#MattsTop50: The Top 10 public golf courses in the U.S.



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.

The previous 40: 20-11 | 30-21 | 40-31 | 50-41

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:

1. The Quarry at Giants Ridge (No. 49/$89)
2. TPC Deere Run (No. 41/$99)
3. The Classic at Madden's Resort (No. 34/$119)
4. Forest Dunes (No. 10/$149)
5. Bethpage Black (No. 4/$150)

Matt Ginella's Top 10 public courses in the U.S.

10. Forest Dunes Golf Club

Roscommon, Mich.
Designer: Tom Weiskopf
Price: $119-149


9. Bandon Dunes at Bandon Dunes Resort

Bandon, Ore.
Designer: David McLay Kidd
Price: $265-310


8. Bandon Trails at Bandon Dunes Resort

Bandon, Ore.
Designer: Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Price: $265-310


7. Spyglass Hill at Pebble Beach Resorts

Pebble Beach, Calif.
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Price: $395


6. Pasatiempo Golf Club

Santa Cruz, Calif.
Designer: Alister MacKenzie
Price: $260

Video: Ginella on courses 10-thru-6 in his Top 50


5. Straits at Whistling Straits

Sheboygan, Wis.
Designer: Pete Dye
Price: $395


4. Black at Bethpage State Park

Farmingdale, N.Y.
Designer: A.W. Tillinghast
Price: $43-150


3. Pinehurst No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort

Pinehurst, N.C.
Designer: Donald Ross, Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Price: $410


2. Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes Resort

Bandon, Ore.
Designer: Tom Doak
Price: $265-310


1. Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach, Calif.
Designer: Jack Neville
Price: $495

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.

Dec 06, 2015



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Matt Ginella

Special Contributor

Matt Ginella is Golf Channel's resident travel insider. He writes for GolfChannel.com and appears weekly on "Morning Drive." Before Golf Channel, Ginella was senior travel editor for Golf Digest and Golf World from 2007-2012 and covered courses, resorts and the avid amateur golfer's annual buddies trips to over 60 destinations around the country. Ginella graduated from St. Mary's College (Calif.) in 1995 and earned a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2003. Follow Matt on Twitter at @mattginellagc and on Instagram at @Matt_Ginella.