According to Golf Span, there are approximately 15,500 golf courses in the United States, which makes up about 43 percent of all courses in the world. It's no wonder that the top golf courses in America are so excellent, and many of them are open to the public. On the other hand, you have the super-elite, members-only spots; unless you belong or know a member who's nice enough to take you, these are off-limits. And wait until you see how much some of the fees are!
The Best Golf Courses in America
The Pine Valley Golf Club, located in Clementon, NJ, earns the top spot on many Best Golf Courses in America lists, including the one posted by Golf Digest. It's known to be the best and most challenging course globally. Designed by George Crump and H.S. Colt in 1918, it's 7,181 yards par 70, and reviewers rave about the amount of acreage on each hole, "architectural dominance," and "relentless bunkering." In 2018, Forbes claimed that the initiation fees alone ranged from $250,000 to $500,000.
National Club Golfer and deemples both chose the Cypress Point Club in Pebble Beach, CA, as the second-best in the country, with its incredible views of the Monterey Peninsula's rocky coastline. It's 6,554 yards and par-72, with a unique design that features consecutive par 5s on the front combined with back-to-back consecutive par 3s on the back. Alister MacKenzie developed this course in 1928; he was a World Golf Hall of Famer. The par-3 16th hole is described as "astounding," as are the similarly high initiation fees.
More Top Golf Courses in America
Experts agree on the third-best golf course in America: Shinnecock Hills on Long Island. It's a par 70, 6,940-yard course, and it opened in 1933; it has been the site of five U.S. Opens since 1986. Reviewers rave about its natural beauty, roughs and graceful greens. It was initially designed as a 12-hole course by Willie Davis and was redesigned four times until William Flynn completed his design.
Coming in at number four is Atlanta's Augusta National, which is 7,475 yards, par 72. It was designed by Alister MacKenzie and opened in 1933; this course also hosts the Master's Tournament. The most recent winner of the Master's, Scottie Scheffler, won it on April 10, 2022. Like the three courses preceding it, it's a private facility with high fees and specific regulations that members and guests must follow. For example, you can carry your cellphone in the clubhouses, but you must have the ringers turned off unless there's an emergency; some also have no-tipping policies.
Best Public Golf Courses in America
Fortunately, plenty of public golf courses in America don't have exorbitant fees and long waiting lists to join them. Golf Breaks calls The Ocean Course in Kiawah Island, SC, "spectacular." It was designed about 30 years ago for the 1991 Ryder Cup by Pete Dye. It boasts views of the Atlantic Coastline and features pot bunkers, fast greens and lagoons; you might see an alligator while you're there. This esteemed course, one of the top golf courses in America, is open to the public, but you'll have to call the Kiawah Island Resort to inquire about pricing.
Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, California, is also highly-rated. This course is where the PGA Tour professionals play the AT&T Pro-Am; the U.S. Open is also held here. The scenery is breathtaking, and two of its most famous holes are the par-3 7th and the par-5 18th. It's not cheap to play here; resort guests pay $595, but the cart rental is free. Some of the other best public golf courses in America are THE PLAYERS Stadium Course in TPC Sawgrass, Florida, the South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California, and Tobacco Road in Sanford, North Carolina.