Best Golf Course In…

Yes Siree, this list will certainly provoke more arguments!  So get ready to nod your head or–so be it–shake your fist. Asterisk indicates courses that are public-access (and the photo is of Ballyneal, in Colorado, with yours truly doing on-site research.)

Alaska – Moose Run Creek Course* – It’s also the toughest, most scenic, despite a couple of terrible golf holes

Arizona – The Rim Golf Club …somewhat atypical, but for me easily the best.

Baltimore – If you like old, it’s Baltimore Country Club’s Five Farms.  For new, it’s Caves Valley.

Big Island of Hawaii – Mauna Kea* still prevails.

Boston – The Country Club Composite Course wins with its history, but the area is so golf course-rich.

Chicago – Chicago Golf Club…Where the oldest is still the best, but I love Shoreacres too in another golf-rich region.

Cleveland – The Country Club & Kirtland vie for Best Classic Course while Sand Ridge captures the Modern Category.

Colorado Golf Club’s par-3 second hole. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)

Colorado – The Golf Club of Castle Pines, the Colorado Golf Club, and Ballyneal feature different strokes for different folks.

Connecticut – Country Club of Fairfield…  Where simple outdoes the silly, slick putting surfaces of Stanwich.

Florida Private – Seminole Golf Club…some things just don’t change.

Florida Central – World Woods Pine Barrens* the better of two great World Woods courses that must be played, but chased by Victoria Hills*, Isleworth, Mountain Lake, and Bay Hill*.

Florida Northern Public– TPC Sawgrass Stadium* has matured into an outstanding golf experience.

Hilton Head Island –  The Dye Creations of Long Cove Club and Harbour Town Links* are my choices among some really solid golf offerings.

Idaho – Gozzer Ranch and the Club at Black Rock finish in a dead heat.

Indiana – Wolf Creek and Victoria National nose out Crooked Stick.

Kauai – The Prince Course* is the most formidable and memorable of some very good courses.

Las Vegas – Shadow Creek* and Cascata* prove that expensive layouts still prevail.

Louisiana – Bluffs at Thompson’s Creek* is a wonderful routing on good piece of property and it’s open to the public.

The Bluffs at Thompson Creek, LA.

Long Island – Friendly Neighbors – National Golf Links and Shinnecock Hills are the best among a host of great ones.

Maui – The Plantation Course* at Kapalua shares honors with Wailua Gold*.

Michigan – too many favorites, but Crystal Downs wins.

Mississippi – Old Waverly Country Club is a flat, tough, entertaining golf course, but Fallen Oak* may be the best.

Montana – Rock Creek Cattle Company has a terrific and challenging golf course.

Monterey Peninsula  California – Public Pebble Beach and private Cypress Point Club are followed closely by the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.

Author Fagan enjoying another site inspection at the Cypress Point Club.

Myrtle Beach- Caledonia Golf & Fish Club*  This is a course nearly everyone including me likes and The Dunes*.

Naples – Calusa Pines -this Hurdzan-Fry course has it all edging out another of their designs, Naples National.

Bold bunkering marks Calusa Pines in Florida. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)

New Jersey – Pine Valley Golf Club wins in a landslide over many other terrific layouts.

New Mexico – Black Mesa* edges out Paa Ko Ridge* and the duo at Las Campanas.

Ohio – The Columbus duo of the Muirfield Village Golf Club and The Golf Club edge out the classic Courses such as Camargo, Moraine, and Brookside.

Oklahoma – While I have no problem with Southern Hills or Oak Tree National as championship venues, but my favorites end up being two Tom Fazio courses – Karsten Creek and GC of Oklahoma with Cedar Ridge being a real ‘sleeper.’

Orange County California – Pelican Hill Ocean* is not the hardest, but the prettiest and most expensive of the lot.

Oregon – Take your pick from any of the four courses at Bandon Dunes*.

Palm Springs Area – PGA West Stadium*, Stone Eagle, the very private Porcupine Creek, and The Tradition win.  This area tends to be “resorty,” with many look-alike layouts, but not these.

The author at the finishing hole at Porcupine Creek.

Pennsylvania – Is a tie between venerable stalwarts, Philly’s Merion East Course and Pittsburgh’s Oakmont Country Club in a dead heat.

Philadelphia – Pine Valley Golf Club, enough said already…America’s Best too!

Pinehurst Other Than Pinehurst Country Club – Pine Needles* and Tobacco Road* are my choices.

Wild and wooly Tobacco Road in North Carolina. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)

Pocono Mountains – Modern Huntsville and the vintage CC of Scranton win out.

Reno-Tahoe – Lahontan Golf Club, Clear Creek Tahoe Golf Club, and Martis Creek are the cream of the crop.

St. Louis – Bellerive Country Club edges out St. Louis CC and Old Warson by a nose.

San Diego – Barona Creek* edges out Meadows Del Mar*, Aviara*, Maderas*, and Torrey Pines*.

San Francisco – It’s a tie between the venerable San Francisco Golf Club, penal Olympic Lake Course, and the renovated California Golf Club.

San Francisco’s superb California Golf Club

San Francisco North of the Gold Gate – Nicklaus’ best in California, the Mayacama Golf Club takes the prize for modern with The Meadow Club since its restoration claiming the vintage prize.

South Dakota – Magnificently unique Sutton Bay is an easy choice.

Looking down upon Sutton Bay’s par-3 17th in South Dakota. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)

Tennessee – The Honors Course and The Golf Club of Tennessee edge out Holston Hills.

Texas – Dallas National is the new gunslinger in town though Whispering Pines is the quiet gem.

Texas Public – Crown Colony* is simply a terrific wooded parkland layout.

Washington – Chambers Bay*.  The “new kid on the block” takes the prize.

Westchester County New York, Winged Foot West over Quaker Ridge by a nose.

The 10th at Chambers Bay in Washington. (Photo by Robert S. Fagan)


6 Responses to “Best Golf Course In…”

  1. Vic Williams

    All great courses I’m sure, but the majority of them are private, which does most of us no good! Great you’ve gotten to play them all, however.

  2. Bob Fagan

    Vic, good point, however, this article was never intended to necessarily focus up on public access golf courses, simply the best ones (in my humble opinion). I have a book ready for publication, “Business Traveler’s Guide to Golf,” that reveals the best public access golf courses complete with contact information within one hour of the airport or center city of 122 metropolitan areas in the US. That said, I feel that some people just are curious about what some feel are the best courses (ie. Golf Digest’s, Golfweek’s or Golf Magazine’s Best ___ Lists.

  3. Clay Putnam

    Hi, I love reading your reviews and takes on various golf courses. I have also played a lot in the US and Ireland/Mexico and have recently tried to get access to Black Rock and Gozzer Ranch in Idaho to no avail. I basically love traveling and playing golf while seeing the various types of golf architecture. I have never been to the Pacific NW, but would love to make it up there. Do you happen to have any contacts there for those 2 courses?

    Thank you very much.

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