The top 10 Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses you can play in the U.S.



2014 PGA Championship host Valhalla Golf Club is one of the top Jack Nicklaus-designed courses in the U.S. Unfortunately, a Valhalla tee time can be tough to come by. Owned and operated by the PGA of America, it's a private club accessible to members, guests and PGA Professionals.

But there are plenty Nicklaus signature golf courses around the world where the average golfer need not jump through hoops to play.

Matt Ginella recently named his favorite top 10 Jack Nicklaus golf courses you can play in the U.S. It's a pretty impressive list from the Golden Bear, spanning from Hawaii to Tennessee, and has designed over 300 courses worldwide.

Matt Ginella's Top 10 U.S. Jack Nicklaus designs you can play

1. Harbour Town Golf Links

Golf Channel's Jay Coffin had this to say about Pete Dye and Nicklaus collaboration:

"The last two holes (the last one in particular) is what everyone wants to see," Coffin wrote. "But don't overlook the first 16 holes just because you're excited to get to the closing stretch. Take your time and soak it all in."

2. Old Greenwood Golf Club

"If you like Jack Nicklaus designs, you'll love Old Greenwood," wrote Mike Bailey, Senior Writer for GolfAdvisor in his review. "The holes are well thought-out and plenty challenging as all Nicklaus courses are."

3. Challenge at Manele

"Absolutely fabulous," wrote GolfAdvisor rater MadMaxb. "Every hole is on the water. Would go back in a heart beat."

4. Nicklaus Course at Pronghorn Golf Club

GolfAdvisor Managing Editor Brandon Tucker played both the Nicklaus Course and Fazio Course at Pronghorn.

He wrote: "While the signature hole of the property is on the Fazio course, I curry favor on the whole towards the Nicklaus, thanks to a lot of risk-reward holes (including a couple drivable par 4s)."

5. The Greenbrier Course at Greenbrier Resort

Nicklaus updated this Seth Raynor original design in 1977. While it's TPC Old White that hosts the PGA Tour these days, it has a unique distinction in having hosted both the Solheim and Ryder Cup matches.

Video: Ginella discusses his favorite Nicklaus courses

6. Top of the Rock

Located in Missouri, Top of the Rock is the first ever Nicklaus Signature Par 3 Course ever built.

7. Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain

GolfAdvisor rater erniegamboa103537000 wrote: "I've played just about all the golf courses in and around Tucson, (And we have some good ones). Dove Mountain is the best all around golf course I've experienced...I definitely recommend this course to my above average player friends."

8. The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort

GolfAdvisor rater dthrift3 was smitten with this demanding Nicklaus course near Traverse City (perhaps because he's a low-handicapper):

"Jack Nicklaus does it again," he wrote. "He never stops amazing people with his golf talent, now this time in golf course architecture. The design is perfect. EVERY hole is a picture hole."

9. New Course at Grand Cypress Resort

GolfAdvisor rater campsie wrote of his round on this British Isles links-inspired course: "The wind was up so it felt like we were playing at St. Andrews. This was an awesome place to play a fun round of golf."

10. Bear Trace at Cumberland Mountain State Park

GolfAdvisor rater hbegley85260, a female with a handicap of 15-19, rated Bear Trace extremely challenging, but keeps coming back for the facility's excellent customer service.

"[Bear Trace] is always very well maintained," she wrote. "The staff are welcoming and very friendly and most times remember us by name or recognize us as frequent golfers!"

Have you played a Jack Nicklaus design in the U.S. deserving of being on this list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Aug 02, 2014



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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.