Golfers salivate over the thought of playing the best golf courses. But that quest is a pipe dream for most people in the United States.
That's because the majority of America's top courses are exclusive, available to only members and invited guests. In fact, 38 of the 50 tracks on our "best by state" list — compiled after consulting the nation’s most noted golf course reviewers — are private.
A who’s who of golf course architects designed these courses, which showcase the best Mother Nature has to offer. Names like C.B. MacDonald, Alistair Mackenzie, Donald Ross, A.W. Tillinghast and Perry Maxwell represent golf’s Golden Age. Modern-day artists include Tom Fazio (who designed seven courses on this list, the most by far), Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones Sr., Tom Doak and others.
Almost every era in American golf makes an appearance, with 16 of the tracks opening during the Golden Age (1800s-1930), 15 debuting from 1981-2000, and 13 built since 2001. But surprisingly, none of the courses were established from 1941 to 1960.
Did your favorite course make the cut?