2015's top 50 golf courses you can play in the U.S.: 40-31

This week, on Golf Channel's Morning Drive and here on Golf Advisor, I'm counting down my Top 50 Courses that you can play in the United States.

In the first installment of this countdown, courses 50 through 41, I shared my criteria for establishing this list, which can be found here.

The next 10 courses, 40 through 31, is another grouping of mostly modern designs from a mix of geographical pockets of golf, including two different layouts in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. Plus, a much-anticipated U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. My list contains seven courses from Carolina's Sandhills, two of which are represented in this section of 10.

Lists are the ultimate generators of debate. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #MattsTop50. Or, write your own review of the course and compare your assessments with other avid golfers on Golf Advisor.

Ginella's Top 50 public courses: 40-31

Kahuku, Hawaii
Designer: Arnold Palmer, Ed Seay
Price: $155-185
Video: Ginella's Top 5 courses in Hawaii


San Martin, Calif.
Designer: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Price: $325
Video: Ginella, Rymer and Williams on CordeValle


Erin, Wis.
Designer: Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry, Ron Whitten
Price: $265


Sanford, N.C.
Designer: Mike Strantz
Price: $140


Fountain Hills, Ariz.
Designer: Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Price: $210-235

Video: Ginella discusses courses 40 through 36



West End, N.C.
Designer: Bill Coore, Ben Crenshaw
Price: $190-215


Brainerd, Minn.
Designer: Scott Hoffman
Price: $86-120


Scottsdale, Ariz.
Designer: Tom Weiskopf, Jay Morrish
Price: $200-309
Video: On Tom Weiskopf and TPC Scottsdale


Brewster, Wash.
Designer: David McLay Kidd
Price: $110-160


Arcadia, Mich.
Designer: Rick Smith
Price: $190
Video: Michigan among Ginella's favorite fall destinations


Video: Ginella discusses courses 35 through 31

The other 40: 10-1 | 20-11 | 30-21 | 50-41 | honorable mentions

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. Many of these courses also offer dynamic online tee times, off-season and twilight rates that lower the green fee.

Matt Ginella is Golf Advisor's Editor-at-Large and host of Golf Advisor Round Trip travel series on Golf Channel. Matt serves as resident buddy trip expert and captains a collection of VIP trips called Golf Advisor Getaways.
14 Comments
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Unfortunately, most golfers cannot afford the greens fees on a majority of these courses.  $200+ greens fees are an absolute joke unless you are a one percenter.  Personally, I consider anything over $100 to be a rip off for a  round of golf and the saving grace is that there are plenty of good courses out there under $100.  The Golf Channel (I'm looking at you Ginella) and the golf industry's definition of "affordable" is about as skewed as what college's consider to be "affordable tuition".

BrandonTuckerGA Staff

Try this list of great courses under $50 http://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/top-rated-courses-under-50-dollars-15985.htm Ginella has also written about some of his favorite bargains here: http://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/top-ten-budget-buddies-trip-destinations-15411.htm

capelan

I appreciate a list like this as a reference for discovering new places to play. Some of the rankings seem strange, though. My biggest consideration is shot value. At Bandon I put Bandon Trails on top for that reason. And, I put Chambers Bay way down for the same reason. Thanks.

John8056748

Actually Matt, if Forest Dunes is rated higher than Arcadia Bluffs, that would be the biggest crock of all time. Please don't promote that overrated piece of junk.

Tbelcouner

He isn't rating VIEWS he is rating GOLF.  I have played Arcadia Bluffs and the GOLF is average at best.  Any course in that location would be good but take that course off the coast and it is on par with any municipality course.

ericburt

I'm surprised to see Arcadia Bluffs at 31- this should be top a top 10 course. I don't know too many that haven't said after playing this course that's it's the best course they have ever played - and most of these people have played Pebble, Spyglass, etc.

FirestoneMan

Why doesn't someone come up with a list of the best affordable public courses.  While I'm sure these courses mentioned in this list are open to the public, most of the golfing public cannot afford those fees.  In Ohio we have many examples of great golf at fair rates.  Longaberger and Boulder Creek are 2 of the best, but there are so many more.  I have also spent a lot of time around Traverse City, Michigan and they also have great public golf at fair prices.

nobullz13

We are building it now. Stay tuned for the best golf course review app in the marketplace. 

MattGinellaGA

Here you go. And I'll update and expand soon: http://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/top-usa-hidden-gem-golf-courses-14373.htm

John8056748

If you've been by Traverse City, then you have to know about Arcadia Bluffs. I agree, Arcadia is a SUPER expensive course, but from when they open in spring til about the 2nd Sunday in May you can play the course for $75 (115 less than listed). Sometimes you have to find a way to get a great deal on one of these expensive courses.

BrandonTuckerGA Staff

We have a Top 20 under $50: http://www.golfadvisor.com/articles/top-rated-courses-bargain-courses-under-50-dollars-15246.htm

John8056748

Arcadia at 31st? I'll stay tuned to see what's in the top 20, but Arcadia is a gem. I feel like it might be a little undervalued right there.... Then again, I've only played 2 of the courses on this list so far.

BrandonTuckerGA Staff

I really like Arcadia but I can also see why it's not as high here as other places. I think there are a few design shortcomings to it. It's quite tough. No. 18, man, that is a trek. I have to disagree with you about Harbor Shores. I could probably name ten MI courses I'd rather play quite swiftly.

John8056748

Btw, I'm hoping Harbor Shores will be up there too.

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2015's top 50 golf courses you can play in the U.S.: 40-31
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