2nd Hole - Stone Eagle - 402 yards, par 4

Stone Eagle - 2nd Hole At Stone Eagle, we embraced the challenge of designing a sharply uphill hole with a visually stunning backdrop. The tee shot silhouetted against the rocky mountain face creates a majestic experience, while strategic bunkering adds an extra layer of challenge.

Long Par Fours

7th Hole - Rock Creek - 470 yards, par 4

Rock Creek - 7th Hole The sharp dogleg left on the 7th hole at Rock Creek showcases the undulating terrain of our Montana ranch property. With a challenging tee shot and an approach shot around a rock outcropping, this hole demands precision and strategic decision-making.

7th Hole - Pacific Dunes - 443 yards, par 4

Pacific Dunes - 7th Hole The 7th hole at Pacific Dunes stands out for its exceptional green setting. Positioned within a small patch of dunes surrounded by pine trees, this hole offers a visually stunning and challenging experience for golfers.

12th Hole - Cape Kidnappers - 430 yards, par 4

Cape Kidnappers - 12th Hole With its breathtaking views and intimidating approach shot, the 12th hole at Cape Kidnappers is truly remarkable. Perched on a ridge above Hawkes Bay, this hole provides a memorable golfing experience.

13th Hole - High Pointe - 434 yards, par 4

High Pointe - 13th Hole Our first solo design, the 13th hole at High Pointe, showcases the strategic elements we prioritize. As players make their way across the steeply sloping landing area, they must navigate a precise approach shot to the unique green nestled in a natural saddle.

12th Hole - Quail Crossing - 410 yards, par 4

Quail Crossing - 12th Hole Sometimes, it's not just the green site that makes a hole great. The 12th hole at Quail Crossing features an intriguing green perched atop an old loading station for a coal mine railway. The contour of the green provides a challenge, rewarding well-placed approach shots.

18th Hole - Stonewall (Old) - 458 yards, par 4

Stonewall (Old) - 18th Hole Our favorite finishing hole, the 18th hole at Stonewall (Old), incorporates the clubhouse into its design. With a green positioned close to the buildings, players must navigate a steep hill and strategically placed bunkers to secure a successful finish.

Par Fives

3rd Hole - Pacific Dunes - 499 yards, par 5

Pacific Dunes - 3rd Hole Despite playing under 500 yards, the 3rd hole at Pacific Dunes presents a formidable challenge, particularly when facing the prevailing summer wind. The angle of the green, coupled with strategic bunkering, demands careful decision-making to achieve success.

4th Hole - Tumble Creek - 595 yards, par 5

Tumble Creek - 4th Hole The 4th hole at Tumble Creek exemplifies our approach to efficient design. By making significant modifications to one hole, we preserved the natural beauty and integrity of the surrounding holes. This par 5 offers a variety of strategic options, rewarding both long hitters and strategic thinkers.

6th Hole - The Renaissance Club - 590 yards, par 5

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At The Renaissance Club, we strategically left a stand of pine trees on the inside corner of the 6th hole, challenging long hitters to risk their shots while providing options for shorter hitters. This par 5 demands accurate shot placement and strategic decision-making.

8th Hole - Aetna Springs - 530 yards, par 5

Aetna Springs - 8th Hole The 8th hole at Aetna Springs presents a unique challenge with two small streams converging on the ideal landing area for long hitters. Players must carefully navigate these hazards and make strategic decisions to secure a favorable score.

10th Hole - Rock Creek - 600 yards, par 5

Rock Creek - 10th Hole When seeking a standout starting point for our Montana ranch land, the 10th hole at Rock Creek caught our attention. Offering a stunning view from a high bluff green site, this par 5 demands precision and strategic thinking to navigate the challenging terrain.

10th Hole - Black Forest - 565 yards, par 5

Black Forest - 10th Hole The straightaway par 5 at Black Forest requires golfers to pass through a gate of maple trees on their way to the green. With strategic tree placement and thoughtful shot selection, players can set themselves up for success on this challenging par 5.

We hope you enjoyed this tour of some of our favorite golf holes. At RGD, we strive to create exceptional courses that challenge and inspire golfers of all levels. Whether it's a par 3, a short par 4, or a long par 5, each hole is meticulously designed to offer a unique and enjoyable golfing experience. So, grab your clubs, hit the fairways, and immerse yourself in the beauty and thrill of the game.