For some, spring has already sprung—the flowers are in bloom and Dad bods and beach bods alike are beginning to emerge from beneath winter coats. For many, this means a trip to the lake or finally getting back to one of your favorite hiking trails. For many others, though, the warm weather means the links have reopened and it’s high time to play the back nine.
Hopefully you’ve been keeping your game sharp with an indoor driving range or, at the very least, a few rounds of Golden Tee because, in this article, we’re going to take a look at six of the best golf courses the continental United States has to offer. From coast to coast, and back again, here are the ten best golf courses waiting for you to come and tee off.
6. Pebble Beach Golf Links: Pebble Beach, California
Architect: Jack Neville/Douglas Grant
Green fee: $495-525
It wouldn’t be a list of the ten best golf courses in America without Pebble Beach so we figured we’d fire off the easy one first. The first nine-hole tract was constructed in 1913, making Pebble Beach one of the oldest golf courses in America and the site certainly has had its chance to mature into one of the finest in the world.
At Pebble Beach, you’ll find rolling greens, unforgiving rough and a golfing experience you’ll treasure forever. It also has some of the best eating and drinking for afterwards (or during—it’s entirely up to you).
5. Rams Hill: Borrego Springs, California
Architect: Ted Robinson Sr./Tom Fazio
Green fee: $65-200
In remote southern California, between mountains and hillsides and nestled on the floor of the Anza Borrego State Park is one of the finest golfing experiences in the nation. Natural elevation changes every hole at Rams Hill—never too steep and never too flat with lakes, streams and waterfalls to feast your eyes on.
4. Annbriar Golf Course: Waterloo, Illinois
Architect: Dr. Michael Hurdzan
Green fee: $43-68
The Annbriar Golf Course has been consistently ranked one of the best golf courses in Illinois and also in the top 25 of best golf course layouts in the United States. This public course, with its reasonable green fees, boasts scenic views and is suitable for advanced golfers (but don’t be afraid to take some of your intermediate friends!).
3. Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass: Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Architect: Pete Dye
Green fee: $399-549
Designed for the ultimate viewing experience (it’s the only golf “stadium” in America, with stadium seating views) the Player’s Stadium is also a supremely satisfying course.
Unfortunately, the Players tour returned to their stadium in March so you might have to wait until the latter half of spring to hit these links. Still, make your reservation fast because they’ll be filling up all the way into the heat of August!
2. Harbour Town Golf Links: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Architect: Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus
Green fee: $139-259
A perennial favorite of the PGA tour, the Harbour Town Golf Links puts more emphasis on finesse than it does pure strength, making it a favorite of shot-callers nationwide.
In addition to its world-renowned, and consistent award-winning course, it’s also a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which means if you’re a bird enthusiast as well, this might just be the perfect course for you.
1. Bethpage Black: Long Island, New York
Architect: A. W. Tillinghast/Joseph Burbeck
Green fee: $75-150
Despite discrepancies of who really built and designed the course, Bethpage Black in the Bethpage State park on Long Island is one of the most reasonably priced and best golf experiences you can have on a public course (New York residents are especially lucky with the low green fee for residents).
Hosting U.S. Opens in both 2002 and 2009, Bethpage Black is notorious for getting packed early, so it’s important to call their reservation line and see when you can get squeezed in (hint: being a New York resident makes it much easier!). Being a true public golf course, there aren’t a ton of amenities but why would you need them? This is as pure a golf experience as it gets!
It might be high time you packed up your bags (suitcase and golf, of course) and hit the road. Just like the guys who go visit all thirty Major League Baseball stadiums, you and your buddies can visit all the best golf courses America has to offer. You’ll only have to go to seven to ten different states but it’ll probably end up costing about the same! Just don’t forget to bring your Powerbilt clubs and you’ll be all set. This spring, it’s time to set a course and tee off!