The United States has a long, rich history of stealing other nation’s treasured traditions and doing them way better. Nowhere is this more apparent than the ancient and noble sport of golf. Where the British Isles are reminiscent of a “lovely little garden,” the New World sprawls immeasurably into the boundless frontiers like vast, untamed wilderness. And all that land makes for some of the most amazing and varied courses in the world.
In 1977, Golf Digest started ranking the best courses in each state. Almost all are private. Some are very exclusive. But it’s enough to say if you’re a golfer and you haven’t played any of these, you’re missing out on the finest fairways your great nation has to offer. These aren’t necessarily all the best courses in America, but each one of them says something about the state of the sport and the terrain in their home regions.
Here they are:
(*”Invitation only” or private club. X “extremely exclusive.”)
Note: Cypress Point is a masterpiece that is also said to be the most exclusive course in America. It is virtually impossible to play here, as tee times are limited to guests of one of only 275 total members. Anybody played a round? Hit the comments.
Note: The universally-known home of the Masters, no course in the world has been more reinvented and engineered. The greatest course architects in American history all left their mark on this course at one point, and it layers many different design signatures from the likes of Mackenzie, Jones, and Maxwell interwoven into its fabric. You have to pretty much be a pro or rich/famous to get a tee time. Although, even Bill Gates was kept out for years just because he had said publicly once that he wanted to be let in. Can’t have that riff raff at Augusta.
Hawaii: Nanea Golf Club*X
Note: Another of the most exclusive clubs in the world, but students at the local high school are allowed to practice here. Community service?
Idaho: Gozzer Ranch*
Illinois: Chicago Golf Club*X
Indiana: Victoria National Golf Club*
Iowa: The Harvester Golf Club
Kansas: Prairie Dunes Country Club*
Kentucky: Valhalla Golf Club*
Louisiana: Country Club of Louisiana, Baton Rouge*
Maine: Belgrade Lakes Golf Club
Maryland: Congressional Country Club*
Massachusetts: The Country Club*X
Note: This is the original “country club” of America. If your family weren’t members in 1882, it’s unlikely you will become one now.
Michigan: Crystal Downs*
Mississippi: Fallen Oaks Golf Club
Montana: Rock Creek Cattle Co, Deer Lodge
Nebraska: Sand Hills
Nevada: Shadow Creek
New Hampshire: Baker Hill*
New Jersey: Pine Valley*X
New Mexico: Paako Ridge
New York: Shinnecock Hills*
North Carolina: Wade Hampton Golf Club*
North Dakota: Hawktree
Ohio: Muirfield Village*
Oklahoma: Southern Hills*
Oregon: Pacific Dunes, Bandon
Note: Consistently ranked as one of the best public courses in the world, Pacific Dunes is a gorgeous, suitable alternative to the Pebble Beach clubs you can’t get in.
Pennsylvania: Oakmont Country Club*
Rhode Island: Newport Country Club
South Carolina: The Ocean Course
South Dakota: Sutton Bay*
Texas: Whispering Pines*
Tennessee: The Honors Course*
Vermont: Ekwanok Country Club*
Virginia: Kinloch Golf Club*
Washington: Sahalee Country Club*
West Virginia: Pikewood National Golf Club*
Wisconsin: Whistling Straits
Wyoming: Snake River Sporting Club*
[via Golf Digest]
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