You've seen the list, now it's time to take them on.
Matt Ginella's Top 50 public courses in the U.S., announced on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, span from Hawaii to
Florida golf courses
. Some of the best public golf course architecture can be sampled all over this great country, from throwback
designs by Alister MacKenzie
and Donald Ross to leaders of the new school, Tom Doak, Coore-Crenshaw and more.
So where should you begin? I've sorted the top five golf trips you can take within his Top 50 by quantity of courses, the miles needed to play them all.
And whether you're playing Matt's Top 50 or another great course you feel is deserving, be sure to share your golf travels with us on social media using #MattsTop50 on Twitter and #GABestPhoto on Instagram .
Road Trip No. 1: Pinehurst and the Carolina Sandhills
Not only are there more courses in the Carolina Sandhills (seven) than any other destination in Ginella's top 50, the amount of driving between them all is extremely minimal. In addition to that, the Village of Pinehurst is the closest thing to St. Andrews the U.S. can in offer in terms of an historic, bonafide golf town, home to such must-stops as the Tufts Archives and the Pinecrest Inn.
You'll want to stay at Pinehurst Resort for the best stay-and-play packages on No. 2, No. 4 and No. 8. Then, relocate to Mid Pines or the Lodge at Pine Needles, both sister properties with reduced green fees for guests, while saving time to hit standalone modern complements Dormie Club and Tobacco Road.
Road trip No. 2: Northern California and the Monterey Peninsula
It'd be easy to call NoCal and Monterey the best golf road trip in North America, especially considering many of the roads, from Highway 1 to 17-mile Drive, are so spectacular, putting on the miles hardly feels arduous. To see all six courses in Ginella's list, fly into San Francisco and play city gem TPC Harding Park before heading south to sunny Santa Cruz, where MacKenzie's Pasatiempo awaits.
Spend the bulk of your time in Pebble Beach, where Spyglass Hill and Bayonet (a $100 green fee can be considered extreme value in this pricey part of the world) are stellar runner-ups to the golden child of U.S. golf, Pebble Beach, ranked no. 1 by Ginella.
On your way back north, stop off at the inland, luxurious Rosewood property CordeValle in wine country for a crack at this former Frys.com and upcoming U.S. Women's Open host before toasting to a great trip over a local bottle of wine.
Road trip No. 3.: Oregon coast to desert
My favorite thing about Oregon is the ecological diversity, which explains why each time I've been to Bandon Dunes, I've been sure to make a side trip to central Oregon. The golf scene is strong and deep, and the weather is a little sunnier and more predictable than along the coast. Once you arrive at Bandon, you can let the 24-hour resort shuttle do all the work for you. Save time for a round on the Bandon Preserve executive course and Punchbowl putting course , not to mention the hot tub to energize your feet, before pointing your compass east to central Oregon. Crosswater at Sunriver presents a more manicured layout, the option for a golf cart, plus a predictable forecast, all of which may be welcomed after a few days of trekking rugged links golf.
Road trip No. 4: Beacons of the Atlantic
This is a one-way road trip, heading down the southeast coast and taking on a foursome of spectacular courses all within a whiff of the ocean. This is for the golf group who wants to play stellar PGA Tour and even major-worthy golf courses, and like to keep their fishing pole in the trunk as well.
Start at Kiawah Island near Charleston, S.C. where you can take on the famed (and tough) Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course. To the south is Sea Pines Resort, where you can play famed tour stop Harbour Town (fresh off a total renovation), and drink in the Calibogue Sound and candy striped lighthouse. Keep heading down the coast to Sea Island, where the historic Seaside Course leads a trio of courses as the luxurious Georgia resort.
Finally, with your game in mid-season form, arrive in northeast Florida at the Stadium at TPC Sawgrass, where successfully navigating the daunting finishing stretch can be celebrated in what might be golf's most opulent clubhouse.
Road trip No. 5: Lake Michigan horseshoe
So this is where being a travel editor for a living may cause a little over-ambition. But gas is cheap and the Midwest has great value golf, so it's time and money well spent. Most folks will probably split this Midwest itinerary in half between sides of Lake Michigan.
Start in Wisconsin, where you can play three major championship venues between Kohler and Erin Hills. A little detour into Quad Cities gives you a crack at one of the Top 50's best value plays, TPC Deere Run, before you head to the sunset side of Lake Michigan for Arcadia Bluffs, Forest Dunes and Treetops.
Too many miles? VIPs are wont to take private aircraft the 100 miles between Kohler and Arcadia Bluffs -- just throwing that out there. Also, it might be a good idea to wait until the new Loop Course at Forest Dunes, slated to open as early as late 2016. Doak's innovative reversible routing is sure to be an architecture buff's dream play.