Every golfer has one… the “bucket list” of must-play courses to visit in their lifetime. Many of the courses on those lists are exclusive and members-only, but we have compiled a list of public golf courses across the United States which will challenge and excite even the most seasoned players!
Want to play with the Vegas Strip in plain sight? The Wynn boasts spectacular views and a well-designed course. Looking to turn your golf trip into a weekend with your significant other? Visit Whistling Straits and enjoy world-class golf on the course and luxury amenities at the Kohler Spa.
Read more about the best municipal golf courses in the country, and come back soon for more!
The Wynn Golf Club Las Vegas, NV
From its rolling greens to its white-sand bunkers and rushing streams, you may forget you’re in Las Vegas while at the Wynn Golf Club. The 18-hole, par-70 course—designed by Tom Fazio and Steve Wynn—was conceived with the rolling hills of South Carolina or Georgia in mind.
As a part of being the only golf course attached to a resort on the Las Vegas strip, their team is well prepared to get you from room-to-tee without ever leaving the resort. Can’t bring your own equipment? Complimentary clubs by Callaway and shoes by Foot Joy are always provided and their professional caddies are available to help you master the course.
Pacific Dunes Bandon, OR
This 18-hole, par-71 public course is remarkably different in character and shot-making requirements than many other courses. Designed by Tom Doak and opened in 2001, Pacific Dunes doesn’t feel like it was built as much as it was discovered. Rippling fairways remain just as they were found and natural bunkers line the landscape as they have for centuries. Pacific Dunes is short enough to give you hope, but rugged enough to test every facet of your game.
“Welcome to the first hole at Pacific Dunes. The fairway landing area is generous, so try to gauge your tee shot to leave 100-125 yards into the green. A tee shot left of center provides a better angle to this green nestled into the sand dunes.” Read more about the rest of the course.
Whistling Straits Sheboygen, WI
Open, rugged and windswept terrain defines the walking-only, links-style Straits course sculpted along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline. A masterpiece in the world of golf created by Pete Dye, The Straits at Whistling Straits® was ranked #4 in GolfWeek’s 2015 Best Resort Courses and #22 in Golf Digest’s 2015/2016 America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses.
With names like “Down and Dirty” and “Shipwreck”, each hole is designed to both challenge the seasoned golfer, and encourage those still working on their game. The scenery is breathtaking, and the facilities second to none, and connected to the Kohler Spa, allowing you and your significant other to both have an enjoyable, relaxing trip.
Bethpage State Park (Black) Farmingdale, NY
Bethpage State Park is a mecca for public, golf featuring five 18-hole regulation golf courses including the world-renowned Black Course which was the site of the United States Open in 2002 and 2009. The park was developed from an estate owned by the Yoakum family who leased it to the Lenox Hills Corporation. Lenox then used the property to build the Lenox Hills Country Club.
This 18-hole par 71 golf course has been renovated in recent years, and is considered a difficult course, suitable for experienced players.
Highlands of Elgin Elgin, IL
Rated on Golfweek’s “Best Courses You Can Play” and the #1 municipal course in Illinois,This 18 holes, par 72 course is a step above your typical public course. Tearing a page from the courses in the sport’s native land, they strive to make any golfer feel as if they’re playing on the rolling hills of Scotland, shooting errant balls past the same shores as those who brought the game up from its infancy. If you’re in or visiting Chicago, this course should be your first stop!
They offer a full range of golf lessons, corporate and fundraising outings, and a beautiful clubhouse to enjoy a nice dinner after your round.
Explore the other public golf courses in this series: