From Augusta National to Pebble Beach, the United States is home to some of the world’s most famous golf courses. For a country with hundreds of top-class venues, earning a place among the elite is prestigious accolade.
Ranking the best from the rest is no easy task, but our golf reviews guide for the top American golf courses assesses just what are the best venues across the US. If money was no object, you should be adding our shortlist of 10 golf courses to your bucket list.
The most famous golf course in the United States, how could Augusta National not make this list? Home to The Masters, it sits alongside St Andrews as the world’s most recognisable courses. Think about Augusta and azaleas, the Amen Corner stretch, the constant presence of Rae’s Creek and the infamous green jacket. The place in Georgia just oozes class and is a pretty decent golf course too. Getting on it in nigh on impossible though.
Cypress Point is another golf course where landing yourself a tee time is a tough task. That’s because it is a private members club…and the members of this course are pretty lucky people. With the Santa Lucia Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, Cypress Point has one of golf’s best settings as it hugs the clifftops along the Monterey Peninsula in Pebble Beach, California. Sensational is the best way to describe it, particularly the tough 15th, 16th and 17th hole stretch.
Pebble Beach is a near neighbour of Cypress Point in California, and also enjoys a seriously stunning setting along the Pacific Coast. Host of US Opens and USPGA Championship as well a regular stop on the PGA Tour, the Pebble Beach links have a rich history. Play one of the courses and you will be following in famous footsteps. The standout holes are the stretch from 7-10 along the ocean.
National Golf Links of America
Located in the Hamptons on Long Island in New York, the National Golf Links of America makes the list due to its unique design. When Charles B. Macdonald crafted the course at the start of the 20th century, many of the holes he designed were replicas of holes at UK links courses. There are versions of holes at Royal St George’s, Prestwick, North Berwick, St Andrews and Sunningdale in the special layout.
Almost next door to the National Golf Links of America is Shinnecock Hills, another of the most impressive courses in America. Host of the US Open, Shinnecock Hills is the oldest golf club in the United States and continues to have a rich history. The links course in Long Island is a must play if you get the chance.
Pine Valley is one of the toughest courses to play anywhere, and it has chewed up and spat out many a golfer down the years. More than 100 years old, the private members club in Philadelphia, New Jersey, is difficult to get on – but don’t let that stop you from trying because it is truly worth it. But don’t expect to conquer it!
Sawgrass is one of the most popular courses, most notably because it appears in so many computer games. The reason being the short par-3 with its iconic island green, which is regarded as one of the best holes in the world and the scene of so much drama down the years. The Stadium Course hosts The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, every year.
Second only to Augusta in terms of hosting the most majors in the United States, Oakmont is famed for lightning quick greens and difficult bunkers, and poses a severe test of even the best golfers. Located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Allegheny River provides a picturesque back drop to the Oakmont layout.
The most noted thing about Merion is the wicker basket flagsticks used. The story behind their origin largely remains a mystery. What isn’t unclear is just how good a golf course the US Open host venue is. An inland course in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, it has all the hallmarks of a traditional links course by the sea. The combination of holes makes this one of the United States’ toughest courses, but it is worth trying your luck.
One of five public golf courses in Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale on Long Island, New York, Bethpage Black is a course that takes no prisoners. In fact, the US Open and PGA Tour host venue has a warning sign on the first tee suggesting only “highly skilled golfers” play the course. That’s how tough it is. Make sure you know what to expect before you tee it up at Bethpage by playing it on one of the Tiger Woods series of computer games.