And so, without further ado, the best of The Best.
My top 10 public courses in the U.S. are the courses that I'd be content playing for the rest of my life. Heck, give me three of these and I'd be good. It just so happens that three of my Top 10 are at Bandon Dunes, which should come as no shock for anyone who has been following my journeys to over 500 courses all over the world.
But it also explains the how and why Mike Keiser's dream destination on the southwest coast of Oregon could become the best pure golf getaway in America in less than 15 years. What is second best? Pinehurst, which is why it's no surprise that seven courses, all within 30 minutes of the Pinehurst Resort, are in my top 50.
Here are a few other trends within the list:
• 6 Pete Dye designs, all within the top 30.
• 5 within the TPC network, but none in my top 20.
• 4 municipal courses, all of which have hosted major championships, or major events, such as a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup.
• 7 in the Sandhills of North Carolina, all within 30 minutes of Pinehurst Resort.
• 5 have been built by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, who only have 30 courses in their portfolio in their 30-year partnership.
• 18 courses are $200 or less on peak-season weekends.
• $237 is the average peak green fee of the 50 courses.
• $11,881 is total price to pay full fare for all 50.
We've received a lot of responses on Twitter about the steep green fees of many of these bucket-list experiences. But there are exceptions. Here are the five lowest green fees in my Top 50:
At what point does a golf course become expensive? #MattsTop50— Matt Ginella (@MattGinellaGC) December 5, 2015
Matt Ginella's Top 10 public courses in the U.S.
Designer: Tom WeiskopfPrice: $119-149
Designer: David McLay Kidd
Designer: Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Designer: Alister MacKenzie
Video: Ginella on courses 10-thru-6 in his Top 50
Designer: Pete Dye
Designer: A.W. Tillinghast
Designer: Donald Ross, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Designer: Tom Doak
Designer: Jack Neville
Video: Ginella on his Top 5 public courses in America
What am I missing? What did I get wrong? You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #MattsTop50.
Green fees are based on latest peak season rates and are subject to change. In the case of resort courses, stay-and-play packages and specials often greatly reduce the price of the green fee.