Golf Courses

15 Cool U.S. Golf Courses to Play

One of the coolest parts of playing golf is that no two golf courses are the same. Fundamentally, the game is identical: you swing the same clubs, and you hit the same ball. But each game varies based on the course you’re playing.

From golf courses situated right next to a cliff to historic tracks that have hosted many major events, to beautiful courses by an ocean, there truly are some astonishing golf courses to play across the U.S

Whether you’re a new golfer or an avid one, you’ll find a course to add to your bucket list.


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1. Pacific Dunes

Courtesy cnewtoncom/CC BY 2.0.
  • Location: Oregon, USA
  • Year Built: 2001
  • Architect: Tom Doak
  • Yardage and Par: 6633 yards, par 71

Pacific Dunes is a beautiful course by the ocean. It doesn’t feel like it was built but discovered. A lot of the formations and sandy bunker lines remain the same as they have for centuries. As Golf Magazine puts it, “Numbers are as irrelevant here as at the Old Course at St. Andrews. It’s just man against course – and weather. And golf doesn’t get much purer than that.”

While you are in Oregon, visit the lighthouses along the coast for a side trip.

Pebble Beach
Courtesy Noah Rosenfield/Unsplash
  • Location: California, USA
  • Year Built: 1919
  • Architect: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant
  • Yardage and Par: 6828 yards, par 72

Over the years, Pebble Beach has been home to some of golf’s greatest events. This includes the US Open, the PGA Championship, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and the PURE Insurance Championship. When you consider the iconic holes, the rippling ocean wind, and the rocky coves, it’s clear to see why.

3. Pinehurst No. 2

Pinehurst Resort
Courtesy Historic Hotels of America
  • Location: North Carolina, USA
  • Year Built: 1902
  • Architect: Donald Ross
  • Yardage and Par: 7588 yards, par 72

Pinehurst No. 2’s long 18 holes boast the title of having the most golf championships hosted in the history of US golf. With rolling fairways, legendary inverted-saucer greens, and tall Longleaf pines, this course is a must-see for golfers visiting North Carolina.

4. Oakmont Country Club

Courtesy VisitPITTSBURGH
  • Location: Pennsylvania, USA
  • Year Built: 1903
  • Architect: Henry Clay Fownes
  • Yardage and Par: 7255 yards, par 70

Regarded as the “oldest top-ranked golf course in the United States,” Oakmont remains perhaps one of the most difficult golf courses in the US. With 175 tough bunkers, slick greens that run away from the player, and fairways so tight they could choke you, Oakmont presents a challenge for players of all capabilities and is sure to make you maximize the potential of your golf clubs.

5. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club

Shinnecock Hills
Courtesy Wikimedia/CC
  • Location: New York, USA
  • Year Built: 1931
  • Architect: William Flynn
  • Yardage and Par: 6940 yards, par 70

Considered to be one of the earliest golf courses in America, Shinnecock Hills’ architecture hasn’t really been altered in over 50 years. With sandy and rolling terrains, a majestic clubhouse, and strong Atlantic winds, Shinnecock is a beautiful course that some describe as “still giving off the 1890s feeling.”

6. Cypress Point Club

Cypress Point
Courtesy schnaars/CC 2.0
  • Location: California, USA
  • Year Built: 1928
  • Architect: Alister Mackenzie
  • Yardage and Par: 6536 yards, par 72

Regarded as one of the most prestigious golf courses in the entire world, it’s almost impossible to visit Cypress Point without a member inviting you. That being said, if you DO happen to land an invitation, be sure to seize the opportunity! One of the unique aspects of Cypress is that when Mackenzie designed the course, he did not overpower the natural terrain. What this means is that much of its natural beauty remains for golfers around the world to enjoy.

7. Augusta National Golf Club

Courtesy Businesswire
  • Location: Georgia, USA
  • Year Built: 1930
  • Architect: Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie
  • Yardage and Par: 7475 yards, par 72

Home to the Masters, Augusta National is a golf course that almost all golfers worldwide know. However, unlike Cypress, no other course has really been tinkered with as much as Augusta National (to keep it competitive for the Masters). What has resulted is a mixing pot of design ideas that work together to provide an outstanding experience to golfers who encounter Augusta.

8. Whistling Straits

Whistling Straits
Courtesy Dan Perry/CC 2.0
  • Location: Wisconsin, USA
  • Year Built: 1998
  • Architect: Pete Dye
  • Yardage and Par: 7790 Yards, Par 72

Sculpted into two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Whistling Straits was built to resemble Ireland’s golf courses. Open and rugged, this links-style course is walking only and has consistently ranked as one of the top golf courses in the U.S. With eight holes hugging the lake, tons of elevation changes, and deep pot bunkers, Whistling Straits is sure to provide you with a challenge.

9. South Course at Boulders Resort

South Course at Boulders Resort
Courtesy Visit Phoenix
  • Location: Arizona, USA
  • Year Built: 1990
  • Architect: Jay Morrish
  • Yardage and Par: 6726 yard, par 71

Nestled in the depths of Arizona desert and granite boulder formations, the South Course at Boulders Resort lives up to its rather appropriate name. Here you’ll find iconic rocks and boulders stacked on top of each other, greens protected by tons of bunkers, and cactuses everywhere. Breathtaking views? Check. Uniqueness? Double-check! Before you play, bring your moisturizer, sun screen, and water to deal with dry desert air. After, head south and spend time visiting Phoenix, there are many free things to do.

10. Fazio Course at Red Sky

Fazio Course at Red Sky
Courtesy Dan Perry/Creative Commons 2.0
  • Location: Colorado, USA
  • Year Built: 2002
  • Architect: Tom Fazio
  • Yardage and Par: 7116 yards, Par 72

Heralded as one of the best mountain golf experiences in the U.S., the Fazio Course at Red Sky lives up to its reputation with panoramic views, long and high elevation, and a fantastic finishing stretch of holes. In addition, the “private club vibe” of the Fazio Course makes it the definite place to play if you’re ever visiting Colorado.

11. Ozarks National

Ozarks National
Courtesy Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Location: Missouri, USA
  • Year Built: 2019
  • Architect: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
  • Yardage and Par: 7036 yards, par 71

Just south of Branson, Ozarks National is a brand new course integrated into the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. Almost a part of the landscape, Ozarks National provides players with equal parts challenging holes and breathtaking views. If you’re ever near Branson, be sure to visit this course!

12. Hualalai Golf Course

  • Location: Hawaii, USA
  • Year Built: 1994
  • Architect: Jack Nicklaus
  • Yardage and Par: 7117 yards, par 72

Located on the big island of Hawaii, the Hualalai golf course will have you feeling like you’re playing golf in paradise. This course is truly out of this world, over 7100 yards with bright trees and fairways in stark contrast to the black lava. (Oh, did I mention it’s also right next to the ocean!)

Courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority/Cameron Brooks

13. Kapalua Golf

Kapalua Golf
Courtesy Hawaii Tourism Authority/ Tor Johnson
  • Location: Hawaii, USA
  • Year Built: 1991
  • Architect: Ben Crenshaw
  • Yardage and Par: 7596 yards, par 73

Another one of Hawaii’s golf courses, Kapalua, is located on Maui and offers a scenic view of the ocean from almost every hole. Even though it is extremely long at over 7500 yards, its open layout and generous greens make it an enjoyable experience for golfers of all skill levels.

14. TPC Sawgrass

TPC Sawgrass
Courtesy Martin L/CC 2.0
  • Location: Florida, USA
  • Year Built: 1974
  • Architect: Pete Dye
  • Yardage and Par: 7245 yards, par 72

Home of the iconic “Island Green” signature hole (#17), TPC Sawgrass is part of the PGA Tour’s prestigious TPC Network of golf courses. Situated just 12 miles from Jacksonville, this course has been home to many PGA events throughout the years. So if you’re ever in Florida and have the chance, be sure to check TPC Sawgrass out!

15. Top of the Rock Course

Top of the Rock
Courtesy Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Location: Missouri, USA
  • Year Built: 1996
  • Architect: Jack Nicklaus
  • Yardage and Par: 1420 Yards, Par 27

The final entry on this list is unique: it’s a 9 hole par 3 course! BUT, don’t let its short nature fool you. Top of the Rock Course is the first of its kind to be included in a professional championship. With peaceful waterfalls, ponds filled with bass, and many creeks, this course is a beautiful experience that every person visiting the Ozarks should enjoy.

Recap of The Coolest Golf Courses to Play

There you have it: the coolest golf courses to play! Whether you’re an avid lover of the golf game or just like to smack a golf ball around the range or a golf simulator at home, you’re sure to appreciate the beauty and history of the courses listed.

Of course, some of these golf courses are extremely exclusive, and others are so expensive that you’d have to be making seven figures even to consider playing. Still, you don’t need to play/compete, and nothing is stopping you from visiting. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start experiencing all the wonderful things that these golf courses have to offer you… I promise you won’t regret it!

This article by Jeff Fang of the Financial Pupil blog originally appeared on Savoteur, and was republished by permission.

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Jeff Fang
Website | + posts

Jeff is a pupil of life and is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things travel and finance related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys pursuing financial freedom, but also enjoys exploring the outdoors in his free time. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.

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