The 2016 top 50 courses in the U.S., based on your ratings and reviews, is back.
Our best-of lists for 2016 couldn't be possible without tens of thousands of golfers like you submitting over 100,000 reviews. Your perspective of what you love and don't love about your rounds of golf helps provide an alternative to other Top 100 rankings by industry and expert panelists. At Golf Advisor, anyone, regardless of handicap, age or experience, can review their rounds.
The Top 50 overall courses in the U.S. best-of list is reflective of what they've had to say based on their rounds played in 2016 - and more specifically, how all facets of the experience stacked up based on the money they paid to play. While other rankings are primarily focused on architecture, history and prestige, our golfers rate not just "course layout" but other subcategories like "staff friendliness," "pace of play," "value" and more.
So, try not to look at our Top 50 list as a "bucket list" of exceptional or historic course designs (for that, check out Matt Ginella's Top 50 U.S. public courses). Instead, these 50 courses, based on at least 15 reviews in the past year, have most consistently met or exceeded their paying customers' expectations. Some of these courses are also in various Top 100 lists. Others, meanwhile, are affordable courses you may have never heard of. We've provided the green fee for each course, and we think you'll find there is course for every budget that has been recognized.
How we determined your top 50
Over 2,000 U.S. golf courses received at least 15 reviews and were eligible for this year's Top 50 (fewer reviews were required to qualify for our state lists that we'll be releasing throughout February). We've compiled the top 50 U.S. courses with a similar method to the 2015 list, but with a few wrinkles as our platform has evolved.
A course's score was generated using 50% overall and 50% of their six subcategory average. We also applied more weight to reviewers who are more active on the site (reviewers received a 1-to-5 weight based on which percentile their review count fell under). Additionally, we've compared a course's score to that reviewer's average review score. So, if a reviewer rates a course better than that reviewer's average scores, that course received a positive adjustment for that review (and if it was worse, it was adjusted negatively).
It's also worth noting that at the beginning of 2016 we adjusted our subcategories you can review. "Course layout" replaced "Food & Beverage" and "Off-course amenities" replaced "Overall condition of facilities." With that said, we present the Top 50 U.S. courses.
Don't see a deserving course in this Top 50? Your voice counts, and you can write a review here.
Top 50 courses in the U.S. in 2016 according to your reviews
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Architect: Pete Dye
Green fee: $110-$180
What they're saying: "They take very good care of the course and the conditions are perfect." - ryanshuck33
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Green fee: $99-$150
What they're saying: "Pristine conditions and outstanding layout that challenges, but is playable." - billdorsett
Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Green fee: $49-$109
What they're saying: "Course is easy on the eyes and just tough enough to challenge your score." - Luther099
47. Baywood Greens
Long Neck, Del.
Architect: Ault, Clark & Associates
Green fee: $39-$129
What they're saying: "The landscaping is incredible, and the course is even better." - Bakemoney2000
Architect: Peter Jacobsen
Green fee: $36-$79
What they're saying: "Best conditioned course I played in Texas this year." - Deliason77
Architect: Rees Jones
Green fee: $70-$215
What they're saying: "The level of service is exceptional. The design is outstanding as well." - TheHonorCaddie
44. Heritage Hill
Architect: Douglas Beach
Green fee: $35-$59
What they're saying: "You hit the first tee and from there its truly a visual explosion of beauty." - Andy Simpson
Architect: Bob Mitchell/Bill Bergin
Green fee: $30-$55
What they're saying: "Recent landscaping, attention to details and friendless of staff makes for a must play." - mtennanttek
Mount Wolf, Pa.
Architect: Timothy Freeland
Green fee: $19-$68
What they're saying: "The course architecture is very appealing with a variety of ups, downs, and doglegs." - PlayItForward280
Architect: George Thomas
Green fee: $89-$180
What they're saying: "George Thomas is an all-time great course architect and this course is a testament to that." - Pooshdaddy
La Quinta, Calif.
Architect: Greg Norman
Green fee: $69-$199
What they're saying: "It emanates tranquility and pushes you to make the right shot." - Perry Cox
Video: Great off-the-beaten path courses in the Top 50
Architect: Jack Nicklaus
Green fee: $43-$75
What they're saying: "Interesting layout, some fair risk reward opportunities and flawless greens." - chaven
Architect: P.B. Dye
Green fee: $30-$49
What they're saying: "P.B. Dye designed a challenging 18 holes that meander through the woods and along the shores of Brookville Lake." - tschroeder1977
Architect: Pete Dye
Green fee: $99-$229
What they're saying: "Fairways were pretty forgiving for being a Pete Dye course." - jastroz
Architect: Arthur Hills
Green fee: $35-49
What they're saying: "Very fun track to play that will keep you guessing all day." - Casey1545
Architect: Roger Rulewich/Robert Trent Jones Sr.
Green fee: $71-$105
What they're saying: "Each hole is separate with little sight of other holes or road noise." - Linda2764189
31. Tunica National
Tunica Resorts, Miss.
Architect: Mark McCumber
Green fee: $50-$60
What they're saying: "Located minutes away from local casinos so perfect for a break from the tables." - Chris2369
Video: Best values in the Golf Advisor Top 50
Green fees are based on latest peak-season rates and are subject to change. In the case of resort courses, stay-and-play packages and specials often greatly reduce the price of the green fee. Many of these courses also offer dynamic online tee times, off-season and twilight rates that lower the green fee.