Golf Advisor's Top 100 courses thru the first five years of ratings



Golf Advisor officially launched in February of 2014, but we began receiving reviews as early as September, 2012. So with five full years of golfer input under our belt —over 650,000 reviews and counting — we thought we'd look back and see which courses have fared the best during this time frame.

We compiled this all-time Top 100 list in a similar fashion to our yearly Top 50 best-of list, but with a few wrinkles. For starters, we included non-U.S. courses that had enough review data. Also, a big part of our yearly Top 50 is that courses need a certain threshold of reviews in that calendar year to qualify, but for this list, far more were eligible given their all-time review count from trustworthy accounts. To gather a more granular, complete rating from a review, we scored a course with a combination of the overall star rating and subcategory star ratings average (subcategories aren't required in our reviews but an overwhelming majority of our reviewers rate all six subcategories. They also include text and title, which also isn't required).

And as we continue to grow the amount of reviews and number of reviewers, we can apply more and more weight to those golfers who are the most prolific and trustworthy, like our growing list of Local Golf Advisors and our Top 1000 merit-badged golfers. Ratings by reviewers with a small sample of reviews were filtered out.

We know our yearly best-of lists and state lists look a lot different than top magazine lists. Ours have a mix of true "bucket list" courses and overachieving affordable destination courses. Our users, while not given the strict ratings criteria of a more expert, uniform panel, tend to rate their golf experience relative to the price they paid to play. We didn't begin tracking "Course layout" ratings until 2015, and our scores have less emphasis on course design and more so on the total experience from staff to facilities to value to conditions. There is a good chunk of courses on our Top 100 you might not expect to see on other Top 100s, and that's precisely the beauty of a more crowd-sourced list like ours — or should we say, yours?

In 2017, we're on pace to receive a record number of reviews and users, so we're excited to dig into the data at year's end to determine which courses came out on top.

Some other notes as we sorted through this five-year list:

- Not all courses received had enough reviews to be considered for this list. In our first five years, over 6,000 golf courses have received over ten reviews and over 2,000 courses have received over 100. As our user base continues to grow, we're optimistic we'll soon have a list where virtually all publicly-accessible courses receive enough reviews to be considered for our yearly lists.

- Since we began revealing yearly U.S. Top 50 lists, only one course has made the list all three years: Indiana's Royal Hylands Golf Club, which is also one of our top courses for staff friendliness as well as in our best courses under $50.

- You may have noticed that earlier this year we launched our new "Golf Advisor Index" which applies weight to a course's more recent reviews to give the golfer a clearer picture of what the experience is like now. But in the spirit of this all-time rating, reviews carry equal weight year-to-year.

- We've been receiving more and more international reviews in the last year or so, particularly in the U.K. and Mexico. While this Top 100 is light on non-U.S. entries, in another five years, far more courses around the globe should have enough reviews to be considered.

Top 100 golf courses from 2012-2017 on Golf Advisor

TPC Las VegasTPC Las Vegas


100.Woodhaven Course at the Resort at Glade Springs

Daniels, West Virginia


99. El Cameleon at Mayakoba

Quintana Roo, Mexico


98. Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines Resort

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina


97. Highlands Course at Deerhurst Highlands Resort

Huntsville, Ontario


96. Running Y Ranch

Klamath Falls, Oregon


95. Olympic Course at Gold Mountain

Bremerton, Washington


94. Port Royal Golf Course

Southampton, Bermuda


93. TPC Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada


92. Kiva Dunes Golf Course

Gulf Shores, Alabama


91. Maderas Golf Club

Poway, California


Baywood GreensBaywood Greens

90. Forest Glen Golf & Country Club

Naples, Florida


89. Bowes Creek Country Club

Elgin, Illinois


88. GreyStone Golf Club

Dickson, Tennessee


87. Lodestone Golf Club

McHenry, Maryland


86. Rum Pointe Seaside Golf Links

Berlin, Maryland


85. Arrowhead Pointe at Lake Richard B. Russell

Elberton, Georgia


84. Baywood Greens

Longneck, Delaware


83. St. James Bay Golf Club

Carrabelle, Florida


82. Trillium Wood

Corbyville, Ontario, Canada


81. Southern Hills Golf Club

Brooksville, Florida


SaguaroWe-Ko-Pa Saguaro Course


80. Cobblestone Park Golf Club

Blythewood, South Carolina


79. Hidden River Golf & Casting Club

Brutus, Michigan


78. Saguaro Course at We-Ko-Pa

Scottsdale, Arizona


77. Oakcreek Country Club

Sedona, Arizona


76. Grand Bear Golf Course

Saucier, Mississippi


75. Black Lake Golf Club

Onaway, Michigan


74. Starr Pass Golf Club

Tucson, Arizona


73. Woodloch Springs Country Club

Hawley, Pennsylvania


72. Riviera Cancun Golf & Resorts

Quintana Roo, Mexico


71. Grand Niagara Golf Club

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada


French LickRoss Course at French Lick


70. Quintero Golf Club

Peoria, Arizona


69. King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

St. Simons Island, Georgia


68. Barnsley Resort

Adairsville, Georgia


67. Ojai Valley Inn & Spa

Ojai, California


66. The Classic Club

Palm Desert, California


65. Tobacco Road Golf Course

Sanford, North Carolina


64. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club

Maricopa, Arizona


63. Virtues Golf Club

Nashport, Ohio


62. Ross Course at French Lick Resort

French Lick, Indiana


61. The Club at Savannah Harbor

Savannah, Georgia


French LickPrinceville Makai Golf Club


60. Old Works

Anaconda, Montana


59. Pine Barrens at World Woods Golf Club

Brooksville, Florida


58. Pine Dunes Golf Club

Frankston, Texas


57. Wyncote Golf Club

Oxford, Pennsylvania


56. Makai Course at Princeville Makai Golf Club

Princeville, Hawaii


55. Blackstone Golf Club

Marengo, Illinois


54. Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons

Lake Buena Vista, Florida


53. The Georgia Club

Statham, Georgia


52. Kampen Course at Birch Boilermaker Golf Complex

West Lafayette, Indiana


51. Caledonia Golf & Fish Club

Pawleys Island, South Carolina


PasatiempoPasatiempo Golf Club


50. Iberostar Playa Paraiso

Quintana Roo, Mexico


49. Sand Creek Station

Newton, Kansas


48. Pasatiempo Golf Club

Santa Cruz, California


47. Black at Bethpage State Park

Farmingdale, New York


46. Bayonet at Bayonet/BlackHorse Golf Club

Seaside, California


45. University Ridge Golf Course

Verona, Wisconsin


44. Palmer Course at La Cantera Hill Country Resort

San Antonio, Texas


43. Royal Hylands Golf Club

Knightstown, Indiana


42. Forest Dunes Golf Club

Roscommon, Michigan


41. Sun Mountain at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort

Las Vegas, Nevada


Pinehurst No. 2Pinehurst No. 2


40. Players Course at Indian Wells Golf Resort

Indian Wells, California


39. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Ross Bridge

Birmingham, Alabama


38. Chariot Run Golf Course

Laconia, Indiana


37. Cedar River at Shanty Creek Resorts

Bellaire, Michigan


36. Bandon Dunes at Bandon Dunes Resort

Bandon, Oregon


35. Annbriar Golf Course

Waterloo, Illinois


34. Stonelick Hills Golf Course

Batavia, Ohio


33. Nicklaus Course at Vidanta Puerto Penasco

Sonora, Mexico


32. Pinehurst No. 2

Pinehurst, North Carolina


31. Camp Creek Golf Club

Panama City, Florida


Las Vegas PaiuteLas Vegas Paiute


30. Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club

Wickenburg, Arizona


29. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club

Orlando, Florida


28. Pole Creek Golf Club

Tabernash, Colorado


27. Red Course at Streamsong Resort

Fort Meade, Florida


26. Wolf Course at Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort

Las Vegas, Nevada


25. Olde Stonewall Golf Club

Ellwood City, Pennsylvania


24. Woodstock Country Club

Woodstock, Vermont


23. Eagle Eye Golf Club

Bath, Michigan


22. FarmLinks at Pursell Farms

Sylacauga, Alabama


21. Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course

Arcadia, Michigan


Pebble BeachPebble Beach


20. Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach, Calif.


19. Wild Rock Golf Club

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin


18. The Jewel Golf Club

Lake City, Minnesota


17. Scotch Hall Preserve

Merry Hill, North Carolina


16. El Campeon at Mission Inn Resort & Club

Howey in the Hills, Florida


15. Kingsbarns Golf Links

Fife, Scotland


14. Bandon Trails at Bandon Dunes Resort

Bandon, Oregon


13. Harbour Town Golf Links

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina


12. Yocha Dehe Golf Club at Cache Creek Casino Resort

Brooks, California


11. Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club

County Antrim, Northern Ireland


10. North Berwick Golf Club

East Lothian, Scotland


St. AndrewsOld Course in St. Andrews


9. Glendarin Hills Golf Club

Angola, Indiana


8. Tobiano Golf Course

Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada


7. Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort

French Lick, Indiana


6. Rams Hill Golf Club

Borrego Springs, California


5. Spring Creek Golf Club

Gordonsville, Virginia


4. Old Course at St. Andrews

St. Andrews, Scotland


3. Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island, South Carolina


2. The Plantation Course at Kapalua

Lahaina, Hawaii


1. Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes Resort

Bandon, Oregon

Pacific Dunes


Sep 15, 2017



Join the conversation

Post a comment 

Jennifer Balliet's avatar
Jennifer Balliet wrote at 2017-11-05 14:30:57+00:00:

I have no idea why The Hideaway Country Club in Fort Myers, Florida is not on this list. With an average review score of 4.8 with 128 reviews, The Hideaway's reviews far exceeds most courses on this list. https://www.golfadvisor.com/courses/2055-hideaway-country-club-the/

t9245sw's avatar
t9245sw wrote at 2017-09-19 22:16:49+00:00:

Please stop publishing these lists. If the word continues to get out that that the Bayonet and Blackhorse golf courses are among the nation's best, the people that run those courses might start thinking about raising their prices. Right now, both courses on the old Ford Ord army base near Monterey are the best I have ever played for under $100. If they ever build a resort hotel on the property as has been proposed, those green fees will triple overnight. The same thing happened in Half Moon Bay up the Northern California coast when the Ritz Carlton finished construction on the property. In the meantime, I am counting my lucky stars that I can still play them and have some change in my pocket when I am done.  


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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.