Golfers who enjoy traveling are always on the lookout for the best courses to play. While there are thousands of venues within the United States, some stand out among the crowd and what determines the quality depends on a few things.For example, how much of a challenge you’re looking for, the overall condition of the greens, the difficulty of the holes and the overall location of the course. We’ve looked into the most highly recommended golf courses to bring you the top 20 in the United States for 2019, based on serious player recommendations and expert opinion.
20. Fallen Oak Golf Course, Saucier, Mississippi
Fallen Oak Golf Course is relatively new. It was just opened in 2006. It gets an average rating of 7.25, landing it firmly in the 20th position on our list. Tom Fazio is the architect responsible for the design of the course. Visitors are welcome to come out and play when visiting the area. Fallen Oak Golf Course is the only course to make our list in the state of Mississippi, and it’s considered to be the best in the region.
19. Streamsong Resort (Blue), Fort Meade, Fla.
Streamsong is a golf course that is a part of the overall larger resort. It was opened in 2012, making the course just 7 years old. Tom Doak was the architect in charge of this lovely in-resort course and it gets a rating of 7.30. There are more highly rated courses in the state, but this one is rated as the best in the Fort Meade area.
18. Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Harbour Town Golf Links course was opened for play in 1970. It’s been around for almost a half-century, and it’s been kept up remarkably well. Pete Dye was the architect behind the design of this course. It’s one of the top 20 with an overall rating of 7.29, so if you’re headed to South Carolina, we recommend you check out the greens at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island.
17. Gamble Sands, Brewster, Washington
Gamble Sands is located in the town of Brewster, Washington in the lovely Pacific Northwestern portion of the United States. This golf course was designed by architect David McLay Kidd. It has been opened for just 5 years, sponsoring its first Tees in 2014. This course gets an overall rating of 7.42.
16. Kapalua Plantation, Lanai, Hawaii
Heading even further west into the South Pacific is the Kapalua Plantation golf course. If you plan on visiting the islands anytime soon and you’re wondering where to play, this course comes highly recommended with a rating of 7.2. Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw are the architects responsible for the design of the course which opened for play in 1991.
15. Friar’s Head Golf Club, Long Island, New York
Friar’s Head was first opened in 2002. It is the design of architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw who both faced challenges as they created some of the holes in the dunes. It’s located 200 feet above Long Island Sound, providing a beautiful view. A part of the course was created in a potato field in the southern part. Combining the dunes and the flat created a challenge, but the two reshaped the fields and reconciled the elevation difference beautifully.
14. Chicago Golf Club, Wheaton, Illinois
The Chicago Golf Club course was opened initially in 1984 under the architecture of C.B. Macdonald. It was revised in 1922 by architect Seth Raynor, then again in 2002 by architect Tom Doak. It is possibly the first 18-hole golf course ever opened in America, but that statement is currently a topic of debate because old records do not distinguish whether the original course consisted of 9 holes or 18. The first location was set in Downer’s Grove, Illinois, in the year 1893, but it was later moved to Wheaton in 1896.
13. Crystal Downs Country Club, Frankfort, Michigan
Crystal Downs Country Club is rated as the best golf course in the state of Michigan. The course first opened in 1931 as the design of architects Alister MacKenzie & Perry Maxwell. It was later revised by architect Tom Doak in 2018. The first architects lived on the site while the course was under construction. This is one of the most artistic creations in the United States with multiple doglegs and zigzags across the landscape. Although it’s a short course of 6.560 yards, it’s a lot of fun to play and a great challenge for sharpening fine golfing skills.
12. Seminole Golf Club Juno Beach, Florida
The Seminole Golf Club course is a 6,836-yard course, first opened in 1929. The initial architect in charge of design was Donald Ross. In 2017 Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw worked their magic and redesigned the bunkers after Ross had made his revisions, followed by Dick Wilson’s interpretation of the bunkers. They’ve gone through quite a few changes through the years. This course is one of the most exclusive clubs in America and it is designated as the host course for the 2021 Walker Cup.
11. Winged Foot Golf Club West Mamaroneck, New York
This is a slightly larger course measuring 7,426 yards. The course first opened in 1923. The first architect in charge of the design was A.W. Tillinghast. He was known for his impressive green contours and for creating versatility in the course. In 2017, architect Gil Hanse came along and did some restoration work to bring the contours back to their original state as built by Tillinghast. The course is slated to host the 2020 U.S. Open.
10. Fishers Island Club, Fishers Island, New York
The Fishers Island Club course opened in 1926. It was designed by architect Seth Raynor. This course has a story behind it. Raynor began the development of the course in 1925. He passed away just a few months before the course was scheduled to open. He was a brilliant golf course architect who was mentored by teh great Charles Blair Macdonald. This is one of the more challenging courses with nasty sandtraps and targets which are set on plateaus with exposure to the wind.
9. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Pacific Dunes, Bandon, Oregon
The Pacific Dunes golf course is a part of the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon. Another lovely location in the Pacific Northwest, architects Jim Urbina and Tom Doak had their work cut out for them. Pacific Dunes was opened in 2001 after work concluded after starting in 1994. Bandon is the home of some high dunes as well as coastal cliffs which offer a unique location for carving out one of the most spectacular golf courses in the United States.
8. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey Peninsula, California
Pebbly Beach was developed by entrepreneur Samuel F.B. Morse who commissioned the design to H. Chandler Egan, Jack Neville, and Douglas Grant. The course first opened for play in 1919. It’s in a lovely location on the peninsula surrounded by an 18,000-acre parcel of land bordering the Del Monte forest, and coastal lands. It’s one of the most scenic golf courses in the world offering views of Carmel Bay and Stillwater Cove.
7. Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Georgia
The Augusta National Golf Club is one of the favorites by average golfers in the entire United States. The course first opened for play in 1933. It was designed by architects Dr. Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones. The course has no rough and features twenty-two bunkers and is considered one of the best courses in the nation for average golfers. MacKenzie designed it to be at this level of difficulty.
6. Oakmont Country Club Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Oakmont Country Club golf course first opened for play in the year 1903. The course ws designed by architects Henry Fownes and William Fownes. If you’re looking for a demanding layout, then this is one that is one of the most internationally respected courses in the world. The course is uncomplicated, but it can be unforgiving with nasty bunkers and a variety of different lines and angles.
5. Sand Hills Golf Club Mullen, Nebraska
The Sand Hills Golf Club course was first opened for play in 1995. It was designed by architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. It’s set in the north-central portion of Nebraska where there are rolling dunes as far as the eye can see. It’s a desolate area, but there are droves of golfers who flock to the course. The dune structures are impressive and the course offers a variety of levels and a lot of excitement. The layout is a natural one relying heavily on the wonders of Mother Nature to create an interesting and fun course within her spacious yet variated landscape.
4. Merion Golf Club East Course Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Merion Golf Club East Course comes in fourth on our list with a rating of 8.3. The course has been around for a while, first opening in 1912. It was designed by architects Hugh Wilson and William S. Flynn. The course dates back to 1865 when the Merion Cricket Club was formed. Members of the club built their own nine hold golf course in 1896, and this course evolved from those early beginnings. The course is a must-play for golfers who enjoy a challenge.
3. Cypress Point Club, Pebble Beach, California
The Cypress Point Club golf course at Pebble Beach is listed as a number one course by Planet Golf, but others have given it an overall score that places it as third in the nation. The aesthetics are remarkably beautiful, which is a large drawing card in itself, with high ratings for ambiance, and shot values ranked at an 8.5. This is one of the most important golf courses in the nation today.
2. National Golf Links of America, Long Island, The Hamptons, New York
The National Golf Links of America golf course is located in one of the most exclusive and wealthy communities in the United States, which is the Hamptons, in Long Island, New York. This golf course was the design and creation of master architect Charles Blair Macdonald. The course first opened for play in 1909. Macdonald was a philosopher as well as a creative artist and perfectionist when it came to the engineering of a golf course. He was one of the masters when it came to early-American golf and as a pioneering player and part-time course designer, his name is forever recorded in the annals of American golf history. Macdonald is responsible for the 1893 architecture of America’s first 18-hole golf course. It is worth noting that Mr. Macdonald retired from his business ventures, retired in Long Island, then built the National Golf Links of America golf course.
1. Pine Valley Golf Club Pine Valley, New Jersey
One of the most important golf courses in the United States is the Pine Valley Golf Club course. This course first opened for play in the yar 1918. It was designed by architects George Crum and H.S. Colt, with later revisions made by Tom Fazio in 2017. Pine Valley is a Par 70 7,181 yard course that has been ranked among the top golf courses in the United States since 1966. It is currently the number one rated for 2019, and this is nothing new. It also held the top position from 1985 through 2000, then again from 2003 through 2008, and from 2013 through 2014. What golfers love about this course is that it combines the three schools of golf design including strategic, penal and heroic, sometimes within a single hole. This is the most versatile golf course in America today and it offers challenging holes and a lot of fun.