Top Ten Places To Play Golf In The Us

Lists top 10 best courses to play golf in the United States.

I recruited a small panel of experts to choose the top 10 best courses to play golf in the US. The panel included a friend of mine who is a teaching pro at one of the local golf courses in Florida, and a second friend who's a sports writer for a local paper, as well as an avid golfer.

Best Public Course: Pebble Beach Golf Links

Nearly everyone asked agreed that as far as public courses go, Pebble Beach would rank number one. Here scenic beauty meets great golfing history. The golf course at Pebble Beach has played host to many US Opens, and has provided golfing enthusiast with such memories as Nicklaus' near ace on 17th hole with a 1-iron in 1972, and Tom Watson's chip in on the same hole to win the tournament in 1982. The course's 18th hole is widely considered the best closing hole in golf. Not to be outdone by its history, the scenic view at Pebble Beach is not only breath taking, but also home to some of the most photographed landmarks on the California coast. All of which makes Pebble Beach the undisputed choice for best public place to play.

Best Private Course: Augusta National Golf Club

As famous as the course at Pebble Beach, if not more so, The Augusta National Golf Club is the annual host of the Masters, the most coveted tournament in professional golf. Designed by golf legend Booby Jones, it boasts some of the toughest holes in the world. Most notable among these are holes 11.12, and 13. The club itself is ultra exclusive and to play you would have to be invited by a member. Greens fee for these course are not made public.

Best Private Course Runner Up: Pine Valley Golf Club

Consistently ranked as one of the top US golf courses over the past ten years, the Pine Valley Golf Club in Pine Valley New Jersey has it all. The fairways are long and wide, and the green extremely fast. There are also plenty of bunkers and water hazards to make things rather interesting. Greens fee for these course are not made public.

Most Scenic Course: Makaha Resort & Golf Club

With the Waianae Mountain Range as a backdrop, and majestic Mt. Kaala viewable from every hole on the course, The Makaha Resort & Golf Club offers challenging play in a beautiful setting. This 7,077 yard course comes with a 73.2 USGA rating. Among the most difficult holes on the course is the par five, 540 yard 14th hole, where golfers have to hit the tee shot into the wind and unto a slight uphill.

Most Challenging: PGA West, TPC Stadium Course

Twenty years ago Pete Dye was asked to design the most difficult golf course in the world, and thus the PGA West TPC Stadium Golf Course was born. This course, among the most famous in the Palm Springs region, carries nine holes where water hazards are in play, and difficult bunkers cover the course. One of the most memorable holes on the course is the island green 17th hole named "Alcatraz." Green fees at PGA West can run you as high as $235.

Best Golden Oldie: The Shinnecock Hillis Golf Club

While Augusta National cannot be challenged for historical significance, The Shinnecock Hillis Golf Club in Southampton New York is still considered the first world class golf course built in the United Sates. This course was founded in 1891 and played host to the 2nd US Open in 1896. It again played host to the Open 100 years later in 1986. Shinnecock Hills also has the distinction of having the first and oldest clubhouse in the US, as well as being the first club to extend membership to women. The course in itself is challenging, with a narrow design and strategically placed bunkers as well as multiple long grass roughs. Green Fees for this course are not made public.

Best Desert Course: Troon North Golf Club

With two beautiful yet tough courses out in the Sonoran Desert of Scottsdale Arizona, Troon North is a must play for any golfer looking for a challenge. Both of Troon North courses, the Monument course and the Pinnacle course, have been rated in the top 50 places to play in the US. The Monument course designed in part by golf legend Tom Weiskopf offers a fascinating hole with a giant boulder right in the middle of a 564 yard par five. Green Fees for this course are $225.

Best Kid Friendly Course: Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge

Just the fact that it is located in Orlando, home of Disney World, should be reason enough to make this course kid friendly. But the facility offers a 9 hole par 29 course that is ideal for kids. The course named the "Tooth" will run you as little as $15 a kid, or it's free with a paying adult. While there you can take full advantage of the two other great courses that are offered - the Crook Cat and the Panther Lake course. The Crooked Cat course measures a good 7,277 feet from the back tees and has played host to two PGA Tour Q-School Finals. Green Fees can run from as little as $60 to $150 depending on when you play.

Best Course for under $100: Hermitage Golf Course

If you are passing through the Nashville area, you may want to drop in on the Hermitage Golf course for a relatively inexpensive round of golf. The club features two beautiful courses along the scenic banks of the Cumberland River. The modest greens fees for these courses start as low as $48.

Best Women's Course: LPGA International

With courses designed specifically for pro women golfers, the LPGA International in Daytona Beach Florida is considered one of America's most women friendly golf courses. Both the Legends course and the Championship course feature beautiful rolling greens, and strategically placed hazards, providing for challenging yet scenic golfing. Green fees at this semi private facility are $95.

Though I have clearly presented some choices that leave little room for debate, I tried to steer clear of presenting the same old top 10 list that can be found in most golfing publications. Having done that, I am satisfied that I have left enough room for some spirited conversation on the subject over all.

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