10 Best Public Golf Courses in America

Can you navigate your way through America's most renowned public golf courses? It's time to put your skills to the test. Across the country, world-class architects like Pete Dye and Tom Doak have crafted up some of the most incredible golf courses the world has ever seen. The best part? Some of them are open to the public. No private memberships required. No matter your level of experience, these sprawling fairways are a sight to behold. Here are the 10 best public golf courses in America. 

Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, CA

Consistently rated among the top public golf courses in the country, home to six U.S. Open events, impeccably maintained. If you love golf, it's easy to see why Pebble Beach is so beloved. Not only does the course consist of all varieties of challenges, it's situated among some of the most stunning scenery of any golf course in the country. Enjoy steep stopes and tricky bunkers as well as sweeping ocean vistas and pristine beaches. It doesn't get much better than this. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Golf Fit With Kelsey Jo (@golffitwithkelseyjo) on

Pacific Dunes Golf Course, Bandon, OR

Golf course architect Tom Doak, a student of Pete Dye, designed the Pacific Dunes course in Bandon, Oregon. Doak's other accomplishments include world-ranked courses in Colorado, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Pacific Dunes was opened in 2001 and is described as not feeling like it was built, but like it was discovered, according to its website. The natural feeling makes it one of the most unique and innovative public courses in the country. The world-class design and the weather that surrounds will put your golfing skills to the ultimate test. The Pacific Dunes website proudly proclaims that the course is "short enough to give you hope but rugged enough to test every facet of your game." 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by A L E X A N D R A (@olaughlingc) on

Whistling Straits Golf Course, Sheboygan, WI

Host of the 2004, 2010, and 2015 PGA Championships, the Pete Dye-designed Whistling Straits Golf Course is celebrated among the golfing community. Situated along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, Whistling Straits features two distinctive courses: The Straits and the Irish. Either way, there's something for every level of golfer here. But don't think that means it's easy. Featuring enormous sand dune bunkers and a multitude of other challenging, dynamic features, you'll have to be on your A Game at Whistling Straits. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Anthony Coyle (@acoyle17) on

Streamsong Resort, Bowling Green, FL

Florida is essentially synonymous with great golf and when it comes to those top tier public courses, Streamsong is a formidable force. At the resort, visitors will find three courses: Streamsong Blue, Red, and Black. Red and Blue have been consistently ranked among America's top public golf courses by Golf Magazine. But trust us, it's worth playing them all. Designed in homage to traditional Scottish links, maneuvering Streamsong's undulating course is an exciting challenge. Book your tee time ASAP.  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Michael Waltrip (@mwr55) on

Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club, Arcadia, MI

One of the interesting things about the Bluffs course at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Club is that there are no private memberships. There is simply a daily fee and you're good to play, seven days a week from mid-April to mid-November every year. Just getting started? Try out their Teaching Academy, which consists of individual and group clinics for all levels of experience. Before you leave, stop by the Dining Room (which is also open to the public) for an excellent bite to eat. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Golf Advisor (@golfadvisor) on

The Pete Dye Course at French Lick, French Lick, IN

Initially sketched out as an idea and a dream on a napkin and then brought to life by renowned architect Pete Dye, the Pete Dye Course at French Lick has been impressing ever since its opening. This famous course played host to the Senior PGA Championship in 2015 and is touted by top golfers as "iconic." With high elevation and 40-mile panoramic views, golfers of all skills levels must come out to give this one a go.  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jesper Parnevik (@jesperparnevik) on

Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort, Kiawah Island, SC

Photographs of the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina look like they've come straight from a postcard. This iconic course actually features the most seaside holes in the Northern Hemisphere so you like playing by the water, you truly cannot top this one. The Atlantic Ocean winds and complex design will contest even the most experienced golfers. After playing here, you'll want to come back again and again. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Myles Kublin (@myles_kublin) on

Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, NY

A state park with excellent golfing? You've got it. That's what makes Beth Page so unique. Five courses are available to play but the most recognized might be the Black Course, which played host to the 2002 U.S. Open. Not only is this Farmingdale course great to play all day, you can stick around longer to have a picnic, ride the biking trails, or practice your swing on the tennis courts. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by PGA (@pga) on

Players Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

You didn't think we'd leave out TPC Sawgrass, did you? The Players Stadium Course is nothing short of legendary. Opened in 1982, the course was originally designed to play permanent host to "The Players Championship." When it was constructed, the fan experience was made a top priority. Golf Digest has ranked Players Stadium among their list of "America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses" for several years. Once you arrive, it's easy to see why.  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Josh Lambo (@joshlambo2) on

The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, Tower, MN

Take a trip out to Minnesota to experience the Wilderness at Fortune Bay. Overlooking the picturesque Lake Vermillion, the Wilderness was crafted by respected architect Jeffrey D. Brauer. Year after year, the accolades stream in for the Wilderness. Golf Digest, Golfweek, you name it and it's ranked the Wilderness among the top golf courses in America.  

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by William Wente (@c4rtp4th) on

Share your favorites!
Visit a Nature Center and Botanical Garden Near You