The TOP 10 BEST Public Golf Courses In The US

The TOP 10 BEST Public Golf Courses In The US

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10 Highly Ranked Public Golf Courses In The US

We have compiled and reviewed the top 10 best public golf courses across the country.

1. Pebble Beach Golf Links

Stars:

This course has been called “a remarkable feat of engineering” and is consistently ranked as the #1 golf course in the world, with a rating of 12.5 out of 13.

What Golfers Think:

“The views from this course are unreal. From the canyons in the distance to the coastline, it is an absolutely amazing place to golf. The waterfalls, panoramic views, and wildlife are spectacular, as well as the unique holes that make Pebble Beach one of a kind.”

“This course may be a private one, but it is nothing but public when it comes to golf. I have never seen anything like this place, and everyone should take advantage of playing there if they get a chance. The views are incomparable, and you truly feel like you are on top of the world during your round there.

What We Think:

Pebble Beach Golf Links is a must-play for anyone, as not only can you play a round as an outsider, but you can also get a tee time. The course is one of the most expensive to play in the world, but the quality is unmatched and worth every penny.

2. Pacific Dunes

Stars: 

This course has been repeatedly ranked among Golf Magazine’s America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses, ranking as high as second-place on 2011-2013 lists and earning the publication’s fifth-highest rating for aesthetics.

Pacific Dunes was the first golf course to sell its own sand to be used in bunkers elsewhere around the world.

What Golfers Think:

“One of the most impressive public courses I’ve ever played. The fairways are wide open, and the driving range is easy to get to, so it’s a great place for beginners. if you’re good enough to be playing on this amazing course, you’ll be able to play it in any weather condition.”

“It may be called Pacific Dunes, but don’t let that fool you – they have everything here. If there is one public golf facility you should visit in California, this is definitely it. They have a true professional layout that is designed very well with lots of elevation changes, beautiful views, and challenging holes along with water hazards all around.

What We Think:

This course is amazing, with a wide-open layout and lots of water. This is one of the few courses that has bunkers that work all year round – in the winter, and they are frozen over so you can hit them. The Pacific Dunes course has everything you need in a public golf course – fairways, water hazards, great views, and challenging holes.

3. Chambers Bay Golf Club

Stars: 

With a rating of 12.5 out of 13 and the title of the #1 Golf Course in America by Golf Digest, Chambers Bay has everything you can ask for in a golf course.

What Golfers Think:

“I was really surprised at how challenging this place was. It’s not easy to score well here, but you will enjoy every hole as it is so different from anything else in my experience. The variety they give you with views and the local wildlife is spectacular, and I’ll never forget how cool it was when we walked on the 16th green while watching an eagle soar over us.”

“There are a few things that you absolutely need when playing Chambers Bay. You should prepare for your round by coming here early and hitting balls on the practice range before the sun rises. Otherwise, you could be in for a very hot day. Also, bring plenty of water as it’s important to stay hydrated here. The course is tough, but it’s also worth visiting if you get the chance.”

What We Think:

Chambers Bay is a one-of-a-kind golf course that requires a specific type of preparation. The fairways are wide, and the greens are on huge, natural swells of land that makes them very tough. If you want to play this course, you need to be prepared for a wide variety of shots. It’s expensive, but if you have the money, it is well worth it – this layout is stunning and unique from anything else you will find.

4. Bandon Dunes Golf Course

Stars: 

Rated as high as third-place in Golf Magazine’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is known for its signature course, Old Macdonald, which was named #1 Golf Course in America by Golf Digest. Bandon Dunes is a top golf destination on the West Coast and earned 4 out of 4 stars on Golf Advisor.

What Golfers Think:

“Almost everything about this place is better than anywhere else, in my opinion. The views are amazing, and the elevation changes are spectacular. I also liked how the course had so many bunkers that you’re actually encouraged to hit from them. The sand is so nice and soft compared to what I am used to, and even the rough isn’t hard to play from. It may be the best golf course in my life.”

What We Think:

This is one of the most famous golf clubs in the United States, and it is also very expensive. They have a wide variety of courses, but they are slightly more difficult than those at other clubs. However, if you can make it here, you will be treated to some of the best views and most challenging holes in all of North America.

5. Manele Golf Course

Stars: 

This course is ranked as high as eighth-place in Golf Magazine’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” and was rated as the #1 public course in Hawaii by Golf Digest.

What Golfers Think:

“For a public golf course, this one is pretty awesome. It’s nice to get out on the links and enjoy a beautiful day at a place where there are plenty of fairways to land on and not many trees or other obstacles to avoid. The lava rock bunkers are intimidating, and the views are breathtaking.”

“Manale is a great place to play for beginners and professionals alike. It’s not an easy course, but it’s a fun place to take your time and enjoy the beautiful views while you’re on the course. I like that this golf resort has a nice-looking clubhouse and that they have some great practice facilities as well.

What We Think:

This is one of the newer golf resorts on the island, and many people like it because it is so close to town. The views are spectacular, and the design is very good. This course does tend to get a little crowded, but it is worth going if you are looking for something close to Lahaina without having to deal with the larger crowds at some of the other courses in town.

6. Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course 

Stars: 

Rated as high as sixth in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” Arcadia Bluffs has its signature course, Arroyo Trabuco, which was ranked the #1 public course in California by Golf Digest.

What Golfers Think:

“This place has some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen, and it was an amazing experience to be out here with my buddies. As we played the course, I really liked how there were so many places to land your ball and that you can choose to play from the fairway or sand, depending on what you want at that moment.”

“This golf resort is a great place to bring your family or friends when you want them to try something new. It’s not an easy course, but they do a good job of offering tips and tricks for navigating each hole. It really is a cool place with a nice clubhouse too.

What We Think:

The 18-hole course is challenging for golfers of all skill levels. It has great shots from every part of the course, although it takes a while to get used to navigating around some parts of the fairways with out-of-bounds signs and lost balls are strewn about.

7. The Prairie Club (Dunes)

Stars:

Rated as high as eighth place in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” The Prairie Club was ranked #1 public course in Nevada by Golf Digest.

What Golfers Think:

“This golf resort is one of the best places I’ve ever been to. We had a group of our friends from San Diego out here, and we all had a great time. The views are incredible, and they have some really beautiful practice areas with a nice layout and nice greens too.”

“We were able to play Valle Vista Country Club, which was also awesome, but I liked that we could get away from everyone on the links here at The Prairie Club where nobody bothered us.”

What We Think:

This course is known for being a little harder than some of the others on the list, but it’s worth making sure you have time to play here, as the views are spectacular, and you will want to be sure you give yourself enough time to enjoy them.

8. Kapalua Resort (Plantation) 

Stars: 

Ranked as high as ninth in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses,” Kapalua Plantation is one of the most scenic courses on Maui.

What Golfers Think:

“I loved how this course was set up, and the views were incredible. It didn’t matter where you hit your ball, so you could have plenty of fun out here. The greens were also nice to putt on.”

“My buddies and I had a blast here on vacation, and we had time to enjoy other things besides golf too.”

What We Think:

This is a great course to play if you are looking for something more challenging. It has much more up and down than the other courses in the area, but it also has more wind, which makes it difficult to play if you don’t get used to it.

9. Kiawah Island (Ocean)

Stars: 

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is ranked number 12 in Golf Digest’s list of America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses. The course plays 6,983 yards from the tips and plays a par 72.

What Golfers Think:

“This was one of those courses where you had to really think about your game because it wasn’t easy at all. I loved how challenging it was, and the greens were also really nice to putt on.”

“I liked that we had plenty of time to practice our putting because that was my weak point, but I didn’t expect that we would have so much fun out here on vacation.”

What We Think:

This is the most expensive course on the list, and it is also one of the most scenic. It has some amazing views of the ocean from every part of the course, especially from hole 15. The greens are demanding but still receptive to putts, which makes this a very enjoyable golf resort.

10. Bethpage State Park (Black)

Stars:

The Black Course was ranked as high as seventh-place in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” and was rated as the #1 public course in New York by Golf Digest.

What Golfers Think:

“This place is amazing. The views are gorgeous, and it’s so fun to be able to hit off of all of these different tee boxes.” 

“The fairways are huge here, and the greens are very large too.

What We Think:

“I liked the variety of holes we played and how everything was challenging. I also loved all the history that you would learn along the way.”

“This was my second time playing this course, so I knew what to expect, but they did such a great job of keeping things interesting with water, elevation changes, out-of-bounds, forced carries, blind shots into greens and trees. There were no two holes that were alike except for number one, which was very similar to hole one at Stoneybrook Country Club.”

stay safe place safe at the golf course
Safety Protocol at the Golf course

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the best public golf course in America?

Pebble Beach Golf Links

But everybody has their own opinion when it comes to this question since we all have different playing styles and preferences. 

In order to come up with the “best” answer, you will need to study the reviews and statistics of each of these courses. You also need to think about what type of experience you hope to have on your next round of golf. 

For example, some courses offer scenic views while others allow for extensive playtime; still, others place a greater emphasis on catering to families with young children. Here are more top golf courses in the US.

2. Do any of these courses allow me to walk the course?

Yes, most of them do. 

That being said, every course has its own unique design that determines how you will navigate the links. 

Also, note that some courses are more demanding than others, and walking the entire 18 holes might not be a reasonable option. You should also remember those cart path scan sometimes seem like shortcuts, but they can add distance to your round of golf and slow down your pace. 

3. What is considered a great score on these golf courses?

Good golf scores are considered to be less than 108 strokes, and bad golf scores are considered to be higher than 120 strokes. An average golf score is 90 strokes for every 18 holes. Due to the fact that golf is such a complex sport, there are many degrees of skill levels that one can possess.

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