Perhaps the only thing better than a round at one of America's best golf courses is the discovery of a course with a seemingly too-good-to-be-true green fee.
These courses serve as worthy rebuttals to anyone who calls golf "elitist" or "exclusive." Fact is, most golf courses in the U.S. are accessible and quite affordable. We just don't seem to write about them enough.
So what are our nation's best golf courses under $50?
That's a tricky question. No one person could ever play all eligible U.S. courses. I could name my 10 favorite courses under $50 -- in fact I do later on in the article. Matt Ginella also published his 10 favorite hidden gems last year . Another way to look for the best under $50 is by looking at Golf Advisor's top-rated courses in 2014, made up of more than 100,000 reviews submitted.
Not surprisingly, most of the candidates are Midwestern facilities, where the property tends to be a little less expensive and water a little easier to come by. Does the Midwest truly have the best value golf in the U.S.? Or is its populous simply easier to please?
In any case, you can view the 20 best golf courses under $50 based on 2014 reviews (the 12 highest courses made our overall top 50) and their 2015 posted green fees.
(Now for the fine print: 18-hole courses with posted non-resident rates under $50, or online, non-discounted, in-season tee times on weekdays qualified. If they can be walked under $50 but are over $50 with a cart, they still qualify. We don't punish walker-friendly golf facilities 'round these parts.)
20 top-rated courses on Golf Advisor under $50
1. Coyote Crossing Golf Course , West Lafayette, Ind. ($39 weekday walking)
2. Chariot Run , Laconia, Ind. ($49 weekdays w/cart)
3. Royal Hylands Golf Club , Knightstown, Ind. ($25 walking weekdays)
4. Stonehedge North & South at Gull Lake View , Augusta, Mich. ($39 walking weekday)
5. Macatawa Legends Golf & Country Club , Holland, Mich. ($49 w/cart weekdays)
6. Gibson Bay Golf Course , Richmond, Ky. ($15 walking weekdays)
7. Windmill Lakes Golf Club , Ravenna, Ohio ($29.50 walking weekdays)
8. Aldeen Golf Club , Rockford, Ill. ($43 walking weekdays)
9. Champion Lakes Golf Course , Bolivar, Pa. ($25 walking weekday)
10. Country Club of Barre , Plainfield, Vt. ($49.99 weekdays w/cart)
11. GreyStone Golf Club , Dickson, Tenn. ($39 w/cart weekdays)
12. Stonecrest Golf Course , Prestonburg, Ky. ($35 w/cart weekdays)
13. Juliette Falls , Dunnellon, Fla. ($48 w/cart weekdays)
14. Washington County Golf Course , Hartford, Wisc. ($31 walking weekdays)
15. Huron Meadows , Brighton Mich. ($35 w/cart weekdays)
16. Osprey Point Golf Club , Boca Raton, Fla. ($37 walking weekdays)
17. UNC Finley Golf Club , Chapel Hill, N.C. ($48 walking Monday-Thursday)
18. The Trophy Club , Lebanon Ind. ($49 w/cart weekdays)
19. Apple Valley Golf Club , Howard, Ohio ($23-29 walking weekdays)
20. Cobleskill Golf & Country Club , Cobleskill, N.Y. ($22 walking weekdays)
I've only played a handful of these courses, so I'll be sure to put them on my watch list the next time I'm in the neighborhood of them.
With that said, click here for my top 10 personal favorite U.S. courses under $50.
Do you have a go-to round of golf under $50 in your hometown? Let us know in the comments below.