Avid golfers sometimes look for challenging opportunities away from home. With this list of top-ranked public courses in the U.S., there’s no need to travel abroad to experience some of the best and most challenges course anywhere.
1. Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Long Island, New York — According to the Travel Channel, even the world’s most skilled professional golfers find this course to be extremely difficult, and that’s why two U.S. Open championships have been played there. The course features tree-lined fairways, intricate bunkers, and fast greens.
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2. The Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, California — Located on the Monterey Peninsula on California’s famed central coast, this public course is sometimes overshadowed by the more popular Pebble Beach Golf Links nearby. However, Forbes says this course, characterized by fast and firm conditions, all but transports golfers to Scotland with spectacular coastal views and natural dunes.
3. Pacific Dunes, Bandon, Oregon — Golf Digest explains that course designer Tom Doak used unorthodox routing and four par 3s on the back nine in order to take advantage of the ocean frontage. The course is characterized by holes that seem to emerge from the natural landscape, rolling green hills, and rugged dunes.
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4. Pebble Beach Links, Pebble Beach, California — Golf Digest has ranked Pebble Beach No. 1 on its list of 100 Greatest Public Courses since the list’s inception in 2003. With nine holes perched atop a crashing central California surf, the course will host its sixth U.S. Open in 2019.
5. Shadow Creek, Las Vegas, Nevada — Built in 1989 by casino magnate Steve Wynn, this course is now owned by MGM Grand International and open to guests of its many Las Vegas resort properties. According to the Travel Channel, the designer spared no expense in the creation of this $60 million course, importing and planting 21,000 trees for a green oasis surrounded by Nevada desert.
6. Irish Course at Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin — Forbes describes Whistling Straits along Lake Michigan as one of the most ruggedly dramatic settings in America. The Irish Course there is less famous than its Straits Course, but it is not to be missed. The course is sheltered from the harsh lake winds, and its grassland and dunes landscape is marked with four winding streams.
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