The ratings are in -- more than 125,000 in total -- and we can now announce the Top 50 U.S. Golf Courses on Golf Advisor in 2014.
Because these reviews come from a wide range of daily-fee golfers and not industry types and design aficionados, the courses that made the Top 25 seem to be less "bucket list" plays (though there are a few) and more facilities that most exceeded the paying golfer's expectations.
Within the Top 50 are some golf courses that charge less than $50 on a daily basis. Then there are those higher-end facilities -- prime time destinations such as Palm Springs, Las Vegas and Phoenix -- that charge a pretty penny, yet golfers still rate the experience glowingly.
Two lesser known Indiana courses made the top three, while the top spot, Spring Creek, made Golf Digest's most recent Top 100 Public ranking. Beauty is in fact in the eye of the golfer. It goes to show that a course's design or history is just a fraction of the total picture. A truly great golf course is a mix of design, conditions, service -- all at a price point that makes golfers want to keep coming back, not just play it once.
A tip of the cap to the following 50 courses, and we'll see what kind of shake-up we have in 2015.
Top 50 U.S. Courses rated on Golf Advisor in 2014
We took the average of each course's total overall score in 2014. Courses needed a minimum of 20 reviews in 2014 to qualify, which made 2,500 U.S. courses eligible.
1. Spring Creek Golf Club, Gordonsville, Va.
2. Coyote Crossing Golf Course, West Lafayette, Ind.
3. Chariot Run, Laconia, Ind.
4. Woodstock Golf Club, Woodstock, Vt.
5. Eagle Eye Golf Club, East Lansing, Mich.
6. The Hideaway Country Club, Fort Myers, Fla.
7. The Links At Lighthouse Sound, Bishopville, Md.
8. Championship Course at Wild Rock Golf Club, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
9. Forest Dunes Golf Club, Roscommon, Mich.
10. Indian Wells Golf Resort *, Indian Wells, Calif.
11. Running Y Ranch, Klamath Falls, Ore.
12. 7 Lakes Country Club, West End, N.C.
13. White Eagle Golf Club, Hudson, Wis.
14. Conklin Players Club, Conklin, N.Y.
15. Royal Hylands Golf Club, Knightstown, Ind.
16. Wolf Course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort, Las Vegas
17. Jack Frost National Golf Course, Blakeslee, Pa.
18. Stonehedge North and South at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort*, Augusta, Mich.
19. Incline Village (Championship Course), Incline Village, Nev.
20. Macatawa Legends Golf and Country Club, Holland, Mich.
21. Cambridge River Marsh Golf Club at Hyatt Chesapeake Bay, Cambridge, Md.
22. Longaberger Golf Club, Nashport, Ohio
23. The Dragon at Nakoma Golf Resort, Clio, Calif.
24. Mountain Falls Golf Course, Pahrump, Nev.
25. Belterra Golf Club, Florence, Ind.
26. St. James Bay Golf Club, Carrabelle, Fla.
27. Cobblestone Park Golf Club, Blythewood, S.C.
28. Gibson Bay Golf Course, Richmond, Ky.
29. University Ridge Golf Course, Verona, Wis.
30. Windmill Lakes Golf Club, Ravenna, Ohio
31. Black Oak Golf Course, Auburn, Calif.
32. DarkHorse Golf Club, Auburn, Calif.
33. Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Links, Berlin, Md.
34. Aldeen Golf Club, Rockford, Ill.
35. Quicksilver Golf Club, Midway, Pa.
36. Prairie View Golf Club, Carmel, Ind.
37. Champion Lakes Golf Club, Bolivar, Pa.
38. The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, St. Simons Island, Ga.
39. Graeagle Meadows Golf Course, Graeagle, Calif.
40. Country Club of Barre, Plainfield, Vt.
41. The Majestic at Lake Walden, Hartland, Mich.
42. Shale Creek Golf Club, Medina, Ohio
43. Greystone Golf Club, Dickson, Tenn.
44. Maryland National Golf Club, Middletown, Md.
45. The Brute at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wis.
46. Whittaker Woods Golf Club, New Buffalo, Mich.
47. Venetian Golf & River Club, North Venice, Fla.
48. The Course at Wente Vineyards, Livermore, Calif.
49. StoneCrest Golf Course, Prestonsburg, Ky.
50. Blackstone Golf Club, Marengo, Ill.
*Denotes 36-hole facility rated as one course by reviewers.