They’re the biggest stages in professional golf for both players and fans alike. They produce the most elite fields with historical consequence greater than any other tournaments. They’re of course the four major championships, and the courses they’re played on are just as important to the story as the actual drama that unfolds during play. We’re all familiar with the iconic tracks that have produced some of golf’s most celebrated and haunting moments – Pebble Beach, Shinnecock, Carnoustie, and St. Andrews to name a few. But what about those major-championship worthy courses that haven’t played host yet? Here are the Top 5 courses that deserve to host a major championship.

5. Muirfield Village Golf Club (Par 72, 7,392 Yards)

Columbus, Ohio

Muirfield Village Golf Club
Muirfield Village Golf Club

When The Memorial Tournament was established 42 years ago, Jack Nicklaus modeled host Muirfield Village Golf Club after Augusta National. Intentionally or not, however, Muirfield’s always had PGA Championship written all over it. Ample fairways with steep angles and numerous slopes present unique challenges that don’t require tighter driving lanes or taller rough. Only superb drives are rewarded for being in the right spots. Fairways are fast, conditions are firm, and players will crash and burn for hitting poor shots. The greens at Muirfield feature significant undulations and are lightning fast, making it difficult to get the ball close without exceptional approach shots.

Future sites of the PGA Championship have been determined through 2019, but 2025 remains wide open. Perennially, only the most venerable tracks in the country have hosted the PGA Championship and Muirfield certainly qualifies – holding the distinction of being the only course to hold a Solheim Cup, Presidents Cup, and Ryder Cup. Five of Nicklaus’ record-setting 18 majors were PGA Championships, and Muirfield stands up to the PGA of America’s standard of a fair test for the world’s top players.

There simply is no better place to host the 2020 PGA Championship than the home course of the greatest player of all time.

4. Harbour Town Golf Links (Par 71, 7,099 Yards)

Hilton Head, South Carolina

With all the talk of rolling back the golf ball to offset how far players are now hitting the ball, Harbour Town Golf Links has stood the test of time – producing great champions at the RBC Heritage without adding much length to the course. To play well here you have to think your way around this Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus design and find the correct sides of fairways for optimal angles into the greens. Harbour Town is not a long golf course, but that shouldn’t prevent it from being on the short list to host a major championship. Like Olympic Club proved in the 2012 U.S. Open – a course doesn’t need to be long to be difficult.

Harbour Town Golf Links
Harbour Town Golf Links

Harbour Town’s narrow corridors and small greens are its main defense, with waste areas, pot bunkers, and water hazards designed to intimidate and reward. Bombers can’t overpower Harbour Town, but they can tame it if they’re precise. It’s the wrath of Mother Nature however, that’s perhaps the grandest hazard of all. After navigating through the most of the course trying to avoid the clutches of oak trees, the final holes unleash the howling winds from Calibogue Sound, and correct targets become even smaller when the course opens up to water. A strong test of golf with tight, tree-lined holes and difficult greens, Harbour Town was born ready for its major championship close-up.

3. Pine Valley Golf Club (Par 70, 6,999 Yards)

Pine Valley, New Jersey

Forget about the oft-lamented argument that Pine Valley Golf Club can’t host a major because it’s basically 18 holes stuffed into a sardine can with little room for the flow of spectators. Merion Golf Club faced similar constraints in hosting the 2013 U.S. Open and did just fine. Forget also about those who argue that 99-percent of the golfing population knows more about the declassified CIA secrets of flying saucers and mind control than they do about the exclusive Pine Valley. Just because it’s mysterious doesn’t mean it’s an X-Files.

Pine Valley Golf Club Hero Shot Hole 18
Pine Valley Golf Club Hole 18

If you’re looking for one succinct reason why Pine Valley should host a major championship, consider this passage from the book Pine Valley Golf Club: A Chronicle: “The inspiring principle of Pine Valley’s design is simplicity in itself. The tee is an island. The fairway, almost 50-55 yards wide in the tee-shot landing area, is also an island (or two). So is the green. Each of these isolated plots is virtually surrounded by sand, scrub, dense woods, sometimes water, sometimes severe slopes, a vast no-man’s land, as it were of potentially unplayable lies. And woes betide the man who fails to put in consistently at a safe harbor. The penalty ranges from double bogey to incalculable.”

Make it a U.S. Open. Make it a PGA Championship. It doesn’t matter – just make Pine Valley Golf Club a major championship.

2. Pacific Dunes Golf Course (Par 71, 6,633 Yards)

Bandon, Oregon

Pacific Dunes Golf Course
Pacific Dunes Golf Course

No course on the Pacific Coast, and perhaps even in the entire continental United States captures golf’s ancient magic like Pacific Dunes Golf Course. Against the colossal sweep of the Pacific Ocean, this authentic links track is designed to be played on the ground at least as often as through the air. Dynamic slopes, humps, bumps, and swales make Pacific Dunes a pure golf experience that pits you against the elements – where the land dictates the challenges you experience, the fairways and greens present a wide range of strategic options, and the swirling winds affect every drive, approach, and putt.

Beginning to sound like the “toughest test in golf” yet? Players raved about Quail Hollow for several years, and it eventually landed the 2017 PGA Championship. Chambers Bay got the 2015 U.S. Open and it’s been called a “poor man’s Bandon Dunes.” Bandon has already hosted five USGA amateur events between 2006 and 2015 and is scheduled for host duties again for the 2020 U.S. Amateur. It’s not really a matter of if, but when Pacific Dunes (or any of the soul-stirring quartet of Bandon Dunes courses) hosts our national championship.

1. Prestwick Golf Club (Par 71, 6,544 Yards)

Prestwick, South Ayrshire, Scotland

Prestwick Golf Club has already played host to a major. The first 12 Open Championships were contested here. But this Old Tom Morris design has been estranged from The Open for 93 years, and it’s not even in the current 10-course rota. Perhaps The R&A is waiting until 2025, which would be the 100th anniversary of the last time Prestwick hosted The Open. Enough time has passed, however, and sooner or later the world’s oldest golf tournament and first major championship has to find its way back home.

Prestwick Golf Club
Prestwick Golf Club

With 24 Open Championships under its belt, only St. Andrews has hosted The Open more times than Prestwick. All of the greatest players in the game between 1860 and 1925 played here and won here. Prestwick is short by modern standards, and with unusual routing, extraordinary angles, and more than a few blind shots, it will unsettle the unwary golfer. The course, the fans, and even the game itself deserve to witness today’s 21st-century giants descend upon this landscape that’s nurtured the growth of The Open Championship since its infancy.