There are a lot of "bucket list"-quality golf courses out there, just waiting for you to step onto the first tee.
But in pursuing those amazing golf experiences, some traveling golfers can tend to overlook nearby courses that, in my opinion, are extremely worthy of playing as well. In fact, you may end up kicking yourself later for missing them.
Here are 10 lesser-known greats you need to pair with their better-known neighbors:
When you played... Muirfield
You may have missed... Gullane Golf Club
You may have heard about Gullane this past summer, when a composite of its No. 1 and No. 2 courses held the Scottish Open for the first time. And you may be kicking yourself for not playing it when you swung through Edinburgh to play Muirfield. Don't make the same mistake twice - all three of Gullane's courses are worth a play.
When you played... Bethpage Black
You may have missed... Bethpage Red
Many people take such great pains (like sleeping in their cars) to play the two-time U.S. Open host Black Course that they neglect the presence of the Red Course, which is a tough-but-not-monstrous Tillinghast course. If we lived nearby, we'd actually pick the Red as our "everyday" course at Bethpage. It's that good. Don't miss it.
When you played... Caledonia Golf and Fish Club and/or True Blue Golf Club
You may have missed... Heritage Club
Caledonia and True Blue comprise one of the best 36-hole golf days you can enjoy, and many golfers make the pilgrimage to these Mike Strantz designs when they visit the Myrtle Beach area. But they miss out on another course that Strantz worked on - Heritage - which has even more rambunctious greens than True Blue and even woolier bunkering than Caledonia. Plus, green fees are usually half of what they are at Heritage's better-known counterparts.
When you played... Silverado Resort
You may have missed... Aetna Springs Golf Course
You'd be forgiven for vacationing in California's Wine Country and leaving without even hearing about Aetna Springs, an incredibly quiet and charming nine-hole in the town of Pope Valley. Tom Doak redesigned the course a number of years ago. Take note - Aetna Springs is only open Wednesdays through Saturdays.
When you played... Royal Troon and/or Prestwick
You may have missed... Western Gailes
Prestwick, which hosted the first Open Championships, and Troon, which hosts 2016's edition, are famous enough in their own right, and worth playing. But so too is the charming Western Gailes, situated just 15 minutes north of Prestwick. In fact, some of our fellow golf travel experts deem it their favorite of all the courses in the area.
When you played... Pinehurst and/or Pine Needles and/or Mid Pines
You may have missed... Southern Pines
Donald Ross is the most recognizable of all golf course architects prior to 1950 because his courses run the gamut from exclusive private clubs to high-end resorts (e.g. Pinehurst, Mid-Pines, Pine Needles) to humble municipal courses. Ross' Southern Pines is not a muni per se, but it is dollar-for-dollar one of the best golf courses we know of. Green fees top out at $110 in the spring, while some of its neighbors charge more than twice that.
When you played... Pebble Beach and/or Spyglass Hill and/or Spanish Bay
You may have missed... Poppy Hills Golf Course
The Pebble Beach Resorts umbrella doesn't include Poppy Hills, so you'll have to book it outside a normal package that includes rounds at the bigger names. But you'll be glad you did - its recent renovation work has turned the course into an absolute gem.
When you played... Bandon Dunes Resort
You may have missed... Bandon Crossings Golf Course
Dan Hixson is not a household name in golf course design, but he is an up-and-comer and his Bandon Crossings is a fun one, though overshadowed by the Bandon Dunes Resort courses. Unlike its more famous neighbors, Bandon Crossings offers carts, which golfers who are fatigued after a couple 36-hole walking days at the resort may appreciate.
When you played... Erin Hills and/or Whistling Straits
You may have missed... Lawsonia Links
About 90 minutes due west of Whistling Straits in the town of Green Lake is Lawsonia and its classic Langford/Moreau-designed Links Course. With heaving fairways and big, brawny greens, the Links is nothing but fun. Consider tacking at least one or two trips around Lawsonia Links to a visit to Kohler or, when it opens, Mike Keiser's highly-anticipated Sand Valley.
Any courses to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!