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Best Golf Courses to visit in each State: Can’t-miss courses across America

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Planning to travel across the country? Or taking a trip this year and looking for a spot to play a great round of golf while you’re there? We’ve compiled a list of the best golf courses to visit in each state. The majority of them are open to the public, so you can pop in at any time and enjoy a round. 

Pebble Beach Golf Links, California 

There’s a reason Pebble Beach is one of the most loved courses in the country! This oceanside course is a thrilling test of your game, with spectacular views and an ever-present sneaky ocean breeze just to add to the challenge. The Links course is open to the public—it’s worth a play if you’re in the area! 

Gamble Sands Golf Club – The Sands Course, Washington 

Gamble Sands is a fun course! It’s a non-coastal links course, so you’ll get a reprieve from that ocean wind. It has firm, fast fairways and true-rolling greens and features multiple ways to approach each shot. If you’re a fan of risk/reward holes, this one is going to be a favorite! 

Shadow Creek Golf Course, Nevada 

As golf courses go, this Tom Fazio design is luxurious. Not only is the course a knock-out in terms of layout and playability, but the service is impeccable. It keeps things interesting with features and elevation changes that you wouldn’t expect from a desert course. 

Streamsong – Red Course, Florida 

Streamsong is a stunning club, and every golfer should visit it at least once! The Red course is open to the public, and it’s surprisingly the more challenging of their courses driving-wise, requiring power from the tee. The greens are the least challenging of their courses, but don’t think that they’re easy! 

Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course – The Bluffs Course, Michigan 

This links-style course overlooks Lake Michigan, and the golf is as challenging as the layout is beautiful. It drops more than 200 feet throughout the course, features spacious fairways, and has exceptional bunkering. 

Firestone Country Club – South Course, Ohio 

Although this is a private club, you can play a round if you book a stay-and-play package. Well worth it if you’re a golfing enthusiast, as the golf is classic and suits golfers of all levels. The accommodation is also top-class. 

French Lick Resort – Pete Dye Course, Indiana 

This Pete Dye course brings out his best creativity! It’s a long course, stretching to over 8,000 yards. You’ll find interesting features like volcano bunkers, tight fairways that require skill, and little testing hazards throughout. 

Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, No 4 – Dubsdread, Illinois 

This beautiful course has hosted PGA Tour championships before, so you know it’s of top quality. It’s more of a classic course than a dramatic one, but it’s one of the few times you’ll find a championship course open to the public. 

Buffalo Dunes Golf Course, Kansas

Hot and breezy, this course is typical of Kansas. It’s fairly flat but beautiful and challenging nonetheless. The fairways are narrow, the rough is brutal, and the greens can be tricky. Don’t underestimate it! 

Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club – Norman Course, Colorado 

Mountain golf at its best. Dramatic elevation changes, magnificent views, and smooth, fast greens keep you on your toes here. Note that it’s only open to the public every other day, so check first! 

Blackwolf Run – River Course, Wisconsin

This is a classic Pete Dye course, with some serious elevation changes, a river running through it, and memorable gorge or water hazards on 14 of the holes. You choose from four different tees, so it’s suitable for everyone. 

Bethpage State Park Golf Course – Black Course, New York

Bethpage is well known as the top-rated public course in the state. It’s hosted multiple professional tournaments, so that should give you an idea of the challenge it presents. If you’re looking for an engaging course with no weak holes, this is it! 

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort – Pacific Dunes Course, Oregon 

A course that flows with the contours of nature and affords you an amazing view while you’re at it. Like any ocean course, it’s prone to be knocked around by ocean breezes, so come prepared! 

Cape Cod National Golf Club, Massachusetts 

Despite having no spectacular sea views, this course is meaty and enjoyable. It’s thoughtfully routed through challenging terrain and offers a surprising 12 doglegs throughout the course. It requires strategy, but definitely a worthwhile test of your skills! 

The Prairie Club – Dunes Course, Nebraska 

You won’t find a poor hole along the length of this course. It’s known to be a fun course to play, with very generous fairways and sizable greens. Don’t think that makes it easy, though—it’s enjoyable for all but still presents a test. 

Prairie Green Golf Course, South Dakota

Stretching to over 7,000 yards, this course has a great layout that’s easy to follow and a joy to play. It’s an interesting course, winding its way through a neighborhood and being rich in water hazards and elevation changes. 

Teton Pines Resort, Wyoming 

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this course is quite flat. It features beautiful mountain views, but don’t let them distract you. It’s got a good mix of holes with water hazards on most of them and requires plenty of concentration to get a good score. 

Circling Raven Golf Club, Idaho

This course is great for all abilities, reaching a tricky 7,200 from the back tees. Its innovative design, complete with short, sharp par-3s and substantial par-4s, is an interesting and challenging course no matter what tee you play from. 

Old Works Golf Course, Montana

Located on an old copper smelter site, this black-bunkered golf course is unique and well worth a play. It’s also excellent for the long hitters, reaching close to 8,000 yards in total. Multiple fantastic holes make it a memorable experience. 

Hawktree Golf Club, North Dakota 

Hawktree is a fun course but doesn’t expect it to be easy! It features significant elevation changes, including some elevated tees, which can appear intimidating. Other notable features include black coal slag in the bunkers and uniquely shaped bunkers. 

Hobble Creek Golf Course, Utah 

Tree-lined holes and mountain views provide a lovely setting for a round of golf. While the course isn’t the longest—just over 6,400 yards from the tips—its crowning feature is its lightning-fast, sloped greens. Be aware and careful! 

We-Ko-Pa Golf Club – Saguaro Course, Arizona 

Saguaro is a links-style course with spacious fairways and surprisingly generous greens, which provide some tricky undulations. It also holds numerous half-par holes and is ultimately a combination of fun and challenge for every golfer. 

PaaKo Ridge Golf Club, New Mexico

Nestled amongst a forest of trees in a mountain range, this course regularly lands up on Best Of lists. It features dramatic elevation changes, spectacular views, and a full range of exciting holes that you won’t regret playing. 

Cowboys Golf Club, Texas

This course blends in seamlessly with the natural environment but still manages to be innovative and exciting. Not only is the golf superb, but you have a high chance of spotting local wildlife to add to the excitement of the experience. Bonus: green fees include food and drinks. 

Karsten Creek Golf Club, Oklahoma

Tom Fazio’s courses are always amazing, and this one is no exception. Technically, it’s a semi-public course, but you can still enter to play a round which makes it a worthy course on this list. Elevation changes, water hazards, and an eye-opener of a finishing hole make it an excellent play. 

Mystic Creek Golf Club, Arkansas

Mystic Creek begins and ends with a par-5, stretching to just over 7,500 yards in total. Despite being an exciting course, water only comes into play on three holes, which is unusual but doesn’t mean it’s a breeze. 

Ozarks National Golf Course, Missouri

Located at Big Cedar Lodge, Ozarks National is a 7k+ course that’s challenging for all levels of golfer. Visually appealing and technically exciting, the course features unusual things like a 400-foot wooden plank bridge connecting the tee and fairway on lucky number 13. 

Spirit Hollow Golf Course, Iowa

The front nine is routed through residential development, and the back nine meanders through rugged, rocky terrain. A tale of two nines, swooping elevation changes, and water hazards in the form of flowing streams, this course is a good mix of chilled and fun. 

The Wilderness At Fortune Bay, Minnesota

Along the shores of Lake Vermilion, this is an extremely pretty course with good golf to back up its beauty. Hilly terrain, curvy greens, and jaw-dropping views keep things interesting throughout, but don’t get distracted from the golf—it requires concentration. 

Koasati Pines Golf Club, Louisiana

Six sets of tees make this course one for everyone, despite it being the longest course in the state. Laid out on wetland terrain, it’s a beautiful course and not short of water hazards, including on the 18th, which plays down a water-lined, narrow fairway. 

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino – Fallen Oak Course, Mississippi

Another Tom Fazio course, this one is luxurious and majestic. Large, deep bunkers, undulating fairways, and trees scattered throughout the course make it pretty and tricky. Note that you have to be a guest of the resort to play! 

Pursell Farms – FarmLinks, Alabama 

This stunning course may be carved out of farmland, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. The bunkering is brutal, so be aware of that from the get-go. The 5th and 17th par-3s both feature dramatic drops, so there’s plenty of excitement on this course. 

Bear Trace at Tims Ford State Park, Tennessee 

Playing right along the lakeside, this course is as lovely as it is challenging. The views are amazing, but the golf is pretty great too. Water hazards are common, and the fairways and greens are tended to so they stay challenging. 

The Reynolds Lake Oconee Resort – Oconee Course, Georgia

Designed by Rees Jones, this course meanders down the Lake Oconee shoreline, providing golfers with a tough, dramatic layout. If you love good risk/reward play, you won’t be disappointed. 

Kiawah Island Golf Resort – The Ocean Course, South Carolina 

One of the classiest (and trickiest) public golf courses you’ll find, Kiawah’s Island Course has you looking out over the ocean throughout your round. Small, raised greens, easy-to-hit waste areas, and a battering coastal wind provide more challenge than you may be up for. 

Pinehurst – Course No. 2, North Carolina 

Pinehurst has been hosting championships since 1902! It’s a superbly balanced course that will keep you on your toes throughout. Note that beginners may be out of their depth facing these world-class holes, and it’s also good to know that it’s a walking-only course, so be prepared to carry your golf clubs. 

The Homestead Resort – Cascades Golf Course, Virginia 

A course with plenty of movement, notable elevation changes, and a unique and exciting finisher. Known as a classic mountain gem, the links-style course offers up views of the Allegheny Mountains and nothing short of a varied and exciting round. 

Stonewall Resort – The Palmer Course, West Virginia 

Rolling fairways, tree-lined holes, and the regular appearance of local wildlife keep things interesting on this course! Features tough challenges like uphill par-5s, nasty rough, and plenty of water. Definitely a driving course—the holes are set far apart. 

Nemacolin Resort – Mystic Rock Course, Pennsylvania

This Pete Dye course is as interesting as the golf is enjoyable! Throughout the course, you’ll find features like statues and rocks, plus a spectacular waterfall on hole 5 and a leaderboard at the end. It’s more forgiving than many PD courses, so come along for a round, whatever your skill level. 

Belgrade Lakes Golf Course, Maine 

Surprisingly, this course is dominated by rocky hazards and boulders rather than the water its name hints at. Several hundred feet of elevation changes keep the challenge high, and it’s also a dog-friendly course! 

Owl’s Nest Resort & Golf Club, New Hampshire

Nestled in towering trees, this club makes you feel far away from the hustle and bustle of the real world. It’s split into three 6-hole sections by feel, the first 6 being links-like, the next 6 being meadowland, and the final 6 offering jaw-dropping elevation changes. 

Newport National Golf Club, Rhode Island 

The stunning views from this course are countered by the sea breeze, which challenges your every shot. You’ll be kept on your toes by fast greens, forced carries, and thick fescue rough that will swallow wayward golf balls. 

Lake of Isles – North Course, Connecticut

Although the North course is the shorter one of the two on the property, it’s more difficult. Weaving through wetlands, it features a number of tricky doglegs and a killer of an opening hole to lead you into the course. 

Neshanic Valley Golf Course, Lake/Ridge Course, New Jersey 

The Ridge/Lake combination is the best of the course. The course has an open, freeing feel, as it’s routed around the natural lay of the land. Environmentally-sensitive areas are many, making this a unique and interesting experience. 

The Peninsula on the Indian River Bay Golf Club, Delaware 

Open to guests of the resort, this course winds its way through wetlands, bringing an unusual element of challenge to the game. Water on almost every hole makes it tricky, especially when contending with spring and fall wind. 

Whiskey Creek Golf Course, Maryland 

A course of all trades featuring wetland terrain, meadows, forested areas, and rocky sections. The 18th hole requires you to navigate an old farmhouse in the middle of the fairway. Filled with character! 

Heritage Hill Golf Club, Kentucky 

A Jack Nicklaus design, this course might look plain, but it will test your mettle. Choose from five different tee boxes and take care to avoid Salt River along the way. Plays through open and wooded areas, both equally beautiful. 

Rutland Country Club, Vermont 

Established in 1901, this course is a great layout that houses speedy greens and a number of elevation changes. Multiple quirky holes bring in an element of luck, which makes the course a fun challenge. 

Moose Run Golf Course – Creek Course, Alaska 

The longest golf course in Alaska, the Creek at Moose Run also features the longest hole in the state, at 640 yards. Stunning mountain views can be expected, and be prepared to run into wildlife on the course as well! 

Mauna Kea Golf Course, Hawaii

In true Hawaii style, this course feels tropical and summery. It’s home to one of the most photographed golf holes in the world—the par-3 3rd—and holds a number of features to add to the test of your game, like doglegs, undulations, elevated greens, and a total of 95 bunkers. 

About the Author

Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence


  1. Some of my friends have been linking for a nice place where they can play golf. Glad I found this thread. Will definitely forward this to them. These are really some great suggestions and I think definitely some of these will truly be a great choice for them. Also, didn’t know that there are so many great golf courses. this list amazed me.


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