They say location is everything
While a dedicated golfer can have a great game no matter what green they’re playing on, it’s an undeniable fact that some courses are just better than others. American golfers start with a bit of an advantage, as our beautiful country is home to some of the finest courses in the world. From scenic, to famous, to challenging, here is our list of six of the best Golf courses in America.
1. Fishers Island
As exclusive as it is breathtaking, this course is accessible only by air or ferry for an experience away from it all. Located off the coast of Connecticut and designed by architect Seth Raynor, the course runs along the north side of the island provides beautiful scenic views of Long Island Sound.
An elegant Cape Cod-style clubhouse enhances the quaint settings, providing an idyllic backdrop to begin and end your route. A classic example of Raynor’s genius, steep bunkers with natural sidings and two Redan greens provide variety and challenge. The 3rd, 4th and 5th hole stretch is known for its impeccable flow and fascinating structure.
2. Sand Hills
Surely the best natural golf course in North America, Sand Hills was more discovered than it was made. While Nebraska hardly comes to mind when envisioning “golf country,” this young course situated in the city of Mullen is a must-play for any golfer’s bucket list.
After surveying over 1,000 acres of land in the region, the dynamic course-development dynamos, Coore and Crenshaw, came across this near-perfect organic space. Moving only a limited amount of earth and allowing the bunkers to be carved by the wind has made for a thrilling space unspoiled, unsterilized, and still wild in many regards. Thanks to the seasonal reshaping of the bunkers due to weather conditions, no two games on this course will ever be exactly identical.
If you’re looking for a challenge, Henry Fownes Oakmont, PA course is a major can’t-miss. Not for the faint of heart, this is mean-looking course is even more difficult than it appears. Notoriously challenging, Oakmont has hosted more combined USGA and PGA championship games than any other course in the United States. Hard greens that slope away from the player, 175 staggeringly steep bunkers, and narrow fairways have built up Oakmont’s reputation as a score-sinker.
While the views offered by this course are less stunning than others on the list, its ferocious reputation makes it worthy of a visit by any serious sportsman.
4. Cypress Point
Located in Pebble Beach, CA, and constructed in 1928 by renowned golf architect Allister MacKenzie, Cypress Point offers its players a stunning and unmatched view of the world-famous California coastline. The renowned 16th hole is perhaps the most famous feature of this course, but that’s not all it has to offer. From sweeping dunes to rocky shores, Cypress Point is considered to be one of the most beautiful and picturesque courses in the country, a truly impressive accolade considering some of the other courses on this list alone. MacKenzie’s unorthodox design featuring back-to-back par-5 holes and two par-3 holes on the back provide a respectable challenge to visiting golfers.
5. Winged Foot
Found in Mamaroneck, NY, Winged Foot was designed by A.W. Tillinghast and built in 1923. While the rolling beauty of this course cannot be denied, its true selling point is the sheer Herculean challenge it presents. With its unusually sloped greens and brutal slog of par-4 holes, Winged Foot offers a challenge to even the most skilled of players. In the ‘76 US Open, champion Hale Irwin won the day at Winged Foot with a shocking seven over par. When asked to rate the difficulty of Winged Foot on a scale of 1 to 10, world-famous golfer Jack Nicklaus gave it a 12.
6. National Golf Links of America
The NGLA, colloquially known as “The National”, is famed not only for its beauty but also for launching the career of renowned golf architect Seth Raynor. Constructed in 1911 and located in beautiful Southampton, NY, The NGLA was originally designed by C.B. MacDonald to mimic the practices of the storied greens of Great Britain. A highly exclusive course, host to two Walker tournaments since its creation, the NGLA is considered to be a true masterclass in (and, perhaps, the pinnacle of) strategic design.