Golf Digest: Pikewood National among ‘America’s 20 Hardest Courses’ – WV MetroNews


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Golf Digest named Pikewood National Golf Club one of “America’s 20 Hardest Golf Courses,” lauding its design as picturesque and punishing.

Pikewood National earned its ranking alongside preeminent courses such as Pine Valley, Oakmont Country Club and Augusta National.

Located near Morgantown, WV, Pikewood National is a 7,588-yard, par 72 private course that opened as an 18-hole layout in 2008. It ranked 18th on Golf Digest’s list of “Hardest Courses.”

“Even as golf continues to recognize the importance of fun and playability in course design, the measure of championship-caliber golf is by a course’s resistance to scoring,” said Golf Digest’s Stephen Hennessey. “How does a course defend par? And is it fair? These courses embody that measurement.”

Pikewood National’s creek-lined fairways, tiered greens, panoramic gorges and limestone rock facings create a striking backdrop for the course’s formidable personality.

As one Golf Digest panelist noted, “Vistas behind many of the holes make the experience worth it regardless of how you are playing.”

Another Golf Digest panelist’s evaluation: “Best collection of par 3s I’ve ever played. The green complexes are really good—they allow shots to run onto greens. But if you miss on either side, you’ll get to experience MacKenzie-style bunkering.”

Pro emeritus Dow Finsterwald, former Ryder Cup captain and PGA champion, labeled Pikewood National “the greatest walk in golf.”

Golf Digest previously ranked Pikewood National among its “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses” and “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.” In 2009, Pikewood earned the magazine’s nod as “Best New Private Course in America.”

Pikewood National designers John Raese and Bob Gwynne were honored by Golf Digest’s latest acclaim.

“The courses on this list are the preeminent representatives of championship golf in America and are widely recognized internationally,” said Raese.

Raese is chairman of West Virginia Radio Corp., the parent company of MetroNews.

“Our thoughts from the beginning were to design a championship course that was both challenging and fair,” Gwynne said. “We wanted it to test a player’s level of skill and to identify areas needed for improvement in a player’s game. And when you get right down to it, we were blessed by Mother Nature with some of the best land formations our great state has to offer.”

The top 20 “Hardest Courses” ranked by Golf Digest include 14 that have hosted major tournaments:

1. Pine Valley Golf Club, Clementon N.J.
2. Oakmont Country Club, Pittsburgh, Pa.
3. Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.
4. Winged Foot Golf Club (West), Mamaroneck, N.Y.
5. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.
6. Merion Golf Club (East), Ardmore, Pa.
7. Bethpage State Park (Black), Farmington, N.Y.
8. Kiawah Island (Ocean), Kiwah Island, S.C.
9. Oakland Hills Country Club (South),    Bloomington Hills, Mich.
10. Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, N.Y.
11. Oak Tree National, Edmond, Okla.
12. Butler National Golf Club, Oak Brook, Ill.
13. The Olympic Club, San Francisco, Calif.
14. Whistling Straits (Straits), Sheboygan, Wisc.
15. Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Pebble Beach, Calif.
16. Victoria National Golf Club, Newburgh, Ind.
17. Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
18. Pikewood National Golf Club,  Morgantown, W.Va.
19. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
20. Muirfield Village Golf Club, Dublin, Ohio