Whether you're a gambler or not, golfers have casinos to thank for building some of the country's best modern public golf courses . While the top casino and golf destination used to be Las Vegas and not much else, these days there are great golf-and-gaming destinations from coast to coast, including most Midwestern states and Southwestern hotbeds like Scottsdale, Palm Springs and San Diego.
Casino owners often times don't feel the need to make money on the golf course itself, but rather provide them as an amenity to visiting whales who need a break from the tables. That means these properties often present top-flight conditioning and less play compared to rival courses in the market. Casino courses on Native American reservations often have advantageous land- and water-use rights, allowing them to build excellent routings in peaceful settings with little if any restrictions.
We're confident in betting on these top 21 golf courses in the U.S. with accompanying casinos. Some of these courses are run by the casino owners or by the tribes themselves, while others are located nearby and partner with the casino and hotel properties.
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21. The Journey at Pechanga , Temecula, Calif.
Comment: The rocky foothills forced Arthur Hills and partner Steve Forrest to create a tough target test of golf 300 feet above the Temecula Valley floor. This adventurous journey around trees in the middle of fairways and over ponds and creeks ends at a lavish 62,000-square-foot clubhouse home to a great restaurant/bar.
20. Circling Raven Golf Club, Worley, Idaho
Comment: Gene Bates designed a dramatic course every bit the equal to its more famous neighbor, the Coeur d'Alene Resort course with its famous floating island green. The tall pines, rolling meadows and scenic vistas void of homes are easy on the eyes.
19. North Course at Lake of Isles , North Stonington, Conn.
Comment: Operator Troon Golf delivers top service and premier conditioning to make regular Joes playing this backwoods Rees Jones-designed layout feel like high rollers at the Foxwoods Resort Casino.
18. Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort , French Lick, Ind.
Comment: This Ross original is the perfect antidote to the challenging and intimidating Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort . The Ross is fun and playable with some interesting holes.
17. Yocha Dehe Golf Club at Cache Creek Casino Resort, Brooks, Calif.
Comment: Bay Area golfers make the 90-mile trek to the Capay Valley to escape the damp and gloomy marine layer and the crush of humanity to enjoy the sun and serene hillsides surrounding this fun Brad Bell design. Yocha Dehe regularly contends for top awards among the Troon Golf family of facilities.
16. Belterra Golf Course at Belterra Casino Resort, Florence, Ind.
Comment: One of the most affordable Tom Fazio designs you'll ever play runs along the Ohio River between Louisville and Cincinnati in eastern Indiana. There are loads of Fazio's signature bunkers, winding lakes, plenty of tall trees and some nice risk-rewards including the finishing par 5 that works around a lake with the resort as the backdrop.
15. Atunyote Course at Turning Stone Resort , Verona, N.Y.
Comment: This Fazio track in upstate New York -- home to a PGA Tour event from 2006-10 -- will host the 2016 PGA Professional National Championship this summer.
14. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes , Maricopa, Ariz.
Comment: The site of Ak-Chin Southern Dunes, south of Phoenix, lacks the mystique of the scenic north Scottsdale golf courses , but locals will tell you few, if any, designs in the valley are better than this Australian Sandbelt-inspired layout.
13. Wilderness at Fortune Bay , Tower, Minn.
Comment: Jeffery Brauer carved out a beaut near the shores of Lake Vermilion in Minnesota's remote Iron Range region.
12. Salish Cliffs Golf Club , Shelton, Wash.
Comment: This Gene Bates design adjacent to the Little Creek Casino Resort spills out across 600 feet of elevation changes in the scenic Kamilche Valley roughly an hour from the Sea-Tac Airport. Your gallery is thousands of majestic evergreens.
11. Wynn Golf Club , Las Vegas
Comment: The days for this $500 Fazio course could be numbered if the Wynn Paradise Park plans get rolling.
10. Mystic Rock Course at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort , Farmington, Pa.
Comment: Dye's thrill ride rolls over rugged terrain and rocks in the heart of Pennsylvania's Alleghany Mountains. It hosted the 84 Lumber Classic from 2003-06.
9. Barona Creek Golf Club , Lakeside, Calif.
Comment: Architect Gary Roger Baird used the colossal rocks and hillsides of the idyllic Barona Valley to create a fun routing that Golf Advisor ranked the no. 1 course to ever host a Web.com Tour event.
8. Cholla Course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club , Fort McDowell, Ariz.
Comment: The pair of drivable par 4s on this Scott Miller design is almost as good as holding a pair of aces in the Fort McDowell Casino at We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center across the street.
7. Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort , French Lick, Ind.
Comment: Holding a successful 2015 Senior PGA Championship showcased the wild mounding and beautiful views from Dye's creation in southern Indiana.
6. Saguaro Course at We-Ko-Pa Golf Club , Fort McDowell, Ariz.
Comment: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw's minimalist style fit perfectly with the surrounding desert.
5. Cascata , Boulder City, Nev.
Comment: This stunning Rees Jones design actually offers some price flexibility to entice gamblers to leave the tables and make the half-hour drive.
4. Old White TPC Course at The Greenbrier , White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
Comment: The historic course, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2014, has witnessed much history over the years, most recently Stuart Appleby's 59 to win the 2010 Greenbrier Classic.
3. Fallen Oak Golf Club , Saucier, Miss.
Comment: The Mississippi Gulf Coast's answer to Shadow Creek, Fallen Oak's Fazio design is also only accessible to guests at MGM's Beau Rivage Resort & Casino near Biloxi.
2. Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course , Stateline, Nev.
Comment: There is no better natural setting for a casino course than Lake Tahoe's sparkling south shore. It's a delightfully playable and classic design by George and Tom Fazio, and there are fewer better 19th holes in golf.
1. Shadow Creek Golf Club , North Las Vegas, Nev.
Comment: You have to stay at an MGM property on the Las Vegas Strip to get the keys to drive the modern masterpiece Tom Fazio made from nothing.