Best golf course in every state
History has shown that the definition of a great golf course is ephemeral, constantly evolving in time with trends and architectural changes. Different courses appeal to different golfers for a variety of reasons; with even at-home viewers of championship golf showing preferences for certain courses over others based on visuals alone. What makes one course better than another varies depending on the viewer or player, or whether they are novices or elite golfers.
A poll completed in 2015 by United Kingdom-based Hallmark Hotels was slightly more concrete in its definition of what makes a perfect golf course. In that poll, three traits were identified that make a golf course great: the landscape of the natural surroundings, the design of the holes, and the amenities for after the game.
Using data from Golfweek.com and Golf.com (rankings updated in 2016 and 2019), Stacker compiled rankings for 2019 to define the 50 best golf courses in the United States by state. The methodology includes the seven criteria as defined by Golf Digest for judging the best golf courses, with the highest average ranking based on expert reviewers. This ranking includes the difficulty of the holes, the course's continuity, and the scenic value of the course—as well as overall feel and atmosphere.
To determine the best golf course in every state, Stacker has used the above criteria, the previous rankings of the best golf courses by Golfweek and Golf, and the information from the Hallmark Hotels poll. Read on to find out which golf course in your state is considered the best.
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Alabama: FarmLinks at Pursell Farms
- Location: Sylacauga
- Yardage: 7,444 yards
- Designed by: Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry
- Opened: 2003
This golf course has been rated the #1 all-access golf course in Alabama for 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 by Golfweek. FarmLinks is a history lesson mapped out on a pristine golf course, offering historic signs all along the course.
Alaska: Anchorage GC
- Location: Anchorage
- Yardage: 6,601 yards
- Designed by: Bill Newcomb
- Opened: 1987
Located overlooking the city of Anchorage, the course offers views of three different mountain ranges including the tallest mountain in North America, Denali. The layout of the course allows players to see waterfowl, moose, fox, and sometimes bears while golfing.
Arizona: We-Ko-Pa (Saguaro Course)
- Location: Fort McDowell
- Yardage: 6,966 yards
- Designed by: Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw
- Opened: 2006
The We-Ko-Pa is actually two golf courses in Fort McDowell. This honor goes to the Saguaro Course designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. Unencumbered by houses and roads, the Saguaro Course is designed following the natural movement of the land, moving in and out of the Saguaro cacti that dominate the site.
Arkansas: Hot Springs (Park Course)
- Location: Hot Springs
- Yardage: 6,852 yards
- Designed by: Willie Park, Jr
- Opened: 1898
The Hot Springs Park Course is less challenging than its sister course, Arlington. Originally designed and built in 1898, it had extensive renovations in 2001. If you desire to play in the winter, this course offers bentgrass greens for year-round play.
California: Pebble Beach
- Location: Pebble Beach
- Yardage: 6,828 yards
- Designed by: Jack Neville and Douglas Grant
- Opened: 1919
Even the golf novice has likely heard of Pebble Beach, five-time host of the U.S. Open Golf Championship—and it will host it one more time this year. This course has been rated the greatest public golf course in the U.S. by Golf Digest.
Colorado: The Broadmoor (East Course)
- Location: Colorado Springs
- Yardage: 7,355 yards
- Designed by: Donald Ross
- Opened: 1918
At the base of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, the Broadmoor was originally an untamed mountain property. Now it is one of the top 50 golf courses. Opened in 1918, it was the highest golf course in the U.S., where you play at 6,400 feet.
Connecticut: Wintonbury Hills
- Location: Bloomfield
- Yardage: 6,711 yards
- Designed by: Pete Dye
- Opened: 2005
Designed by the legendary Pete Dye, this course features undulating greens and thick grass. In a rural area of Connecticut, beautiful countryside surrounds the moderately priced links. While Dye courses are renowned for their difficulty, Wintonbury is considered one of his easier courses.
- Location: Selbyville
- Yardage: 7,545 yards
- Designed by: Jack Nicklaus
- Opened: 2005
Designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, it is located along the Assawoman Bay coastline while winding through pine forests. In the words of Nicklaus: “Golfers at Bayside enjoy three distinctly different golf experiences all in one golf course.”
Florida: TPC Sawgrass (Players Stadium Course)
- Location: Ponte Vedra Beach
- Yardage: 7,245 yards
- Designed by: Pete Dye
- Opened: 1981
Designed in 1982 to host The Players Championship, this golf course favors both the elite and the novice golfer. Golf Digest has ranked the Stadium Course as the 12th best in America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses in 2017–2018 and the second ranked “Best Course You Can Play in the State of Florida.”
Georgia: Sea Island (Seaside Course)
- Location: St. Simons Island
- Yardage: 6,657 yards
- Designed by: H.S. Colt and C.H. Alison
- Opened: 1929
Redesigned by Tom Fazio, Seaside Golf Course is like playing the Scottish links without having to go to Scotland. The wind challenges players, but the beauty of its natural settings lets golfers enjoy the Atlantic Ocean, rolling marshes, and the sweeping dunes.2018 All rights reserved.