The Best Public Golf Courses in the U.S.
We've made the list. Now you make the tee time!
Golfers like to make and debate golf lists in conversations at the 19th hole: greatest golfer in the modern era, best to never win a major, most challenging hole, best golf courses in the U.S. and so on. Well fellow golfers, the debate over the ranking of the best public golf course in each state is over!
Use Tripping.com's Best Public Golf Courses in the U.S. list below to plan golf trips and help you start crossing courses off of your golf bucket list!
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National
Old Works Golf Course
Anchorage Golf Course
The Prairie Club - Pines Course
We-Ko-Pa Golf Club
Fort McDowell, AZ
Wolf Creek Golf Club
Mountain Ranch Golf Club
Fairfield Bay, Arkansas
The Mount Washington Course at Bretton Woods
Bretton Woods, NH
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach, CA
Ballyowen Golf Club
The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa
Grand Junction, CO
Black Mesa Golf Club
Lake of Isles - North Course
North Stonington, CT
Bethpage State Park - Black Course
Back Creek Golf Club
Pinehurst Resort - No. 2
TPC Sawgrass - Stadium Coursegels
Ponta Vedra Beach, FL
Hawktree Golf Club
Great Waters at Reynolds Plantation
The Longaberger Golf Club
Kapalua - Plantation Course
Karsten Creek Golf Club
The Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course
Coeur d’Alene, ID
Cog Hill Golf & Country Club - No. 4
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort - Mystic Rock
Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort
French Lick, IN
Newport National Golf Club
The Harvester Golf Club
Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head Island, SC
Firekeeper Golf Course
The Golf Club at Red Rock
Rapid City, SD
Dale Hollow State Park Golf Course
Mirimichi - Championship Course
New Orleans, LA
TPC San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
Sugarloaf Golf Club
Carrabassett Valley, ME
Sand Hollow Resort - Championship Course
Salt Lake City, UT
Whiskey Creek Golf Course
Green Mountain National Golf Course
Taconic Golf Club
The Highland Course at Primland
Meadows of Dan, VA
Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club
University Place, WA
The Quarry at Giants Ridge
The Old White TPC at the Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, WV
Old Waverly Golf Club
West Point, MS
Whistling Straits - Straits Course
Buffalo Ridge Golf Course
Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club
Best Public Golf Courses in the Mid Atlantic
Best Public Golf Course in Delaware
Highlight: This relatively short links course offers very forgiving and walkable fairways.
Best Public Golf Course in Maryland
Highlight: Whiskey Creek is a great risk-reward golf course designed by PGA professional, Ernie Els.
Best Public Golf Course in New Jersey
Hamburg, New Jersey
Highlight: Don’t be fooled by this challenging treeless links-style course! The bunkers, rolling dunes, and long fescue grasses will swallow up errant balls with ease.
Best Public Golf Course in New York
Farmingdale, New York
Highlight: The Black Course has hosted two U.S. Open Championships and is extremely difficult, boasting narrow fairways and high roughs. Be aware, this course is for walkers only.
Best Public Golf Course in Pennsylvania
Highlight: Take advantage! A caddie is included with your green fee to assist you as you negotiate this tremendously challenging layout.
Best Public Golf Courses in the Midwest
Best Public Golf Course in Illinois
Highlight: The facilities at Cog Hill specialize in golf outings, tournaments, and golf instruction.
Best Public Golf Course in Indiana
French Lick, Indiana
Highlight: The 2015 Senior PGA Champion, Colin Montgomerie, called the Pete Dye Course at French Like Resort "one of the iconic courses" in America.
Best Public Golf Course in Iowa
Highlight: Interested in playing until the sun goes down? The Harvester Golf Club offers a “play all day” rate and a variety of lodging options.
Best Public Golf Course in Kansas
Highlight: The “stay & play” packages let you enjoy both the Firekeeper Golf Course and the Prairie Band Casino & Resort just a short distance away.
Best Public Golf Course in Michigan
Highlight: This links-style course is set on the coastline of Lake Michigan with rolling terrain and windswept natural frescos.
Best Public Golf Course in Minnesota
Highlight: The Quarry was designed to maximize the beauty of reclaimed mine lands and is part of a year round family-friendly resort.
Best Public Golf Course in Missouri
Highlight: Don’t be alarmed! There is a chance you’ll spot free-ranging buffalo from nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park during your round of golf.
Best Public Golf Course in Nebraska
Highlight: This fun golf course boasts stunning natural beauty, as grand pines frame majestic canyon views.
Best Public Golf Course in North Dakota
Bismarck, North Dakota
HIghlight: This open links-style design is set amongst gorgeous native grasses and rugged, rolling prairie lands.
Best Public Golf Course in Ohio
Highlight: The Longaberger Golf Club offers an extensive player development program. Its wide rolling fairways make it a perfect golf course for golfers of all skill levels.
Best Public Golf Course in South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota
Highlight: This South Dakota course has a risk-reward friendly layout with approachable greens and favorable pin locations.
Best Public Golf Course in Wisconsin
Highlight: The course will host the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2020 Ryder Cup competitions. The links-style course is characterized by fescue fairways and massive sand dune bunkers.
Best Public Golf Courses in the Northeast
Best Public Golf Course in Connecticut
North Stonington, Connecticut
Highlight: Located less than a mile from the Foxwoods Resort Casino, many “stay and play” options are available to visitors to this great golf course.
Best Public Golf Course in Maine
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Highlight: Need to improve your golf game? Sugarloaf boasts one of the top golf schools in the United States.
Best Public Golf Course in Massachusetts
Highlight: The club’s motto is “medio tutissimus ibis” (translation: you will go most safely in the middle). Be patient and limit aggressiveness on this tough layout.
Best Public Golf Course in New Hampshire
Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Highlight: Built in 1915, this classic Donald Ross design course celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2015.
Best Public Golf Course in Rhode Island
Middletown, Rhode Island
Highlight: Finely manicured, wide open fairways and varying tee boxes make Newport National an enjoyable and challenging experience for all ability level golfers.
Best Public Golf Course in Vermont
Highlight: Tucked into the majestic Green Mountains, this course offers sloping fairways from tee to green.
Best Public Golf Courses in the South
Best Public Golf Course in Alabama
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National - Links Course
Highlight: This demanding links course offers large, forgiving fairways that are accessible to all golf skill levels.
Best Public Golf Course in Arkansas
Fairfield Bay, Arkansas
Highlight: This club has a challenging golf course and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Best Public Golf Course in Florida
Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida
Highlight: TPC Sawgrass plays host to the PGA Tour’s THE PLAYERS Championship. The 17th hole boasts a demanding, mesmerizing island green.
Best Public Golf Course in Georgia
Highlight: This enjoyable course played host to TV’s the Big Break Invitational in 2014.
Best Public Golf Course in Kentucky
Highlight: Expect large, forgiving, bent grass greens here at one of the most scenic courses in the country.
Best Public Golf Course in Louisiana
Highlight: TPC Louisiana hosts the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic each year and is characterized by a landscape of lush wetlands and native Cypress trees
Best Public Golf Course in Mississippi
West Point, Mississippi
Highlight: Woven around five lakes, this layout is both picturesque and challenging for all golfing abilities.
Best Public Golf Course in North Carolina
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Highlight: This world renowned course has hosted more golf championships in the U.S. than any other and is known for it’s crowned, complex, and undulating greens.
Best Public Golf Course in Oklahoma
Highlight: Offering guest cottages as relaxing accommodations, this course is the home of the Oklahoma State men and women’s golf programs.
Best Public Golf Course in South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Highlight: Harbour Town is a links style course that hosts the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage each year, ranking as a perennial favorite among PGA Tour pros.
Best Public Golf Course in Tennessee
Highlight: The Championship Course at Mirimichi boasts large, undulating greens which are framed by deep pit bunkers and rolling hills of grassland. This course is as equally challenging as it is appealing to the eye.
Best Public Golf Course in Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Highlight: Located a short drive from Austin, this resort is an ideal location for a golf vacation or weekend getaway.
Best Public Golf Course in Virginia
Meadows of Dan, Virginia
Highlight: Natural trout streams and rivers run throughout the golf course, while the layout utilizes both bent grass and fescue grasses, to add subtle challenges to the playing surface
Best Public Golf Course in West Virginia
White Sulphur Springs, Virginia
Highlight: The Old White TPC is known for generous fairways and challenging, undulated greens. This historic course celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 1914.
Best Public Golf Courses in the West
Best Public Golf Course in Arizona
Fort McDowell, Arizona
Highlight: Located less than a mile from the Fort McDowell Casino, We-Ko-Pa offers tempting “stay and play” options.
Best Public Golf Course in Colorado
Grand Junction, Colorado
Highlight: This fun layout offers large rock outcroppings and spectacular on-course views of the Grand Mesa and the Colorado National Monument.
Best Public Golf Course in Idaho
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Highlight: Your round can be made or lost on the signature par 3, 14th hole, which boasts a demanding, floating island green.
Best Public Golf Course in Montana
Highlight: Course architect Jack Nicklaus transformed this historic piece of land into a championship layout, while preserving its natural beauty.
Best Public Golf Course in Nevada
Highlight: This beautifully manicured course has been featured in multiple video game titles and has been named a top “favorite” golf course to play by golf fans worldwide.
Best Public Golf Course in New Mexico
Espanola, New Mexico
Highlight: Set amongst the sandstone foothills of New Mexico, this course is always in impeccable shape, especially the greens!
Best Public Golf Course in Utah
Highlight: The impeccable conditions of this links-style course are set amongst the breathtaking views of the Southwest desert landscape.
Best Public Golf Course in Wyoming
Highlight: Want to hit the ball longer? No need for additional lessons, the elevation at 6,311 feet will add the extra yardage for you!
Best Public Golf Courses on the West Coast
Best Public Golf Course in California
Pebble Beach, CA
Highlight: “Pebble” has hosted five U.S. Open championships. The course showcases rugged coastline vistas and cliffside fairways on a challenging layout.
Best Public Golf Course in Oregon
Highlight: This links-style course was designed by a Scotsman and is as authentic as anything you would find across the pond. Natural vegetation and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean make this course a true beauty.
Best Public Golf Course in Washington
University Place, Washington
Highlight: This links-style course hosted the U.S. Open in 2015 and is known for challenging greens and breathtaking views - a wonderful homage to traditional Scottish courses.
Best Public Golf Course in Alaska
Highlight: Want to play back-to-back rounds? During the Alaskan summer months, play can last well after midnight.
Best Public Golf Course in Hawaii
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
Highlight: This course is always in impeccable condition and is the site of the PGA Tour’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions every January.
A Note About the List
A variety of criteria were considered when selecting each golf course, including the following: affordability; the layout and uniqueness of the holes; year-round course conditioning and maintenance; club amenities; overall quality of service and golfing experience. The general public canschedule tee times at each of the golf courses on this list.
This list was written by Michael Zozos, who has been a passionate and devoted golfer for the last quarter century and has been a high school golf coach in California for nearly a decade.