Where to Play Your USGA Qualifier, Part 2

A continued tour of this year’s most intriguing USGA qualifying sites


You asked, we answered. After our initial tour of the men’s and women’s U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, and U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying sites, many readers requested a similar treatment for the senior, senior amateur, four-ball, and junior tournaments. The last thing we’d want to do is disappoint you, so here are some host courses for the 2021 USGA qualifiers that caught our eye:

U.S. Senior Open

Full list of U.S. Senior Open local qualifying sites

Prairie Dunes Country Club – Hutchinson, Kansas

The host of the 2006 U.S. Senior Open will require players to have their full skill sets ready to go. Qualifying at Prairie Dunes will take place on May 26, which could mean volatile weather on the notoriously gusty central plains of Kansas. If the wind does show up, the famous Perry Maxwell “rolls” on the greens will become even tougher to negotiate. In fact, they could get downright brutal, offering great preparation for a potentially blustery U.S. Senior Open at Omaha Country Club.

San Diego Country Club – Chula Vista, California

San Diego CC has hosted a number of significant events in its 124-year history. At the 1952 San Diego Open, Joe Louis became the first Black golfer to play in a PGA event. Meanwhile, Bill Spiller was excluded and staged an iconic protest by the 1st tee. Twelve years later, Mickey Wright won her second-to-last major, the 1964 U.S. Women’s Open, at San Diego CC. The Willie Watson design, which was lengthened and rebunkered by Billy Bell, has an excellent set of greens that will demand precision from U.S. Senior Open hopefuls.

Bill Spiller protesting his exclusion from the 1952 San Diego Open (Getty Images)

Other notables (standout architecture and/or locations):

  • Happy Hollow Club – Omaha, Nebraska – William Langford/Theodore Moreau
  • Highland Country Club – Fayetteville, North Carolina – Donald Ross
  • Indiana Country Club – Indiana, Pennsylvania – Willie Park, Jr.
  • Leewood Golf Club – Eastchester, New York – Devereux Emmet
  • Riverside Golf Club – Riverside, Illinois – William Langford
  • Waialae Country Club – Honolulu, Hawaii – Seth Raynor, Desmond Muirhead, Tom Doak

U.S. Senior Women’s Open

Full list of U.S. Senior Women’s Open qualifying sites

Greenwich Country Club – Greenwich, Connecticut

One of the oldest clubs in America, Greenwich CC still has a hint of its original Seth Raynor character, though Robert Trent Jones, Timothy Gerrish, and, most recently, Beau Welling have put their separate stamps on the course over the years. Taking place on July 15, this qualifier will be one of the last before the U.S. Senior Women’s Open just two weeks later at nearby Brooklawn Country Club.

Country Club of Salisbury – Salisbury, North Carolina

Donald Ross’s 1927 design will demand accuracy and well-thought-out tactics. Hitting it straight enough to avoid the cleverly placed bunkers off the tee and around the greens will be key, but implementing a strategic plan and taking risks at the right times may be more important.

Other notables:

  • Bass Rocks Golf Club – Gloucester, Massachusetts – Alex Findlay, Herbert Leeds
  • Capital City Country Club – Atlanta, Georgia – Herbert Barker
  • Orinda Country Club – Orinda, California – Willie Watson, Todd Eckenrode
  • Riverton Country Club – Cinnaminson, New Jersey – Donald Ross, Ron Prichard/Tyler Rae

U.S. Senior Amateur

Full list of U.S. Senior Amateur qualifying sites

Kirtland Country Club – Willoughby, Ohio

Somehow this C.H. Alison gem remains underrated and underappreciated. Jim Nagle and Ron Forse brought back Kirtland’s Golden Age feel with tree management, bunker restoration, and green expansion. The front nine sits on a relatively flat piece of the ground, but that changes quickly on the 10th hole. The 150-foot drop from the tee provides a stunning entrance into a back nine that stands up to the best of Midwestern golf.

The 10th hole at Kirtland Country Club. Photo credit: Patrick J. Koenig (pjkoenig.com)

Palos Verdes Golf Club – Palos Verdes Estates, California

Overlooking Santa Monica Bay, Palos Verdes GC makes fine use of its gorgeous setting. The course was designed by George Thomas and Billy Bell in 1923, and in 2013 Todd Eckenrode removed trees to bring back ocean views, rebuilt the bunkers, and added fairway bunkers to challenge today’s longer players. The hilly terrain and smallish greens keep the course demanding at only 6,430 yards from the tips, and it should provide strong preparation for those advancing to Country Club of Detroit.

Other notables:

  • Blackhawk Country Club – Madison, Wisconsin – A.W. Tillinghast
  • Lakewood Country Club – Dallas, Texas – Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw
  • Mid-Pacific Country Club – Kailua, Hawaii – Seth Raynor
  • Oakland Hills Country Club (North Course) – Bloomfield Hills, Michigan – Donald Ross
  • Regulation at Manor Country Club – Rockville, Maryland – William Flynn
  • Stafford Country Club – Rochester, New York – Stanley Thompson, Robert Trent Jones

U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur

Full list of U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur qualifying sites

Minneapolis Golf Club – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Willie Park, Jr., did the original routing for Minneapolis GC in 1917, but the club became so popular that just a few years later a new clubhouse was built for the growing membership. Donald Ross stepped in for the rerouting, and the course remains a Park/Ross hybrid. The par-3 10th combines flavors of both designers with a scenic shot over water to an elevated green.

Tuscarora Golf Club – Marcellus, New York

Seymour Dunn’s career in golf included stints as a teaching professional, a club manufacturer, an architect, and an author. Born in North Berwick, Scotland, he learned from his father, who designed over 100 courses, and his uncle, Willie Dunn, who designed an early iteration of Shinnecock Hills. Today’s Tuscarora is quite friendly, and those looking to advance to the Senior Women’s Amateur at the Lakewood Club will need to take advantage of the scorable course.

Other notables:

  • Edgewood Country Club – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Donald Ross, Ron Forse/Jim Nagle
  • Leilehua Golf Club – Wahiawa, Hawaii
  • South Hills Country Club – West Covina, California – William P. Bell
  • Preakness Hills Country Club – Wayne, New Jersey – William Tucker, Brian Silva, Ron Forse

U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

Full list of U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifying sites

Inwood Country Club – Inwood, New York

Emma Stern was one lucky lady. Engaged to Jacob Wertheim in 1900, she expressed an interest in the game of golf. To prove his love for her, Wertheim built Inwood Country Club. Not a bad engagement present. Dr. William Exton and Arthur Thatcher laid out the first nine holes, and Edward Eriksen finished off the course. Subsequent improvements were carried out by the club’s first head professional, Herbert Strong. The club’s storied history includes Bobby Jones’s 1923 U.S. Open win, highlighted by his famous 2-iron approach to No. 18. Tom Doak has been working on the course over the past decade, improving bunkering and managing the overgrowth of trees.

Spanish Oaks Golf Club – Austin, Texas

Bobby Weed’s environmentally sensitive course received high praise when it opened in the early 2000s. The housing market crash left Spanish Oaks’ future up in the air, but over the past decade it has thrived. Aspiring four-ball teams looking to move on to the Country Club of Birmingham will have to navigate the undulating fairways and elevation changes that Weed made use of on this tract of Texas Hill Country.

Other notables:

  • Battle Creek Country Club – Battle Creek, Michigan – Willie Park, Jr.
  • The Dunes at Maui Lani GC – Kahului, Hawaii
  • Niagara Falls Country Club – Lewiston, New York – A.W. Tillinghast, Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Brian Silva
  • Red Hill Country Club – Rancho Cucamonga, California – George Thomas/Billy Bell

U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball

Full list of U.S. Amateur Four-Ball qualifying sites

Berkshire Country Club – Reading, Pennsylvania

During its heyday in the late 40s and early 50s, Berkshire Country Club hosted the Reading Open, won by the likes of Ben Hogan and Sam Snead. The Willie Park, Jr. design doesn’t quite reach 6,400 yards, but a Ron Forse and Jim Nagle restoration rediscovered some of the green complexes and intrigue the course had in the mid-20th century.

Echo Lake Country Club – Westfield, New Jersey

It may never come out of the shadow of its neighbor, Baltusrol Golf Club, but Echo Lake CC has charted its own course, trying to find a middle ground between its Donald Ross roots and its desire to keep up with the modern game. In spite of limited space on the property, Rees Jones stretched the course to 7,100 yards. The venue should attract a competitive field, and whoever advances gets to make history in Puerto Rico. The Grand Reserve Golf Club will be the first Puerto Rican course to host a USGA Championship.

Photo credit: Echo Lake Country Club

Other notables:

  • Club de Golf Bellavista – Mexico City, Mexico

U.S. Junior Amateur

Full list of U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying sites

Ravisloe Country Club – Homewood, Illinois

This Chicago-area public course should attract a strong field. Unfortunately, green shrinkage, tree planting, and excessive watering have diminished this great design, which had input from Donald Ross, Langford & Moreau, and Willie Watson. While it would be wonderful to see Ravisloe restored, it’s still encouraging that a truly accessible public course will be featured on the USGA stage.

The 6th hole at Ravisloe Country Club. Photo credit: Andy Johnson

Warren Golf Course – South Bend, Indiana

Since this Coore & Crenshaw design opened in 2000, it has hosted prestigious events like the 2019 U.S. Senior Open, the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship, and multiple NCAA regional championships. Not only is the course challenging enough for elite players, but it accommodates players of any skill level. Threading that needle has always been a Coore & Crenshaw specialty.

Other notables:

  • CommonGround Golf Course – Aurora, California – Tom Doak
  • Mauna Lani Golf Resort (North) – Kohala Coast, Hawaii
  • Country Club of Orlando – Orlando, Florida – Donald Ross, Brian Silva, Ron Forse/Jim Nagle
  • Quinnatisset Country Club – Thompson, Connecticut – Norman Ream
  • Stanford Golf Club – Stanford, California – George Thomas/William P. Bell

U.S. Girls’ Junior

Full list of U.S. Girls’ Junior qualifying sites

Bonnie Briar Country Club – Larchmont, NY

In the early 1800s, a few makeshift holes on this property became what the club believes was the first golf layout in the United States. From those rustic beginnings, Bonnie Briar eventually developed into an 18-hole course with design contributions from Devereux Emmet and A.W. Tillinghast.

Swope Memorial Golf Course – Kansas City, Missouri

One of three A.W. Tillinghast designs in the Kansas City area, beloved Swope is the only public option, and it’s not far from downtown. The ever-changing elevations offer a couple of fantastic views of the skyline during the round. A steal at around $35 to walk, Swope keeps you coming back to try to master its intricacies.

Other notables:

  • Columbia Country Club – Chevy Chase, Maryland – Herbert Barker, William Flynn, Walter Travis
  • George Wright Golf Course – Hyde Park, Massachusetts – Donald Ross
  • Jimmie Austin Golf Course – Norman, Oklahoma – Perry Maxwell
  • Lake Valley Golf Club – Niwot, Colorado – Press Maxwell

Did we miss any? Let us know on Twitter @the_fried_egg.