I can’t let the day go by without noting that Jack Nicklaus has turned 70 — making it 69 years, exactly, since he hit No. 1 on the Nicklaus Family Top 10. Jack has two mountain courses in my current Top 50 — The TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge, No. 23, and Castle Pines Golf Club, No. 33 — and four flatter and thus easier courses on GOLF Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the U.S., including PGA Tour venues Muirfield Village (Dublin, Ohio) and Harbour Town Golf Links (Hilton Head, S.C.).
“I’m a very fortunate guy in that golf course design is something that kept me in the game of golf,” Jack told Reuters. “It’s a lasting thing that will remain long after my golf game and lifetime.”
Asked last fall to name his favorite course by a dead architect, Jack went for a Donald Ross masterpiece in the sand hills of North Carolina. “From a design perspective, it’s Pinehurst No. 2. It’s a totally tree-lined course where a tree doesn’t come into play and water hazards are non-existent.” Jack could have added that the Carolina Hotel has a terrific breakfast buffet, but for reasons of his own he chose not to.
Intrigued by Jack’s choice, I’m going to put on my Golf Ghost hat to ask the very late Donald Ross to name his favorite course by a living architect. When I get an answer, I’ll let you know. Until then, here’s my interview with Ross’s ghost that ran in the 2006 SI Golf Plus Masters Preview.