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20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 4

Monday, November 9th, 2015

From coast to coast, your choices for pubic golf courses in the United States are virtually endless… but these are the best we’ve found. For the other three parts of this series, please scroll to the bottom!

Arcadia Bluffs Arcadia, MI

Arcadia Bluffs Public Golf Course

Arcadia Bluffs Public Golf Course

Arcadia Bluffs is a daily-fee par-73 golf course, open to the public seven days a week from mid-April to mid-November each year. It is completely public, and every design aspect of the facility fosters enjoyment for guests of all golfing abilities. In addition to the premier layout, guests can enjoy a full practice range and separate short-game facility. GPS-equipped golf cars are available, or you may take advantage of the caddie program.

Founded in 1999 in Arcadia, Michigan, the course is built on the bluffs above the shore of Lake Michigan and sits on approximately 245 windswept acres of lakefront property. The course drops 225 feet from its highest point down to the bluff, 180 feet above sea level, and has 3,100 feet of Lake Michigan shore frontage.

Arcadia Bluffs resembles a seaside links course, with rolling terrain, and windswept natural fescues throughout. Players will be reminded of their favorite holes at Lahinch and Ballybunion, while enjoying breathtaking views of Lake Michigan from all points on the majestic layout. A Warren Henderson/Rick Smith design, Arcadia Bluffs offers players a golfing experience unlike anything in the United States.

In addition to the golf course, Arcadia Bluffs offers world-class lodging. The Lodge at Arcadia Bluffs opened in 2010, and offers 15 well-appointed guest rooms, April through October. The Lodge is available, for private and corporate bookings, the months of November and December as well. Exceptional personal service is the hallmark of The Lodge.

The Pete Dye Course French Lick, IN

Pete Dye Public Golf Course

Pete Dye Public Golf Course

Voted the Number 1 public course in Indiana, this course is carved into history by Hall-of-Fame architect Pete Dye, and hosted the Senior PGA Championship in 2015. Senior PGA Champion Colin Montgomerie called it “one of the iconic courses” in America and one that golfers all over the world will want to play.

This championship golf course on one of Indiana’s highest elevation points has narrow, immaculate fairways and rugged, intense terrain. The course has gained national acclaim for its 40-mile panoramic views of the southern Indiana countryside, three man-made lakes, “volcano” bunkers and a variety of elevation changes. A robust 8,100 yards from the professional tees punctuate Dye’s signature sting from vista-to-vista.


Harbour Town Hilton Head, SC

Harbour Town Golf Links Is Now Open for Play

Harbour Town Golf Course

Harbour Town Golf Course

Harbour Town Golf Links re-opened on September 28, 2015 after undergoing a series of course enhancements over the summer.

The tee boxes, fairways and rough have been replaced with Celebration Bermuda grass, the most scientifically advanced surface used on warm season courses. The greens were re-grassed with Tif-Eagle Bermuda, the same turf used on the putting surfaces since 2001. A new irrigation system was also installed with the most advanced technology in water management and control.

This distinguished golf course places a premium on finesse, imagination and shot-making, rather than strength, making it a perennial favorite among PGA TOUR players. Put your game to the ultimate test – against a collection of par threes ranked among the world’s finest and a par-4 18th hole considered one of the most feared in all of golf, particularly when the wind is blowing off Calibogue Sound. The crowning achievement of famed designer Pete Dye, this celebrated PGA TOUR golf course is a true test of the game of golf.

Kapalua Golf Course Maui, HI

Kapalua Golf Course, Maui, HI

Kapalua Golf Course, Maui, HI

Consistently ranked as the #1 golf course in Hawaii, playing The Plantation Course is sure to be on every golfer’s bucket list. Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, the course was designed on a grand scale in keeping with its location on the slopes of the West Maui Mountains and offers dramatic ocean views from virtually every hole. Its lengthy 7,411 yard par 73 layout challenges the pros but it’s wide fairways and generous greens make it very playable for the average golfer. With dramatic elevation changes, this course offers plenty of downhill tee shots. You’ll feel like one of the pros when – with the aid of the aggressive slope of the 18th fairway – you will enjoy hitting one of the longest drives of your life.

The Plantation Course is the site of the PGA TOUR Hyundai Tournament of Champions each January featuring an elite field of previous year’s PGA TOUR winners. The field has included golf greats such as Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Justin Leonard, Ernie Els, Davis Love III and many more. The course record is 62 set by K.J. Choi in 2003 at the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Graeme McDowell at the 2011 Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Chambers Bay University Place, WA

Chambers Bay Golf Course

Chambers Bay Golf Course

With tawny fescue grasses, towering sand dunes, massive fairways, and breathtaking views of the Puget Sound and snow-capped Olympic Mountains, Chambers Bay brings the traditions of Scottish linksland to the Pacific Northwest. Located in University Place, Washington, this 18-hole, walking-only course provides an authentic links experience for players of every ability.

Chambers Bay was designed to host the U.S. Open, one of the world’s greatest championships. Let us help make your next tournament a championship experience. Our professional staff and top-ranked course make Chambers Bay the perfect place to host a charity tournament, customer appreciation event, staff incentive or executive meeting. Caddie services, custom merchandise, and dining options with a panoramic view of the Puget Sound are just a few of the many ways we can make your event uniquely your own.

Explore the other public golf courses in this series:

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 3

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 2

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 1

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 3

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

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


Wynn Las Vegas Public Golf Course

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

Pacific Dunes Public Golf Course

Pacific Dunes Public Golf Course

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

Whistling Straits Public Golf Course

Whistling Straits Public Golf Course

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 Black Public Golf Course

Bethpage Black Public Golf Course

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

Highlands Pubic Golf Course

Highlands Pubic Golf Course

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:

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 2

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 1

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 2

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

A continuation of the series we began last month highlighting the best public golf courses in the US. If there are any you’ve visited that you’d recommend to our followers, please share them with us on Facebook!

Blackwolf Run Golf Course Kohler, WI

Located in beautiful Kohler, Wisconsin, Blackwolf Run Public Golf Course is melded into the very same river basin formed by the flows of glacial runoff in the Sheboygan River Valley.

Blackwolf Run opened for play in June 1988 and was named that year’s “Best New Public Course” in the country by Golf Digest.

Regarded as one of Pete Dye’s crowning achievements, Blackwolf Run has hosted a number of professional championships: the Andersen Consulting World Golf Championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997 as well as the U.S. Women’s Open in 1998 and 2012.

Just miles from the Kohler Spa, a visit to the Blackwolf Run Golf Course could be the perfect blend of golf and relaxation.

Bandon Dunes Golf Course Bandon, OR

20 best golf courses in the us

Bandon Dunes Golf Course

This 18 hole par-72 course is perched on a bluff high above the Pacific Ocean. Designed by Scotsman David McLay Kidd, the course unfolds along pristine native dunes where expansive ocean views are revealed on nearly every hole. The course is completely natural and routed through an environment of indigenous vegetation. Beyond breathtaking scenery lies the game of golf in its truest form. This is a thinker’s course. Winds are ever-present, and the varying elements create a new experience each time you play.

Golf at Bandon Dunes by day and enjoy the six restaurants and lounges plus a variety of accommodations — from single rooms to spacious four-bedroom cottages — by night.

Golf Club of Estrella Phoenix, AZ

estrella golf course

Estrella Golf Course

Set in the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Estrella Mountains, Estrella is the most distinctive Phoenix golf course, with 18 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus II.

Offering online tee time reservations, a full golf shop, expert instruction, group golf events, and a state-of-the-art practice facility, Estrella has everything a seasoned golfer could ever need!

Looking to plan a golf event for your company? Estrella has a full event planning division, with accomodations for most groups.

Palm Beach National Golf Club

Palm Beach National Golf Club

Palm Beach National Golf Club

Palm Beach National is a friendly mixture passholders and daily-fee players, both welcomed equally by the best-conditioned golf course in the area. This is Palm Beach County’s most fun and friendly golf course.

When golf course architect Joe Lee reshaped Palm Beach National five decades ago, his intention was to design a player-friendly course, easily managed by the novice, yet with enough challenge for a scratch golfer.

Looking to plan a golf event for your company? Palm Beach has a full event planning division, with accomodations for most groups.

Shadow Creek Golf Course Las Vegas, NV

Shadow Creek Golf Course

Shadow Creek Golf Course

Sculpted from the Nevada desert by renowned architect Tom Fazio. Once you register as a guest of MGM Resorts International, a limousine is at your disposal to whisk you away to Shadow Creek and the golfing experience you’ll never forget!

Every hole at Shadow Creek could make a signature statement at most golf courses throughout the world. Sparkling creeks, towering waterfalls and lush gardens are framed by commanding mountains.

20 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States – Part 1

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Every true golfer has a “bucket list” of courses they’d like to play in their lifetime, many of those courses being private and invite-only… but what many golfers have discovered, there are hidden gems hidden right in your backyard. We are working on a series to bring these to light and we welcome your suggestions on others we may have missed!

Cog Hill, Lemont, IL

Located just 30 miles southwest of Chicago, The 72 par Cog Hill Golf Club offers players of every ability level an opportunity to enjoy the game. The public golf facility, owned by the Jemsek family, has four championship golf courses, including Dubsdread, which is ranked among the Top 100 courses in the country by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest.

Visit their website for details!

TCP Harding Park, San Fransisco, CA

Named after avid golfer and former President Warren G. Harding, the golf course was designed by Willie Watson (who also designed the Olympic Club) and opened in 1925. TPC Harding Park features 27 holes of championship golf – the 18-hole Harding Park Course and the 9-hole Fleming Course and has been the site of championshop wins for golf legends Ken Venturi, Billy Casper and Gary Player.

The golf course underwent a major renovation in 2002-03 and once again showcased the skills of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship and later in the 2009 Presidents Cup as well as the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Visit their website for more information and book your trip!

Van Cortlandt Golf Course, Bronx, NY

“Vanny”, as it is affectionately coined by the locals, is the oldest public golf course in the US. Beloved by New Yorkers, its fairways have also been graced by Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Joe Lewis, and the Three Stooges.

Currently under new management, 18-hole, par 70 Cortlandt features 1.5 million dollars in revovations including seven new greens, new tee boxes, additional cart paths, improved bunkers, and dramatically improved drainage.

This golf course, situated in a park-like setting, is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of NYC without ever having to leave the City, and is accessible by public transportation.

Visit their website for more information!

Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, CA

Located on Calfornia’s beautiful Monterey Peninsula, Pebble Beach is worls-reknowned as the premier public golf course every golfer should play at least once. It has been the site of golf’s most prestigious tournaments, including the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, and five U.S. Open Championships including the 2010 U.S. Open. They will also be hosting the U.S. Open for the sixth time in 2019.

This 18-hole, par 72 course features breathtaking views of the coastline, cliffside fairways, and sloping greens. Designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant, it’s on the golfing bucket list of most every golfer, regardless of level of play, and proves to be equally thrilling for spectators of the sport.

Visit their website for more information or to plan your trip!

Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena, CA

Located at the foot of the San Gabriel mountains and mere minutes from the world-famous Rose Bowl, the Brookside Golf Club is one of the best public golf courses we have found. They offer a host of free golf clinics several times a week, and their clubhouse is an excellent venue for any event.

If you’re looking to host a tournament for the purposes of fundraising, corporate events, team building, or customer appreciation, their team of event planners can assist you from beginning to end and will make sure your event is as successful as you imagined it! They offer a GPS system with live leaderboard scoring throughout the event, accomodations for 288 golfers, on-site banquet facilities, and comprehensive turnament packages.

Visit their website to set up a tee time!

Have you visited any of these courses? What are some other public courses you’ve played that deserve an honorable mention? Join the conversation on Facebook!

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