10 of the Best Public Golf Courses in the United States

Best Public Golf Courses in the United States

The United States is home to almost 17,000 golf courses, but many of them are private and therefore inaccessible to the majority of golfers.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of public golf courses around the country, and some of the best in the United States and the world are on this list. US public courses include some of the most famous courses on the planet that have hosted major tournaments, including Pebble Beach and Bethpage Black, as well as the site of the TPC Sawgrass Players Championship.

Below, we take a look at 10 of the best public golf courses in the United States that all golfers can play…

Bandon Dunes – Pacific Dunes

Bandon Dunes Golf Course in pictures

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  • Location: Bandon, OR
  • Majors: American amateur 2020
  • Green fees: $100 to $345

Bandon Dunes in Oregon is one of the best golf resorts in the country. Bandon is world famous and offers a total of six courses, including a par-3. The best course on the property is Pacific Dunes, which is considered one of the best courses in the United States. All six can be played by visiting guests.

Bethpage State Park – Black Course

Bethpage Black 1st illustrated tee and sign

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  • Location: Farmingdale, NY
  • Majors: US Open 2002 & 2009, PGA Championship 2019
  • Green fees: $78 to $150 ($39 to $85 for New York State residents)

Bethpage Black is one of the most famous courses in the world, known for hosting the US Open and the PGA Championship, as well as being featured in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games. The course is also famous for its sign on the 1st tee, which warns people that the course is recommended for advanced golfers. Bethpage State Park is home to five golf courses in total: black, red, blue, yellow, and green.

Bay of bedrooms

Chambers Bay Golf Course Illustrated

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  • Location: University Square, Washington
  • Majors: US Open 2015, US Amateur 2010
  • Green fees: $100 to $289

Chambers Bay on the Washington coast shot to fame in 2015 when it hosted the US Open, won by Jordan Spieth. It received some criticism that week for the condition of its greens, but is considered one of the best modern layouts in the United States, opened in 2007. The course is a British-style course with stunning views , and fortunately for golfers, it is open to the public. .

Erin Hills

Erin Hills Golf Course Illustrated

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  • Location: Hartford, Wis.
  • Majors: US Open 2017, US Women’s Open 2025
  • Green fees: $270-$330

Erin Hills in Wisconsin is another public venue to host the US Open, with Brooks Koepka winning his first Major on the course in 2017. It measured 7,876 yards for the 2017 US Open, becoming the longest course in major championship in history. The US Women’s Open is scheduled to be held there in 2025. Erin Hills is one of the best courses in the state along with another famous public venue, Whistling Straits.

Kapalua – Planting course

Kapalua 18th Hole Shown

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  • Location: Maui, Hawaii
  • Tournaments: Sentry Tournament of Champions (every year)
  • Green fees: $365 to $395

Beautiful Kapalua in Hawaii marks the start of the year of golf for fans, with the Plantation Course being the established host of the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions event in early January each year. Kapalua is another to have featured in video games and is famous for its incredible ocean views and amazing finishing hole – a 677 par 5 with its green that wraps around a waste area. Fortunately, it is downhill where many of the best players in the world travel over 400 yards to leave a shot in the green and a chance to win the eagle.

Kiawah Island – Ocean Course

Kiawah Island Golf Course in pictures

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  • Location: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
  • Majors: PGA Championship 2012 & 2021
  • Green fees: $600

Yet another major location to make this list, Kiawah Island and its ocean course was last seen on our screens in 2021 when Phil Mickelson became the oldest major winner in PGA Championship history. It’s also where Rory McIlroy won his second Major in 2012. Kiawah, on the South Carolina coast, has five golf courses in total, and the Ocean Course is considered both one of best and toughest tracks in the United States.

How to play Pebble Beach?

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  • Location: Monterrey Peninsula, California
  • Majors: Six US Open + five future, four future US Women’s Open, PGA Championship 1977, five US Amateurs and two US Women’s Amateurs
  • Green fees: $595

Pebble Beach is arguably one of the three most famous golf courses in the world along with The Old Course at St Andrews and Augusta National. Located on the Monterrey Peninsula, the ocean-lined course appears on our screens every year at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and has hosted six US Opens, with winners including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Tiger Woods. Pebble Beach also operates Spyglass Hill, another of the best courses in the world open to the public.

Pinehurst – Course n°2

Pictured Pinehurst No. 2

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  • Location: Pinehurst, North Carolina
  • Majors: US Open 1999, 2005 & 2014 plus five futures, US Women’s Open 2014 & 2029, PGA Championship 1936, Ryder Cup 1951 and three US Amateurs
  • Green fees: Packages starting at $517

Pinehurst in North Carolina is best known for its No. 2 course, which has hosted three US Opens, a Ryder Cup, a PGA Championship, a US Women’s Open and many other elite-level tournaments. There are plans to host five more US Opens and one US Women’s Open. The magnificent golf resort is arguably the best in the country, with nine golf courses in total plus ‘The Cradle’ – a fun yet challenging short pitch and putt course.

TPC Sawgrass

The 17th at TPC Sawgrass

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  • Location: Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
  • Tournaments: The Players Championship (all years), US Amateur 1994
  • Green fees: From $450 to $600

The world famous stadium course at TPC Sawgrass annually hosts the “Unofficial Fifth Major” with the Players Championship. Sawgrass is home to the headquarters of the PGA Tour and boasts one of the world’s most famous golf holes in the par-3 17th “island green”. The Stadium Course is one of the top golf courses in Florida and on the PGA Tour schedule, and is one of two at the club with the Dye’s Valley layout.

hissing strait

famous bunkers

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  • Location: Sheboygan, Wis.
  • Majors: PGA Championship 2004, 2010 and 2015, US Women’s Open 1998 and 2012, Ryder Cup 2021
  • Green fees: From $270 to $630

Whistling Straits in Wisconsin has hosted huge events over the past two decades with three PGA Championships (2004, 2010 and 2015) as well as the 2021 Ryder Cup, where Team USA beat Europe in record fashion. The course is famous for its views of Lake Michigan and its over 1,000 bunkers! The resort was established in 1998 and has the famous Straits Course as well as the Irish Course.

Of course, this list cannot contain all of the best public courses in the United States, with many more famous and epic sites across the country including TPC courses, Harbor Town, Pasatiempo, Shadow Creek, Sand Valley and many more. other world-class amenities.

Michael C. Ford